Letter: Khola Nusrat, Ashburn

Editor: November 2019 sitting in my child’s bedroom, thinking about the year 2020 ahead, texting friends, family, and grateful from the core of my heart, I never imagined that I will be writing this article for my fellow Americans for Thanksgiving of 2020.

I just did so because gratitude is flowing out of me like a mountain covered in snow melts down when the sun shines above and then that icy water creates lakes beneath the mountains. I feel that I have a lake of blessings beneath whose depth is unknown to me. 

Like the previous year, my New Year began with a special prayer of gratitude and blessings for 2020 ahead. I imagined all the good things which had happened in front of my eyes in the year 2019 while praying with full faith in my beloved God. It was the power of prayer and the blessing of God. In the Holy Qur’an God says, “If you are grateful, I will, surely, bestow more favors on you” (14:8)

During winter, my plan was to stay safe from the common cold or any sickness because I was pregnant, and this was a big task for me in January 2020 without having any idea that our world is about to change soon. March was that month when it all started for my family—no school, no office, we are in a lockdown! Mosques, churches, and all other worship places of worship were closed to prevent the virus from spreading. My faith helped me a lot during this difficult time.

November is a special month because we see how God brings about change around us through the journey of a tree each year. The harsh weather and pain of letting go of those leaves that represent the life and beauty of a tree is something like how most of my fellow American sisters and brothers lost their loved ones during that winter, May God bless them with patience.

Despite the sudden changes in our lives, something amazing was happening smoothly and quietly. Love was growing like a beautiful vine in each home, and this was the first blessing. The second was care for our neighbors and friends more than ever before. The third and most important blessing was more faith in God. Unknowingly, we became more grateful than ever before for every little thing God has blessed us with our loved ones, our health, food, water, air, being able to breathe without pain, and the list goes on. How amazing is this?

Islam teaches its followers to praise and thank God several times a day. According to Islamic teachings, there are three types of ‘Shukr’ (gratitude). 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 living according to the teachings demonstrated to them by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) and in particular by spending one’s wealth on those who are less fortunate. Islam teaches that the best way to render thanks to God is by giving to the needy. It requires sacrifice from the believers for the sake of God, and for the good of mankind. Thus, the concept of giving thanks goes hand in hand with sacrifice. When we give from our wealth, we show gratitude for it. The Holy Prophet Muhammad said, “One who is not grateful to others is not grateful to God.”

As an Ahmadi Muslim, on this Thanksgiving Day of the year 2020, I want to share my love, care, health, wealth, and blessings. What else would you share? May God keep you all safe during this winter, Amen.

Khola Nusrat, Ashburn 

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