I was once praying in a mosque. When the Imam finished the prayer, I remembered a great favor God blessed me with that day, so I felt the urge to prostrate and thank Him for that blessing. Once I raised my head from the ground, I found a pale face in front of me saying in a warning tone:
“Sister, never do that again, it’s a bid’ah!”
Is prostration after prayer a bid’ah? At that moment, I didn’t know what to say, and how to explain to her my reason.
I thought to myself, “Subhan Allah! She didn’t know what is between me and my Lord.”
This is just my way of expressing thankfulness to God.
Whenever I receive a bounty, I prostrate.
Whenever I hear a good news, I prostrate.
And whenever I’m facing a trial, I prostrate and thank God for rescuing me from a bigger trial…
This state of getting down on my knees, and putting my forehead on the ground always relieves me; it marks my weakness and neediness; it’s an act of humbleness towards my creator and provider.
Also, it’s a Sunnah that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do.
When anything came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) which caused pleasure (or, by which he was made glad), he prostrated himself in gratitude to Allah. (Abu Dawud)
Take it a Habit
For some, being grateful is only when a good thing happens to them. But Islam teaches me as a Muslim that it cannot be the only way.
For some time in my life, I started to train myself to live with a heart of gratitude. Everyday I tried to remind myself of something to be grateful for; and day after day, it eventually became a continuous habit.
However, at first, it was a difficult challenge for me; it was hard to maintain the habit of being grateful in every circumstance of my life. For it might be easier to be grateful for the good things we enjoy, but it’s not that easier to show the same enthusiasm and gratefulness for the things that go against what we desire.
But sajdat shukr (the prostration of thankfulness) helps me to be more focused and relieved. I prostrate in gratitude to my Lord when receiving a bounty hoping to multiply it; and I prostrate in gratitude to Him in my hardship hoping to increase my patience and relieve me.
After that short conversation with the sister in the masjid, I finally told her: “I can thank God the way I feel ease. And this is my way of being grateful.”
More Than a Word
In Islam, gratitude is given much importance and emphasis. It’s expressed in many forms.
And as a Muslim, I learned that to be grateful is more than a lip service; rather it’s more about actions. It’s easy to say ‘thank you’, but how do we make our thanking into practice? That’s the main thing that many people don’t realize.
In Arabic, there are two words that can give the meaning of gratitude.
1- Expressing Gratitude with Tongue
Hamd is praising and saying words of appreciation when receiving good things.
2- Expressing Gratitude with Action
This type of gratitude is called shukr. It is expressed with action more than words. It’s when someone doesn’t say ‘thank you’ but you can grasp their appreciation through their actions. So it’s not just a lip service, rather it’s about showing appreciation through action.
This idea is clearly shown in the following verse when God says:
Work, O family of David, in gratitude. And few of My servants are grateful. (34:13)
In this verse, God didn’t say, “say o family of David…”, rather He says: “work o family of David…”
So expressing gratitude is in fact a verb; it’s all about actions and doings, not just words.
A Means of Increase
We tend to rush around too much, not slowing our pace enough to be grateful to God the way He deserves. But recognizing and remembering His blessings is a form of thanking Him.
We should remember that thanking Him is for our own benefit, not His benefit. If we give thanks to Him, He will multiply our blessings and give us more and more. So why not make it a good habit? Why do people restrict thanking God in a specific occasion or a certain celebration?
Isn’t it for our benefit? So why not take it a habit?
Just try it. You’ll be surprised how being grateful on a daily basis can relieve you and change your whole perspective on life.
A Beautiful Dua
I am sharing with you a great dua that only God knows its reward.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
One of the slaves of Allah said: ‘Ya Rabb! Lakal-hamdu kama yanbaghi li-jalali Wajhika wa li ‘azima sultanika.
(O Lord, to You is praise as befits the Glory of Your Face and the greatness of Your Might.)’
The angels were uncertain and did not know how to write this down, so they ascended to heaven and said:
‘O our Lord, Your slave has said a word that we do not know how to write down.’
Allah said – and He knows best what His slave said:
What did My slave say?
They said: ‘O Lord, he said “Ya Rabb! Lakal-hamdu kama yanbagi li-jalali Wajhika wa li’azima sultanika (O Lord, to You is praise as befits the Glory of Your Face and the greatness of your Might).'”
Allah said to them:
‘Write it down as My slave said it, until he meets Me and I shall reward him for it.’ (Ibn Majah)