Upon seeing that his shoes were not polished properly, the husband got angry and said to his wife, ‘You can’t even do this properly! After all, what do you do all day long?’ He then left for the office. After a hectic day at work, he returned home at 5pm and noticed his children playing outside in dirty clothes. He entered his house to a strange sight. Clothes, shoes and toys were scattered all over the place. Breakfast dishes were still in the same place where he left them in the morning. Dirty dishes from the evening before were still in the sink waiting to be washed. The fridge was covered in dirty handprints. The floor was covered with dust. After seeing all this, the husband got worried and started praying in his heart, ‘Oh Allah! I hope everything is OK.’ He quickly ran up the stairs and rushed towards the bedroom in a panicked state to find that his wife is sitting on the bed reading a book. Upon hearing her husband’s footsteps, she put the book down and stood up smilingly to welcome him. The husband asked immediately, ‘I got scared. Look at the state of the house. Everything is all over the place!’ The wife gently replied, ‘You asked me as to what I do all day long? So I thought I should not do anything today so that you receive the answer to your question.’
Dear Islamic brothers! From this presumed parable, we learn what part others play in providing ease and comforts to us. Life runs smoothly due to combined efforts but we do not comprehend this. For example, the road sweeper, security guard, driver, the maid who works in the house, son and daughter, mother and father, brother and sister, the workers at the gas and electric offices, all complete the necessities of our life. They provide us with ease. Just think as to what would happen if the road sweeper did not come for a week! It’s not very difficult to imagine the state of the road then. We only appreciate a blessing once we have lost it. Therefore, we should not only appreciate people in our lives, but also encourage them from time to time to express how much of a blessing they are for us. ‘Mother! You are amazing! You sacrifice your sleep of the night and comfort of the day in order to provide us brothers and sisters with food and drink, clothes and other necessities.’ ‘Father! Through blood, sweat and tears, you provide financial support to us. I love you!’ By saying such words (if they are truthful), you will not lose out on anything but rather the one who you say it to will become greatly encouraged and heartened. Try it sometime!
It is also a bitter truth that in our society, it is generally seen that the wife is complaining about the husband devaluing her and the husband about the wife that she devalues him. Same is the case with parents and children, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, teacher and student, employer and employee, shopkeeper and customer, all complain that they are undervalued. In short, everyone is ready to receive praise but very few know how to praise others.
A person sometimes feels so undervalued that he remains unable to fulfil his responsibilities on a household, business or educational level. Always bear in mind that if you have a talent, you will definitely find someone who will appreciate it, if not today then definitely tomorrow; because the value of 10 Pound note will remain the same, no matter if it is crisp or crumpled! Its value does not increase or decrease. On the other hand, if you do not possess any capabilities, then you should remove this thought from your mind that you are not appreciated; as if dust even reaches the sky, its value will not increase and if gold is buried in the ground, its value will not diminish. Therefore, rather than saying ‘appreciate me, understand my rank’, you should look around and start appreciating others. People will also start to appreciate you, but the purity of intention is a condition.
Only if we were like them
Two friends, who were not financially very well off, reached a 5 star hotel to attend an office function. Upon seeing some people enjoying luxuries, one friend said, ‘Why aren’t we like them?’ The second friend was quite wise. After the function, he took his friend to a nearby centre for the disabled. Some of the people had no hands and some had no legs, some were mute, some were deaf and some were blind. The second friend spoke and said, ‘Thank Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ that you are not like them.’
Look at those beneath you
The Holy Rasool صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said, ‘Look at those beneath you (in worldly matters), not those above you. This is better for you so that you do not deprive yourselves from the blessings of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ.’ (Al-Mu’jam-ul-Awsat, vol. 2, pp. 18, Hadees 2343)
Ask yourself as to how many people would be wishing to have a house, car, mobile phone etc., like you have. They have a job, salary, business, health, respect and companionship like you have. By asking yourself such questions, you will اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه عَزَّوَجَلَّ begin to appreciate what you have. To create a stronger mindset with regards to appreciating blessings, read the following narration:
If you were made into a donkey!
A person sat down weary and tired after a long walk and started crying saying, ‘Who will be more destitute than me who doesn’t even have transport.’ A wise person heard this and said, ‘O foolish person! Why are you so ungrateful? It’s true that you don’t have transport but you should be thanking Allah Almighty that he has not made you into a donkey which would carry people and their possessions!’
In conclusion, we should learn to appreciate relations, blessings, suggestions, experiences, knowledge, time, our job and be amongst those who are thankful. May Allah Almighty guide and help us!
اٰمِيۡن بِجَاهِ النَّبِيِّ الۡاَمِيۡن صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم