Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are you shakir, shakur or hamid?


O son, we just learned this morning, and again it's from Ghawth al-Azam that there is a difference between being simply thankful and very thankful. He said: "The person who is simply thankful [shakir] is someone who gives thanks for what is available [mawjud], while the person who is very thankful [shakur] is someone who gives thanks for what is unavailable [mafqud]."

So we learned that, though obvious, there is a difference in saying shukran lillah and alhamdulillah. We are supposed to say our thanks (shukran lillah) for what is available and what is not available. We know who we are, whether we are simply thankful or very thankful. But how do we express our thankfulness?

He said:
"The true nature of thankfulness [haqiqat ash-shukr] is the acknowledgment of the benefaction of the Benefactor [ni'mat al-Mun'im], with an attitude of humility, an overt recognition of the blessing, and a reverential confession of one's inability to give adequate thanks. Thankfulness can be subdivided into several categories, namely:

1. Thankfulness expressed by the tongue [shukr al-lisan]. This constitutes the acknowledgment of the benefaction [ni'ma] with an attitude of humble acceptance [istikana].

2. Thankfulness expressed by the body and the limbs [shukr bi'l-badan wa 'l-arkan]. This is the characteristic indication of loyalty and readiness to serve [al-wafa' wa 'l-khidma].

3. Thankfulness expressed by the inner feeling [shukr bi'l-qalb]. This requires a careful balance between the visible display of appreciation and the constant preservation of a sense of reverence."

"Beyond this stage, thankfulness passes from the realm of the visible to the realm of the invisible [ghaiba], where the focus of attention is the Benefactor [Mun'im], rather than the benefaction [ni'ma]."

But in most cases the Benefactor is only acknowledged when one sees the benefaction! Then there is another phrase which we all take for granted in saying - alhamdulillah.

Repeating alhamdulillah does not necessarily make us one who is truly grateful. Why? Because Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani said: "The person who gives praise [hamid] is someone who regards withholding as a gift, and views harm as a benefit, and in whose sight the two qualities eventually become equal."

If we are truly such a person - hamid - we would be praising Him for both the good and the bad just as we are thankful for what we have got and what we haven't. I can honestly say that I am only a shakir (simply thankful), not yet a shakur (very thankful) while I doubt I am a hamid in the true sense of the word.

May Allah forgive us that we are not thanking Him as He ought to be thanked. May Allah forgive us that we are not praising Him as He ought to be praised. May Allah forgive us that we are not worshipping Him as He ought to be worshipped.

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