Shukr is a quality and characteristic that mankind as a whole have yet to master. It is often overlooked in the lives of many and is rarely given its due importance. This lack of having Shukr is recurrent in history and will continue till the end of time, and has brought many nations to their dreaded end. You are probably wondering by now what exactly Shukr is.
Shukr is an Arabic term that is often translated as ‘thankfulness’ and ‘gratitude’. Shukr has been defined by scholars of Islam as the mentioning of God’s blessings upon the slave’s tongue, the slave’s recognition of these blessings in his heart, and obedience of the limbs due to these blessings. Therefore, Shukr stems from acknowledgement of God’s blessings upon you, and this is then shown in the form of gratitude and appreciation through actions of the heart, tongue, and body, and sincere worship to God.
Shukr helps us to focus our minds on God, something that has unfortunately become so difficult in today’s day and age, with the hustle and bustle of life and the various distractions and attractions in this world. It helps to correct our perceptions and serves as a reminder to us that everything we have in life comes from God and will inevitably return to God. Our health, our wealth, our youth, our time, and our lives are all gifts granted to us by God Almighty and we must constantly remember Him and thank Him for the uncountable blessings showered upon us, and doing this will only increase us in more blessings as God Almighty tells us in the following verse:
وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡۖ وَلَٮِٕن ڪَفَرۡتُمۡ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ۬
“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but God Almighty), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe.” [Ibraheem 14:7]
How Merciful is God Almighty! From this verse, we learn that showing Shukr will increase us in even more blessings, and so even when we thank and praise God for His many blessings, He continues to increase us in them, and this is from the vast bounty of our Lord.
Amazingly, Ramadan is connected to Shukr as well. In fact, one of the main purposes for the fasting in Ramadan is so that we may learn to be grateful, and so that we may do Shukr.
In Islam, we are taught to not only show gratitude and appreciation to God, but also to the people, for their favours upon us as well. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) would often stress on practicing Shukr and say: “He who does not thank people, does not thank God.”
Looking back into Islamic history, we see the examples and stories of the legends that came before us, our Prophets and pious predecessors, and can derive numerous lessons from their lives – including those of Shukr and Sabr.
Shukr and Sabr, the Arabic terms for gratitude and perseverance, often come hand in hand with one another. As Muslims, we are advised to show Shukr in times of good and Sabr in times of bad.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ explained this lesson to us eloquently in his saying:
“How amazing is the case of the believer; there is good for him in everything, and this characteristic is exclusively for him alone. If he experiences something pleasant, he is thankful, and that is good for him; and if he comes across some diversity, he is patient, and that is good for him.”
So, dear brothers and sisters, we must take care to be grateful and exert patience at all times, as we will continuously be put through tests in this world by God, and only through beautiful Shukr and Sabr will we be able to achieve the status of true believers.
We ask God Almighty to grant us a beautiful Shukr in this blessed month and the months to follow, to make us from those who show Shukr at all times, and to gift us with a beautiful reward in this world and the Hereafter.