While we are encouraged to express gratitude around thanksgiving, our faith encourages it year round. The truth is, gratitude is a lifestyle, not an occasion. In the Islamic tradition gratitude is one of the key virtues highlighted in not only our religious holidays, but in our daily rituals and acts of worship as well. The second verse we recite (after “In the Name of Allah—the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful”) in every raka’ of our prayers is “All praise is for Allah—Lord of all worlds.” [1:2] This illustrates just how integral praising God and, by extension, gratitude, is to who we are as Muslims.
Gratitude isn’t just the act of giving thanks, though. It’s a lens through which we can see the world! And what’s great about it is the fact that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Here are 4 benefits to practicing gratitude daily:
1. iT Shows us who God is
When we recognize our blessings and express gratitude for them, we reaffirm God’s characteristics. For example: the more you soak in the artistry of a flower, the more you understand God’s name “Al-Musawwir” or “The Fashioner, The Shaper.” Such is the generous nature of God. He gives and He gives and if we tried counting all the blessings He has bestowed, we would never stop.
2. IT Encourages Positivity
Through gratitude, we receive rewards in the afterlife and blessings in our own and we grow more cognizant of the hidden and apparent beauty in our lives. In fact, gratitude is literally proven to rewire our brains to view the cup as half full and actively look for more things to be grateful for. God makes the multi-fold benefits of gratitude in the Quran. In Surah Ibrahim, verse 7, He says: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor].” So go ahead: be grateful! You have everything to gain by doing so!
3. It Helps us get through hard Times
The more grateful we are, the more prepared we are when faced with difficulty. Here’s a metaphor to help you understand this: Imagine you have a bucket and you’re constantly filling that bucket with blessings. Every time you recognize a blessing, you put it in your gratitude bucket. Eventually, your bucket becomes full to the brim (and your heart also overflowing) with gratitude for so many blessings. So when calamity strikes or you face a loss or are tested with something… even if a blessing is seemingly being taken away, your bucket is still full.
Even in difficult times, you can fall back on gratitude. Because so long as you are alive, you have much to thank God for.
4. It Motivates us to do good
When we recognize our blessings and are grateful for them, over time, it creates an attitude of contentment. And when gratitude and contentment are present, we feel inspired to use what God gave us for the greater good. For example, if you recognize a blessing you have, one way to express gratitude for it is to use it for good. How? Well, if you are good at painting: auction off a few art pieces for charity! If you are blessed with financial security, commit to donating just $10 every month! If you recognize the magnificence of nature and want to show your thanks for it, take a loved one on a healing nature walk.
No matter who we are and what we haven every single one of us can find much to be grateful for. Whether it’s a smile exchanged with a stranger, a roof over our heads, or simply the air we breath, God has given us abundantly.
In this month of November and beyond, I challenge you to take frequent pauses to be grateful for the things that bring you joy, peace, and love.
Why not start now: what are you grateful for today? Let us know! Tag us @daysofeid