“And be thankful to Me; and do not be ungrateful”. (Qur’an: 2:152)
Thankfulness to God is one of the highest virtues which a man could aspire for. It is easy to be thankful when one has got an easy life, a prospering business, a respectful job and a happy family. It is a different story when things are not going as desired. Most of us, in such situations, remain obsessed with sorrow, forgetting countless bounties of God which we are bestowed with, even at the time of that tragedy. Perhaps it is this tendency which is mentioned in the Qur’an in these words: “And few amongst my servants are grateful”.
It is even more difficult to be grateful in such heart-breaking situations which a man of God has to face in his struggle to lead his people on right path (like the condition which our Holy Prophet, Muhammad, had to contend with). He faced abuse of the community, wrath of big tribal heads. Children used to throw stones on hi, women scattered thorny bushes in his path. And he remained cheerful and thankful to God.
When a man asked him why did he pray whole nights and fasted almost continuously, when he had so much work to do every day, the Prophet simply asked: “should I not be a thankful servant to Allah?” Many examples can be found of men of God bearing the burdens of almost inevitable persecutions with great patience; Muhammad faced them with cheerfulness and thankfulness. The difference between two attitudes is clear enough.
Not only this. His closest people also thought of these hardships as a sign of the grace of God. Had not God chosen them to bear such heavy burden in His cause? Was it not a sign of His pleasure with them? It was this thought which made them face cheerfully all this kind of persecutions inflicted by the enemies of God. It was this feeling which made Hazrat Ali not only “patient” but “thankful” when he was asked by the Holy Prophet to sleep in this (Prophet’s) bed, so that the Prophet could leave Mecca while his would-be killers (who ringed his house) thought that he was sleeping in his bed. His only question was: “Will your life be saved if I sleep in his bed?” When assured that it was the promise of God, he prostrated to God, thanking Him that He made his (Ali’s) life a ransom for the life of the Holy Prophet (S.A.)