Many people would say that happiness is about being thankful. Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal in which you write down what you are thankful for does increase your happiness. Here are Islamic teachings about Gratitude from my first book, “The Basic Values of Islam.”
A state of thankfulness
Therefore remember Me. I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and never show me ingratitude.
The Holy Quran 2:152
Our Lord commands us to never show ingratitude. As humans we often forget the blessings of our Lord, especially when we seem to be going through hard times. But the believer must strive to be grateful to Allah even when times are tough.
Has there (not) been a long time when man was not even a mentionable thing. It is We who have created man out of a sperm-drop intermingled, so that We might test him. And therefore We have made him hearing and seeing. Surely We have guided him to the way (and it rests with him to prove himself) either grateful or ungrateful.
The Holy Quran 76:1-3
This is a powerful verse that teaches that our test in this life is, at its core, a matter of whether we will be grateful or ungrateful to our Creator.
When God brought you out of your mother’s womb, you were empty of knowledge. But he gave you eyes and ears and hearts, in order that you may give thanks to him.
The Holy Quran 16:78
…Whoever is thankful (to God) is thankful for his own self…
The Holy Quran 31:12
…If you give thanks, I will give you more…
The Holy Quran 14:7
Allah promises us that if we are thankful to Him, He will give us more. If you want more of something in your life, you need to be thankful for what you already have!
Whatever blessing you have, it is from God…
The Holy Quran 16:53
…If you count the favors of Allah, never will you be able to number them…
The Holy Quran 14:34
[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].”
The Holy Quran 7:16-17
A powerful statement from Satan: “You will not find most of them grateful to You.” Satan wants us to be ungrateful!
We enjoined on man to recognize the rights of his parents. His mother bore him in her womb with weakness upon weakness and his weaning took two years. Give thanks to Me and to your parents. All things will return to Me.
The Holy Quran 31:14
Allah orders us to show gratitude to Him and to our parents.
We have ordained humankind to show kindness toward their parents, for in pain their mothers carry them and in pain do they give birth. In thirty months they bear and wean; thus when they attain maturity they may pray, “Lord, inspire us that we may be thankful for the blessings You bestowed upon us and our parents. Kindle within us the desire to do what is upright and pleasing to You. Grant us righteous offspring, Lord. Verily, we turn to You in repentance, surrendering ourselves in earnest.”
The Holy Quran 46:15
If you are thankless—Allah is in no need of you—yet He is not pleased by ingratitude of His worshippers. And if you are thankful He is pleased by it in you…
The Holy Quran 39:7
These verses illustrate the connection between gratitude to Allah and the desire to please Him.
…Anyone who desires the reward in this world shall be given it here, and anyone who desires the reward in the hereafter shall be given it there. Soon We will reward the thankful.
The Holy Quran 3:145
O you who believe, eat from the good things we provided for you, and be thankful to God, if you do worship Him alone.
The Holy Quran 2:172
One (a jinn) who had knowledge of the Scripture said: “I will fetch it (the throne of the Queen of Sheba) to you in the twinkling of an eye.” As soon as Solomon saw the throne set before him, he said: “This is of the grace of my Lord that He may test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is Free of all Need, Generous Beyond Accounting.”
The Holy Quran 27:40
Prophet Solomon knew that all help and blessings are a test of whether we are grateful or ungrateful. And gratitude benefits the grateful person the most.
Ayesha (ra) said that the Prophet used to pray at night until his feet would swell. She asked, “Why do you do this, O Messenger of God, when God has forgiven your past and future sins?” The Prophet replied, “Should I not be a grateful servant (Of God)?”
Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 478
The Prophet prayed to God out of gratitude.
…Whoever does a favor for you or an act of kindness, then repay him in a similar manner. But if you cannot find that which you can reward him with, then supplicate God for him continuously, until you think you have repaid him.
The Prophet Muhammad, as recorded in Ahmed #6106
The Messenger of God would accept gifts and reward generously on account of that.
Recorded in Bukhari #2445
Whoever does not thank the people does not thank Allah.
Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Sunan Abu Daud (2/290), Saheeha (416)
Showing gratitude to people is very important in Islam.
When one of you sees another who is superior to him in point of wealth and creation, let him look to him who is below him. That is more proper that you hold not in contempt the favor of God towards you.
The Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Bukhari, Muslim (Vol. 4, Book Pertaining to Piety & Softening of Hearts, Hadith No. 7070), Tirmidthi
We must be thankful for whatever we have and we must protect ourselves from feeling jealous of other’s blessings.
My Lord offered to make the broad pebble-bed of Makkah gold for me, but I said, “No my Lord! Rather (grant) that I may fill (my belly) one day, and be hungry (another) day, and that when I am hungry, I may humble myself before Thee, and remember Thee, and that when I am full I may praise Thee and be thankful to Thee.”
The Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Tirmidthi, Ahmad
How excellent the affairs of the believer! His affair, all of it, is good for him; and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If prosperity comes to him, he is thankful (to God), and if adversity falls on him, he perseveres patiently: so it is all good (for him).
The Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Muslim
In times of prosperity the believer is thankful to Allah. In times of difficulty the believer is patient. In both circumstances the believer is rewarded.
The Prophet announced to the people the death of Negus (Christian King of Abyssinia) on the day on which he died, and went out with them to the place of prayer, and made them stand in rows, and offered a short prayer for him.
The Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Bukhari, Muslim
Negus, the Christian king of Abyssinia, gave protection and asylum to the Muslims when they were persecuted in Mekkah. The Prophet never forgot the king’s kindness and therefore prayed for him when he passed away.
There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.
The Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Bukhari Vol 8, Book 76, No 421
Let us be thankful for our health and free time!