In the medical field stress has been recognised as a major factor in many chronic illnesses the Dietary restrictions and medication are combined with various relaxation techniques in stress reduction to aid recovery...
Some time ago I read about a technique called Autogenic relaxation, initially developed by a German Psychiatrist in 1932 it is taught to patients in some hospitals to help in their recovery.
In a nutshell with this method the patient either lies down or reclines in a chair...and using the Power of Intention repeats Positive affirmations too himself, that he is being healed and is healthy... Typically the patient closes the eyes and repeats to themselves, " My Toes Feel warm and relaxed they are healthy and I am healed" the patient then moves on to the ankles, calves scanning the entire body from head to toe, repeating the same script " I feel Warm and relaxed I am healed" until they have scanned the entire body including the internal organs.
It is a deep relaxation technique, when I came across this technique I remembered Scholars mention that Daily one should make Shukr for the blessings of the entire body, so I decided to combine the above technique with Shukr.... That is make intention and Dua for the healing of the Body, and then mentally scan the Body with eyes closed " AlhamdulillahWaShukrulillah through the NOOR of ALLAHS rahmah I am being Healed and Healthy" and doing that by mentioning all the limbs and organs of the entire body.
To cut a long story short a year ago due to health issues I had a Blood test done and showed up various illnesses and vitamin deficiencies and the pessimistic attitude of the Doctor concerning the future left me feeling depressed. Today I got the results of my most recent test Alhamdulillah Wa Shukrillah my health has improved drastically.
There have been various studies on the healing Power of Gratitude...
We have the example of Hazrat Ayub (Alayhi Salaam) it is one of the stories from the Quran that always brings tears to my eyes, he was afflicted with difficulties but remained steadfast in Thankfulness and Sabr you can listen about his story here... youtu.be/rJaxtp3wXLk
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In an increasingly complicated world, it is essential to revisit our core values. One of them is about being unconditionally thankful,
One of the most fundamental aspects of Islam is ‘shukr’, or gratitude. Our faith teaches us that all aspects of life are from our Creator. However, many people do not express gratitude unconditionally and they choose instead to complain, criticise and whine about all the negative people and things in their lives. Gratitude does not mean being thankful for only the good things that you have in your life. Rather, it refers to being in a positive state of appreciation despite challenges and pains.
So why is being grateful so important? One of the five Pillars of Islam calls for Muslims to pray, allowing us to also give thanks to Allah. Al-Qur’an surah Ibrahim ayat 7 mentions this about gratitude: ‘If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more’ (Qur’an 14:7).
Science has shown us the benefits that gratitude has on our physical and mental health This research has gone into detail on how being grateful has immense mental, social and physical benefits. Grateful people have higher levels of well being. They are more productive at work, enjoy higher levels of happiness and have stronger family and social relationships.
BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE
Grateful people tend to be more optimistic and less prone to depression or stress. Research also has shown that they tend to take better care of their health with proper eating habits and regular exercise
People who regularly express gratitude are more at peace and more creative.
What our mind focuses on, we attract (especially when doing our du’as). By being consciously aware of all our blessings, we focus on what we want to attract more of in our lives.
Gratitude improves relationships. Just say a simple ‘thank you’ to someone for something they have done and watch their face light up.
Imagine when you are in a state of gratitude in your life, you will naturally have the love within yourself to see the good in people. This can open ways for you to understand others better.
Gratitude also sets your emotions and moods in a positive state
Being thankful allows us to be more spiritual when connecting with our Creator. A grateful state can make a person more focused in prayers. Grateful people also tend to be more productive and charitable, and contribute more to others because they have a mindset of abundance. Gratitude gets people to think beyond the self and leads us to offer help to those in need
‘Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.’
Tips to best achieve the state of being thankful:
1. Keep a ‘gratitude journal’. Every morning after fajr prayers, write down all the things that you are grateful for in your life. You can do a mental list, but I prefer to write them down so I can read them again later whenever I feel down. Keep writing in the journal when new things happen that make you feel happy. It can be as simple as finding a great parking space at the mall. Keep writing and growing your list
2. Divide your age by three and list all your accomplishments in each of these parts of your life. Write all the things that you have done during your lifetime that made you feel happy or grateful. As you write them down, reflect also on the challenges you faced before each accomplishment was attained. Keep growing this list, too
3. Do the 48-hour ‘fast’ of not complaining, criticising, blaming or justifying. If you at any time ‘break the fast’ — even with a negative thought about someone or something — start your fast again back at zero. Have fun with this activity. You will learn to quickly switch your mind towards positive things. It took me almost two years to complete my ‘fast’, but it was well worth it
4. Take action on that gratitude. Visit a shelter, an orphanage or a nursing home and volunteer your time to help those in need
Start doing these now, and you will see wonderful changes in your life.
I borrowed the following article from the Start With Self thread link below.
Gratitude a Cure for Depression.!
For those going through difficulties I thought I would share my own personal experience and Insha’Allah it may be of some benefit.
Well it is a long story but to put in a nutshell, a few years ago I suffered from a mental breakdown, the Anti-depressants the Doctor put me on made the symptoms worse, so during those months out of desperation I started looking for Islamic solution even with my mental state I was able to identify that I had allowed my mind to be filled with thoughts of selfpity “Why me?”
Well I read a chapter on the Benefit of Shukr by Imam Ibn Alawi Haddad in his book of assistance, and so to help counteract the Depression and thoughts of selfpity and despair I made a point of trying to force myself to express perpetual shukr throughout the day. So daily I developed a routine whereby I would get up in the morning say Alhamdulillah for new day, sit up in bed say Alhamdulillah for giving me the tawfiq to sit free from pain. Walk to the Bathroom say Alhamdulillah for giving me the tawfiq to walk.
Upon Drinking glass of water Alhamdulillah for the blessings of being able to receive water through a tap, Alhamdulillah for giving me a glass to pour it in, Alhamdulillah for giving me hands to hold the glass Alhamdulillah for being able to swallow the water, Alhamdulillah, for quenching my thirst.
Essentially trying to focus my mind on Gratitude, instead of negative thoughts of selfpity and despair. Every time I had a negative thought I would immediately try to combat it by reflecting on some blessing and expressing gratitude. Even though initially my expressions of gratitude seemed a bit mechanical, and insincere. But ever so slowly I genuinely started to feel more grateful, and the depression started to dissipate.
During that time I shared this method of non-stop shukr with a couple of friends and they both found the results to be staggering, one of them set the Alarm clock on his mobile to go off after every hour. So every hour on the hour he would try and reflect on everything he did or was able to accomplish during the previous hour and express Gratitude.
Having a couple other friends do it with me helped quite a lot, we would report back to each other every week as to how we got on! and would feed of each others enthusiasm, and energy, and that helped me remain steadfast with this method of Zikr.
So the above outlined method was an essential part of my recovery during those few weeks. And it was spiritually a very powerful experience.
Here is an Extract from the book of assistance on blessings of Gratitude.
You must thank God for all that he has favoured you with. you have no good thing, whether outward or inward religious or worldly, but that it comes from Him.
He has said Exalted is he: Whatever good thing you have is from God.(XVI:53), Gods favours upon you are more than you can number or be aware of, let alone adequately thank Him for. If you would count the favours of God you cannot number them. (XIV:34) .
If the poor and sick among the people of monotheism reflected on God’s favours upon them they would become too intoxicated by giving thanks to feel the hardship of patient endurance. you should do as much as you can to thank your Lord and confess your total incapacity to do so adequately.
Know that thankfulness leads to the perpetuation of favours already received and to the obtaining of others that are desired. God the Exalted has said: If you give thanks, I shall surely increase you (XIV:7) He is, Exalted is He, too Generous to take away a favour from someone who is thanking him. He has said, Exalted is He: That is because God never changes a blessing he has bestowed on any people until they first change what is in themselves, ( VIII:51) that is their neglecting to give thanks………..
Imam Abdallah Ibn Alawi Al Hadad (May Allah bless him abundantly and confer His Mercy upon him)* Taken from ‘The Book of Assistance’
And Allah سبحانه وتعالى has exhorted His servants to render thanks to Him many times in His book:
(Eat of the good things with which We have provided you and give thanks to ALLAH if it is indeed Him That you worship (II:172) Eat of the provision of your Lord and give thanks to Him. (XXXIV:15)
And the Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ' Let each of you have an invoking tongue and a thankful heart.' and: ' Faith has two halves: one is patience and the other thankfulness.'
Know that just as you must thank Allah for favours which are proper to you, such as knowledge and health, you must also thank Him for favours which are general, such as the sending of Messengers, the revelation of Books, raising up the sky, and stretching out the earth.
The basis of thankfulness is that the heart be aware of such favours, that they are from Allah alone, and that nothing comes to one through own ability and power, but only through Allah's grace and mercy. the limit of thankfulness is to use each one of his favours in his obedience; If you do not do so you will have neglected to give thanks for it, and if you use them to disobey Him you will have fallen into ingratitude, whereby favours turn into afflictions. Anyone who still enjoys some favours while using them in disobedience to Allah is being lured. Allah the Exalted has said; ( We shall lure them from whence they do not know. (LXVIII:44) And: (we only give them rein so that they may grow in sinfulness. (III:1786) Similarly ' Allah gives rein to the wrongdoer until He takes him. He does not let him go.' (hadith).[/B]
It is part of thankfulness to praise Allah سبحانه وتعالى frequently, and to rejoice for the favours bestowed, because they are means of attaining to the propinquity of Allah, and because they are evidence of Allahs solicitude for His servant.
It is part of thankfulness, too, to make much of His favours, even those that are small. it is related that Allah once said to one of his Prophets: ' Whensoever I grant a poor grain of wheat, know that I have remembered you there by; therefore thank me for it.'
It is part of thankfulness likewise to speak of Allah's favours without, however, digressing into anything that might suggest self-righteousness in religious matters or insolence in matters of the world. deeds are according to the intentions behind them. And all good comes from following our virtuous predecessors in all circumstances; and Allah knows best.
Imam Abd'Allah ibn alam al-Hadadd (RA)
extract taken from 'The Book of assistance.'
'When you ask people how are you doing? You hear the worst type of expressions about how bad things are and how terrible things are, and in the process we stop being Grateful we are no longer thankful.
We are so busy thinking about what we do not have, that we forget too enjoy what we have. We are very ungrateful and this whats happening now.
It is said that at one time Umar ibn Al Khattab (May ALLAH be Pleased with him), heard a man making a strange Dua "Oh ALLAH make me amongst the few." So ‘Umar grabbed him and said to him, “Woe unto you who is this minority that you are speaking about?” (what is this Dua?) And the man said 'Oh Umar dont you know that' , “Allah in His Book says ‘And few of My servants are grateful.'(Qur’an 34:13)”
So he was asking ALLAH to make him amongst those who are grateful. But you know what we understand gratefulness to be when you move to a new house "Alhamdulillah". But what about the house you had no "Alhamdulillah" for that? When you buy a new car "Alhamdulillah" what about the one you had before, no "Alhamdulillah for the one you had before?
We think we are supposed to be grateful to ALLAH only when big things happen to us.'
Shaykh Yassir Fazaga.
(Roughly transcribed by myself from a lecture)
The Reference for the above anecdote: Al-Qurtubi reported: Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, heard a man saying, “O Allah, make me among the few.” Umar said, “What is this supplication?” The man said, “I refer to the saying of Allah the Exalted: And few of my servants are grateful.” (34:13) Umar said, “All of the people know better than you, O Umar!”
'Here in America the majority of people in any previous time, they would be considered like those living in palaces. The idea of having running water! In this country in the 1930's there was still about 70% of Americans who did not have running water.
The fact you can take a hot shower by just turning a nob people dont even think about...In Mauritania Wallahi! where Murabit al Hajj lives there's three women, whose job is too bring water everyday.
It takes them about two hours to go get the water, it takes them about an hour to fill it up, and it takes them about two hours to comeback. Five hours everyday just too bring drinking water to their village, and thats their life They have to load the donkeys with the water containers, and when they drink water Wallahi! they say ( out of deep heartfelt feelings of shukr) "ALHAMDULILLAH" " NIMATULLAH" (Blessing of ALLAH) and their water is brown and most of them have urinary problems because of the sediment in the water...!'
I’m glad and grateful that I am ill right now, and that times are hard. Does that sound crazy?
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “For any adversity a Muslim suffers, Allah erases some of his sins, even though it may be no more than a thorn pricking him.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).
Another version of this Hadith is also related by Al-Bukhari on the authority of two of the Prophet’s (pbuh) companions, namely, Abu Saeed Al-Khudri and Abu Hurairah who quote him as saying: “Whatever befalls a Muslim of exhaustion, illness, worry, grief, nuisance or trouble, even though it may be no more than a prick of a thorn, earns him forgiveness by Allah of some of his sins.”
My father recently suffered a fall and broke his leg badly, and is now in a rehab center. In my personal life, two moves and one divorce in the last five years have made it hard to retain friendships, and I find myself feeling isolated. I’ve been through some painful personal experiences. And these are hard times economically as well. So there’s a lot of stress in the household.
I do my best to love my daughter more than ever, to play with her, hug and kiss her, and always remind her of Allah’s barakah. I try to make her world full of happiness, learning, and talks about Allah. I try to never let her see me sweat, as they say. But once she’s sound asleep in bed, I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders like a sack of stones.
So if by patiently enduring this illness and these hard times in general, I will earn Allah’s forgiveness for my sins, and maybe will be blessed in ways that I do not see, then I am grateful.
One more hadith: Jabir ibn Abdullah narrated that Allah’s Messenger salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “On the Day of Resurrection, when people who have suffered affliction are given their reward, those who are healthy will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world.” (Al-Tirmidhi, 1570)
In other words, when people see how much reward is given to those who suffered in life, they will wish that they had suffered terribly, in the worst possible ways, so that it might become a cause of forgiveness for them in the Hereafter.
SubhanAllah, whatever pain we suffer in this life is not in vain. It is not wasted. We may cry and wince and groan over small pains, but Allah sees our suffering and will compensate us more than we can imagine, as long as we are patient and keep faith in Him. Allah the Most High has a plan for us, and He is the best of planners. We must have faith in Him and His plan for us.
Seeing the Good
Also, let us not be blind to the good things that have happened. I think this is very important. All too often we get caught up in our losses and dismiss some of Allah’s quiet gifts and blessings that have budded and opened up when we were hardly looking.
For example, I have always thought of myself as a writer at heart and have been happiest when I was pursuing that calling. When I was single I was obsessive about it. Even after a long day at work I would sit down in front of the computer in my little San Francisco loft, and write. After I got married and the responsibilities of family life fell on my shoulders I neglected my writing. Lately, however, I find myself writing daily and expressing ideas that have been growing in my heart for decades. The words flow as if they have been bottled under pressure, waiting for release. What a blessing!
In my teens I studied martial arts for some years. Life carried me in different directions and I stopped practicing but I still thought of myself as a martial artist, and kept meaning to get back into it. Finally in my late thirties I realized that my dream was passing me by. I got back into it and made a do-or-die commitment. Since then, with the moves from the Bay Area to Panama City to El Valle to Fresno, it’s been a struggle to find teachers and training partners, but I have persisted, in some cases creating my own training group out of scratch. For the last year and a half, partly as a way of dealing with loneliness and stress, I plunged myself into an intensive study of the arts.
Now I suddenly find myself entering this phase when my understanding of the arts is expanding like a tidal wave. I seem to have moved beyond rote memorization of techniques and I am able to spontaneously create combinations and visualize new possibilities. My balance is solid, my form is good. Basically, I have grasped the underlying principles of the arts and have moved beyond the 1-2-3 stage. I can finally call myself a martial artist.
That’s something I dreamed of all my life. And it came about because I was stressed!
What other secret blessings await me? What other lifelong dreams are quietly budding, getting ready to bloom?
That’s why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “How amazing is the case of the believer; there is good for him in everything, and this is only so for the believer. If he experiences something pleasant, he is thankful, and that is good for him; and if he comes across adversity, he is patient, and that is good for him.” [Muslim]
How amazing indeed! What a treasure trove of strength and mercy there is in this deen! Who can say that this is not a religion of hope?
Allah rewards the believer even for the pricking of a thorn. Who can deny that this is the attitude of a Compassionate God, One who understand us, sees our pain, cares about our suffering, and wants only good for us?
And what does Allah want in return? Only gratitude, and that our actions manifest that gratitude. Nothing more.
Allah says, “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ “ [Surat Ibrahim 14:7]
Which brings us back to my opening statement. I am grateful and glad even for the hardships. I am aware of all of Allah’s favors, and when He says, “Then which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?” my response is, “I deny none of them, O Lord!”
Giving Thanks to Allah is a Blessing By AsmaArshad
The blessings of Allah upon us are countless. There are so many blessings of Allah that we can’t even write them down. If we start writing them all, our life would come to end but Allah’s blessing will never finish. Even if we think of this Human Body of ours, from the time we came to this world we were not even able to move on our own. Alhumdulillah, now we can walk with the help of these feet, we are able to eat, we are able to breath. Every breath we take is a blessing of Allah. Every step we take is a blessing of Allah. The food we eat is a blessing of Allah. So, we should thank Allah for all these blessings, say Alhumdulillah every time and in every situation.
“Say (O Muhammad PBUH): “Praise and thanks be to Allah, and peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen (for His Message)….” [Surah An-Naml 27: 59]
and Allah said:
“…And If you would count the blessings of Allah you would not be able to count them…” [Surah Ibrahim 14:34]
In another Verse, Allah commands us to thank Him:
“Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying), I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2: 152]
In Surah Rahman (The Most Gracious), This Verse is repeated many times:
“Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinn and men) deny?”
Al-Junayd said: “I once heard al-Sari saying, ‘Because to give thanks for blessings is itself a blessing, one can never cease to give thanks.”
When the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) went to bed, He Would say this Dua:
“O Allah, in Your name I live and die”. (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 7394)
and when He (PBUH) woke up, He would say:
“Praise be to Allaah Who has brought us back to life after causing us to die, and unto Him is the resurrection.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 6312)
Suhaib (R.A) reported that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon Him) said: “Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (Allah), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.” [Muslim Chapter 14, Book 042, Number 7138]
Imam al-Shafi said: “Praised be Allah, Who, whenever He is thanked for one of His blessings, provides another blessing which in turn obliges one to thank Him again!”
So, to give thanks to Allah for His blessings is itself a Blessing which is bestowed upon a believer only. A believer will thank Allah for everything and in every situation, so thanking Allah will become a blessing itself. Let’s Say Alhumdulillah in every situation. InshaAllah.
Gratitude in the most trying of Circumstances: A Lesson for us all.
Al-Awza’i narrates from ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad that he said:
I went out to the shore as a patrolman and our patrol at the time was in ‘Areesh Misr. When I arrived at the shore, I came upon an open area and there was tent on it.
In the tent was a man who had no hands and legs and he was hard of hearing and sight. None of his limbs were of benefit to him but his tongue,
and was saying: O Allah, grant me (the ability) to praise you a praise through which I can sufficiently thank You for the favours You have bestowed upon me and by which You have preferred me over many whom You have created a great preference.
Al-Awza’i said: ‘Abdulla said: By Allah, I will certainly go to this man and I shall certainly ask him about this speech. An understanding, or knowledge or inspiration which was inspired to him?
So I approached the man and greeted him and said to him:
I heard you and you were saying: O Allah, grant me (the ability) to praise you a praise through which I can sufficiently thank You for the favours You have bestowed upon me and by which You have preferred me over many whom You have created a great preference.; so what favour from the favours of Allah upon you are you praising Him for? And in what way did He prefer you over others a great preference that you need to thank Him for it?
He said: Don’t you see what my Lord has done? By Allah, if He sent the sky to me as a fire which burned me, or ordered the mountains to crush me, or the oceans to drown me, or the earth to swallow me up; it would only cause me to be more grateful to my Lord for the favour of this tongue He bestowed upon me.
However, O slave of Allah: As long as you have come to me, I have a need of you! Perhaps you see me and the state I am in, I cannot harm nor benefit myself. I had a young son who used to come to me at the time of prayer and help me do my ablution, and when I became hungry he’d feed me, and I became thirsty he’d provide me with a drink but I have missed him for the last three days, so please look for him on my behalf may Allah have mercy on you.
I said: By Allah, no creature could fulfill the need of another which is greater in reward with Allah than a need similar to yours. So I set out looking for the young boy, and I hadn’t gone far before I came by a sand hill, and behold I found the boy who had been preyed upon by a beast which ate his flesh! I did istirjaa’ (saying Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him is our return) and said: How am I going to be able to face this man with a gentle face?!
As I was heading towards him, the thikr (words of remembrance) of Ayyub the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) came to my heart.
So when I reached him I greeted him and he responded and said: Are you not my companion?
I said yes!
He said: What did you do about my need?
I said: Are you more honourable in the site of Allah or was Ayyub the Prophet?
He said, of course Ayyub the Prophet.
I said: Do you know what His Lord did with him? Did He not test him in his wealth, family and children?
He said, yes.
I said: How did He find him?
He said: He found him patient, grateful and praising.
I said: He was not pleased with that for him until his relatives and loved ones deserted him?
He said, yes.
I said: How did His Lord find him?
He said: He found him patient, grateful and praising; make it short may Allah have mercy on you.
I said to him: The young boy you sent me in search of, I found him in a sand hill having been preyed upon by a beast which had eaten his flesh. May Allah increase for you tour reward and may He inspire you with patience.
The tested man said:
Praise be to Allah Who did not create from my progeny creations who would disobey Him and He would then punish them by the fire. He then did istirjaa’ and breathed a sigh and died.
I said: Indeed to Allah we belong and to Him is our return. What a huge calamity before me; a man like this, if I were to leave him the beasts would eat him, and if I stay I won’t be able to harm nor benefit. So I covered him in a cloak which was over him and sat at his head crying.
As I was sitting, four men came upon me and said: O slave of Allah, what is your situation and what is your story. So I told them my story and his. They said to me: uncover his face for us, perhaps we know him. I uncovered his face and the men fell upon him kissing his eyes and his hands alternately and saying:
May our father be sacrificed; for how long these eyes were lowered from the prohibitions of Allah. May our father be sacrificed; for how long this body prostrated before Allah while the people were sleeping.
I said: Who is this, may Allah have mercy on you?
They said, this is Abu Qilabah al-Jurmi, the companion of ibn ‘Abbas. He had tremendous love for Allah and the Prophet of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)!!
So we washed him and shrouded him with clothing we had with us and prayed over him and buried him. The men left and I went back to my station. When night fell, I put my head down and saw him in a dream, in a garden from the gardens of Paradise wearing two garments from the garments of Paradise while reciting the revelation (which means): “Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.” (13:24).
I said: Aren’t you my companion? He said, yes. I said: How did you receive this?!
Verily, with Allah are levels that cannot be attained except with patience at times of trial and gratitude at times of prosperity along with fear of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, in private and in public.
End quote from “ath-Thiqaat” by ibn Hibban (5:3-5)
How a chance meeting opened my eyes to the unacknowledged miracles within us
He fidgeted uncomfortably on his seat as he nudged his elbow to discreetly push back the loop of a plastic tube that was sticking out from the side of his wheel-chair. I lowered my head and pretended to re-check my audio-recorder in order to give him time to adjust himself, without the embarrassment of being observed.
Brother Salim* is a paraplegic and he is paralysed from the waist down. I was meeting him for an interview for a local newspaper about life in a wheel-chair. Before our scheduled interview, he had kindly sent me books and videos describing the details of his physical condition as well as the everyday challenges faced by people with paraplegia and quadriplegia. Therefore, I was aware of the purpose of that plastic tube that showed up accidentally. That tube was part of a urinary catheter.
The interview went fine, but I returned home a changed person. His story kept resonating in my mind. A sea diving accident had turned his life around: from an energetic air traffic controller to a sedate office worker; from a newly married man to a divorcee; from a physically fit athlete to a wheel-chair bound invalid.
"Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return" (Al Baqarah: 156).
Our Creator tests all of us in different ways. I prayed to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) to grant him patience, and to lighten his burden. I also supplicated to Him to keep me protected from such trials.
But that meeting had awoken another sensation inside me, a feeling that perhaps began as a faint quiver in my core on first seeing him, then grew to an intense throbbing with the blood flowing in every vein, till it reached a point that rattled and shook my very soul: a humbling sense of gratitude.
"Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny?" (Ar-Rahman:13).
My mind was crowded with questions. Have I ever consciously expressed gratitude to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) for my ability to move? Have I truly appreciated my Creator for giving me a perfect body? Have I ever realised that even when I'm sitting, my legs continue to work for me by providing balance? Have I ever thanked my Lord for the ability to effortlessly relieve myself?
Yes, to be able to answer the call of nature in privacy and with dignity is a great blessing of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala), something I had never realised before. Brother Salim, due to his condition caused by damage to the spinal cord, is unable to feel when he needs to go to the bathroom so he has to wear a catheter. And when he does go to the toilet, he requires the help of a nurse to clean him.
I remember a saying of one of our pious predecessors: "If a man is able to drink and expel a sip of water with ease, gratitude becomes due on him." Putting all other infinite attributes aside, I pondered and focused over just this one aspect of my body's blessings and it left me in awe.
"And in your creation, and what He scattered (through the earth) of moving (living) creatures are signs for people who have Faith with certainty" (Al-Jathiya: 4).
As a child I had been taught to utter the words of dhikr before and after going to the bathroom. I knew their meanings, but over the years, the remembrance had become a mindless reflex action. That is, until that day. Today, when I utter the word "Ghufranaka" as I leave the washroom, my mind is attentive and aware of the meaning, and my heart is humbled and filled with gratitude at the realisation that many have to suffer the pain of indignity and shame for this natural function of the human body.
Realisation is the first step towards true thankfulness. "No blessing is bestowed on a slave and he realises that it is from Allah, but the reward of giving gratitude for it is written for him..." (Patience and Gratitude by Ibn Al-Qayyim).
I owe my Creator the highest gratitude, so I aim to busy myself with ways of expressing it. The Messenger of Allah said: "There is a (compulsory) Sadaqa to be given for every joint of the human body (as a sign of gratitude to Allah) everyday the sun rises. To judge justly between two persons is regarded as Sadaqa, and to help a man concerning his riding animal by helping him to ride it or by lifting his luggage on to it, is also regarded as Sadaqa, and (saying) a good word is also Sadaqa, and every step taken on one's way to offer the compulsory prayer (in the mosque) is also Sadaqa and to remove a harmful thing from the way is also Sadaqa" (Bukhari).
*Name changed to protect the privacy of the Brother mentioned in the article.
Huma Imam is a U.A.E. based freelance writer with qualifications in Home Sciences. She has experience in voluntary work with Islamic centres and occasionally speaks at sisters' halaqas.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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