The Sahabah and Tabi’in on Gratitude

Salman al-Farsi, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “There was a man who was given many of the bounties of this world, and then they were taken away from him. But he continues to praise and thank Allah until everything has been taken from him, even his bed. And then he still praised and thanked Allah. Another man, who had also been given many of the luxuries of this world asked him, ‘What are you praising and thanking Allah for?’ The man said, ‘I am praising and thanking Him for the blessings which, if others has asked me to give them in return for all that they have, I would never give them up.’ ‘What can they be?’ asked the second man. ‘Can’t you see?’ asked the first man. ‘I have my eyesight, my tongue, my hands, my feet…'”

Mukhalland ibn al-Husayn said: “The definition of gratitude is abstaining from wrong action.” Abu Hazim said: “Every blessing that does not bring you closer to Allah is a disaster.” Sulayman said: “Remember His blessings makes one love Allah.”

Hammad ibn Ziyad narrated that Layth ibn Abi Burdah said: “I went to Madinah, where I met Abdullah ibn Salam, who said to me, ‘Would you like to visit a place visited by the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and we will offer you sawiq and dates?… Then he said, ‘When Allah gathers people on the Day of Judgement, He will remind them of his blessings. One of His slaves will say, “Remind me of something,” and Allah will say, “Remember when you faced such-and-such adversity, and you prayed to Me, so I relieved you fo it. Remember when you were travelling in such-and-such a place, and you asked me to give you a travelling companion, and I did so. Remember when you asked for the hand of so-and-so, the daughter of so-and-so, and others also asked for her hand, so I gave her to you to marry and kept the others away.” His slave will be standing before his Lord and He will remind him of His many blessings.'” Then the narrator of this story (Layth) wept and said, “I hope that no-one will stand before his Lord this way, because the one who does so will be punished.”

Bakr ibn Abdullah al-Muzani said: “When a man faces an affliction, he may pray to Allah and Allah may deliver him from adversity. Then Shaytan comes to the man and whispers, ‘It is not as bad as you thought’. Thus the man’s gratitude is weakened.”

A man of knowledge said: “The blessing of Allah to us in keeping the luxuries of this world away from us is greater than the blessing of that which he has given us, because Allah did not like His Prophet to have the luxuries of this world. So I prefer to live in the manner which Allah prefered for his Prophet than to live a life which He disliked for him.”

Ibn Abi’d-Dunya said: “It was narrated to me that some scholars said: ‘The scholar should praise Allah for having deprived him of the luxuries of this life, in the same way that he should praise Him for what He has bestowed upon him. How can you compare the blessings and luxuries for which he will be accountable to the deprivation of luxuries which is a relief from being tested, and which keeps his mind free to worship and remember Allah? So he should give thanks to Allah for all of that.”

Extracted from Patience and Gratitude by Ibn al-Qayyim Pages 75-76

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