Complains Do Not Negate Gratitude: Counsel From The Quran

Complains and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. You can grieve and complain to Allah, and yet remain grateful. When Prophet Yaqoob lost his 10year old son Yusuf, he was devastated and he cried so much he lost his eye sight. Yet when Allah narrates us the story,  NO WHERE does He mention anything about gratitude. Allah never tells him to be grateful that his other sons are alive. None. In fact, Allah captures his struggle by actually telling us that his grief did in fact affect his health, people around him were uncomfortable with his sorrow so they told him to move on- all things that every single one of us unfortunately have heard or told others. 

In this very famous verse Allah actually glorifies the fact that this prophet did complain. He kept telling Allah about his sorrow UNAPOLOGETICALLY. Unlike us humans, Allah did not guilt trip him into being grateful to supress his emotions. In His immense wisdom Allah never tells us to suppress our emotions because He knows it is not healthy.

What is also remarkable is that Allah revealed this story when His messenger (peace be upon him) needed counsel, when he was goung through the most difficult phase of his life. So basically even to his messenger (peace be upon him) Allah did not condemn his grief or ask him to stop complaining and be grateful. Allah gave both these prophets the time and space to grieve, to mourn. Allah acknowledged their sorrow and if any He actually tells us that through their legacies that we can turn to Him too to complain. Complain with unwavering certainty that Allah will change our condition for the better.


Even in this very famous verse of gratitude if you look at the background, Allah revealed it to the Children of Israel after Pharaoh killed their baby boys. Allah through His messenger Moses consoled them and encouraged them to be grateful. But Allah did NOT negate their grief or ask them to stop complaining. That is not a practice of Allah. He gives us the leeway to be grateful and still lament.

Basically what I am trying to convey is that we shouldn’t be ungrateful. We shouldn’t try to negate the value of what we have. But that does not mean that we settle with our miseries. It does not mean we pretend life is a bed of roses when in reality it might be not. There is a reason Allah says in the Quran “and do not forget your share of the world” (28:77)

So relieve yourself of that burden today. That burden where you are “supposed” to be only grateful and not complain. You can do both. You can complain to Allah, complain like nobody’s business, pour out to Him every bitterness that is there. As long as you are not being ungrateful, as long as you are not dismissing the favors He has done to you, you are good. “Remember Me, I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.”(2:152). 

If you are still unsure, try it today. I do this experiment with myself. I was at a very bad situation and I complained to Allah a lot, but the whole time I kept an eye on my attitude. I figured that I did not feel “ingratitude”, I did feel grateful for what I have, but the pain of what I dont have, that sense of inadequacy created from that void was unbearable. 

Pain is given to us for a reason, to feel it. Feeling the sense of incompleteness for the things we do not have in life, for our unfulfilled dreams, wishes and desires, its part of our human creation. It is how Allah created us. We cant cloak them up with veils of gratitude and run away from acknowledging those emotions. Gratitude has its own place and so does our want and need for a better life.

Foundation of Faith

Often times we portray Islam as only a set of rules and regulations. This is highly dangerous. Not only is this wrong but also a deterrent to anyone wishing to embrace Islam or know about it. I myself am guilty of this ignorance as well in the past.
Our foundation of faith lies on One Ilah.

An Ilah is Someone who is not only a deity of worship, but He is also the One to love unconditionally. Someone Who we run to in times of danger and difficulty, because we only trust His infinite capability to give us safety and security, fulfill our wishes. Allah is our Ilah. We do not use any medium ( idols, statues or people) to seek closeness to Him. There is no one between us and Allah. And Prophet Muhammad SAW is His messenger who taught us about Him.

This is the fundamental principle of Islam. Once we know Allah and believe in His Oneness, then we can truly obey His commands and rules. Not the other way round.

 

Positive People Have Negative Thoughts Too

Even positive people often doubt and despair. You don’t need to rip yourself off of everything that makes you human just so you can be positive, grateful or optimistic. We all come in a package of strengths and weaknesses, and in the journey of self development it is of crucial importance that you embrace (only acceptance is not enough)yourself with them all. Anxiety and worry does not make us less optimistic. If any it only makes us human.

So yes, positive people have negative thoughts too.They just dont let those thoughts dictate their actions. They know better to realise that they might not have control on the thoughts but most definitely they can silence them with actions.


Only when you truly start living by this verse do you realise how true it is. It has the power to reshape your entire existance and get you out of whatever it is that is paralysing you. Sure it wont happen overnight but as I always say, one of those days when you aren’t paying attention it will.

So Basically Yes, Serendipity Happens !

Pray for what your heart wants. And always be in a state of expectation. The odds won’t turn in your favor overnight. But one of those days when you aren’t paying attention, they will.Because The One who is gently orchestrating the nuances loves to surprise you.


So basically, yes, serendipity happens!

A Miniscule Of Gratitude Goes A Long Way

Allah swears (even though He never fails His promise), because in times of hardship, sometimes it becomes difficult to actually believe anything could be better. Allah swears to convince us that He can still increase us in His bounty. If we can trust His promise, then that will give us hope. And that hope will rekindle the flame of gratitude.

Also, He asks for a miniscule of gratitude because when times are tough, its not always possible to look at the blessings as abundantly as they have been showered upon us. So if we try even a little bit, that is enough for Allah to increase us.

It happened to me, and is still happening.

Easy, Not Hard, Please!

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them…”(Bukhari).

Once a non muslim came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said that he was willing to embrace Islam but he could only pray twice a day, instead of five. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) agreed and the man took shahadah. Once he was gone, his companions asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) why he allowed him so. He (peace be upon him) said once the man would enjoy the sweetness of prayer, he himself would willingly pray all five.

Often while trying to help people to come closer to Islam, especially new muslims or those who are trying to just take step through the door, we overwhelm them by introducing a bunch of instructions they might not be ready to undertake at that point of time. Our job is to help them do what they can and make things easy. As far as ensuring their guidance is concerned, Allah already made it clear that He provides guidance. He is Al-Hadi (The One Who Guides). 

We just need to be companions. Often times we make Islam harder than it actually is, and portray Allah to be more strict than He really is.

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Duas That Have Worked For Me (I)

I have been saying this dua when stressed with work. Alhamdulillah it works.

Somehow the work becomes easy.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to recite this dua if one’s affairs become difficult.