Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The Prophet of Islam once observed: “Look only to those who are less great than you; do not look to those who are greater than you, because in this way you will not undervalue God’s blessings upon you.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith No. 10246)

This hadith is explained by another hadith. “The Prophet once said that God will accept him as His thankful and patient servant who possesses two particular qualities. One is the capacity, in the matters of this world, to look to those who are inferior to him and then be thankful to God for the blessings that God has given him. The other is the capacity in matters of religion, to look to those who are superior to him and then to follow them. But one who in matters of religion looks to those who are inferior to him while one who in matters of this world looks to those who are greater than him and then he is sorrowful about what he is lacking in, will neither be a thankful servant, nor a patient servant in the eyes of God.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 2512)

Gratitude is the greatest form of worship. What is most required of a person is that he should discover God as the greatest Benefactor. Then his heart and mind should be filled with the awareness of God’s blessings. He must recognize God as a Being, who is raining down His countless blessings upon him. This consciousness should be so strong that in no way should the feelings of gratefulness to God be absent from his heart.

But this is no simple matter. To keep oneself brimming with feelings of thankfulness, it is essential that a person’s consciousness should be fully alive. He should take special care to perpetuate his gratefulness. He should not give any place in his heart to such sentiments as may be harmful to his feeling of thanksgiving. He may tolerate anything except the erosion of feelings of thankfulness.

It is natural that in the present world it happens inevitably that there are people who are not equal in everything. As such, a person feels that in material matters, some have less and some have more. But if a person compares himself with someone who has apparently more than him, he will develop an inferiority complex and his feeling of thankfulness will get eroded. Therefore one should not compare himself or herself with those who are apparently, materially, better placed than him or her. What a person should do rather is compare himself with those who are materially less well off than he is. In this way, his feeling of thanksgiving will remain alive. His heart will never be bereft of the awareness of God’s blessings.

In the present world it is inevitable that there should be inequality. Some have more and some have less, some are left behind, some forge ahead, and some have more power while some are weak. All these differences are due to the exigencies of people being put to the test. The process of testing requires that a person should be faced with different kinds of circumstances, but without allowing himself to be influenced by those circumstances, he should keep the consciousness of his faith alive.

In spite of adverse circumstances, his feeling of thankfulness should not be lessened. He should pass through untoward situations without losing the virtue of acknowledgement. This should be so, even when he is having such experiences as produce negative feelings. He should even then keep himself thinking positively. Thanksgiving is a human being’s most precious offering to his Lord. Wise is he who does not allow his feelings of thankfulness to be eroded even in the most unfavourable of situations.

Source: Discovering God

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