By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS
Why are we here? What is the purpose of our existence on this earthly plane? We all believe as Muslims that there is something else, something greater, after this life, as we know it, passes on. We all believe that we have a Great Creator that has designed the evolution of the creation so that nature will keep replicating itself. Things are born. They ingest nutrients and grow â€“ and then they die. In death, material nature continues to live, as matter decays and turns back into dirt that provides nutrients for life to continue.
We look at this and marvel at the power of ALLAH, who obviously is more than awesome to be able to create something as awesome as these worlds that we are familiar with. Then we look at man and we see the wondrous position ALLAH has placed us inâ€¦. and we are grateful. I think sometimes we donâ€™t emphasize enough what the attitude of thankfulness can do for us emotionally, mentally, physically, and, most of all, spiritually.
If a person feels defeated, unhappy, and at the end of their ropes, they would experience a remarkable change if they would practice an attitude of being grateful for all that is given to us.
A man once was complaining about how miserable his life was. He was pessimistic about everything. Nothing gave him any happiness. Everything was going badly. He said he was completely sunk.
He was then asked to take out a sheet of paper and write on one side, â€œThings That Make Me Unhappy,â€ and on the other side, â€œThings That Make Me Happy.â€
He started off on the unhappy side and wrote down a long list of negatives.
Then he was asked to write down those things that he had to be thankful for. The paper remained empty. He said he didnâ€™t have one thing to be thankful for.
So, he was reminded that he could see out of both eyes. The eye is a wonderful tool. It can pick out beautiful colors, lights, sunsetâ€™s, flowers and the other beauties of the world. He also was reminded that he had two ears and told to imagine what life would be like without them; especially since he was a music lover. He was reminded of his legs, arms, hands, fingers, mouth, nose â€“ all ALLAHâ€™S gifts to him.
And once we start thinking and reflecting, we see many more things we have to be thankful for. This year, the month of Ramadan will begin sometime around the American holiday of Thanksgiving, near the end of November. This will be an excellent opportunity to reflect on being grateful. Each night at the dinner table everyone can say out loud something he or she has to be thankful for. I guarantee it will raise the spirits, and make each member of the family stronger and more vital. It will even make your food taste better and aid in digestion because your soul will be more at ease.
The person who will practice every day an attitude of gratefulness to ALLAH will increase the clarity of their mind. The force of their positive personality and strength of their character will be enhanced many fold.
ALLAH says, â€œThen do ye remember Me.
I will remember you.
Be grateful to Me, and reject not faith.â€ 2:152
If we want to live a peaceful, prosperous life free from excessive stress, let us be thankful for the things He has already given us. After all, He could take them away. And further, ALLAH says, â€œIf you are grateful, I will give you more.â€
As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin