A man of Qays who was known as as Abu 'Abdillaah رحمه الله said,
"We prayed with al-Hasan رحمه الله one night. He did not stop repeating this aayah until just before dawn:
"And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful." [Soorah Ibraaheem, 14:34]
We asked him, 'O Abu Sa'eed, you did not recite any more than this one verse all night?'
He replied, 'I learnt a great deal from it: I do not glance at anything but I see a blessing in it, but what we do not know about Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى blessings is far greater.'"
He who does not know the value of graces when they are present knows their value when they are absent. 
There are innumerable graces of Allaah Most High on man at every moment. Man is, in reality, engulfed by graces. Most people, however, fail to appreciate the graces and remain ungrateful. Some people even complain about Allaah Most High and always remain dissatisfied. Such people will only appreciate the value of graces after they have been snatched away.
The inspirations of grace should not so dazzle you as to keep you from fulfilling the obligations of thankfulness, for that would indeed bring you down in rank. 
Two things constrain a man to become unmindful of fulfilling the rights of gratitude: either the graces of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى are regarded as insignificant and few, or they are viewed to be so abundant that one feels unable to offer adequate thanks and appreciation. Labouring under this latter misconception can lead to one abstaining from expressing gratitude altogether.
Any neglect with regard to the fulfillment of the rights of gratitude will diminish the rank of the 'traveller'. Allaah Most High has elevated your rank solely by His kindness and favour. Every act rendered by you is rewarded tenfold and more. He magnifies your little and insignificant deeds. This demands that you always pursue thankfulness and righteousness.
Your refraining from thankfulness points to your stark ignorance. It appears that you believe in your own ability and effort. You labour under the notion that you practice virtue by your own strength and effort. This is total ignorance. Allaah Most High is the Owner of all your [good] actions. He activates your body and limbs. Despite Allaah Most High being the True Actor of your righteousness, He honours and ennobles you by permitting people to award you with titles of nobility, such as pious-one, thankful-one and invoker of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.
Ponder and endeavour to fathom your origin. In reality you lack the strength to move a particle. It is by virtue of His pure kindness that you are considered to be a possessor of elevated rank. Therefore, never abandon thankfulness nor be found wanting in the discharge of its obligations.
When He gives you obedience, making you unaware of it because of Him, then know that He has showered you liberally with His graces both inwardly and outwardly. 
When Allaah Most High involves a servant in obedience He bestows on him the attribute of independence from all others besides Him. It should be understood, then, that He has awarded the servant with inward and outward graces in full measure.
Outward graces are the application of the physical body to acts of obedience. Inward graces are the heart's attainment of freedom from the slavery of all others besides Allaah Most High. These are the bounties for which the servant should perpetually express gratitude.
Part of the completeness of grace accorded you lies in His providing you with what suffices and holding you back from what makes you exceed bounds. 
Abundant sustenance often leads to a man's transgression and rebellion. He becomes unmindful of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى while he basks in the luxury of the graces. On the other hand, if the graces are insufficient for his needs he is disturbed and his heart finds no rest. He consequently drifts from the path of his Master. However, the bestowal of graces that suffice his needs - neither too many nor too few - is Allaah's completeness of grace on the servant. The servant who has sufficient means for his needs should, therefore, wholeheartedly apply himself to the invocation of Allaah Most High.
When He makes you submissive to His command outwardly and provides you with resignation to His power inwardly, then He has enhanced the greatness of the favour accorded to you. 
There is no greater grace than these two bounties [mentioned above in this aphorism] that Allaah Most High confers on a servant. Firstly, [the author mentions] the man who outwardly obeys the commands of Allaah Most High with his body. Secondly, [this person is] he who is contented with, or resigned to, all circumstances divinely ordained for him, from the power of Allaah; regardless of whether these are pleasing or displeasing to his disposition he wholeheartedly submits to the decrees of his Master.
All goodness is within the confines of these two graces. Thereafter, there is no need for a servant to look for anything, because the excellence of a person is in servanthood. The servant to whom these two blessings have been bestowed is in possession of both outward and inward servanthood.
"Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has commanded (with gratitude), prohibited against its opposite, praised its people and described them as the most special of His creation. He made (gratitude) to be the objective behind His creation and command, promised its people with the best of His reward, made it a cause for increase in His bounty and as a guard over His blessings. He informed that its people are the ones who benefit from His signs. The (linguistic) foundation of shukr is the appearance of the effect of nutrition upon the bodies of animals in a clear way. It is said shakirat ad-daabbaa, tashkaru shakran, when the effect of consuming fodder becomes visible upon it.
The reality [of gratitude] in relation to one's servitude [to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى] is the appearance of the effect of the favour of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى on the tongue of His servant in both acknowledging [the favour] and praising Him for it. Likewise, upon his heart in terms of witnessing [the favour] and loving [Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for it]. And then upon his limbs, in outward compliance and obedience.
Thus, gratitude is built upon five foundations:
a) Humility towards the One being thanked,
b) Love of Him,
c) Acknowledging His favour,
d) Praising Him for it, and
e) Not utilising it in what is disliked by Him.
So these five comprise the foundation of gratitude and it is contructed upon them. When any one of them is absent, then a foundation amongst its foundations becomes defective. The speech of everyone who spoke about gratitude and defined it returns back to this and revolves around it. It is said, "Its defition is acknowledging the favour of the bestower with humility," and it is said, "Praising the benevolent one (who bestowed the favour) by mentioning his benevolence," and it is said, "The heart settling upon love of the bestower, the limbs upon His obedience and the tongue flowing with His mention and praise," and it is said, "It is to witness the favour and to preserve the sanctity (of its prohibitions)."
The gratefulness of the common-folk is for food, drink, clothing and bodily nourishments. The gratefulness of the special ones is for Tawheed, faith (Eeemaan) and the nourishment of the hearts. And gratefulness is always accompanied by increase, due to His saying, the Exalted:
"And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.'" (Soorah Ibraaheem, 14:7)
So when you do not see your condition in (a state of) increase, then turn to gratitude."
[Refer to al-Madaarijus-Saalikeen, (2/232 onwards), abridged. As quoted in the appendix to the English translation of Qaa'idah fis-Sabr wash-Shukr (A Principle Concerning Patience & Gratitude) by Shakhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله, Hikmah Publications]
Imaam 'Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Naasir as-Sa'di رحمه الله on Gratitude
Imaam 'Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Naasir as-Sa'di رحمه الله said,
"When the Creator سبحانه و تعالى mentioned His favour upon His servants by facilitating transport through animals and ships, saying:
"That you may settle yourselves upon their backs and then remember the favour of your Lord when you have settled upon them and say, 'Exalted is He who has subjected this to us, and we could not have [otherwise] subdued it. And indeed, to our Lord, will we [certainly] return.'" (Sooratuz-Zukhruf, 43:13-14)
He mentioned therein the three pillars of gratitude, and they are:
1) Acknowledging and remembering the favour of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى
2) Speaking about it (to others) and praising Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for it, and
3) Submission to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and utilising (the favour) to aid in His worship.
This is because the intent in His saying, "And indeed, to our Lord, will we [certainly] return" is to acknowledge the recompense (on the Day of Judgement) and to prepare oneself for it. The intent behind [the bestowal of] these favours is that they aid the servant in obedience to Allaah for which he was created.
And in His saying, "Then remember the favour of your Lord when you have settled upon them" is to specify the [remembrance of the favour] for this particular situation, at the time of attaining the favour.
Many from the creation are intoxicated by (the abundant) favours which cause them to become heedless of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and bring about insolence and arrogance in them. So this situation in which Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has commanded (the remembrance of the favour) is a cure for this destructive disease. For when the servant remembers that he is engulfed by the favours of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, (when he recalls) that their foundations, the ease with which they come to him, their causes, their persistence and the repulsion of what clashes with them or diminishes them, (when he recalls) that this is all from the bounty of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and His benevolence and that nothing is from the servant himself, he will humble himself to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, lower himself, be grateful to Him and praise Him. The favour will persist through this and Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will place blessing in it. It will become a true favour.
But as for when he meets it with insolence and arrogance and forgets the Bestower of the favour, perhaps he will become arrogant towards the servants of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى on account of these favours. This is retribution which comes in the appearance of a favour and represents the servant being gradually taken by Allaah سبحانه و تعالى (without his realisation) to a sudden removal (of the favour), an onset of punishment and retribution.
We ask Allaah سبحانه و تعالى to bestow upon us gratitude for His favours."
[Tayseer al-Lateef al-Mannaan (Maktabah ar-Rush, pp. 372-372), as quoted in the appendix to the English translation of Qaa'idah fis-Sabr wash-Shukr (A Principle Concerning Patience & Gratitude) by Shakhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله, Hikmah Publications]
The greatest blessing that Allah, may He be exalted, can bestow upon His slaves is faith in Him
I received a message from one of the brothers, quoting one of the shaykhs. The message was as follows: I wonder, what is the greatest blessing that Allah has bestowed upon us? Is it wealth, is it parents, is it keeping us away from indulging us in sin? Some of them even said that the greatest blessing that Allah has bestowed upon us is that my Lord is my Lord, Who has the power to benefit or harm, in Whose hands are all things; we disobey Him, but He shows us forbearance and lets us be. Is it true that Allah’s greatest blessing to us is that Allah is our Lord? Is it permissible for us to say that Allah is the greatest blessing? Is there a difference between saying that Allah is a blessing and saying that the blessing is that my Lord is Allah? May Allah reward you with good.
Praise be to Allah.
Undoubtedly the greatest blessing that Allah bestows upon His slaves is blessing them with guidance to His religion that He has chosen for His slaves and commanded them to follow. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion” [al-Maa’idah 5:3].
Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
This is the greatest blessing that Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, has bestowed upon this ummah, when He, may He be exalted, perfected their religion for them, so they have no need of any other religion or of any prophet other than their Prophet, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him. Hence Allah made him the last of the Prophets, and sent him to humanity and to the jinn. So nothing is permissible except what he permitted, and nothing is forbidden except what he forbade, and there is no religion except what he prescribed. Everything that he has told us is true, and there are no lies in it, as Allah, may He be exalted, tells us (interpretation of the meaning): “And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice” [al-An‘aam 6:115]. In other words, it is true in what it tells us and it is just in its commands and prohibitions. When Allah perfected the religion for them, He completed His favour upon them. End quote from Tafseer Ibn Katheer (3/26).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The greatest blessing that He bestowed upon them was commanding them to believe and guiding them to faith. They are the people of the ultimate blessing that is mentioned in the words (interpretation of the meaning):
“Guide us to the straight path –
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor”
End quote from Jaami‘ al-Masaa’il (4/284).
He also said:
One of the greatest and noblest blessings that Allah has bestowed upon His slaves is that He sent His Messengers to them, and sent down His Books to them, and showed them the straight path. Were it not for that, they would have been like animals and beasts; in fact they would have been worse off than them. So whoever accepts the message of Allah and adheres to it is among the best of creation, and whoever rejects that and rebels against it is one of the worst of creation, and is worse off than dogs, pigs and dumb animals.
End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (19/100).
Thus it is clear that the greatest blessing that Allah has bestowed upon His slaves is enabling them to believe in Him and His Messengers, and to adhere to His religion and law. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is the Lord of all creation, and He is their Creator and the controller of all their affairs, and He is also forbearing and does not hasten to punish His slave for their wrongdoing or what their hands have wrought, but this blessing is only for those who acknowledge Him, believe in Him and follow His guidance. As for those who disbelieve in Him and disobey him, and are deceived by His forbearance and covering of their sins, so they persist in transgressing against His limits, that will lead to bad consequences for them, and will cause the punishment to be increased for them. Furthermore, even worldly blessings such as provision and well-being, wealth and children, and so on, are only truly a blessing for those who give thanks for them and appreciate them, not for those who are ungrateful for them and use them to disobey Allah.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The greatest blessing that Allah has bestowed upon people is faith, which includes both words and deeds, and may increase and decrease; it increases when one does acts of obedience and good deeds, and it decreases when one does evil deeds and commits sins. The more a person increases in doing good deeds, the more his faith will increase. This is the true faith which is mentioned in the words of Allah, may He be exalted, (interpretation of the meaning):
“Guide us to the straight path –
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor”
Are the blessings of this world part of religious blessings or not, and are they truly blessings or not? Concerning that there are two well-known views from the scholars, among our companions and others. The correct view is that they are blessings in one way but are not perfect blessings in every aspect. As for the blessing of religious commitment, in the sense of doing what is enjoined and refraining from what is forbidden, that is all good and it is the true and real blessing according to Ahl as-Sunnah, because in their view it is Allah Who is the Bestower of all goodness. …
End quote from Mukhtasar al-Fataawa al-Masriyyah (268).
The greatest blessing that Allah bestows upon His slaves is guiding them to know Him and affirm His oneness, follow His Messengers and adhere to His laws. As for worldly blessings, they may be a blessing for those who use them appropriately, and use them to help them obey their Lord.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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