Shukr and Sabr

“Failure to do shukr in the majority of the time, removes the ability to do sabr in the minority of the time” ~ Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed

For the most part, we are in a state of shukr (gratitude to Allah Ta’aala). Each and every such moment is a GIFT from Allah Ta’aala and an opportunity for us to do shukr. For example: you slept indoors, in a warm bed, woke up in the morning, had breakfast, dressed yourself, walked, drove, talked, worked, laughed… each and every single instance was a gift and an opportunity to do shukr… “alhamdulillah for the house” “alhamdulillah for the warm bed” “alhamdulillah for another day” “alhamdulillah for the breakfast” “alhamdulillah for the clothes” “alhamdulillah…. alhamdulillah…. alhamdulillah…” For a human being who went from being completely naked and vulnerable as a baby – lacking in every material way, lacking in communication and motor skills,  lacking everything we need to survive on our own – to one who is sleeping in a warm house, belly full, fully clothed… how? All thanks to Allah Ta’aala! Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah…

We neglect shukr because we are too busy comparing ourselves to those who we feel are in a better state than us in this world. We look to Joe with the job of his dreams, and Jane with the brand new house… and think about what we don’t have. Instead, we should look to refugee Abdul stuck in a tent in the cold of winter, and Aisha who is so happy to have found a stale piece of bread on the sidewalk and be grateful for the gifts we do have.

If we can be steadfast and truly feel shukr during the good times (and if we think about it, we have more good times than bad), then it will be easier for us to have sabr (patience, fortitude, perseverance, endurance, steadfastness) in bad times. Instead, if we don’t do shukr in the good times, we find that when the bad times come upon us, we aren’t able to do sabr – we fall into anxiety and depression instead.

(Source: personal notes from Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed’s one day course on How to Be a True Muslim – the Way of the Siddiqeen – January 26, 2013)

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6 comments

  1. Alhamdulillah for great advice.

    Is feeling upset & sad by looking at people who are much much more blessed in terms of DEEN termed as Ingratitude or Na-Shukri??

  2. It is best to ask a teacher in tasawwuf however, my understanding on this is that we SHOULD always seek out and look to those who are much more blessed than us in deen and feel MOTIVATED to do more… and that if we feel a deficiency we should look to ourselves for the source, rather than questioning Allah Ta’aala ‘why not me? why them?’ Instead, we ask ourselves: “where did I go wrong, what can I do to change it, have I made sincere tawbah… what was my niyyah – was it sincere… etc. etc.”

    Don’t give up, keep at it… never give up. Even when you trip – get up, say “Alhamdulillah!” dust yourself off, remind yourself sincerely of your niyyah “O Allah! You are everything, I am nothing… I strive for your pleasure O Allah!” and continue to persevere insha’Allah with the dhikr of Allah Ta’aala in your heart and on your tongue! Shukr is the prerequisite of sabr… Sabr requires shukr… Sabr is perseverance… and ultimately, the reward for sabr is infinitely, unimaginably more than shukr.

    In tandem with this belief is the belief that both shukr and sabr are within our reach/grasp. Allah Ta’aala created all humans equally in that regard. Every single one of us has the ability to make shukr and sabr. Every single one of us has the ability to make tawbah and strive to move forward towards good… better… the best! Even those we may see as deficient in deen, non-Muslims, murderers, robbers… you name it… each has the potential to change through a single tawbah! Likewise, we each have the potential to regress and lose the ground we cover. To combat this, it is absolutely crucial for us to seek and be in the company of the righteous and to follow the guidance of Rasulullah, ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam. Or… “be guided by the guidance” as Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed says.

    May Allah Ta’aala make it easy for us to make shukr and sabr, and always strive towards Falah, and to attain that which is the best in both worlds. Ameen.

    [P.S. I should add that you are one I feel is more blessed than myself… it feels rather odd reiterating the shaykh’s teachings to you – alhamdulillah for the opportunity.]

  3. Not at all, insha’Allah it is quite genuine. Afterall, all I did was reiterate what I learned from the shaykh… you, on the other hand, pushed the question beyond that and encouraged me to think further on the matter – jazakAllah khayran. Alhamdulillah.

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