Editor: As Thanksgiving holidays are approaching, like every other American, I am eagerly waiting for this wonderful holiday when we will gather as a family. Thanksgiving Day in America is a beautiful holiday. Our country, on this day, is at its best.
As a Muslim, however, I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day once a year only. Islam teaches us to be thankful everyday at every opportunity. We start our day with prayers and end with prayers. We glorify the Lord for all the good things He has bestowed upon us and accept His will in any hard circumstance life may throw upon us. When we eat, we say, “Thanks be to God Who gave us food and drink and made us Muslims.” When we face a trial we are reminded to “be steadfast and strive to excel in steadfastness and be on your guard and fear God that you may prosper” (3:201). My faith asks me to keep my God above all no matter what. In Islam, the Qur’anic term of giving thanks is “Shukr.” According to Islamic teachings, there are three types of Shukr. First, understanding and being grateful in one’s heart. Second, gratitude that one expresses by verbal praise. Third, gratitude shown by one’s actions, that is, by spending one’s wealth on those who are less fortunate and needy.
Islam teaches that the best way to render thanks to God is by giving to the needy. Our daily prayers, our fasting during Ramadan, Zakat (charity) and Hajj (pilgrimage) are all our acts of thanksgiving. It requires sacrifice from the believers for the sake of God, and for the good of mankind. We perform these acts of worship not only as duties that must be performed but as our gratitude to our Lord and Creator. For a Muslim the reward for giving thanks is to gain nearness and pleasure of God.
Islam does not only teach us to only thank God, but we are also told to thank our parents, our spouses, our friends, neighbors and all those who do any good to us. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of God be upon him) said, “Those who do not thank people, they do not thank God.”
Misfortunes are many and great, and nothing but faith can save us. Blunders are egregious, and nothing can dissolve them but the melting of the heart. He who stands in awe of the majesty of his Creator shall have a two-fold paradise. Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans and special greetings to our veterans who sacrifice all their time to keep our country safe.
Durresameen Prapulla, Ashburn