Many Muslims may approach worship as a burden. However, our worship should be an expression of gratitude to Allah Most High as the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has taught us and set an example for that. Our sense of gratitude could be nurtured through constant reflection of Allah’s overwhelming bounties and blessings that He has granted us.
In this Friday khutba, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani highlights the prophetic approach to worship out of expressing gratitude to Allah. Shaykh Faraz makes a distinction between the different levels of having a sense of thankfulness (shukr). There is is a difference between someone who is thankful and expresses gratitude (shukr), and someone whose quality is being grateful (shaker). However, someone who is truly, completely and unconditionally grateful is “shakur”. The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said when asked about his worship: “should I not be a servant who is “shakur””.
Shaykh Faraz points out that the reality is that our life is a gift, our faith is a gift, guidance is a gift, and all that we have in life is a gift from Allah Most High. If we reflect on all that we have from Allah, there is no way we can express sufficient gratitude. So Allah Most High has given us our obligations as means of expressing our gratitude.
We should approach our five daily prayers with that sense deep and true gratitude. Shaykh Faraz tells us the principle: if the derivative gets weak, then one works on the foundation. Worship is the derivative. The foundation is the quality of faith (iman) and the quality of gratitude (shukr) in our hearts. If we find that our prayer is weak or struggling to do the right thing, then we should work on nurturing our faith and gratitude in our hearts.
Finally, Shaykh Faraz encourages us to nurture our gratitude through reflecting on Allah’s vast mercy and all the gifts he has granted us, and turn to Allah worship. Shaykh Faraz gives some tips on how to reflect on Allah’s gifts. He also highlights some keys on how to turn to Allah through seeking forgiveness and other expressions of gratitude.
This Friday khutba was delivered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani in April 2017 at the the International Muslims Organization of Toronto.