Editorial - Giving Thanks to Allah

Being grateful is to render one's thanks to someone who has shown favour, to express gratitude and to appreciate. The concept of being grateful to Allâh, on the other hand, is to grasp and express that every kind of grace and favour is granted exclusively by Allâh. In the Qur’ân, the opposite of being grateful is defined by the term "disbelief," which is synonymous to being ungrateful. Only this definition indicates the importance attached to being grateful as a worship and the detrimental consequences it may have for a believer.

Gratefulness to Allâh is one of the concepts mostly emphasised in the Qur’ân. In almost 70 verses, the importance of rendering thanks to Allâh is stated, the examples of those who are grateful and ungrateful are given and the result they face is related. The reason why so much importance is given to this concept is simply because it is a mere indication of one's faith and affirmation of the unity of Allâh. In one of the verses ‘being grateful’ is described as akin to ‘worshipping Allâh alone’: "O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allâh, if it is Him you worship." (Al-Baqara, 172)

The statement of the evil Satan emphasises the importance of giving thanks to Allâh: "He said: ‘Because you have thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on your straight way: Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor will you find, in most of them, gratitude (for your mercies).’" (Al-Araf, 17)

As stated in the verse above, Satan devoted his life to mislead people due to his envy. His ultimate aim is to make people ungrateful to their Creator. When this ultimate purpose of the Satan is considered, it becomes more comprehensible how a man goes astray when he does not render thanks to Allâh.


Gratefulness is a part of the test by Allâh. Man is surely endowed with favour from Him and is informed about how he should benefit from this favour. In return, man is expected to assume a submissive attitude towards his Creator. However, it is again only man himself who chooses to be grateful or ungrateful to Allâh: "We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts), of Hearing and Sight. We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will)." (Al-Insan, 2-3) As the verses suggest, the choice of a person in this world, namely being grateful or ungrateful, is explicitly a clear sign of his faith or disbelief.

Gratefulness is also closely related to the punishment in the Hereafter. No punishment shall befall those who have faith and are grateful: "What can Allâh gain by your punishment, if you are grateful and you believe? Nay, it is Allâh that recognise (all good), and know all things." (An-Nisa, 147) This verse, together with many others give the good tidings that Allâh reward those who remain grateful to their Creator: "And remember! Your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): "If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you; But if you show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed." (Abraham, 7)

"That is (the Bounty) whereof Allâh gives Glad Tidings to His Servants who believe and do righteous deeds. Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin." And if any one earns any good, We shall give him an increase of good in respect thereof: for Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate (service)." (Ash-Shura, 23)

"The people of Lût rejected (his) warning. We sent against them a violent tornado with showers of stones, (which destroyed them), except Lut's household: them We delivered by early Dawn,- As a Grace from Us: thus do We reward those who give thanks." (Al-Qamar, 33-35) "If you would count up the favours of Allâh, never would you be able to number them: for Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Al-Nahl, 18) As this verse suggests, let alone counting up the favours of Allâh, it not conceivable to categorise them. Since there is no limit to the favours of Allâh, a believer should unceasingly keep himself occupied with the remembrance of Allâh and express his gratefulness to Him.

In expectation of some grand favour, some people wait for special occasions to render their thanks to Allâh. Settlement of a major problem, or recovering from a serious sickness are the proper times to express one's inner gratefulness to Allâh, so they assume. However, if one reflects only for a moment, he would instantly comprehend that he is always surrounded with infinite favours. At every moment, every minute, there is an uninterrupted flow of favours reaching him: his life, good health, intelligence, consciousness, his five senses, the air that he breaths; in brief, everything that makes life possible is given to man as a favour. In return for all these, a person is expected to serve Allâh in gratitude. Those who are heedless of these favours and accordingly neglect to turn to Allâh for expressing their gratefulness, only acknowledge the importance of these favours when they are deprived of them. This is indeed a punishment for their ingratitude.

A person can never say: "I fulfil my regular prayers and engage in righteous deeds but do not give thanks to Allâh." A person who is not grateful to Allâh is someone who does not occupy himself with the remembrance of Allâh, and hence is heedless of Him. An act of worship performed in a heedless mood surely has no value in the presence of Allâh. A person who consumes everything given to Him like animals without pondering over the reason why it is granted and the One who grants them, surely needs to change this attitude.

In many verses, Allâh advises His Messengers to be grateful and Prophet Musa (A.S.) is one of them: "(Allâh) said: "O Moses! I have chosen you above (other) men, by the mission I (have given you) and the words I (have spoken to you): take then the (revelation) which I give you, and be of those who give thanks." (Al-Araf, 144)