Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Thankfulness
الحَمْدُ للهِ، الحَمْدُ للهِ دائِمِ الفَضْلِ والإِحسان، الذي يستحِقُّ أن يُشكَرَ في القلبِ والجوارحِ وعلى اللِّسان، وأن يُحْمَدَ في وَقتِ الفَرَحِ وفي وقتِ الِامتِحان، نَحْمَدُهُ تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، مَنْ يَهْدِ اللهُ فلا مضل له، ومَنْ يُضلِلْ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ، ونَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، له الملك وله الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا ومولانا مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُه وَرَسُولُهُ، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمّة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحقّ، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعَلَى آلِهِ وأَصْحابِهِ ومَنْ تَبِعَهم بإِحْسانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّيْنِ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ اللهِ اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون، يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا، يُصْلِحْ لَكُم أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا، يا أيها المسلمون اتقوا الله فيما أوصى وأمر، وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال اللَّهِ تعالى في كتابه العزيز بعد أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم، وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, “You should complete the number of days and proclaim Allah's greatness for the guidance He has given you so that hopefully you will be thankful.” One of the main purposes behind the month we have just completed, the month of fasting and, indeed, one of its chief benefits is that it teaches us to be thankful. For we are suddenly reminded of how great a blessing those things we often take for granted throughout the rest of the year, such as food, drink and sleep. Even just a few hours without them drives home to us how blessed we truly are to have them. And make no mistake, they are an incredible blessing - how the sky gives forth water and the earth gives forth all manner of fruits, grains and vegetables, which sustain us and all manner of life, including livestock. A remarkable, perfectly balanced ecosystem that sustains us throughout our time on this planet, put in place for us by a generous Lord. Allah says:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً لَكُمْ مِنْهُ شَرَابٌ وَمِنْهُ شَجَرٌ فِيهِ تُسِيمُونَ يُنْبِتُ لَكُمْ بِهِ الزَّرْعَ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالنَّخِيلَ وَالْأَعْنَابَ وَمِنْ كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآَيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
the translation of which is, “It is He who sends down water from the sky. From it you drink and from it come the shrubs among which you graze your herds. And by it He makes crops grow for you and olives and dates and grapes and fruit of every kind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect.” And He says,
وَالْأَنْعَامَ خَلَقَهَا لَكُمْ فِيهَا دِفْءٌ وَمَنَافِعُ وَمِنْهَا تَأْكُلُونَ
the translation of which is, “And He created livestock. There is warmth for you in them, and various uses and some you eat.”. But this is just the start of Allah’s blessings to us, for truly His blessings are without number. For a start, he gave us our own existence. Allah says,
وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُمْ مِنْ بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
the translation of which is, “Allah brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing at all, and gave you hearing, sight and hearts so that perhaps you would show thanks.” And then He created a world for us to live in, with everything in it serving us. Allah says:
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَأَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَكُمْ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْفُلْكَ لِتَجْرِيَ فِي الْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْأَنْهَارَ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ دَائِبَيْنِ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَآَتَاكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ
the translation of which is, “Allah is He who created the heavens and the earth and sends down water from the sky and by it brings forth fruits as provision for you. He has made the ships subservient to you to run upon the sea by His command, and He has made the rivers subservient to you, and He has made the sun and moon subservient to you holding steady to their courses, and He has made the night and day subservient to you. He has given you everything you have asked Him for. If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them. Man is indeed wrongdoing, ungrateful.”
And He did not leave it there, but, knowing our propensity to forget, sent us reminder after reminder, Messenger after Messenger, Prophet after Prophet, culminating in the greatest of all His blessings, the rahma lil-‘alamin and the seal of the Prophets, and then He inspires us and guides us to follow him and be among his umma, all on account of His immense concern and profound solicitude for our well-being. His generosity to us is immense. And yet what does much of mankind do. They take all of this and many other blessings for granted. They view them as theirs by right. They are not thankful. Allah says,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ
the translation of which is, “Allah shows favour to mankind but most of them are not thankful.” And Allah also says:
وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ مِنَّا رَحْمَةً ثُمَّ نَزَعْنَاهَا مِنْهُ إِنَّهُ لَيَئُوسٌ كَفُورٌ، وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَاهُ نَعْمَاءَ بَعْدَ ضَرَّاءَ مَسَّتْهُ لَيَقُولَنَّ ذَهَبَ السَّيِّئَاتُ عَنِّي إِنَّهُ لَفَرِحٌ فَخُورٌ
the translation of which is, “If We let man taste mercy from Us, and then take it away from him, he is despairing, ungrateful; but if We let him taste blessings after hardship has afflicted him, he says, ‘My troubles have gone away,’ and he is overjoyed, boastful” He thinks that it is all down to him. ‘Idid it!’ ‘I turned round the business!’ ‘I got the job because of my skills and qualifications.’ Many fall into the same trap Qarun and others fell into, for this was exactly what he said about the tremendous wealth he had acquired.
إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ عِنْدِي
the translation of which is, “I have only been given it because of knowledge I have.” And we all know what happened to him - the earth swallowed him up. This vaunted knowledge he thought he possessed, all of that vast wealth availed him naught. But if he had had even but a small modicum of thankfulness in his being he could have been saved. But he did not. And that is the state of most of mankind! But we are not most of mankind. We are Muslims, with access to the teachings of the final Messenger sent to bring mankind from the darkness into the light, and his example, not Qarun’s is the one we follow. And he was the most grateful of slaves, expressing his gratitude not just with his tongue but with every atom of his entire body, in every moment of his existence.
‘A’isha, رضي الله عنها, narrated that he, صلى الله عليه وسلم, used to stand in prayer during the night for so long that his feet would become swollen, so one night she asked him why he used to do that when Allah had already forgiven him everything he had ever done and everything that he would ever do, and he replied:
أفلا أكون عبدا شكورا
“Should I not be a grateful slave?” And he was not alone in this, for this quality of shukr, this capacity to be grateful, was one shared by all the Messengers, for Allah refers to Nuh, عليه والسلام, as an عبد شكور “a grateful slave” and Ibrahim, عليه والسلام as شاكرا لأنعمه “thankful for his blessings”. They knew that everything that came to them, everything that happened to them, was a blessing from Allah. And they knew that it was from Allah’s fadl - His grace and bounty - not because they inherently deserved it, and so they were grateful. As Allah says:
وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَا مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا
the translation of which is, “Were it not for Allah’s favour upon you and His mercy, not one of you would ever have been purified.”
These favours of Allah to us are of three types: blessings relating to this world such as health and wealth, blessings relating to our deen such as right action, taqwa and knowledge of Allah, and blessings relating to the next world such as our being compensated for the tiny amount of good actions we do with an immense and everlasting reward. He is the source for all of these blessings - there is no other source. Any believing slave who reflects on this cannot help but be overwhelmed by the generosity of his Lord and the scope of His blessings and feel grateful.
Think, for example, on the fact of your sitting here today, listening to this khutba as Muslims. In a time when the vast majority of mankind are floundering around in darkness and kufr, unaware of the existence of their Lord, Allah has given you belief and knowledge of Him. He has singled you out for the blessing of Islam, the greatest gift a human being could possibly hope for. So is that not blessing enough for you? Is that not enough of a reason in itself to thank Him? We cannot help but feel profoundly grateful.
And if we reflect further, we will realise that our gratitude and thankfulness is itself a blessing of the highest order, and something we must also be thankful for. For, as we mentioned earlier, only a select few of mankind are given the capacity to be grateful, the rest blinded by the gifts from ever seeing the Giver. It is narrated that Dawud, عليه والسلام, said,
“يا ربِّ كيف أشكُرُك وشُكرِي نِعمةٌ عليَّ مِن عندِك تستَوْجِبُ بِها شُكرا؟”
“My Lord, how can I be grateful to you, when my gratitude is itself a blessing from you that I must thank you for?” Allah replied,
“الآنَ شَكَرتَنِي يَا دَاوُود.”
“Now, you have truly thanked Me, Dawud.”
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيمالحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين كما ينبغي لجلالِ وجهِهِ وعظيمِ سُلطانِه، أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله تعالى في كتابه العزيز: “وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ”
Allah says, the translation of which is, “Give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful.”
Allah has given us three instruments for expressing our thanks to Him - our tongues, our hearts and our limbs.
With our tongues, we express our shukr in one of two ways: the first way is by speaking about the blessings your Lord has given you. Allah says:
“وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ”
the translation of which is, “And as for the blessing of your Lord, speak out!” And the Prophet said,
“التَحَدُّثُ بِنِعْمَةِ اللهِ شُكر”
“Speaking about the blessings of Allah is shukr.”
And the second is by hamd - praising Allah. The most basic, and indeed the most potent way of doing this is by saying al-hamdu lillah, for that is the way that Allah Himself taught us to praise and thank Him, opening His Book with those Words. There is no better way of expressing your thanks to Allah with your tongue, and simply by saying it, you bring further blessings upon yourself. The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said,
“ما أَنعمَ اللهُ عَلى عَبدٍ مِن نعمةٍ صغُرَتْ أَو كبُرتْ فقال الحمدُ لِلهِ إِلا كَان قد أُعطِيَ أفضلَ مِمَّا أَخَذَ”
“There is no slave who says alhamdulillah upon receiving a blessing from Allah, large or small, except that Allah will grant that slave another blessing better than the one he received.”
With our hearts, we express shukr by acknowledging and affirming that every blessing you get comes from Allah and Allah alone, and having absolute certainty about that. It is narrated that Musa, عليه والسلام, asked Allah how Adam, عليه والسلام, was able to thank Him for the incredible blessings He bestowed upon him, by creating him with His own hands, blowing His ruh into him, making the angels bow down to him and teaching him the names of everything. Allah replied,
“علِمَ أنّ ذلك منّي، فكَانت معرفتُهُ بِذلك شُكرا”
“He knew that those things were from Me. And his knowledge of that was shukr.” This knowledge of which we speak is a conscious awareness and implies a perfect tawhid - an awareness that Allah is One and that He is the only Actor, that nothing comes to pass except through His Power.
However, a word of warning. The fact that the ultimate source of every blessing we receive is Allah does not mean that we overlook the means by which it reaches us. The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said,
“لا يشكُرُ اللهَ مَن لا يشكُرُ الناسَ”
“The one who has not thanked people has not thanked Allah.” In other words, Allah does not accept the shukr of the slave who does not thank the means, so make sure to always thank people, whoever they may be, when they do you a good turn.
With our limbs, we express shukr by wearying them out in worshipping Allah, by doing actions whose sole purpose is the worship of Allah, obeying Allah not because we have to but because we feel the need to. Like the Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, who, out of shukr to Allah, used to stand so long in prayer during the night that his feet would swell.
It is important for us to realise that this shukr that Allah commands us to have is for our own benefit not Allah’s. Allah is Rich, Beyond need. Allah says:
“وَمَنْ شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّي غَنِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ”
the translation of which is, “Whoever gives thanks only does so to his own gain. Whoever is ungrateful, my Lord is Rich Beyond Need, Generous.” And that is because shukr is the peg that stop blessings blowing away as Ibn ‘Ata’illah al-Iskandari, رضي الله عنه, says in his Hikam,
“مَن لم يشكُرِ النِعَمَ فقد تعرَّض لِزوالِها، وَمَنْ شَكَرَها فقد قيَّدها بِعِقالِها”
“He who is not thankful for blessings opens the way for them to vanish away, whereas he who is thankful for them ties them down so they cannot escape.” And, indeed, shukr does not just protect and preserve the blessings that you have, but opens the way for more. Allah says:
لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ
the translation of which is, “If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase.” So, when Allah grants you something good - such as good health or lots of wealth or good looks or precocious talent - make sure that you are thankful for that. And make shukr your constant companion for as long as the blessing lasts - do not allow yourself to take it for granted for even a single moment or feel inordinately proud on account of it. For as soon as you forget the One who granted you that blessing and stop thanking him for it, you run the risk of incurring Allah’s wrath and its being taken away.
Being thankful to Allah for one’s blessings is, however, the lowest form of shukr. For those with a deeper understanding of existence thank Allah for blessings and afflictions alike, knowing that afflictions are but blessings in disguise and a sign of their Lord’s love for them. Whatever happens, they say alhamdulillah - “All praise belongs to Allah”, utterly content with what Allah has decree for them. It is about these people that the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said,
أوَّلُ ما يُدعَى إلى الجنَّةِ الذين يحمَدون اللهَ عزّ وجلّ في السَّرَّاءِ والضَّرَّاء
“The first ones to be invited into the Garden will be those who praise Allah in both times of joy and times of hardship.”
For such people, there are no blessings or afflictions - all they see are acts of the Mun’im -Bestower of blessings. Nothing distracts them from the fact that absolutely everything that comes from Allah is blessing and that His hand is in every thing. And so, their state is one of constant and permanent thankfulness, never leaving that state for an instant.
This is the reality of shukr, the highest form of worship and noblest quality of character. May Allah open our hearts so that we may understand and witness the incredible generosity and wisdom of a Lord whose blessings are uncountable and uncounted, a Lord who never leaves us to fend for ourselves but sustains us and cares for us in every instant. May Allah grant us tongues which are always wet with His praise and His thanks, hearts which are always filled with gratitude and contentment, and limbs which move only out of obedience to Him. May Allah make shukr our constant companion.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ.
وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ (3) وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تجْعَلِ الدُّنْيَا أَكْبَرَ هَمِّنَا وَلَا مَبْلَغَ عِلْمِنَا وَلَا تُسَلِّطْ عَلَيْنَا بِذُنُوبِنَا مَن لاَّ يَخَافُكَ وَلَا يَرْحَمُنَا
اللَّهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ لَنَا دِينَنَا الذِي هُوَ عِصْمَةُ أَمْرِنَا وَأَصْلِحْ لَنَا دُنْيَانَا التِي فِيهَا مَعَاشُنَا وَأَصْلِحْ لَنَا آخِرَتُنَا التِي إِلَيْهَا مَعَادُنَا وَاجْعَلِ الحَيَاةَ زِيَادَةً لَنَا فِي كُلِّ خَيْرٍ وَاجْعَلِ المَوْتَ رَاحَةً لَنَا مِن كُلِّ شَرٍّ
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.