Allah (SW) honored humans in so many different ways. From our creation, teaching us names of things, asking angels to bow down in respect to us, to making earth available in its provisions for our own benefit. Allah (SW) said: {Do you not see, [O humanity,] that God has subjugated for you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth and has showered you with His blessings- manifest and hidden?} 31:20.

Yet life is meant to be a test, as Allah (SW) said: {The One who created life and earth to test you} 67:2. And of His tests is to prohibit things that bring harm to our existence. One can understand the direct reason behind the prohibition of such matters, but in this article, I would like to bring attention to one specific issue of concern that can be harmful in the long term if one is not mindful.

I see people within our very community bored, always complaining, pleased with nothing, and worst of all, ungrateful. I relate this syndrome to the easy access to excess, the abundant availability of provisions in life, especially for the people of wealth. Even if most of us would not necessarily label ourselves as “wealthy,” compared to a large percentage of the world’s population, we definitely are.

When I am speaking of access to excess, I’m not even including prohibited or haram things, but rather the access to Halal things in a way that is not appreciated. When you have access to obtain what you desire in life, the value of such blessings may start to seem mediocre and you start looking for new things to please yourself. High dollar meals at famous restaurants, but still nothing good on the menu! Aisles and aisles of every type of food, snacks and beverages in every supermarket but still you say, “there’s nothing good to eat!” 500+ channels on cable TV or satellite plus Redbox plus streaming, and yet nothing to watch!

Sometimes having so much access to excess makes one feel entitled, yet always dissatisfied. And it just keeps growing, like a cancer. You become enslaved to your own self; your whims and desires start to take priority over the real, meaningful things in life. No one makes sense to you anymore, no one is important anymore, nothing is good enough for you anymore. You sink into the “ME, ME, ME” mentality, and you only see yourself, void of empathy and apathy, blind to the plights of others.
{Most surely, man does transgress for he sees himself self-sufficient.} 96:6/7.

We read the stories about our beloved prophet (SAAW), when Abu Zarr Al-Ghifari (RAA) came and saw him sleeping on a thin, hard mat on the floor, he said: “O messenger of Allah, the kings of Persia and Rome sleep on silk and you are sleeping on a mat?” The Prophet (SAAW) answered: “Isn’t it enough that they have it in this life and we shall enjoy it in the Hereafter?”

Omar Alkhattab (RAA) recalled a time when nice food was prepared and presented to him, but he refused to eat it quoting a verse in the Quran saying: “I fear I will be called at the Day of Judgment being among those mentioned in the Quran where it says: {You have thoroughly made away with your share of good things during your life in the world and indeed you had full enjoyment of them.} 46:20.” Subhan Allah, even though that verse was talking about non-believers, but he still felt he needed to practice Zuhd. (willingly letting go of halal luxuries as an act of spiritual elevation)

I can see the wisdom behind such acts from the Prophet (SAAW) and his companions. It is meant to make you appreciate what you have in your hands and to be mindful not to fall into extravagance.

And sometimes when someone does fall into ungratefulness, here comes Love. If Allah loves you and sees that you are growing self-centered and full of yourself, He (SW) will send you a test and a hardship to protect you from yourself. Yes, from yourself.  Have you not heard the Hadith: “If Allah loves someone He will test him.”? Part of that equation has to do with keeping you humble and grateful to Allah, because during moments of tests and trials people submit to God in their vulnerability and total surrender, relating all matters to Him, seeking desperately His help. So, through these hardships Allah brings His servant close to Him (SW).

Accessibility to excessive luxuries without gratefulness is very harmful. Only through Shukur can you protect yourself from yourself.

May Allah make us humble and grateful for the bounty of blessings we have been given, and always mindful that He (SW) is the One who gives, and He (SW) is the One who takes away.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha