Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakatuh,
It’s always easy to encourage others to be thankful in any circumstances but undeniably the most difficult to implement in our lives. I always believe that this strength lies within everyone of us; to be able to give thanks when in prosperity but also in adversity.
During my time working at a support centre for Muslim women, I was exposed to sisters of various cultural and social background. The centre supports mainly women who face financial difficulties, domestic violence, new reverts to Islam and especially women refugees. I’ve met and spoken to some of them and realized that these ladies have taught me in their own ways, a valuable life lesson: be thankful.
Listening to their stories, it occurred to me that the hardships they have undergone were more than an average person have faced. I was most touched by stories of women refugees who have gone through a great struggle to run away from persecution and oppression in their country through desperate ways which most of the time, endangering their own lives. Some have lived through war; Some have lost or separated from the people they love as a result of oppression by their government; And there is an undetermined number of those who suffer from mental and health problems as a result of severe trauma they faced.
Almost too often, we complain over the most trivial issues. We complain about things we know we cannot change. Or even the things we can change but choose to complain anyway. The things we have do not seem to suffice us and we complain due to a lack of it. I shouldn’t say ‘we’ but start with myself first and foremost because I whine too, just like everyone. It’s embarrassing to think that our complaints are so minor as compared to the hardships faced by others. There’s a hadith which states that:
On the authority of Abu Huraira (R.A.A.) who said: The Prophet (PBUH), said: “Look upon one who is below you in status. In this way you will not look down upon the grace of that God bestowed upon you.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Subhan’Allah, when we compare ourselves to the less fortunate, we find that we have a lot to be thankful to Him. I worked with this particular sister who has gone through as described but each day, she will always find something to be thankful for. Even through difficulties, she sees it as an opportunity to be patient and believed that Allah place these hardships for a reason in our lives. I remember sharing with her my struggles and worries and she would give me a whole different perspective about life and facing the challenges. Her advice to me is to always be grateful for the good and bad for Allah knows what’s best in our lives.
Her hardships have shaped her into the person she is today and now, she is working for the betterment of the lives of other women. It’s amazing to note that there are other women like her too, working at the centre to help the less fortunate women. Masha’Allah
Truly, we can be considered ‘rich’ when the most basic necessities are met even if some are not able to afford it. Most of us are fortunate to live in a relatively safe country where our freedom and rights are respected. Allah has said in His book:
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe’. [14:7]
Look around you and be thankful for the things you have no matter how little it may be. And have faith that the things we desire in this world but do not have, are far better for you as there are also blessings in the things He restrict in our lives.