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Chapter 13: The Waning Dusk (series)

gratitudeMyth: Whine for more

لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡ‌ۖ  

This snippet is from one of the most beautiful verses of the Quran on gratitude from surah Ibrahim (v. 7). And I wrote just the Arabic text here for you guys to read it and comprehend it better when I expand on it. In Arabic, there are a lot of ways you can emphasize or stress upon a point. And using a shadd (or tashdeed) on a verb is one way of doing it.

Allah (swt) says, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you…”

Notice the form of verb for being grateful is shakartum— lightest form of the verb used and the word for the promise of being increased is la-azeedannakum— the most intense form with a shadd is chosen to drive the point home; meaning: if you are a little bit, just a tiny, teeny-weeny bit grateful– Allah will surely, most certainly, definitely increase you. And this is the eloquence of the Quran– it can contain so much in just one word. We miss out on these special effects when we limit ourselves to the translation.

And Allah used first-person singular narrative here “I will increase you…” and not “We will increase you…” as opposed to most places in the Quran where “We” is generally used. “I” has more powerful undertones than “We”. This hammers another dimension of intensity and emphasis to the promise that if you are a teensy bit grateful, Allah Himself WILL increase you (sadly, caps lock is as far as I can go to give the special effects).

Question being- increase you in what? You say Rabbi zidni ilmaa (O Allah, increase me in knowledge) and Allah says in places in the Quran wa-zaadat-hum imaanaa (their imaan increased)… so what’s going to be increased here? That’s the best part, Allah hasn’t put limits or mentioned anything in particular. You will be increased in anything imaginable.

When you’re fasting, it is undoubtedly the best time to be thankful for all that you have, instead of whining about how you don’t see your proposed menu on the table. You want more? Be grateful. It’s not a one-moment reflection where you say “Thank you”– it’s an attitude towards life. And of course, it’s the surest way to get blessings infinity times infinity pouring down on you.

And oh- there’s another fail-proof way you can go about it. Give charity. To your maids, workers on the streets, beggars by your car… at least in this month, don’t turn anyone away empty handed.

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