Chapter One: The Opening (Al Fatiha)

Verses 2 & 3......Part 3

(This session is also available in audio and video)

Session 13

Chapter 1    Verses 2 and 3, a continuation

This beautiful phrase " الحمد لله " is not mere words that you say and repeat; rather, as you praise God, the true emotion of gratitude for his blessings should envelope your heart.  This appreciation shines through and overflows to the entire world around you.  It is what compels you to stand in prayer before God as you feel one with the universe. 

We have all experienced this to some degree in our lives… Suppose that you were stricken by a crisis, or you fall into great distress.  Then a true friend comes along to help you out, be by your side and relieve you from your troubles.  At first you acknowledge this favor and say to yourself “this person deserves my deep gratitude”.  As the feelings of love and appreciation fill your heart, they move you to act in a way pleasing to this person.  Maybe you send your friend a gift, or prepare his or her favorite meal.  And when you tell those close to you about your friend’s goodwill and generosity, they become appreciative and may even seek this person in their hour of need.  This is how the circle of blessings and praise starts and spreads among people.  As more people go through the same experience you went through, gratitude and virtue expand and grow.  Similarly, Praising God increases his gifts and bounties as He affirms in the Quran:

Remember, your Lord proclaimed: "I shall give you more if you are grateful; but if you are ungrateful then surely My punishment is very great." (14:7)

So being thankful for a blessing grants you more blessings, and these in turn bring on more praise.  If you take a moment to review your entire life, you will realize that every moment in it deserves gratitude.  Even as you sleep, God's favors surround you as stated in this verse:

God gathers up the souls of those who die, and of those who do not die, in their sleep; then He keeps back those ordained for death, and sends the others back for an appointed term. Surely there are signs in this for those who reflect. (39:42)

When you get out of bed in the morning, God is the one who enables you to move.  And without His favor, you would not be able to stand.  When you eat your breakfast, God is the one who created this food for you and sustained you with it.  And this merits praise and appreciation.  When you head down the street to go to work, God enables you to reach your destination and subjects the means of transport for you.  Whether you own a car, walk, or use public transportation, He is praiseworthy.  Moreover, God is the one who has facilitated this job for you to gain livelihood, and feed your family through lawful means; which also merits praise and gratitude.  Then you return home to find your parents, your friends or your spouse and children, all immense gifts from Allah.  In fact, every movement of your life warrants gratitude.  That is why we should always commend our Lord even for the difficulties that we face, because what we consider hardship is, more often than not, good for us.  God Almighty says:

You who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will, nor should you treat your wives harshly, hoping to take back some of the bride-gift you gave them, unless they are guilty of something clearly outrageous. Live with them in accordance with what is fair and kind: if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something in which God has put much good.(4:19)

We praise our lord for His judgment as it always contains good, whether we like it or we disagree with it.   By saying  " الحمد لله "for whatever happens to you in life, you acknowledge that all matters belong to God; He brought you to life, and He is most aware of what is best for you.

When was the last time you took a few moments out of your day to be truly grateful? Not just to say and repeat “ الحمد لله ".  Not to think to yourself “…I am thankful for my job, and for my health and so on…….” but to truly mean it with all your being, until it move you from within.  If you have not felt that for a while, today is a good day to start, even with just a few moments of gratitude.  Perhaps the greatest supplication that you and I can do, is not to ask God for things, but just to say “thank you”