Friday, April 4, 2014

The Reality of Shukr (Gratitude) and its Injunctions from the example of Dawud A.S.

The Reality of Shukr (Gratitude) from the example of Dawud A.S.
[Adapted From Maariful Quran of Mufti Shafi R.A.]
" Do good, O family of Dawud, in thankfulness. And few from My slaves are thankful." [Surah Saba, 34:13]
 Shukr (Arabic شكر ), an Arabic term denoting thankfulness, gratitude, or acknowledgment by humans, is a highly esteemed virtue in Islam.

The Qur'an provides narratives of the prophets of God as individuals of gratitude. Their thanksgiving is exemplified by their obedience and faithfulness to God.
According to Al-Qurtubi, the reality of shukr (gratitude) is that one admits that this blessing has been bestowed by such and such giver and then goes on to use it in accordance with the spirit of his pleasure and in obedience to him.
Therefore, using the blessing bestowed by someone counter to his pleasure is ungratefulness and a virtual denial of that blessing.
This tells us that the way gratefulness can be shown in words, it can also be expressed by acts. When expressed by acts, it would mean the use of that blessing in accordance with the pleasure of the giver and in obedience to him
Abu 'Abdur-Rahman As-Sulami has said that Salah is gratitude, fasting is gratitude, and every good deed is gratitude. And Muhammad Ibn Ka'b al-Qurazi says that gratitude is the name of piety and righteous conduct. (Ibn Kathir)
In the context of the above quoted verse, the Qur'an states that the granting of Sulayman (A.S) with supernatural gifts to accomplish the ends for which God appointed him, was so that he would be grateful.
This injunction was carried out so faithfully by Sayyiduna Dawud and Sulayman (A.S) and their families and children, both in word and deed, that no time passed in their homes when they did not have a member of the family standing exclusively devoted to worship. In fact, specific time was allotted to all family members for this purpose. As a result, the prayer mat of Sayyiduna Dawud (A.S) would not remain unoccupied at any time. (Ibn Kathir) 

  According to Hadith in al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy Prophet  (SAWS) said that the dearest prayer to Allah is that of Dawud (A.S). He would sleep half of the night, stand in worship for one third of it, and then, sleep during the last one sixth. And the dearest fasts to Allah are the fasts of Dawud (A.S), for he would fast on alternate days. (Ibn Kathir)
It has been reported from Fudayl Rahmatullahi 'Alayh: Allah have mercy upon him that following the revelation of this command of gratitude to Sayyidna Dawud (A.S), he submitted before Allah Ta'ala: 'O my Lord, how could I show my gratitude to You fully and sufficiently while my gratitude too, be it oral or practical, is nothing but a blessing bestowed by You? On this too, a separate gratitude becomes due.' Allah Ta'ala said, (Now, O Dawud, you did thank Me ). The reason was that he had realized his inability to thank Him as was His due, and had made a confession to that effect.
Tirmidhi and Abu Bakr al-Jassas report from Sayyidna 'Ata' Ibn Yasar (R.A) that when this verse: (Do good, O family of Dawud, in thankfulness) was revealed, the Holy Prophet (SAWS) came to the pulpit, recited this verse and then said, "There are three acts whoever accomplishes them would achieve the same excellence as was bestowed on the House of Dawud." The noble Sahabah asked: "Ya Rasulallah, what are those three acts?" He said, "Staying firm on justice in both the states of pleasure and displeasure; and taking the path of moderation in both the states of prosperity and adversity; and fearing Allah both in private and in public." (Tirmidhi, Qurtubi, Ahkam ul-Qur'an, al-Jassas)
In the last sentence of verse 13: , soon after having given the command for gratitude with special emphasis, the reality on ground was also pointed to by saying that 'And few from My slaves are thankful.' which is an admonition for a believer, and an encouragement to observe gratitude.

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