Developing Gratitude

How can one develop gratitude?

The term gratitude means thankfulness or appreciation and it's a positive emotion and attitude in acknowledgement to the benefit one has received or will receive. It is showing thankfulness when people do things for us and it can be learned only by realizing that whatever good is in our life, it ultimately comes from God, as stated in the Qur’an:

 And whatever you have of favor - it is from Allah.[1]

In order to develop the human characteristic of gratitude, it must be implemented and practiced among the fellow human beings. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said,

“Whoever does not thank people (for their favors) has not thanked Allah (properly).[2]

This implies that if we are thankful to God it should be manifested in us to be thankful to those around us. Besides that, being thankful will motivate us to do more good. At the same time we have to recognize what good is done for us even though we know it is ultimately coming from God. And in order to preserve the state of gratitude, we must look at those below and not above for it's best.

Our inherent nature is to look at those who have more than what we have and wish to take their possession that may depress us and compel people to question God if it’s fair that someone else has more and you have less or why is someone more beautiful than you. This may create the doubt that there’s no God when we look at those who, in the material world seem to have more than us.  So the Prophet (ﷺ) said, don’t do that. Don’t look at those who are better off than you are. It is better to look at those who are in a worse condition because you can always find people who are worse off. And what would that produce in you? Obviously, a sense of gratitude! Say Alhamdulillah! I’m not in that situation. It helps to preserve the sense of gratitude.


[1] [Qur’an 16:53]

[2] [Ahmad and Al-Bukhaari in Al-’Adab Al-Mufrad, Abu Daawood, Ibn Hibaan] [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]

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