Recognise and Proclaim the Blessings of Your Lord Upon You, By Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the most Merciful
Alhamdulillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil within ourselves and from our wrongdoings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.
I bear witness that there is no (true) god except Allah – alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (Pbuh) is His ‘abd (Servant) and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslims.” (Surah Ali Imran, 3:102)
“O people! Revere your Lord who has created you from a single soul, created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Revere Allah through whom you demand things from one another; and (cherish the ties of) the wombs, indeed, Allah is ever watchful over you.” (Surah Al-Nisa’, 4:1)
“O you who believe! Revere Allah and say fair words. He will then rectify your deeds and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger have certainly achieved a great victory.” (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:70-71)
Indeed, the best speech is Allah’s (SWT) Book and the best guidance is Muhammad’s (Pbuh) guidance. The worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of misguidance leading to the Hellfire.
Servants of Allah! Know that, counting, recognising and proclaiming your blessings is one of the most effective ways that sets you free from stress, and leads you to real success and true happiness. It enables you to realise how far you have gone in your life’s journey, how much you have in your possession and how hopeful you can be. Above all, you appreciate the bestower (Allah), wholeheartedly, genuinely, and in due humility and gratitude.
Dear brothers and sisters! Today’s Sermon is about counting and proclaiming your blessings, how to realise them and how to appreciate them. It also highlights when people fail to count their blessings. It also outlines benefits of counting your blessings.
Now let me start by looking at why it matters to count and proclaim your blessings regularly.
Brothers and sisters! When the sun rises, all men start the day afresh, but each carries a different mindset. This mindset is influenced by the target each one aims to achieve.
Some aim to achieve what is predestined for them. Thus, they do it the righteous way. Others aim to achieve what they think they must achieve, regardless whether it’s lawful and unlawful. It is here, that many lose focus and may divert from the norms that ensure their happiness and salvation.
The struggle we all endure in this life is for survival. Nothing more. The wars that take place around the world, the killings, the destructions, the bombings and all the evils you see and may see in the future all revolve around the wants for more. The wants for more than what we need. And the wants to be the only ones who survive. Unfortunately, in the pursuit for wanting for more, we fail to appreciate the lots we already have. And the more we want more for the wrong reason, the more likely we will fail to count and proclaim our blessings.
My respected people! Many a time, this leads man to forget that his existence and functionality are privileges that have been decided by the Almighty the Creator (Allah). Subsequently, this forgetfulness leads him to neglect the blessings of Allah upon him. Thus, the Qur’an draws our attention to the abundance of the wealth we possess. Allah the Almighty says:
“And if you try to reckon up Allah’s favours, you will not be able to count them. Truly man is very unjust, very ungrateful.” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:34)
My people! We can derive from this verse, that wealth is not what we have greedily accumulated, but rather what the Bestower has decreed for us. And endless are the favours that He has decreed for us.
To avoid falling among the unjust and the ungrateful people, those who fail to reckon up Allah’s favours, we should constantly count the blessings of Allah upon us.
It’s mostly during difficult times that we fail to count our blessings. What we perceive as difficult times usually occur when we are unable to attain worldly gains. But little do we realize, that even difficulties are blessings as well.
Often a time, we forget that worldly bestowals are nothing but tools that assist us to make our transit in this life comfortable. Everyone is entitled only to the tools he needs. Your needs for these tools are predetermined by the One Creator (Allah). Thus, depending on the missions we are created for, some are given more tools than others. You are not required to use more tools than you are given. However, you are required to use them wisely. When you decide that your tools are insufficient–and none ever claims to have been given extra tools–that’s when you start to lead a life of worry, fear and anxiety.
This means, you hardly find someone who prioritizes Allah over his desires and yet complains of being neglected by Allah.
In other words, it is not unusual to come across people complaining loss of job, break up with boy or girl friend, encountering with divorce, experiencing poverty and sometimes some physical pains. But it is unusual to come across people complaining decrease of their Iman, and that they are losing Allah as a result.
Counting one’s blessings has many benefits. Here is a list of six of them. They serve as reminders for the one who already knows them, and record for the one who is writing and delivering it:
1. Counting and Proclaiming Your Blessings Reminds You of Your Beginning. Everyone started his life somewhere. The common starting point for all is the moment you made it, as the only survivor(s) among a million sperms that raced into your mother’s womb.
Making it was the beginning of attaining the great favours of Allah. Although that was our weakest point in human life, the Almighty has strengthened us to overcome all challenges until these very moments. It’s needless, to indicate, that prior to that beginning, man was in non-existence. Allah the Most High says:
“Was there not a period of time when man was nothing worth mentioning? We created man from a drop of mingled fluid so that We might try him; We gave him hearing and sight; We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful.” (Surah al-Insan, 76:1-3)
2. Counting and Proclaiming Your Blessings Helps You to Measure How Far You Can Go. When you came out to this world, all you could do was to cry. From there, you learnt to laugh, recognise faces and sounds, crawl, walk and talk. As you grew up, you learnt to read and understand, you started to ask for guidance to the right path. You could decide between right and wrong. How far have you not gone?
“Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers while you knew nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and hearts, so that you might be grateful.” (Surah al-Nahl, 16:78)
My people! By counting and proclaiming your blessings, you are also able to identify your strengths, your weaknesses and whatnot. And this eases life for you. And you become happier.
3. Counting and Proclaiming Your Blessings Helps You to Appreciate Your Achievements. After remembering your beginning and how far you’ve gone, you can’t but to realise how you have been protected, guided and favoured by the Almighty Allah in endless ways.
Brothers and sisters! Your achievements, no matter how many or few, are bestowals from the bestower (Allah). You must be humble for them.
However, you can only appreciate them when you are able to recognise them. You recognise them when you sit with yourself and have a good reflection session.
Once you’ve recognised them, then you should share them with others. Let others benefit from it, for Allah likes to see the results of His favours on His slaves. This is what the Prophet (Pbuh) says in a hadith reported by Imam al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan:
“Indeed, Allah loves it that the results of his favours upon His Slaves are seen.”
4. Counting and Proclaiming Your Blessings Makes You Grateful to Your Lord. Once you count your blessings, you are able to realise how abundant they are. Once their abundance is recognised, it’s time to be grateful for them. To whom to be grateful? It can’t be but to the bestower (Allah).
It’s worth emphasising, that, in Islam, being grateful is one of the main causes for the increment of blessings. Allah the Almighty says:
“Remember also the time when your Lord declared, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely bestow more favours on you; but if you are ungrateful, then know that My punishment is severe indeed.’” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:7)
So, counting your blessings does not only help you to be grateful to your Lord; it also increases His blessings upon you.
5. Counting Your Blessings Strengthens Your Faith. The main objective of identifying the true and correct faith is to be able to worship the Creator of all creations, the way He wants to be worshipped. How grateful do you become to a fellow human being when he does you a favour? If that is given, then how much grateful are you supposed to be, when you realise Allah’s favours? This gratefulness will mean that you seek to please Him, and this is the essence of faith.
“So, eat the lawful and good things which Allah has provided for you, and be thankful for the blessing of Allah, if it is Him you worship.” (Surah al-Nahl, 16:114)
6. Counting and Proclaiming Your Blessings Makes You a Happy Person. The most contented people you’ll ever come across are those who complain less, or not at all. They are those who take nothing for granted. Thus, they appreciate the small and big blessings they can think of.
Furthermore, it’s unlikely, that you will be able to count the blessings of your Lord and remain lacking happiness.
Imam Muslim reports from the narration of Suhaib ibn Sinan (RA), that the Prophet (Pbuh) says:
“Amazing is the affair of the believer (Mu’min). Verily his entire affair is good, and this is not for any one except the believer. If something of good or happiness befalls him he is grateful and that becomes good for him. And if something of harm befalls him he is patient and that becomes good for him.”
Brothers and Sisters! Counting your blessings starts by looking within you. Not outside you. Looking within you allows you to realize what you possess. However, looking outside you prevents you from seeing your blessings; you only see other’s possessions.
The common mistake we make that causes many of us to undermine the blessings bestowed upon them is that we look at what others have that we think we don’t have. We compare. The truth is, likewise “no one is perfect,” no one has it all. We need to understand, that the fact that you don’t have A doesn’t mean you are not blessed with B, C, D, E, and P. Therefore, if you look closely, you will realise that the one you look at, who possesses A, F, G, H, I and O, may as well not realize that he possesses all that (A, F, G, H, I and O). Simply because he’s looking at your B, C, D, E and P. Thus, both of you lead unhappy lives; for your lack of contentment (Qana’ah).
Amazingly, another person who has, say, Q, R, S and V may be happier, because he treasures and appreciates the ‘few’ blessings he’s given and sees them as blessings that worth his being grateful for.
So, to count and proclaim your blessings, look at what you have, and not what you have not. What you have not may be a spouse, but others may have spouses but lack the correct faith to which you are guided. You may have no children, but others with children may not be as materially rich as you. You may not possess qualifications or any certificate, but others with qualifications and certificate may not be more intellectual than you. You may not be materially wealthy, but some with material wealth may not know peace of mind, like you do.
Servants of Allah! Remember, it’s a blessing that you can read this Sermon with or without a pair of glasses. If you can read it, that means you have something that someone might have spent half of his wealth just to retain. That is his sight. But he couldn’t. If you can hear the noise of your neighbour’s children–which must be disturbing and annoying–remember that someone was born deaf. He has never heard and may never hear the name of Allah in this life. And his only wish and dream is the day he can hear the name of Allah with his own ears.
Fellow Muslims! One of the effective ways to look at what we have, is to consider that what you don’t have may not supposed to be yours. (Remember that you are given predetermined tools). This helps you to develop contentment, first as Muslim and second as a person who is in on a transit in this life.
This way, you won’t be tempted to nor dragged into compromising or committing unlawful acts that invites the wrath of the Almighty Allah, all so to accumulate ‘tools’ that are not meant to be yours, and hence, are not going to aid you, but to put you in misery.
Servants of Allah! As you listen to or read this Sermon, I can guess, that you’ve been thinking about your few problems in life. But there’s one thing you must be certain about. No matter how many or difficult your problems are, you possess more blessings than problems. After all, you must remember that, our struggles in this life, although tough sometimes, won’t exceed the period of one day and a half, in the calculations of Allah. What comes next shall be eternal happiness, without anxieties, nor fears or worries. That’s if we choose to count our blessings, instead of focusing on our problems.
My respected people! It’s worth indicating, that the least perceived blessing of Allah can’t be matched with the utmost perceived amount of money in human world. How much do you pay for the rain water? Compare that with the amount you pay for the water that is supplied to your home, or the amount you pay for the bottled-water that you and your family are consuming, even though that water is also provided by Allah.
How much do you pay for the fresh air you breathe? Compare that with the amount you would have to pay, if you ever need to be given oxygen in the hospital (May Allah protect us all, ameen). How much do you pay for the natural functionality of your kidneys? Compare that with the amount a kidney patient needs to pay for dialysis, three times per week.
And also for us to count, recognise and proclaim the blessings of Allah upon us, we must remember the insecurity, bombings and incessant attacks by the Boko Haram terrorists, the insurgents, the bloodsuckers, let’s say from 2009 to 2015. Sincerely speaking, we should not be ungrateful to our Lord’s blessings Brothers and Sisters!
Wallahi, my respected Brothers and Sisters! Surely, counting and proclaiming your blessings will fix many psychological problems, from which many of us suffer, knowingly and unknowingly.
Lastly, I pray:
Oh Allah! Make every single aspect of our life be for You and in service of Your Creation. Please remove all false intentions that we have.
Oh Allah! save humanity from being its own enemy. Protect Your creation from oppression. Save the people of Nigeria and all the Muslims from internal and external oppressors and give them justice. Protect us all from violence, fear and danger, You are our Protector.
Oh Allah! let us love You as You deserved to be loved, and let us fear You as You deserve to be feared, and let us leave this world serving Your creation for Your sake.
Oh Allah! increase us in beneficial knowledge, let this knowledge be with sincerity, not for seeking fame, glory, status or material wealth. Let this knowledge serve Your cause in a way that You accept, and let it benefit humanity.
Oh Allah! please guide our children and all the children everywhere. They are surrounded by so much temptation and forbidden things. Protect them our Lord from all of the evil influences that are around them. Give them friends who will strengthen their faith and help them stay on the Straight Path.
Oh Allah! The Sustainer of Mankind! Remove the illness from our President, Muhammadu Buhari, cure his disease. You are the One Who cures. There is no cure except Your cure. Grant all of us a cure that leaves no illness.
I ask Allah, the Mighty, the Lord of the Mighty Throne, to cure President Muhammadu Buhari.
Oh Allah! Our Lord and Sustainer! Grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the Fire of Jahannam (Hellfire).
I seek protection in the might of Allah and His power from the evil of what President Muhammadu Buhari is experiencing and of what he fear.
I ask Allah to give us the ability to restrain our desires and to willingly submit ourselves to His will.
Oh Allah the Almighty! Make our country, Nigeria safe and peaceful, and the other Muslim countries and the whole world generally, Oh Lord of the universe (jinn and mankind).
Oh Allah protect our safety, our Iman and our peace in our native lands and rectify those placed in authority over our affairs (our leaders).
Oh Allah! Help our acting President Yemi Osinbajo, our Senate President Bukola Saraki, our Speaker House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, our state Governors and all our remaining respected leaders, in directing the affairs of our blessed country, and don’t hold us to account for that which the foolish amongst us have done, and protect us from trials the apparent and hidden of it.
Oh Allah! Show us the truth for the truth and help us to follow it, and show us the falsehood for falsehood and help us to stay away from it, and make Iman the most beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts, and make disbelief, lewdness and rebellion most hated to us and make us from those who are guided.
Oh Allah rectify our leaders, guide them to that which is good for themselves and to that which is good for us. Oh Allah make them a means for our safety, and make them a means for our word (unity) to be one, and make them a cause for our coming together, our progress and development, Yaa Al-Hayyu (Oh The Ever Living, The One who cannot die), Yaa Al-Qayyum (The Self Sustainer), Yaa Saami’ (The Hearer) of the supplication.
Oh Allah! Safeguard our country. Oh Allah bring ease to the Nigerians from that which they face from sufferings. Oh Allah give us immediate ease. Oh Allah give us victory with a happy outcome. Oh Allah make ease for all Nigerians from every difficulty and from every suffering, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Reliever from every distress, Oh answerer of the supplication, Oh Helper of the grieving, Oh ever living, Self Sustaining, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Owner of Loftiness and Nobility!
May Allah make us of those people who benefit from admonition and of those who when they are given are thankful, when tested are patient, and when sin are repenting (as these are the keys to success in this world and the hereafter) – Ameen Yaa Rabb!
I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.
O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. Ameen Yaa Rabb!
My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.
May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.
With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving Most Merciful.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Zul Qi’dah 4,1438 A.H. (July 28, 2017), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.