The Divine Gifts and Man's Responsibility.
"Therefore eat of what Allah has given you, lawful and good (things), and give thanks for Allah's favor if Him do you serve." (Quran 16:114)
The favors Allah bestows on us throughout life, if used according to the Divine instructions, will bring us to material and moral perfection and will ensure happiness in this life and in the afterlife.
The Holy Quran draws our attention to the Divine gifts and talents.
1. The Abundance and Capacity of Blessings and Talents
Everything in the heavens and in the earth has been created for our sake and has been subjected to serving us: the sun, the moon, the planets and the spatial beings, whether seen or unseen. All of them have been subjected by Allah to serve us and to achieve our advantage.
The apparent and hidden blessings and talents are spread on the table of life and nature so that we can get whatever we need in life. There are no defects on this table at all. The Holy Quran has confirmed this fact:
"Do you not see that Allah has made what is in the heavens and what is in the earth subservient to you, and made complete to you His favors outwardly and inwardly?" (31:20)
2. The way of getting blessings
Any kind of positive effort and work to earn a livelihood is undoubtedly a kind of worship and servitude to Allah the Almighty. In many verses of the Quran, Allah has ordered His slaves to enliven the earth and to find permissible livelihoods by practicing trade and every means of permissible dealing. He has ordered them to obey and worship Him, and in return, there will be rewards on the Day of Resurrection.
"O you who believe! Do not devour your property among yourselves falsely, except that it be trading by your mutual consent." (4:29)
"O men! Eat the lawful and good things out of what is in the earth, and do not follow the footsteps of the Satan; surely he is your open enemy. (2:168)
3. Aiming at blessings
Wise people look at all the blessings before their hands with the eye of sight and reason to see the Giver of these blessings; therefore, they get the moral advantage of these blessings and make use of them in the way that the Giver of these blessings has intended.
The Holy Quran is a Book of guidance. It draws people's attentions to these gifts and blessings in this way by saying:
"O men! call to mind the favor of Allah on you; is there any creator besides Allah who gives you sustenance from the heaven and the earth? There is no god but He; whence are you then turned away." (35:3)
All the Divine blessings and their benefits lead to the oneness of the Truth, which is the true evidence that leads to the oneness of the Sacred Being and to the easy way to know the Almighty Creator.
4. Being grateful for the blessings
Gratefulness should be suitable to the Giver and harmonious with the blessing. This cannot be achieved except by a series of sayings, doings and feelings.
Can gratefulness be realized just by saying, "praise be to Allah" before all these material blessings? Think of our organs: the eyes, the ears, the tongue, the hands, the legs, the heart, veins, nerves and bones. Consider other material blessings like food, drink, fragrances; beautiful scenes of nature, like mountains, plains, woods, rivers, springs, seas; the different fruits, grains, vegetables and millions of other blessings that are considered as tools and means that keep the life and the survival of man.
You should know that gratefulness is meeting blessings with saying, doing and intention. Gratefulness depends on three bases:
The Doing of the Heart is glorifying Allah, praising Him, pondering on His creatures, doings, and mercy and having determination to give goodness to all of the creatures.
As for the Doing of the Tongue, it is accomplished by showing words of thankfulness, praise, glorifying Allah, enjoining people to do good and forbidding them from doing bad.
The Doing of the Organs is using them to worship Allah and obey Him and keeping them away from disobeying Him.
Hence, the real meaning of gratefulness shows that gratefulness is one of the aspects of perfection. It is so little that gratefulness appears in a full way by the people who have enjoyed the blessings as the Holy Quran says:
"-and very few of My servants are grateful." (34:13)
"Therefore eat of what Allah has given you, lawful and good (things), and give thanks for Allah's favor if Him do you serve" (Quran 16:114)
"-therefore seek the sustenance from Allah, and serve Him and be grateful to Him; to Him you shall be brought back." (Quran 29:17)
Being grateful for blessings is by using them in worshipping, being obedient, helping people, doing good to them and by refraining from all sins and bad doings.
5. Warning of being ungrateful for blessings
Some people think that the Divine talents and blessings in their hands are their own, and they do not think of the real Benefactor or ponder the source of these talents and blessings. They think that they are the actual owners; therefore, they behave with these blessings as they like and as their tendencies, lusts, and wishes lead them. God says:
"Have you not seen those who have changed Allah's favor for ungratefulness and made their people to alight into the abode of perdition (into hell)? They shall enter into it and an evil place it is to settle in." (Quran 14:28-29)
6. Infiniteness of blessings
When we notice one of the many Quranic verses, we realize this meaning clearly. Allah has granted us blessings that cannot be counted, however people try to number them. Allah says:
"And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea, with seven more seas to help it, (were ink), the words of Allah could not be exhausted. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise." (Quran 31:27)
Here we understand the greatness of the Holy Quran, the Book revealed many centuries ago to the luminous heart of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), which reveals facts as they are. Among these facts is that the blessings of Allah can never be counted.
"And if you would count Allah's favors, you will not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (Quran 16:18)
7. Those grateful for blessings
The people, who know Allah, the world, man and the Day of Resurrection after pondering on the creation and by seeing the facts in the world of reality, hearing the truth from the tongues of creatures and existing things, trying to purify the inner self and the soul, acquiring divine morals, following the way of worship and servitude (to Allah), doing good and being kind to people, are really grateful for the blessings and gifts of Allah. Yes! These people exploit all the apparent and hidden blessings in the right way and gain the happiness of this life and the afterlife. So do all those who follow their way. The leaders of the Caravan of the Human Beings in this Divine Way are the Prophets and the Infallible Imams. Therefore, we find the believers, every day after offering the daily prayers, asking Allah to keep them on the right path in which those great people have walked.
"Keep us on the right path; the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors, not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray." (Quran 1:6-7)
The Prophets and the Infallible Imams have used all the moral and material blessings in the right way, and, hence, they become so close to Allah and have positions in the afterlife higher than the minds of human beings can perceive. Allah talks in the Holy Quran about the reward of those who obey Allah and His Messenger in all the affairs of this life, and that they will be standing in the afterlife beside those whom Allah has bestowed favors on.
"And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company are they!" (Quran 4:69)
8. Badness of wasting blessings
A waster, according to the Holy Quran, is anyone who uses his wealth, position, lusts, wishes and the rest of the blessings Allah has given to him in the satanic way and in the deviant path, which is neither reasonable nor permissible.
When talking about the work and the fruits of sowing and how to spend wealth, Allah says:
"-and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and waste not by excess: for Allah loves not the wasters." (Quran 6:141)
The Holy Quran talks about those who use their wealth, positions and powers in the way of injustice, oppression and aggression to frighten and threaten people and to achieve their low aims. Allah says:
"-and most surely Firon (the Pharaoh) was lofty in the land; and most surely he was of the extravagant." (Quran 10:83)
9. Stinginess and not spending blessings
The Holy Quran says about this matter:
"And let not those deem, who are niggardly in giving away that which Allah has granted them out of His grace, that it is good for them; nay, it is worse for them; they shall have that whereof they were niggardly made to cleave to their necks on the resurrection day; and Allah's is the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is aware of what you do." (3:180)
10. Disappearance of blessings
It is understood from the clear Quranic verses that the reasons behind the disappearance of blessings, loss of wealth, miserable life, poverty and meanness are:
Being ungrateful for blessings, being too inadvertent (with Allah) and forgetting the Giver, being proud before the Divine orders and resisting the Divine will, the Sharia, prophethood and imamate. These concepts are understood from the following verse:
"And when We bestow favor on man, he turns aside and behaves proudly, and when evil afflicts him, he is despairing." (Quran 17:83)
It is understood from the verses of the Sura of al-Fajr that the reasons behind the disappearance of blessings are not being kind to the orphans, not intending to help the poor and needy, extorting the inheritance of the weak and being greedy for money and wealth. Allah says:
"Nay! But you do not honor the orphan, nor do you urge one another to feed the poor and you eat away the heritage, devouring (everything) indiscriminately and you love wealth with exceeding love". (Quran 89:17-20)
Other reasons for the disappearance of blessings are not paying zakat and charity, not spending monies for the sake of Allah and thinking we can deal with money and wealth without being in need of Allah and, consequently, not believing in the Day of Judgment. Allah says:
"And as for him who is niggardly and considers himself free from need (of Allah) and rejects the best, We will facilitate for him the difficult end." (Quran 92:8-10)
When we are immersed in blessings, we care for the weak and the needy, are kind to them and help them in order to be grateful for the blessings of Allah. We have to worship Allah more and help people so that the blessings will not disappear from our lives and so that the mercy of Allah will continue.
11. The Completing of blessings
Allah announced the perfection of the Religion, completing the favor, and choosing Islam as the religion and law for people until the Day of Resurrection.
"This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion." (Quran 5:3)
At the end, the verse of purity and prayer reads:
"-Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful." (Quran 5:6)
It is understood from this verse that completing the favor on man is realized by being interested in moral matters, following the Divine orders and being endowed with true beliefs and good manners.
12. The reward of the lawful spending of blessings
The Holy Quran stresses the reward of Paradise and eternal happiness for the men and women who have hearts full of faith, souls pure of vices, bodies busy with good deeds, tongues announcing the Truth, wealth moving in the circle of generosity and liberality and feet walking to serve people.
The Quran confirms that the reward of these believers who do good will never be in vain.
The Quran clearly declares that the promise of Allah is true, and Allah never reneges on His promise.
The Holy Quran shows the kinds of rewards for believers who do good works by saying: great reward, honorable reward, reward that will never fail, and good reward. Allah has said,
"Allah has promised to those who believe and do good deeds (that) they shall have forgiveness and an excellent reward." (Quran, 5:9)
"Except those who are patient and do good, they shall have forgiveness and a great reward." Quran, (11:11)
"Who is there that will offer to Allah a good gift so He will double it for him, and he shall have an honorable reward." (Quran, 57:11)
"For those who believe and work deeds of righteousness is a reward that will never fail." (Quran, 41:8)
"Then if you obey, Allah will grant you a good reward." (Quran, 48:16)
If the blessing of the heart is used in the circle of faith and belief; the blessing of the mind is used in the way of thinking to discover the facts; the blessing of the organs is used in the way of good deeds; the blessings of position and wealth are used to solve the problems of people: if man uses all these blessings in the way of obedience, in worship, in serving people and in doing good, and in the way of confirming piety and chasteness, then he, besides getting happiness in this life, will gain five kinds of reward in the afterlife. Using the Divine blessings and gifts in the right way is not difficult or arduous. In fact, every man and woman can follow this way so that no curtain or obstacle remains between them and the Creator and they can get the pleasure of nearness and meeting with Allah.
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