Sunday, July 26, 2020

Gratitude is shortcut to happiness in Islam

  Pakrush Admin       Sunday, July 26, 2020
Need to know the most powerful, the quickest and the easiest way in Islam to stay happy for rest of your life? If yes, then you must know that the remedy Quran gives us for a fulfilled, peaceful and joyous life has now become one of the hottest topics in modern psychology, secular spirituality and self-development circles. 

Here's the shortcut: Gratitude or shukr....

"Why would God cause you to suffer if you are grateful and believe? God is always responsive to gratitude, the All-Knowing" [Surah Nisa, verse 147]


The easiest way to be happy

Gratitude is the only short-cut to happiness. We simply cannot get happiness by chasing it or worrying about getting it as it further complicates our situation.

We often tend to forget to give thanks for most of the blessings Allah gifts us. Our mind focuses on the things we don't have in life. We never pause for a minute and think about how precious and valuable these blessings are. 

With gratitude, you don't have to worry about how your situation will get better. The mechanics and science of how gratitude works so powerfully are complex and your best bet is to leave the technicalities to God. 

Our main concern should be to just convince God that we are thankful no matter what. 

As soon as our mind shifts to a thankful state, things start getting better miraculously. All you have to do is express sincere thankfulness for every situation, every move, every problem, every person, every success, every drama in life.

"If you are grateful, I will give you more" [Surah Ibrahim, verse 7]


Thank for everything

You can start by expressing willingness and sincerity in your heart to God that you really want to be thankful to Him for His blessings, love, kindness, mercy, intelligence, forgiveness and peace He is already giving you. Also express regret to God that you are being selfish, thankless and negligent in appreciating Him for His mercy upon you in countless ways.

Thank Allah for:

  • Your existence and presence. You are alive and breathing. You didn't get killed or die a sudden death. Alhamdulillah.
  • Your health. You have no physical disability or defect. You are not lying in a hospital bed battling a life-threatening disease. You have legs to walk and run, hands to touch, feel and lift things, eyes to see, nose to smell. None of these blessings are the result of your own or any human's striving. Say Alhamdulillah.
  • Your parents. Imagine if your parents didn't look after you when you were an infant or a toddler who couldn't even express his/her needs. Your parents gave you food, shelter, education and a healthy environment to grow. 
  • Your relationships. Imagine living a life where there are no people, no support, no family system to prop each other up, no spouse, no kids and no friends to share happiness. Let's be thankful to the Most Merciful Lord for supporting us through other humans.
  • Guidance from Allah. Thank God for guiding you in countless ways such as His book The Quran, His messenger, angels, teachers, books, videos, articles, the Internet, this website, etc. Imagine if Allah stopped guiding us, there would be darkness, despair and constant fear. Who could have saved us and showed a way forward? Be thankful for God's mercy and guidance.
  • Ease and comfort in life. You have electricity, gas, water running through your tap, a roof over your head so you don't have to sleep in an open space where you could have got hurt by an animal, or extreme weather conditions (cold and heat). You have comforts of transportation. If you have your own vehicle, be thankful. If you have no vehicle, be thankful for public transport and taxis. 
  • Your job, business, skills that keep you productive. You are not begging people for money. Millions of people are below poverty line. Be thankful for your sources of income that keeps your life moving and growing. 
  • Your problems and challenges: Life, by God's will, could have thrown much more serious problems and challenges at you. Always try to stay thankful in the face of challenges by convincing God that you thank Him for keeping you steadfast, for keeping your problems within your control. When we practice gratitude for challenges, discomfort, negative situations, criticism from others, miracles happen as now we hand over our affairs to Lord by surrendering to His will. 


Entitled attitude kills happiness

You know you didn't create life and all the blessings in it. They were just given to you by someone far superior and more powerful than yourself. So why do we act like we are entitled to these benefits and favors? What makes us think that we deserve these things? Did we lend God anything that He must give us things we need? Of course not. 

This is why Allah calls humans ungrateful in many Quran verses. 

"And have you seen the water that you drink? Is it you who brought it down from the clouds or is it We (Allah) who bring it down? If We willed, We could make it bitter, so why are you not grateful?" [Surah Waqiyah verses 68-70]


Quick way to create feeling of thankfulness 

Close your eyes, and create the sense of losing your existing blessings. Think of how your life would be if you lost these blessings. As you imagine your blessings being taken away from you, you automatically start valuing these favors and also appreciating God for them. Try it and you will see for yourself. 

Let's recall what gratitude does: Whatever we feel thankful for, God increases that thing for us. Simple. 

For instance, your house is a great blessing from Allah as it shelters you and keeps you protected from many harms and distress. Imagine losing your house and living in a worse place. Create the scene of how hard your life has become after losing your house. Feel how people are now looking down upon you as you are without your own place. Where would you live? beg one of your relatives to allow to stay in their place? Thinking about these worse possibilities for 2 to 5 minutes will create powerful feelings of thankfulness for your house and it will eventually shift your focus to Allah.

You can apply this simple technique for any blessing or area of life. Gradually, spread your gratitude to all areas of life with a daily practice. 
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