It is from Allah
By Hussein Ghouleh (IOU BAIS Student)
The favors of Allah are countless and human beings continuously indulge in them. But as Muslims we are indebted to follow guidelines that define our relationship with all the favors bestowed on us.
The first and foremost basic guideline is established by acknowledging that all favors are from Allah and they are countless to each and every one of us. This is clarified in Quran in the following verse from the chapter of An-Nahl:
“And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful.” (16:18)
Imam Ibn Katheer said,
“Allah brings our attention to the abundance of His favors and kindness, while overlooking many of our shortcomings, if He asked or demanded from us to be thankful for all His favors, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish that in its totality, and we would become weakened by such demand and eventually cease from giving proper thanks to Him.”
Having said that, if Allah wants to hold us accountable due to our shortcomings in being thankful to Him, He could do so without being unjust to us, but He is the Oft-forgiving and Most-Merciful, He forgives many of our sins and rewards us for the few thankful reactions we sincerely perform.
Secondly, all of Allah’s favors are trials and tests for us, even what is obviously considered as a reward or punishment, in reality, is just another trial. This fact is further clarified in Qur’an, in the chapter of Al-Fajr, “And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.”, But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me. No!” (89:15-17)
If the favors of Allah were made to honor a person, His prophets and messengers would have been the richest and wealthiest of people and disbelievers would have absolutely nothing from this life.
Thirdly, successful dealings with blessings, graces and provisions are accomplished by being thankful to Allah for His favors, and being thankful is divided into three different categories:
– Gratitude with the heart: this is accomplished by having a firm belief that all favors including blessings, graces and provisions are from Allah alone, without assigning partners to Him. Qur’an mentions this in the following verse from the chapter of An-Nahl, “And whatever you have of favor – it is from Allah…” (16:53)
– Gratitude with words: this is achieved by declaring and giving thanks and praises to Allah and displaying satisfaction with Allah and speaking of His favors. It was narrated by No’man bin Basheer that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “He who does not give many thanks and does not thank people, does not thank Allah, and whoever does not speak of Allah’s favors and have left it, then they have disbelieved…”
– Gratitude with deeds: to be thankful by actions is differentiated by one favor to another. For instance, those who Allah blesses with guidance of Islam, call others towards it as well, those who Allah blesses with a sound mind, learn, teach, and use it to solve problems. Those who Allah blesses with wealth, use it to spend for the sake of Allah, in secret or in public, and save their wealth from extravagant spending while not becoming stingy upon themselves and their families, or save it from spending it on what destroys health by all means. Other examples can be found with people who are blessed with an offspring and are taking the necessary means to raise them up well and reform them to become righteous individuals. And thus, showing gratitude for favors by deeds means to use them in accordance with the guidelines of Allah.
Fourthly, we acknowledge the obvious favors of Allah and that of which we do not notice as well, as mentioned in the chapter of Luqman,
“Do you not see that Allah has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent?” (31:20)
Imam Ibn Katheer said,
“Allah warns and brings the attention of His creations, to the favors He blessed them with in this life, and that He has subjected to them whatever is in the heavens and in the earth, from the stars which they use to be guided during the night, and during the day, with clouds, rain, and snow, and what He has created for them upon this earth, from rivers, trees, plants and fruits, and bestowed them with obvious provisions and other unknown provisions and blessings, such as sending messengers and bringing down revelations.”
Finally we say that the greatest of favors from Allah is bestowing guidance upon us to worship Him alone and to be from among the nation of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who Allah has blessed upon with preserved revelations (Quran) and with wisdom (the prophetic tradition – Sunnah); in the chapter of Al Baqarah it mentions, “… And remember the favor of Allah upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Book and wisdom by which He instructs you…” (2:231).