- Why Counting Your Blessings Matters?
- When Do We Fail to Count Our Blessings?
- 6 Benefits of Counting Your Blessings
- How to Count Your Blessings
Alhamdulillah… Infinite praise and thanks are due to the Almighty Allah, who has bestowed upon us countless blessings. Complete blessings and salutations go to the most grateful Prophet, Sayyidinā Muhammad, his household, his companions, and all those who follow his guided path till the end of time.
Counting 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 realize how far you have gone in your life journey, how much you have in your possession and how hopeful you can be. Above all, you appreciate the bestower, wholeheartedly, genuinely, and in due humility and gratitude. This article is about counting your blessings, how to realize them and how to appreciate them. It highlights when people fail to count their blessings. It also outlines six benefits of counting your blessings. We start by looking at why it matters to count your blessings regularly.
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, and the evil 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. The more we want more for the wrong reason, the more likely we will fail to count our blessings.
Many a time, this leads man to forget that his existence and functionality are privileges that have been decided by the Almighty the Creator. Subsequently, this forgetfulness leads him to neglect the blessings of God upon him. Thus, the Qur’an draws our attention to the abundance of the wealth we possess.
وَإِن تَعُدّوا نِعمَتَ اللَّـهِ لا تُحصوها إِنَّ الإِنسـٰنَ لَظَلومٌ كَفّارٌ
“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” (Sūrah Ibrāhīm, 14:34).
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, 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. 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 īmān, 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 it.
#1: Counting 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.
هَل أَتىٰ عَلَى الإِنسـٰنِ حينٌ مِنَ الدَّهرِ لَم يَكُن شَيـًٔا مَذكورًا * إِنّا خَلَقنَا الإِنسـٰنَ مِن نُطفَةٍ أَمشاجٍ نَبتَليهِ فَجَعَلنـٰهُ سَميعًا بَصيرًا * إِنّا هَدَينـٰهُ السَّبيلَ إِمّا شاكِرًا وَإِمّا كَفورًا
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” (Sūrah al-Insān, 76:1-3).
#2: Counting 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, recognize 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?
وَاللَّهُ أَخرَجَكُم مِن بُطونِ أُمَّهـٰتِكُم لا تَعلَمونَ شَيـًٔا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمعَ وَالأَبصـٰرَ وَالأَفـِٔدَةَ لَعَلَّكُم تَشكُرونَ
“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” (Sūrah al-Naḥl, 16:78).
By counting 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 Your Blessings Helps You to Appreciate Your Achievements
After remembering your beginning and how far you’ve gone, you can’t but to realize how you have been protected, guided and favoured by the Almighty in endless ways.
Your achievements, no matter how many or few, are bestowals from the bestower. You must be humble for them. However, you can only appreciate them when you are able to recognize them. You recognize them when you sit with yourself and have a good reflection session.
Once you’ve recognized 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 ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam says in a ḥadīth reported by Imām al-Tirmidhī:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبَّ أَنْ يُرَى أَثَرُ نِعْمَتِهِ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ
“Indeed, Allah loves it that the results of his favours upon His Slaves are seen.”
#4: Counting Your Blessings Makes You Grateful to Your Lord
Once you count your blessings, you are able to realize how abundant they are. Once their abundance is recognized, it’s time to be grateful for them. To whom to be grateful? It can’t be but to the bestower.
It’s worth emphasizing, that, in Islam, being grateful is one of the main causes for the increment of blessings.
وَإِذ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُم لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم وَلَئِن كَفَرتُم إِنَّ عَذابى لَشَديدٌ
“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'” (Sūrah Ibrāhīm, 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 realize Allah’s favours? This gratefulness will mean that you seek to please Him, and this is the essence of faith.
فَكُلوا مِمّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ حَلـٰلًا طَيِّبًا وَاشكُروا نِعمَتَ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُم إِيّاهُ تَعبُدونَ
“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” (Sūrah al-Naḥl, 16:114).
#6: Counting 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.
Imām Muslim reports from the narration of Sayyidunā Ṣuhaib ibn Sinān raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu, that the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam says:
عَجَبًا لأَمْرِ الْمُؤْمِنِ؛ إِنَّ أَمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ خَيْرٌ، وَلَيْسَ ذَاكَ لأَحَدٍ إِلاَّ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ. إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ. وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ
“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/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.”
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 others’ 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 realize 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.
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 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 many not possess qualifications, but others with qualifications 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.
Looking at What You Have
It’s a blessing that you can read this article 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 annoying–remember that someone was born deaf. He has never heard and may never hear the name of God in this life. And his only wish and dream is the day he can hear the name of God with his own ears.
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.
As you read this article, 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.
It’s worth indicating, that the least perceived blessing of God 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, even though that water is also provided by God.
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. 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.
Counting your blessings will fix many psychological problems, from which many of us suffer, knowingly and unknowingly.
Allah knows best.
Allāhu Ḥāfiẓ 🙂