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Show Your Gratitude Through Worship

One of the fundamental components of a person’s relationship with Allah is worship. As one’s heart is filled with gratitude to one’s benefactor, one expresses indebtedness, humility, and surrender to him.

This is a natural response, observed even in domestic animals and pets. They express gratitude by gesture or look, but human beings are required to express gratitude in a much more pronounced manner.

It is an ordinary experience that a person owing a debt of gratitude to another expresses these feelings in appropriate manners and speech. Those failing to thank their benefactors are generally regarded as at least uncouth or ill-natured. It is part of the human nature to hold one’s benefactor in esteem.

Given this, we can see what gratitude we owe to our true Benefactor, Allah, Who is the source of all favors and blessings. We owe our very existence to Him. His favors are not ephemeral, but eternal.

Ho to Be Grateful

One should reflect gratitude to Allah by way of surrendering humbly and fully to Him. In doing so, one acts in a natural way and will be blessed with tranquility and spiritual contentment. However, those overwhelmed by neglect or ignorance fail to give thanks to their Creator and Benefactor. They even fail to think of Him or do so only in a passing and cursory manner.

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The gratitude we owe to Allah is manifested in our worship. It is expressed both verbally and by gesture and body movement. Worship embodies outwardly our gratitude to our Benefactor.

One’s whole being is involved in the act of worship. Each body part contributes in its own way, and one’s mental and spiritual faculties are also actively involved.

One’s whole being takes part in paying homage to the Creator, because it is incumbent upon to involve also all those means and ways by which one meets their worldly needs.

Gratitude in Quran and Sunnah

There is no need of weighty arguments to illustrate that the worship of Allah manifests our gratitude to our real, true Benefactor. This appears clearly in the opening surah of the Qur’an, Al-Fatihah.

Surat Al-Fatihah is woven around the theme of gratitude and it forms an essential part of prayer in Islam. It emerges from studying this surah that one’s gratitude in response to Allah’s lordship, mercy, and compassion prompts one to exclaim {We worship You alone} (Al-Fatihah 1:5).

It is also evident from other Qur’anic verses  that worship is synonymous with the expression of gratitude to Allah. For example, {Worship Allah and be among His grateful servants} (Az-Zumar 39:66).

Elsewhere, one is directed to worship and thank Him: {So seek your provision from Allah, and serve Him, and give thanks unto Him} (Al-`Ankabut 29:17).

It is reported about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that he stood for so long in his Night Vigil Prayer that his feet would swell up.

Take the following hadith as illustrative: The Prophet’s wife `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, I asked, “Messenger of Allah, why do you exert yourself so much while all your sins have been forgiven?”

To this he replied, “`A’ishah, should I not be a grateful servant of Allah?” (Muslim).

Worship is prompted by one’s feeling of gratitude to Allah. Allah’s commands are not meant to put us through any inconvenience. Rather, Allah has prescribed certain forms for expressing our gratitude, and these forms are approved by Him. These accrue numerous blessings to us.

In terms of its essence, true worship is characterized by genuine and overflowing gratitude to Allah. By worshiping Allah, one discharges obligations toward the Creator, Master, Benefactor, and Lord.

It Is for Our Own Benefit

One does not do so for the sake of benefiting in any way the Creator and Master but rather earns blessings for oneself and makes oneself worthy of more rewards. It is clear from several Qur’anic verses that Allah is to be worshiped because He is the Creator, Master, Sustainer, and Lord.

Our worship does not profit Him in any way, and our refusal to worship Him does not harm Him in the least. However, unbelievers refusing to worship Him are liable to fall more deeply into error and are more likely to follow the path of Satan rather than the straight way prescribed by Allah.

Excerpted with some modifications from Tazkiyah: The Islamic Path of Self-DevelopmentThe Islamic Foundation.