Gratitude in the Qur’an

All praises be to Allah who tells us:

“Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject Me.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:152)

And He tolds us that only those who are grateful to Him truly worship Him:

“… and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:172)

Allah has mentioned gratitude alongside iman, and has made it clear that He gains nothing from punishing His people if they give thanks to Him and believe in Him:

“What can Allah gain by your punishment, if you are grateful and you believe?…” (Surah an-Nisa 4:147)

In other words: if you carry out the duties for which you were created, namely gratitude and iman, why should Allah punish you?

Allah has divided people into two categories, the people of gratitude (shukr) and the people of ingratitude (kufr). The thing most disliked by Him is kufr, the thing most liked by Him is gratitude and the people of gratitude: “We showed him (i.e. man) the way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will)” (Surah al-Insan 76:3)

According to the Qu’ran, the Prophet Sulayman, peace be upon him, said:

“…This is by the grace of my Lord! – to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And if any is grateful, truly his gratitude is (a gain) for his own soul; but if any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is free of all needs, Supreme in honour!” (Surah an-Naml 27:40)

And Allah said:

“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.” (Surah Ibrahim 14:7)

“If you reject (Allah), truly Allah has no need of you; but He likes not ingratitude from His slaves; if you are grateful, He is pleased with you.” (Surah az-Zumar 39:7)

There are many ayat in the Qur’an where Allah makes a contrast between gratitude (shukr) and ingratitude (kufr). For example:

“Muhammad is no more than a Messenger: many were the Messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.” (Surah Al ‘Imran 3:144)

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