I was in a furniture shop with my sister that day, looking through its collection of English furniture and interior decorations. I have this thing about flowers and laces, so, naturally, English design has always been the one I admire the most. Then, I saw this beautiful ‘Old Granny Chair’ and I could not resist temptations to land myself on it!
It is so comfortable like you wouldn’t believe it. Its cushion is well padded, it has a very wide sitting platform, a very high back which allows you to just rest your head comfortably, a matching ottoman stool which is convenient for legs stretching and its material is just the best design of elegant English Rose, which, by the way, is one of my favorite designs.
I had practically fallen in love with the chair the moment I sat on it. As I made myself very cozy on that expensive chair (much to the dismay of the salesperson!), I was thinking of the blessings of this wonderful chair design…
Then it occurred to me. If this one chair is able to give me such pleasure, what about other things in life which I have taken for granted? I guess there must be a million other things that I have forgotten to thank Allah for.
Think about it. Among 114 chapters mentioned in the Quran, there is this one chapter that asked us to think of His blessings…
He set the earth for all creatures, with all kinds of tasty fruits in abundance and palm-trees with sheathed fruit, and a variety of corn with husk as well as grain. So, O jinn and men, which of your Lord’s blessings will you deny? (55: 10-13)
Which of my Lord’s blessings have I denied?
Let me see, from the air I breathe, the joy of listening to the rain drops, the smell of freshly cut grass, the innocent laughter of children, the yellowish color of the rising sun, the wonderful sensation when the wind blows to my face, the contagious giggle that tickles the young girls, the sound of the flip flop slippers, the stillness and silence of the midnight hours, the crack of people’s face known as smile, the mysterious creamy smell of vanilla, the screams of a hungry child.
Don’t these things bring pleasure in life?
You might be thinking now. How can the loud screaming sound of a crying child be a blessing? Well, the way I see it, when a child is hungry usually he will cry, demanding his mother’s attention. This act indirectly symbolizes love and dependence.
And the best part is when the mother comes to the rescue and feeds this baby, with her loving eyes and beautiful smile, she would have this small baby talk which may go something like ‘Oh my sweet angel, mummy is here… don’t worry… You are hungry, aren’t you, aren’t you?… Mummy made you this delicious rice pudding… oh yes… open you mouth… there you go… there you go… aummmm!’ Ok guys, don’t puke on me here!))
But, seriously, isn’t that a blessing? Hearing this sweet goo-goo-gaa-gaa version from a mother? Do I see a smile there on your faces?
Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from their right-hand side and from their left-hand side; and Thou shalt not find most of them thankful. (7:17)
This verse is so true for many of us. We have forgotten to find the blessings from the smallest things we have in life to the biggest. Only when we faced with adversity or we lost something, then, we realized that what we had was something precious and was really a blessing from Allah, that we were able to have it. Sounds familiar, right?
Shouldn’t we start being thankful to Him for everything we have? Allah has reminded us:
Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me. (2:152)
It is a reminder for us to always be thankful and not to be ungrateful. If we look at it, both words come together. If someone is thankful, doesn’t that mean he is grateful? I am a bit confused here. Let me check my big red dictionary. Ok, here it is.
Thankful is defined as feeling of gratitude, or feeling glad about something.
Grateful, on the other hand, means having the desire or reason to thank someone. Hmm… Interesting…
I am no language expert here, but, as a layman, I think being thankful means we are thankful of specific things that we have received from Allah and it only involves words, but, being grateful to Him is more than words and a much higher feeling of gratitude. It involves desire to thank someone. It involves heart and emotions. Well, that’s what the definition says anyway…
Consider the difference in this dialogue between two friends:
Thank you for helping me with this task, against, I am grateful to you for your help.
Or this one: I thank Allah for giving me a child, compared to, I am grateful to Allah for giving me a child.
Feel the difference? Allahu ‘alaam.
Let me share with you a story I once read about a sick brother in a Hospital in East York, Canada. This brother had an infection in his stomach, which caused it to explode. As a result, the doctors had to remove half of his stomach through an operation. For seven days, he was unable to eat or drink anything. Nutrients were provided to him by using specialized methods.
During visiting hours, his family and friends told him to be patient and pray to Allah for quick recovery. At one point, the brother made a very important statement. He said:
“Now I have understood that if Allah doesn’t want, we cannot eat even one grain of rice.”
Subhanallah. How right were the words of this brother?
If Allah just take away one of His blessings from us, say our stomach, there goes our ability to eat.
Ok, forget about big things. Let us simply reflect on smaller things. What if Allah takes away just our toenail? Or if we have blurry vision? What if our eye lash dropped into the eye? Have you ever encountered how irritable it can be? What about dropping hair? Or residing hairlines? Or the pain that comes with a small splinter into our skin?
Have you ever seen the difficulty our beloved elders in munching things? My aunt has resorted to eating soup and porridge since she lost all her good teeth. Isn’t having teeth great blessing from Allah?
Be thankful first for all His blessings to us. And be grateful for all that we have.
Let us all start thanking Allah for all that He has given us, before it’s too late. Do we need for our stomach to explode too before we start thanking Him? It’s a scary thought. So, as Allah has commanded us to do, remember Him, and He shall remember us too. And thank Him and be grateful.
As for now, I am going to be grateful that Allah has given me the ability to read and write, because without it, I won’t be ‘talking’ to you now. Alhamdulillah