Shukr (Gratefulness) is to realize every single thing we have in life is a blessing and a gift from the Most Generous. It is to appreciate everything we have and realize that because of our faults and weakness we are entitled to nothing and whatever we do have is out of our Creator's generosity. When we have shukr we appreciate all we have and thus are content with whatever our Provider has allotted to us. It leads to humility and humbleness which are the opposite of arrogance and entitlement, which are amongst the worst spiritual diseases that made Satan accursed.
Shukr will lead us to peace of mind in this life because instead of finding faults in what we may have we are grateful for having anything at all. We realize everything is a gift and a blessing and thus find contentment. That is true wealth, for the wealthy person is not he who possesses much, but who is grateful and content with whatever he does have.
Shukr will also lead us to happier and healthier relationships. Instead of finding faults in our Friend's, spouses, and family members, we appreciate the fact that we have them, and we appreciate everything they have done for us. Instead of getting upset that our wife's food does not have enough salt, we appreciate that she spent hours making a meal for us. Instead of getting upset with someone for displeasing us, we remember and appreciate all the times they made us happy.
Most peoples problems when it comes to relationships or life come simply because they are not grateful to the blessings God has given them nor to the favors others have done for them. A person who is Shakur, Grateful, will have a much happier life and much healthier relationships.
Gratefulness is also the opposite of disbleife, or Kufr. In Arabic the term for a disbeliever is a kafir meaning both one who covers truth, and one who is ungrateful. In Islam, a disbeliever is one who is ungrateful to the countless blessings God has given him and thus denies his Creator.
Gratitude is one of the best ways to protect against punishment in the hereafter. God asks "What would God gain by your punishment if you give thanks and believe?" He has also promised to give increase to whoever is grateful for what he is given. "And if you give thanks, I will increase..."
When we are placed in situations where we find it difficult to be grateful, that is when we may resort to Sabr, or patience. A pious person once asked a good person how he deals with ease and difficulty. The good person responded that in times of blessing he is grateful and in times of difficult he is patient. The pious person responded that such is no special status, as even dogs are patient in difficult times and grateful in times of ease. The pious person explained that he was grateful in times of both ease and difficulty.
However, that may not be easy for everyone. For most of us, simply to have patience in times of difficulty is a great struggle which entails great reward. Thus we should try our best to be grateful for everything we have and everyone around us. But if we go through times of hardship or if others upset us then we should at least resort to patience and forgiveness. We should remember that Allah has promised that he is with those who are patient and that the patient enter Paradise without fear or reckoning for their deeds.
A Believer should have three types of patience:
- Patience to stay away from evil and temptations and giving in to anger and sin.
- Patience to persevere in doing good works
- Patience in times of hardship and difficulty