The other day, a middle-aged man, who was with his young daughter, approached me for money. He mentioned something about needing to purchase something for his daughter. He said he needed $4. I wasn’t sure if I had an extra $4 to give him but looked in my purse to see how I could assist him. I am in no way rich but I do look for ways to help the unfortunate in any way that I can.
I am not ashamed to give just a quarter, if that’s all that I have. It may be that this little amount that I give will yield a great reward and may facilitate helping someone in an unbelievable way. I did not like passing a downtrodden person without offering them something that could be of benefit to them. It could be that the amount they get from me and others collectively, could help someone out in a huge way and soothe their heart knowing that there are people out there who care.
I knew I had something to spare for this man but wasn’t sure if it was $4. I happened to have a few extra dollars so I gave him $2, feeling good internally that I was able to give way more than I usually did to those who asked. However, the response that I got left me in awe. It was clear that the man was displeased with what I gave him. He made a disgusted look with his face and looked down at the money in disapproval. It was as if he was saying, “how dare you only give me $2 when I asked for $4.”
I immediately thought about Our Maker. How many blessings does He constantly shower on us, yet we complain because we didn’t get what we thought we wanted. I took a moment to pause and ask myself if I was guilty of doing the same thing in the past and if so, hoped that I never returned to that behavior because it was very sordid and I never wanted to be evaluated in Allah’s sight as an ungrateful person.
I called to mind another encounter I had with someone else. I reached out to someone who was having hard times. I only had a couple of conversations with her in the past and didn’t know her very well. However, I put myself in a position to help her and made her feel comfortable calling me when she needed assistance.
Soon, I would observe her actions and the things she would say about other people who were helping her as well. Not only that, but when I sought additional assistance for her by requesting other people to help her, individuals who attested to knowing her well, maintained a stand-off position they had with her. Still, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. To me, I couldn’t lose by remaining in her corner; regardless, I would be attaining blessings by being there for my sister during her time of need.
It is related in authentic hadith: “He who relieves a hardship of this Dunya (this earthly life) for a believer, Allah will relieve a hardship of the Day of Resurrection for him; he who makes it easy for an indebted person, Allah will make it easy for him in the Dunya and the Hereafter; he who covers a Muslim (his mistakes and shortcomings), Allah will cover him in the Dunya and the Hereafter; Allah will continue assisting the slave, as long as he is assisting brother…” [Saheeh Muslim]
Therefore, at the end of the day, the response of the person receiving help doesn’t matter. Whether they show gratitude or not, it does not diminish the reward you will receive from Allah. However, when people show ingratitude, it simply reveals things about their character.
Soon I was able to understand why the sister, who felt entitled, was in such a difficult situation. As opposed to being thankful for her blessings, it seemed as if she focused on what she didn’t have. I had to take a moment and realize where she was in her life and decided to reevaluate the type of relationship I would have with her. Still, I appreciated the opportunity to earn so many blessings and learn and grow so much.
Feeling entitled to receiving help is a recipe of ingratitude. When I don’t show gratitude to Allah, I am not harming Him or the people He has allowed to assist me; rather I am doing a great disservice to my soul and I am only deluding myself by thinking that someone else should do something for me, rather than feeling gratitude when they benefit me.
By getting upset because I don’t get what I want, and when I want it, I am only hurting myself. Ingratitude leads to impatience, while gratitude leads to contentment and true happiness. Studies shows that people who are more grateful have better health, sleep better, and are generally happier, among other benefits.
Getting a response that I did from the man who asked me for $4 and the sister who feels entitled turned my heart away from them. I didn’t regret helping them and in no way felt any loss by assisting them, but their actions left me feeling appalled. My mind couldn’t comprehend someone belittling the efforts of another coming to their aid.
How can one be unsatisfied with something that another has given them, when they have responded to their call and offered them relief? It could be that you had expected a particular thing but Allah prevented it from reaching you in order to replace you with something better for you. However, by showing ingratitude, you now rendered your would-be favors fruitless.
Allah tells us in the Qur’an, that if we show gratitude, He will give us more. He says: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you.” (Quran, 14:7) Only He knows if we are truly appreciative of what He has given us or if we simply claim that we do. We can say that we are grateful but only Allah knows the reality of our hearts and what we conceal. It may not be easy for us to be honest with ourselves and admit our shortcomings in being grateful but the rewards for doing so are tremendous.
What a great opportunity all of us have to increase what we have, to better our situation and improve our state by simply taking a moment to ponder over the blessings of Allah and show gratitude for what Allah has already given us. Why not take a moment daily to think about the many blessings in your life.
Not only will it earn the pleasure of your Maker and increase the blessings being poured on you, but it will improve your health, help you to sleep better and lead you to live a happier, more fulfilled life. The more we increase our gratitude, the more ways we will benefit!! Why not start living and increasing our attitude of gratitude today?!