Becoming More Aware of Our Blessings

So how does one develop the skill of “seeing” all that Allah has blessed her with? Gratitude itself is one of the greatest blessings, but it can be practiced and acquired.
First, one must practice the art of keen observation as the Prophet SAW advised, “Look in worldly matters to those beneath you and look in matters of religion to those who are above you.” When you notice those whose health, homes and paychecks are less than yours, it helps you appreciate that which you have. Greed and competitiveness in material and worldly matters breeds jealousy, creates grudges and develops feelings of bitter dissatisfaction. Therefore one should always be in touch with those less fortunate than him, that she may appreciate her lot and that she may extend a helping hand, share her wealth, health and time trying to alleviate their hardship, all the while becoming acutely aware of what she has.
Next, one must carefully select those he spends time with. Surround yourself with children for as Wordsworth says “Children’s faces looking up/Holding wonder like a cup,” children have not grown accustomed to the daily miracles we turn a blind eye to. Seeing the world through their eyes helps you recapture the ability to see and be thankful for so much in your day. As for adults, choose to spend time with grateful people. Thankful people do not have easier lives than most, nor do they have more blessings, but they are acutely aware of all they are blessed with; and they continuously and joyfully point out what you would never have seen.
Develop the habit of thanking God for everything. In fact, develop the habit of asking God for everything no matter how small, customary or mundane. In a hadeeth qudsi we read, ‘O Musa ask me for the salt of your food and the strap of your shoes.’ Prophet Muhammad SAW says that Allah loves for his servant to thank Him for the sip that he drinks and the morsel of food that he eats. In fact it is sunna to thank Allah for the new clothes you wear as you put them on.
“O Family of Dawood do deeds to show your thanks, verily few of my servants are thankful”.  Train yourself to thank Allah in action, by using the blessing to do good. Free time is a blessing, use it to help those who are over-extending themselves in valuable work. Money is a blessing, sharing it with those who don’t have enough is a practical way of thanking Allah for it. Visit the sick or lonely and offer your energy and vivaciousness to them.
Some families are accustomed to thanking Allah spontaneously out loud for everything. It can seem strange to an outsider but it spreads a lovely mood of gratefulness. It can become a personal habit or a family tradition. Foster such an attitude and action.
There are times when you stand in prayer and such a wave of thankfulness sweeps over you, that you wish you could express your feelings in the prayer. This is when you are so moved by al Fatiha, which starts with ‘Alhamdulilah’ and this is when you would be so happy to recite the first few verses of al Kahf, al An’am, Saba’ and Fater, which all begin with ayahs of thanks. Do make an effort to learn those first three ayahs or so of each surah.
Last but not least, keep a mental record of all your past misfortunes and calamities that you may appreciate the fact they have passed and you are no longer suffering. When I was about fourteen, I visited the seaside with relatives and received second degree burns from the sun.  I remember on the way home looking at myself in the mirror in the front of the bus and wishing I had a camera. My face was crusted over with brown hard crackly wrinkled skin that oozed pus in places and exposed raw red flesh in others. I remember thinking that I should never forget how I look so that I can be grateful for a normal face if I ever regained it. It would be awful to be haunted by the misfortunes of our life in order to feel sorry for ourselves, but to purposefully and joyfully recall those awful moments or periods in order to exult in their passing and feel gratitude for the situation we are in now can be most comforting.
May Allah grant us the vital gift of seeing the sea of His blessings we swim in, and may He enable us to thank Him both verbally and in action…ameen.


4 responses to “Becoming More Aware of Our Blessings”

  1. Maryam Salman

    This was amazing. May we all have these qualities in our lives.

  2. qurat

    Ameen Anse. Allahumma ja’alnaa minal Shaakireen.

    And I should say that the photographs chosen for each piece of writing are beautiful, muted, and just exactly right, suhanAllah. Encapsulated in this photo of fallen Bougainvillea flowers along a dusty stone wall, is one of the images ingrained in my mind fom my time in Sham. May Allah protect the precious flowers in that precious land.

  3. Saadia

    Thank you Anse 🙂 May Allah (swt) make us of those who are constantly grateful

  4. skarim

    this is incredible. thank you Anse!

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