Namaz is a form of worship that is mandatory. Yet it is also a way of asking for His help and to get closer to Him. And for many people it is the means of thanking Allah. However does it not often happen that we thanked Allah in namaz and yet when something bad happens, we immediately express our ingratitude over what befell us? Then is namaz really the best way to thank Allah? Or is there some other way we can tell Him?
I believe that we can; i.e. through ‘sincere actions’. For that we need to inculcate the following two qualities in ourselves:
Contentment: it is a condition in which your heart and mind are satisfied in whatever circumstances you find yourself in. You accept everything as it is and submit your will to Allah. When you achieve this state that is when you are truly thankful to Allah for whatever you have. Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) said “Allah loves those who are content.”
Another aspect of contentment is to remain steadfast in one’s belief in Allah when faced with adverse circumstances and not to complain. We find a great example in the story of Hazrat Yunus (AS) which is stated in Surah Saffat, ayats (139-148). It tells us of what happens if we lose faith in Allah. Hazrat Yunus was sent to the city of Nineveh. Initially they did not listen to him and continued being idolaters as well as lead a shameless life. So not only was he discouraged and angered but condemned them as well. Then he ran away. However he was thrown off the ship he had boarded and was swallowed by a gigantic fish. It was then he realized his mistake and wholeheartedly repented. As a result Allah relieved him of his predicament, otherwise there he would have remained.
Humbleness: To acknowledge that everything you have (personal qualities, intellect, success, wealth, children etc) is all due to Allah is another way you can show your gratitude towards Him. When you believe that everything you have achieved in life is your own doing that is indulging in ‘vanity or self-pride’, and you show your ungratefulness by doing so. Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) said “That person will not enter Paradise who hath one atom of pride in his heart.” And a man present there said, ‘Verily, a man is fond of having good clothes, and good shoes.’ Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) replied, “God is Beauty and delighted in the beautiful; but pride is holding man in contempt.”
An incident is related in Surah Sad, ayats (18-24) which shows just how much Allah dislikes vanity. It is said that two men appeared before Hazrat Daud (AS) with a problem. He only heard one side of the case and gave his viewpoint and at the same time thought to himself that there were not many righteous men in the world, and that he himself was just and fair. At that exact moment the two men disappeared! That made him realize, at once that he had become vain. So this means that although Hazrat Daud (AS) glorified and thanked Allah profusely for what he had been bestowed with, but for that instance he had become ungrateful.
There is no doubt that applying these qualities requires a lot of effort as we are often faced with situations in life where they are put under test. Yet from the above examples we see that Allah tested even his prophets to show us that they also had their moments of weakness and were simply human beings like us. The difference is that most of them had the wisdom to understand when they had committed a mistake, and would seek to rectify it.
If we do the same; then Allah will be happy with us. And that should be a major purpose of our lives!