By Fariha Asif
Gratitude means being able to feel blessed for all that you have and if that displays in your everyday routine and your gestures that’s is an attitude of gratitude.
As Muslims we know how much Allah emphasizes on being grateful not only to Him but the people around us as well. As narrated by Abu Hurairah,Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said:
“Who ever does not thank people does not thank Allah.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)
Gratitude is not just a show of words, in fact it is a lifestyle choice to adapt. It means to be thankful and feel blessed even in your most difficult and challenging times and not letting yourself dwell in self-pity in these testing circumstances.
Gratitude has benefits for human beings that make us not only successful in this life but in the Hereafter as well. Some of these benefits are:
- Focusing on the positive: An attitude of gratitude helps focus us on the positive things in our lives and the things we have instead of things we don’t have. We feel blessed and content even in difficult times. It helps us to focus all our energies on solutions and possibilities and not on the difficulties associated with hard circumstances.
- Gratitude helps increase our blessings: Allah says: “And (remember )when your Lord proclaimed “if you give thanks (by accepting faith and worshiping none but Allah ,I will give you more of my blessings) but if you are thankless verily my punishment is indeed severe (Ibraheem14:7)
Gratitude helps us to recognize other people’s favours:
If we are thankful to Allah than we develop thankfulness towards other people in our lives and relationships become stronger.
A Hadith of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) says: “Whoever has a favour done for him and says to the one who did it Jazak Allahu Khayran has done enough to thank him.” (Tirmidhi)
As Muslim parents we have an important duty to instill the attitude of gratitude in our kids not only with words but through our daily actions and behavior .These are some of the steps we can do to help foster this quality in our future generations:
Say your duas – Make a habit to say your duas before sleeping, think of at least three to five blessings and thank loudly with your kids.
Saying Jazak Allahu Khayran – When you and other people give gifts to your kids or do them favours ask them to say Jazak Allahu khayran to you and other people. It will increase love and respect in relationships.
Giving out – Buying gifts for your kids should be once in a while mostly on the two Eids. Even if you buy them gifts on other than Eid days it should not be very expensive and frequent so as not to give them a sense of entitlement all the time. Rather have them buy gifts for other family members and friends so that they know how it feels like giving to other people you love and Allah (swt) puts more blessings in giving rather than receiving.
Helping out others – Apart from designating chores that are age appropriate, you can assign one of your kids as a helper of the week and make a chart to track their progress as a helper and see how many points he gets by the end of week .At the end of week celebrate his success by making his favorite dish or buying some small meaningful gift for him or her.
Community services – With older kids have them volunteer at mosques, community centres, hospitals, shelter homes, old homes, etc. When they see how people are struggling and are less fortunate in terms of health ,money and other blessings they will likely develop more gratitude for what Allah (swt) has blessed them with.
Valuing efforts and relationships – Teach and encourage them to value their relationships more than the material things. When they receive gifts from family and friends make sure to praise the effort and thoughtfulness of the giver rather than talking about its price or where it must have been bought or saying that you gave them better or bigger gift. Remind them to say Jazak Allah Khayran for the gift.
Everything for the sake of Allah – Teach them to do every good deed for the sake of Allah and therefore seek the reward from only Him. It will increase attitude of gratitude in life as we are only doing it for a higher purpose. If we rely on the return from people we will be mostly be unhappy and dissatisfied and our relationships will be in jeopardy.
Doing good deeds is in itself a blessing – Make them realize that even doing good deeds, remaining on the straight path, refraining from evil and haram doings and staying strong as a Muslim is a blessing in itself from Allah. He grants hidaya to whomever He chooses to and to those who want hidaya and then strive in His path.
Telling stories of thankfulness of the prophets and ungratefulness of Shaitan – Tell them stories of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) how his life was full of struggles and difficulties and how he was patient and grateful to Allah. He used to pray all night till his feet got swollen. When he was asked about it he said ‘Should I not be a grateful slave?’
Stories of Prophet Ayyub, Prophet Yousuf, Prophet Musa, Prophet Ibrahim ,and all other prophets tell us that they went through very harsh times yet they were still very grateful to their Lord.
Be a role model as a grateful person to your kids – As with other things, the most powerful thing to teach them gratitude would be your own grateful personality. So live your life in gratitude on daily basis that would impact their minds more than your words. Let them see you say Jazak Allahu khayran to other people and being grateful to Allah (swt). Value your relationships, enjoy your blessings, stay calm and content in testing times and concentrate on positive aspects of everything.