Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil explores ways for us to begin cultivating gratitude in our day-to-day lives.
Allah Most High says in the Qur’an;
“Verily, We sent (Messengers) to many nations before you (O Muhammad). And We seized them with extreme poverty (or loss in wealth) and loss in health with calamities so that they might believe with humility.” (Sura al-An’am, 6:42)
We are all walking a challenging path in this dunya. No matter who you are, no matter where you find yourself in your life, please know that you are not alone. Lean on your support network; we were created to be social beings.
Allah places difficulty in our lives as a way to help us grow. How we choose to respond to our difficulties is up to us.
“I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me.” (Sura al-Dhariyat, 51:56)
Outwardly, it may not look like it, but each of us is carrying a story. We are all the products of our different circumstances, and we are all headed to that same, inexorable final destination – a meeting with our Creator.
Everything in this life that happens to us is an opportunity to draw closer to Allah, or further away. None of us can control so many things in our life – the kind of family we are born into, the weather, what happens at work or school – but we can choose how we respond.
“(Recall the time) when your Lord declared, ‘If you express gratitude, I shall certainly give you more, and if you are ungrateful, then My punishment is severe.'” (Sura Ibrahim, 14:7)
No matter how difficult things may feel for you right now, I invite you to ask yourself – what is one thing you can be grateful for? And when you can name one, then name another. Aim to find at least five specific things you can feel grateful for, and take a moment to truly let that sink in.
There is so much we all take for granted, until it is taken away.
Falling Back Into Childhood Patterns
So many of our problematic behavioural patterns begin from coping mechanisms in childhood. What may have worked to help us survive childhood end up working against us, when we become adults.
It takes awareness, hard work and often, professional support, to help rewire an adult brain. But it is possible. Change, through Allah’s help, is always possible.
Teaching Gratitude to Children
Teach the habit of gratitude to your children. Make it a daily bonding practice, perhaps at dinner time, or during your bedtime routine. Depending on the age and temperament of your child or children, you can make it into a game and ask them to describe three things they are happy about. What are three things they can say alhamdulilah for? The tasty meal Mama cooked, the way Baba helped put them to sleep and the company of sibling(s) to play with.
As your children grow older, you can help them create their own gratitude journals. The act of writing down what they’re grateful for makes it all the more real. This also becomes a wonderful way for you, the parent, to also grow your gratitude muscle.
Children learn from who we are – not always from what we say. And when they see us work hard to be grateful, no matter how difficult the circumstances – they will take after us. What blessed seeds to plant within the heart of our children. May the next generation have hearts full of gratitude and love for Allah and His Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.