Shaykh Abu Hazim (q.s.) on Gratitude

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from The Purification of the Soul, compiled from the works of Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (r.a.), Imam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) and Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (r.a.).

A man once asked Shaykh Abu Hazim (q.s.), “O Abu Hazim, what is the gratitude of the eyes?”

He replied, “It is to reveal whatever good they see and to veil whatever bad they see.”

The man asked, “And what is the gratitude of the ears?”

He replied, “If you hear something good with them, you understand it; and if you hear something bad, you reject it.”

The man asked, “And what is the gratitude of the hands?”

He said, “Do not use them to take what is not yours, and do not restrain them from giving what is due to Allah.”

The man asked, “And what is the gratitude of the stomach?”

He replied, “That its lower part is for food and its upper part is for knowledge.”

The man asked, “What is the gratitude of the private parts?”

Shaykh Abu Hazim (q.s.) replied by reciting the ayat of the Qur’an:

And who guard their modesty - save from their wives or the (slaves) that their right hands possess, for then they are not blameworthy; but whoso craveth beyond that, such are transgressors. (Surah al-Mu’minun:5-7)

The man asked, “What is the gratitude of the feet?”

He replied, “If you learn of the death of a righteous man who used to use his feet in doing good deeds and acts of worship, then use them in the same way as he did; whereas if the man who has died was someone despicable to you, then turn away from what he used to do and be grateful to Allah.”

And as for the one who uses only his tongue to express his gratitude, he is like a man who only covers himself with the hem of his garment without putting it on, so it is of no use to him in either the heat, or the cold, or the snow, or the rain.

A man of knowledge once wrote to his brother, “We have been granted so many of Allah’s Blessings - in spite of our many acts of disobedience - that it is impossible for us to count them.  We do not know which to be most grateful for - the best of our good actions, which He Enabled us to do, or the ugliest of our wrong actions which He has Veiled for us.”


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