The Secret Beyond Matter

Satan hinders gratitude

Before Satan was expelled from the presence of Allah, he made himself an important promise, one which reveals one of the most insidious tactics employed by Satan against man:

[Satan said,] "Then I will come at them, from in front of them and behind them, from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them thankful." (Surat al-A`raf, 17)

Satan wishes to prevent people from being grateful to Allah. The reason for this is that gratitude is one of the matters most emphasized in the Qur'an. Around 60 verses refer to the importance of gratitude. One of Satan's primary aims is therefore to cause people to neglect this virtue, the importance of which is so repeatedly mentioned by Allah.

In order to render thanks one must first recognize the importance of gratitude itself. One who thanks Allah knows that He is the sole Lord over that which he enjoys, and that it was He Who had bestowed them upon him. He also knows his powerlessness before Allah. The level of awareness of one who ignores the greatness and majesty of Allah, refusing to accept these realities in his heart, will be limited accordingly.

The societies foundering in ignorance, which Satan seeks to further corrupt, are far from the recognition of the virtue of being grateful. They only consider gratitude after they have suffered a disaster, but soon forget once the situation has been rectified. They then return to their lives of impiety. In the Qur'an, the example is given of those who pray during some tragedy, but who return to deifying idols once their difficulties have passed:

Say: "Who rescues you from the darkness of the land and sea? You call on Him humbly and secretly: 'If you rescue us from this, we will truly be among the thankful.'" Say: "Allah rescues you from it, and from every plight. Then you associate others with Him." (Surat al-An`am, 63-64)

The fact is, however, that rendering thanks to Allah is one of the human being's most important responsibilities. Because, everyone's life is replete with countless blessings for which thanks ought to be given. So extensive are these blessings, in fact, as is revealed in the 18th verse of Surat an-Nahl, that any attempt to number them would be futile. In fact, one can give thanks for all one receives. For instance, one who, like the Prophet Ibrahim (as), knows that it is Allah Who provides for him what he eats and drinks (Surat ash-Shu`ara´, 79), knows whenever he eats or drinks that it is to Allah that he must give thanks.

Giving thanks must not, however, be restricted to what one receives for eating and drinking. All through the day one benefits from numberless blessings, which he may not always be cognizant of or remember to give thanks for, and the value of which he only realizes when he they are no longer available to him. The blessings of "seeing" and "hearing," frequently mentioned in the Qur'an, and described as means of giving thanks, are examples of these.

Sight and hearing are not faculties that came about by chance. Allah's creation of people's eyes and ears was intended as a means for them to give thanks to Him, and in order that they may serve Him, as outlined in the following verse:

Allah brought you out of your mothers' wombs knowing nothing at all, and gave you hearing, sight and hearts so that perhaps you would show thanks. (Surat an-Nahl, 78)

Similarly, ships and other forms of transport, even the wind, and the seas, which make up three-quarters of the Earth's surface, are also means for people by which to give thanks. Allah reveals this truth as follows:

It is He Who made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat fresh flesh from it and bring out from it ornaments to wear. And you see the ships cleaving through it so that you can seek His bounty, and so that hopefully you will show thanks. (Surat an-Nahl, 14)

Among His Signs is that He sends the winds bearing good news, to give you a taste of His mercy, and to make the ships run by His command, and to enable you to seek His bounty so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Surat ar-Rum, 46)

It is Allah Who has made the sea subservient to you so that the ships sail on it at His command, enabling you to seek His bounty, so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Surat al-Jathiya, 12)

A believer's gratitude towards Allah, for the blessings conferred upon him, is a sign showing he is worthy of such blessings. In this way, not only is the blessing appreciated by the believer, but he opens opportunities for him to receive further blessings. In revealing that He will increase the blessings of those of His servants who give Him thanks, Allah threatens the ungrateful, conversely, with suffering:

[Musa said to his people,] "And when your Lord announced: 'If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.'" (Surah Ibrahim, 7)

The way the Prophet Sulayman (as), a man endowed with the rank of prophethood, had asked Allah to inspire him to give thanks (Surat an-Naml, 19), serves as an example for all believers. Because, Satan ambushes people from in front, back, and from the right and the left, and seeks to prevent them giving thanks to Allah, by such means as deceptive as inspiring in them to take things for granted or preventing them from recognizing the value of the blessings conferred on them.

2009-09-05 01:41:02

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