One of the most important aspects of the Islamic Meditation Program is the cultivation of gratitude in Islam, for not only is gratitude the heart and essence of Islam, it is also the key to attracting abundance, prosperity, peace and success.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) continually reminded his followers to be ever grateful to their Lord, and the term shakir, meaning “one who is grateful,” is often used in Islam as a name of great honor among Muslims.
Furthermore, the Qur’an time and again emphasizes that gratitude is essential to Islamic character, and that exercising gratitude in Islam is the means to greater abundance.
“And remember! Your Lord caused to be declared: If ye are grateful, I will add more unto you.”
— Qur’an Quotes, Surah Ibrahim (Qur’an 14:5-7)
Gratitude in Islam: The Way of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)
The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) would often spend long hours in prayer and meditation deep into the night. Once, his wife ‘Aisha (AS) asked him, “Messenger of God, surely any mistakes you may have made are forgiven, as are any you may make — why do you stand in prayer so much?” He simply smiled and replied, “Shall I not be a grateful servant?”
There are varying levels of understanding Islam and Islamic Spirituality, yet based on the life of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), it is clear that gratitude in Islam is the most essential reason for Islamic practices.
Gratitude in Islam: Rabia al-Adawiyya
The great Sufi saint, Rabia al-Adawiya, is best known for her total selflessness and absolute commitment to God. She is a brilliant example of gratitude in Islam, illustrated with one of her most famous poems in which she states that above all else, she worships the Almighty purely for the grace and beauty of His Being.
O God! If I worship You for fear of Hellfire, burn me in it.
And if I worship You in hope of Paradise, exclude me from it.
Yet if I worship You simply for You, do not withhold from me Your Eternal Beauty.
— Rabia al-Adawiya
As one progresses spiritually, they increasingly harmonize with the experience of gratitude in Islam, and as one draws nearer to the Divine Presence, he or she more and more realizes that real joy and happiness are had through expressing gratitude in Islam, for Islam is, fundamentally, simply an expression of gratitude.
Gratitude in Islam: The Natural Way
Having been created from and in the Divine Presence of God, we are naturally home there. The Divine Presence, the abode of peace, love and light, is what our souls seek, and in reality we have never left there.
Through practicing gratitude in Islam, you strip away the veils of separation, fear and need, and begin to realize that you have been given more than you know or could ever earn. At this point, there is nothing left to do but to say, “Thank you.”
The most joyous moments in Islamic practices and worship are the moments that are experienced with no fear or desire, but simply for the moment itself. This is the natural way, and it is attained through gratitude in Islam.
Gratitude in Islam: How to Attract Abundance
God has said, “I am to My servant as he thinks I am.” — Prophet Muhammad Quotes, Hadith Qudsi
In seeking to understand the place of the Law of Attraction in Islam, one must understand the importance of responsibility in Islam. Above perhaps all other paths, Islam emphasizes that it is personal responsibility and thus individual choice that determines an individual’s ultimate destination and experience. And the most essential dimension for which we must take responsibility is our thoughts and beliefs.
Einstein once said, “The most important question a person can ask is, ‘Is the Universe a friendly place?’” The answer to this question is the answer to the question, “Is there a God?” For God is good, and if one truly believes with every cell and fiber of their being, their experience will naturally manifest this truth, abundance, peace and prosperity.
Islam teaches that God is bounteous, merciful, loving, providing and infinitely gracious. Should not the Muslim then live his or her life from a place of confidence, certainty and gratitude?
Yet the ego seeks to prove the contrary, that there is no God and that the Universe is a hostile, fearful and lonely place, for then and only then can it maintain its sense of separation and thus its existence. Therefore, actively and consciously practicing gratitude in Islam not only attracts abundance by affirming a paradigm of peace and prosperity, but it also overcomes the ego, which is dependent on anxiety and fear to persist.
This is then jihad an-nafs, overcoming the ego in Islam.
How to Practice Gratitude in Islam
“Allah’s generosity is connected to gratitude, and gratitude is linked to increase in His generosity. The generosity of Allah will not stop increasing unless the gratitude of the servant ceases” — Ali ibn Abu Talib (KW)
Actively and consciously practicing gratitude in Islam is the key to a life of abundance, prosperity, peace and joy. And no other path provides such ample opportunity to exercise gratitude. In fact, the root meaning of the word kufr, which is normally translated as unbelief, originates from the word for “ingratitude.” So be happy and be grateful!
- Be grateful morning and evening. Practice taking a brief moment first thing in the morning when you wake and last thing at night when you sleep to simply say and experience, “Thank You.”
- Be grateful when you pray. Islamic practices provide a minimum of five opportunities daily to take rest in the Divine Presence of God and to be grateful. Make it a practice to consciously take a moment to say “Thank You” while feeling and experiencing gratitude after your prayers. In fact, the best way to ensure your prayers are answered is to be grateful!
- Be grateful when you eat and drink. By taking a little extra time to experience gratitude when you eat and drink, you become more present, and in Islam, eating is meant to be a spiritual experience. Gently and consciously say “Thank You” as you eat, and you will find the entire experience more joyful and healthy.
- Give charity. By consciously giving charity in Islam, you not only affirm that you are blessed, but you attract greater abundance to yourself as you strengthen your belief and trust in God, become less dependent upon dunya, the world, and so become rooted in a paradigm based in Providence. Keep a small jar or box in your home and before leaving each morning, put a little money, even some loose change, as you say, “Thank You.” Breathe and trust in God. Know that you are held, cared for and carried.
- Meditate daily. Spend even just a few minutes to meditate each and every day, for meditation teaches you to be more present, particularly with your breath, with be-ing, and thus with God. Learn the art and science of Islamic Meditation, for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said, “An hour of meditation is more valuable than seventy years of worship.” As awareness and presence increases through a meditation practice, one’s sense of gratitude naturally develops and becomes a dominant trait of your character and perspective.
- Tasbih. Tasbih, one of the forms of Islamic Meditation, is a powerful spiritual exercise to strengthen one’s mind and soul on haq, truth. Make it a daily practice so recite 100 times, “Ya Rabbi Shukr,” which means, “O My Lord, Thank You.”
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude in Islam, be grateful always so that the words “Thank You” naturally and continuously flow from your lips and are felt in your heart, and your life will increasingly become a shining example of true Islam, a path to peace, prosperity and abundance.
Be grateful even for calamities and misfortunes, for nothing happens except to ultimately serve a divine purpose. And the fastest way to move beyond undesirable circumstances is to stop resisting them, to simply let them be, be grateful and thus surrender and accept what is, and so allow them to flow out of your life.
“Gratitude for the abundance you have received is the best insurance that abundance will continue.” — Prophet Muhammad Quotes
To your divine and eternal success and happiness!