By Imam Murtada Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Alhamdu lillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil within ourselves and from our wrongdoings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.
I bear witness that there is no (true) god except Allah – alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His ‘abd (servant) and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslims.” (Al- Imraan, 3:102)
“O people! Revere your Lord who has created you from a single soul, created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Revere Allah, through whom you demand things from one another and (cherish the ties) of the wombs; indeed, Allah is ever-Watchful over you.” (An-Nisa’: 4:1)
“O you who believe! Revere Allah and say fair words. He will then rectify your deeds and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly achieved a great victory.” (Al-Ahzaab, 33:70-71)
Indeed, the best speech is Allah’s (SWT) Book and the best guidance is Muhammad’s (SAW) guidance. The worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of misguidance leading to the Fire.
Fellow Muslims! Fellow Nigerians!
Allah has bestowed many of His Great favours on His slaves. His right Hand is always full of gifts and He is generous every all day and night. He portions out provision for whomsoever He wishes with no reckoning. He tests His servants with blessings as He tests them with calamities. He says:
“And We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good, and to Us you will be returned.” (Al-Anbiyaa, 21:35)
Allah gives favour with all this and the trial of luxurious life is greater than that of difficult times, for the beneficiary needs to be patient and grateful. Poverty and wealth are sources of trial, but man must always be persevering and thankful to Allah in all things He commands or forbids and all things He decrees. Piety is based on these two things. Allah makes a combination between gratitude and Faith (eemaan) when He says:
“Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him.” (An-Nisaa, 4:147)
Almighty Allah also tells us that showing gratitude to Him is the purpose of creation. He says:
“And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight and hearts that you might give thanks (to Him).” (An-Nahl, 16:78)
He says that He is pleased when thanked:
“…And if you are grateful, He is pleased with you…” (Az-Zumar, 39:7)
He created the night and the day for reflection and for showing gratitude to Him. He says:
“And it is He Who has put the night and the day in succession, for such who desires to remember or desires to show his gratitude.” (Al-Furqaan, 25:62)
He divides His slaves into two: the grateful and the ungrateful. He says:
“Verily, We showed him the way whether he be grateful or ungrateful.” (Al-Insaan, 76:3)
Allah also tells us that He regards only those who thank Him as those who worship Him and that whoever does not thank Him is not among His worshippers. He says:
“And be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He whom you worship.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:172)
He praises the first Messenger He sent to the earth with His words:
“O offspring of those whom We carried (in the ship) with Nuh (Noah)! Verily, he Nuh (Noah) was a grateful slave.” (Al-Israa, 17:3)
He commanded Prophet Musa to receive the prophethood, the message and His Divine speech with him with gratitude, He says:
“O Musa! I have chosen you above men by My Messages and by My speaking (to you). So hold that which I have given you and be of the grateful.” (Al-A’raaf, 7:144)
He praises His friend Ibrahim for being thankful to Him. He says:
“Verily, Ibrahim was a leader, obedient to Allah and he worshipped none but Him, and he was not of those who were polytheists. (He was) thankful for His (Allah’s) Graces.” (An-Nahl, 16:120-121)
He commanded Prophet Daawud to be thankful and He says:
“Work you, O family of Daawud with thanks.” (Saba’, 34:13)
Allah also tells us that Prophet Sulaymaan said:
“My Rabb (Lord)! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for your favours which you have bestowed on me and on my parents.” (An-Naml, 27:19)
Allah also commands His Messenger Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to be grateful to Him and He says:
“Nay! But worship Allah (alone) and be among the grateful.” (Az-Zumar, 39:66)
The first admonition that Allah gave man was to be grateful to Him and his parents. He says:
“And give thanks to me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.”
The Prophets also commanded their people to thank Allah. Prophet Ibrahim told his people:
“Seek your provisions from Allah and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him”. (Al-Ankabuut, 29:17)
Fellow Muslims! Fellow Nigerians! None draws lessons from signs of Allah but the grateful. Allah says:
“Thus do We explain variously the signs for a people who give thanks.” (Al-A’raaf, 7:58)
Showing gratitude to Allah is also the admonition that the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam gave to his companions. He said to Mu’aadh:
“O Mu’aadh! I love you. So do not stop from saying at the end of every prayer, “Allahumma a’innee ‘alaa dhikrika washukrika wa husni ‘ibaadatika.” Meaning, O Allah! Help me to remember You, to give thanks to You and to worship You in the best way.” Ibn Taymiyyah said, “I ponder over the best invocation and I found that it is: “Allahumma a’innee ‘alaa dhikrika washukrika wa husni ibaadatika.”
When Satan, the enemy of Allah knew the high position that showing gratitude to Allah occupies and that it is one of the greatest act of worship, he made efforts to keep people away from it. Allah tells us that he (Satan) said:
“Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left and you will not find most of them as thankful ones.”
Our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was the most grateful one to his Rabb (Lord). He left this world while he never ate his fill of barley bread. He once tied a rock unto his stomach out of severe hunger. His past sins and future sins were forgiven for him. He would stand up in prayer during the night so long so that his feet would be cracked and yet he would say:
“Should I not be a thankful slave?”
Showing gratitude to Allah is also safety from punishment. Allah (SWT) says:
“Why should Allah punish you if you have given thanks (to Him) and believed (in him)?” (An-Nisaa, 4:147)
Prophet Lut was saved from punishment because of his gratitude to Allah. Allah says in His Book about the people of Lut:
“Verily We sent against them a violent storm of stones (which destroyed them all, except the family of Lut, them We saved in the last hour of the night; as a favour from Us. Thus do we reward him who gives thanks.” (Al-Qamar, 54:34-35)
When the people of Saba showed ingratitude to Allah and disobeyed Him. Allah removed His favour from them and made them taste punishment.
Also, in Suratul Qalam, the people of the garden were ingrate to Allah for His Blessings and denied the poor the part thereof. So Allah visited their crops with a tragedy that turned them into particles of dust.
Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad said:
“Always thank Allah for His blessing, for seldom does a fovour of Allah return to a people after it has been removed from them.”
My respected people! Fellow Nigerians!
Any blessing that does not bring man closer to Allah is actually a calamity. Showing gratitude preserves the existing blessing and brings about the lost one.
Ali bin Abi Taalib said:
“The favour of Allah is retained by showing gratitude to Him and showing gratitude brings more blessings; and more blessing will not cease to come from Allah until man stops giving thanks. If a Muslim has a favourable position in the sight of Allah and preserves this position and thanks Allah for it, Allah will give him a greater position; but if he is ungrateful, Allah will make that blessing a trap for him.”
“When you see your Rabb (Lord) showering blessings on you while you are disobeying Him, be careful. For Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala says: “We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not.” (Al-A’raaf, 7:182)
Sufyaan said while commenting on this verse:
“Allah will continue to shower them with blessings while He will prevent them from giving thanks.”
Almighty Allah has condemned ingrate among His slaves. He says:
“Verily, man is ungrateful to his Rabb (Lord).” (Al-Aadiyaat, 100:6)
It is by thanking Allah and obeying Him that doors of the blessings of this world and the hereafter are opened for man. Allah (SWT) says:
“And if the people of the towns (or Nations) had believed and had the piety, certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth.”
Showing gratitude to Allah can be with tongue, heart and the limbs. Thanking Allah with the heart means attributing all favours to Him. Thanking Him by the tongue means praising Him much for the blessings. Praising Allah is the highest degree of gratitude and it is among the first verses of the glorious Qur’an.
Thanking Allah with limbs means making use of them in deeds that please Allah and not to use them in things that displease him. Showing gratitude with the eye means one should not use it to see forbidden things; gratitude of the tongue means one should speak only the truth; gratitude of the ears is to refrain from using them to listen to gossip, slander and all kinds of forbidden things.
Allah also commands that the parents must be thanked. He says,
“Give thanks to Me and to your parents.’’(Luqmaan, 31:14)
Among manifestations of showing gratitude to them (the parents) is to be dutiful to them, to seek for their pleasure and to be humble to them. It is an act of sin to be unkind to them or to disobey them in matters that do not contradict Islamic injunctions.
The most fortunate of men is the one who takes Allah’s blessings as means to the abode of the hereafter and the most wretched is the one who makes use of Allah’s favours for his lustful desires. Allah (SWT) says:
“Allah is full of bounty to mankind; yet most of mankind gives no thanks.”
Brethren in faith! My respected people!
Gratitude is one of the qualities of our Rabb (Lord) and the most beloved of His creation to Him is he who gives thanks. Equally, the most detestable of them to Him is he who is ungrateful. So, Allah is full of thanks and loves the grateful.
To give thanks to whoever does well to you among mankind is also part of thanking Allah. The prophet (SAW) said:
“He who does not thank men, does not thank Allah.” (Reported by Ahmad)
However, when you do a good deed to someone, do not expect him to thank you. If you are helping someone and expecting something in return, you are doing business not kindness. Therefore, expect your reward from Allah and be satisfied with whatever Allah gives you, you will be the most grateful of all men. Do praise and extol Allah much, for that is of the greatest acts of worship. The prophet (SAW) said:
“The one who eats out of the provision of Allah and gives thanks to Him is like the one who fasts and is patient.” (Al-Bukhari)
He who does not give thanks for little blessings will not give thanks for greater ones. When Abu Mugheerah was asked:
“How is your morning?” He said, “We wake up in the morning immerse in Allah’s favours but we are unable to give thanks to Him.” Men are only but two: one who is tested with well-being in order to know how grateful he will be, and the other who is tested with an affliction to know how patient he will be. Try, therefore, dear brethren to combine between patience, gratitude and piety in order to be among the most truthful worshippers of Allah”.
This Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Jumaada al-Thaany 21, 1436 A.H (April 10, 2015), by Imam Murtada Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via 08038289761 and [email protected]