The Pillars of Gratitude’ by Imaam Sadi (rahimahullaah)
Allaah (The Most High) said:
لِتَسْتَوُوا عَلَىٰ ظُهُورِهِ ثُمَّ تَذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ رَبِّكُمْ إِذَا اسْتَوَيْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ وَتَقُولُوا سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ
وَإِنَّا إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ
In order that you may mount on their backs, and then may remember the Favour of your Lord when you mount thereon, and say: ”Glory to Him Who has subjected this to us, and we could never have it (by our efforts). And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return!” (43:13-14)
Mentioned (in the above ayah) are the three pillars of gratitude, and they are:
- To acknowledge Allaah’s blessings
- To Proclaim Allaah’s Blessings, speak about them and Praise Allah for it.
- To Submit to Allah and utilise these blessings to carry out acts of worship for the sake of Allaah (alone).
That is because the intent behind the statement of Allah: [وَإِنَّا إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ – And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return] is an acknowledgement of recompense and to prepared for it. The objective behind these favours is that they are an aid by way of which the slave (seeks) to fulfil that which Allah has commanded him (i.e. acts of worship and obedience etc)
And regarding Allaah’s saying: [ثُمَّ تَذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ رَبِّكُمْ إِذَا اسْتَوَيْتُمْ – And then may remember the favour of your Lord when you mount thereon]; this is a specific mention of the (favour) in that instance (i.e. at the time in which the person enjoys those favours) because blessings intoxicates many amongst the creation, makes them heedless, evil and ungrateful. Therefore, this state in which Allah commanded (a person to remember Allah for His Favours) is a medication for this destructive ailment.
When the slave recalls that he is completely surrounded by the blessings of Allah and that nothing is from him (or herself), but rather blessings are (from Allah) -its means are facilitated and its obtainment made easy (by Allaah)- he (she) submits to Allah, humbles him (or herself), thanks and Praises Allaah. And by way of this he (or she) is given continuous blessings. [Source: Fataawa Sadiyyah page: 61.. abridged and slightly paraphrased]