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Quranic Terminology: Being (Un)Thankful to the Lord God (4)


Quranic Terminology: Being (Un)Thankful to the Lord God (4)


Published in June 2, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy



Fourthly: Quranic description of prophets/messengers as thankful human beings:

 Of course, all God's prophets/messengers are the leaders/imams of  the rest of human beings in being thankful, grateful, and appreciate towards the Lord God. Thus, their praising/glorifying their Lord, mentioned in many Quranic verses, means that they were tankful to Him. We provide some examples in the points below.

1- This is about how Noah was thankful to his Lord as God praises him here: "The descendants of those We carried with Noah. He was a thankful servant." (17:3).

2- This is the Lord God's praise of Abraham: "Abraham was an Umma, devoted to God, a monotheist, and was not of the polytheists. Thankful for His blessings. He chose him, and guided him to a Straight Path. And We gave him goodness in this world, and in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous." (16:120-122). That he is described as an Umma means that he had many good qualities such as monotheistic faith, devotion, devoutness in worship, sincerity, thankfulness, etc. and he adhered to (There is no God but Allah), as he never fell into the trap of polytheism and he passed all tests of life, ordained by God, successfully and within patience. This is why God has chosen him and guided him to the Straight Path of Righteousness and gave him plentitude in wealth and progeny; in the Hereafter, the will enter into Paradise.    

3- This is the Lord God's praise of Lot: "The people of Lot rejected the warnings. We unleashed upon them a shower of stones, except for the family of Lot; We rescued them at dawn." (54:33-34). Lot was sent as a prophet to guide the sinners who engaged into the homosexual debaucheries and practices; God eventually destroyed them and saved Lot because he was a righteous, thankful man who praised and glorified his Lord: "A blessing from Us. Thus We reward the thankful." (54:35). 

4- Moses was commanded by God, when he received tablets at Mount Al-Tur, in Sinai, Egypt, to be among the thankful ones who glorified and praised their Lord: "He said, "O Moses, I have chosen you over all people for My messages and for My Words. So take what I have given you, and be one of the thankful."" (7:144).

5- God has commanded David and his family, who were believers, to be among the thankful ones who glorified and praised their Lord: "..."O House of David, work with thankfulness," but a few of My servants are thankful." (34:13).

6- God has bestowed many bounties on Solomon and he was among the thankful prophets/messengers who praised and glorified their Lord God.

6/1: Solomon knew the tongues of birds and insects and he heard what the ant said and he, as a thankful prophet/messenger, implored God to be among those who perform good deeds and among the good ones on the Last Day: "Until, when they came upon the Valley of Ants, an ant said, "O ants! Go into your nests, lest Solomon and his troops crush you without noticing. "He smiled and laughed at her words, and said, "My Lord, direct me to be thankful for the blessings you have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do good works that please You. And admit me, by Your grace, into the company of Your righteous servants."" (27:18-19); this is echoed in the supplications of Abraham and Joseph in these verses respectively: ""My Lord! Grant me wisdom, and include me with the righteous ones." (26:83); "...Receive my soul in submission, and unite me with the righteous ones." (12:101). The prophets and messengers implored God to be included among the righteous, good people. It is a silly Sunnite myth to issue a 'decree' that someone is a good man or a saint (an ally) of God; how on earth did they manage to know that?!

6/2: Solomon expressed his thankfulness and his praise of the Lord God in this incident when the throne of the Queen of Sheba was brought before his eyes in a speed faster than the speed of light: "He said, "O notables, which one of you will bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?" An imp of the sprites said, "I will bring it to you before you rise from your seat. I am strong and reliable enough to do it." He who had knowledge from the Book said, "I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you." And when he saw it settled before him, he said, "This is from the grace of my Lord, to test me, whether I am grateful or ungrateful. He who is grateful, his gratitude is to his own credit; but he who is ungrateful-my Lord is Independent and Generous."" (27:38-40). 


Fifthly: between piety and being thankful:

1- The early believers in Yathreb with Muhammad were prevented from engaging into self-defense at first because they were very weak, while Qorayish troops attacked them within aggressive raids that caused fear among the Yathreb dwellers and immigrants, and later on, when they became stronger, the commands of engaging into self-defense fighting were issued by God to them in the Quran; their first victory within the battle of Badr destroyed the stature and dignity of Qorayish in Arabia; this launched a new era. After the battle of Badr, God has told them the following about thankfulness to their Lord God; this is real piety within glorifying/praising the Lord God: "And remember when you were few, oppressed in the land, fearing that people may capture you; but He sheltered you, and supported you with His victory, and provided you with good things - so that you may be thankful." (8:26).

2- Hence, thankfulness is linked to piety; this verse is also about the battle of Badr: "God had given you victory at Badr, when you were weak. So fear God, that you may be thankful." (3:123).


Sixthly: between adherence to patience and being thankful:

  Many Quranic verses link between patience and being thankful as the main features of pious ones; both descriptions are linked to the following points.

1- They are linked to pondering on blessings and bounties of the Lord God, as this increases one's piety, faith, and thankfulness: "And of His signs are the ships sailing the sea like flags. If He willed, He could have stilled the winds, leaving them motionless on its surface. Surely in that are signs for every patient, thankful person." (42:32-33); "Have you not seen how the ships sail through the sea, by the grace of God, to show you of His wonders? In that are signs for every patient, thankful person." (31:31). 

2- They are linked to pondering on the destruction/penalties exacted on the sinners/disbelievers among the ancient nations; e.g., the torment of the people of Sheba who were unthankful to God for His bounties bestowed on them: "But they said, "Our Lord, lengthen the distances of our journeys." They wronged themselves; so We made them history, and We scattered them in every direction. In this are lessons for every patient, thankful person." (34:19).  

3- They are linked to pondering on what had occurred to the sinners/disbelievers among the ancient nations: "We sent Moses with Our Signs: "Bring your people out of darkness into light, and remind them of the Days of God." In that are signs for every patient and thankful person."" (14:5).


Seventhly: God describes Himself as Thankful/Appreciative within the metaphorical, figurative style:

1- God says the following about the generous, pious ones who offer their best food (NOT leftovers or trashy items) to the needy as they desire to please/gratify God and to avoid entering into Hell: "And they offer food, though they love it, to the poor, and the orphan, and the captive. "We only feed you for the sake of God. We want from you neither compensation, nor thankfulness. We dread from our Lord a frowning grim Day."" (76:8-10). God will reward their goodness with goodness within thankfulness and appreciation on His part: ""This is a reward for you. Your efforts are well appreciated."" (76:22); "Is the reward of goodness anything but goodness?" (55:60); "But whoever desires the Hereafter, and pursues it as it should be pursued, while he is a believer; these-their effort will be appreciated." (17:19). Hence, these generous, pious monotheists desired the Hereafter and performed many good deeds within piety, thankfulness, and praising/glorifying their Lord God.

2- Of course, God will reward in this world and in the Hereafter those thankful ones who praise/glorify Him within piety and monotheism: "...And God will reward the thankful ones." (3:144); "...and We will reward the thankful ones." (3:145).

3- God uses the figurative, metaphorical style in the Quran when he employs words that describe people and describe Himself; i.e., by using human-related words to indicate qualities/deeds of God. Hence, the same word is twice (or more) to refer to different levels of meaning within the same topic or context in the Quran; this is exemplified here using the verb (remember) twice here in this verse: "So remember Me, and I will remember you..." (2:152); thus, we remember God by praising/glorifying His Holy Name, but He remember the pious ones by including them within His rewards/mercy in Paradise.

4- In the same vein, God describes Himself as Thankful/Appreciative, as per the following examples: "What would God accomplish by your torment, if you have given thanks, and have believed? God is Thankful and Cognizant." (4:147); "...Whoever volunteers good - God is Thankful and Cognizant." (2:158). The sense of His being Thankful/Appreciative is linked to His forgiveness and forbearance: "Those who recite the Book of God, and perform the prayer, and spend of what We have provided for them, secretly and publicly, expect a trade that will not fail. He will pay them their dues in full, and will increase them from His bounty. He is Forgiving and Thankful." (35:29-30); "The Gardens of Eden, which they will enter. They will be adorned therein with gold bracelets and pearls, and their garments therein will be of silk. And they will say, "Praise God, who has lifted all sorrow from us. Our Lord is Most Forgiving, Most Thankful." (35:33-34); "That is the good news God gives to His servants who believe and do good deeds. Say, "I ask of you no wage for it, except affection among the near of kin." Whoever does a good deed, We will increase its goodness for him. God is Forgiving and Thankful." (42:23); "If you lend God a good loan, He will multiply it for you, and will forgive you. God is Thankful and Forbearing." (64:17).


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