Gratitude in Islam and its Psychological Importance


And Indeed, We Bless Luqman with Wisdom, When he was saying to his son be Grateful to Allah and Whosoever is Grateful does so to benefit his soul and whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is self-sufficient

AL QURAN (31:12)

Gratitude is appreciating someone for their help towards us in the form of thanking them. It is being in a state of recognizing the great blessing we are being bestowed with by someone and being thankful for what we receive. Recently there has been an immediate increase in psychological research on the benefits of being grateful and it is due to these research findings that we now with lot more knowledge about the psychological effects that can be brought to the practice of gratitude. 

The research was carried out in 2017 to study the effect of gratitude meditation and resentment on neural network functioning connectivity and brain-heart coupling. This study result indicated that gratitude was one of the means for improving emotions and self-motivation as the average heart rate was significantly lower during gratitude intervention than during resentment.

In other research, the difference between those who practice gratitude and those who do not was assessed and a number of researches connect on these points that Gratitude can increase the sense of happiness, life satisfaction, optimism, and subjective well-being. Gratitude can lower depressive symptoms among those who are diagnosed with depression; it also prevents falling prone to depression as well. It increases sleep quality, and reduces fatigue and inflammation.

Read More: Gratitude: A Key to Happiness

Gratitude is uniquely important to psychological well-being such as an increase in environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relationships, purpose in life and self-acceptance. As a result of several research, gratitude practice is now included as a therapeutic intervention technique for the treatment of many disorders like mood disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Gratitude Practices in Islam

The concept of gratitude and grateful practice that are now being used to promote psychological well-being and mental health seems not new to Muslims. Huge number of verses in Quran and hadith reflect on gratitude. The practice is already given in Quran and hadith. I will here bring into notice some of the grateful practices in psychology and the Islamic thought to these practices.

  1. Start your day with Gratitude: In gratitude session this step includes ensuring the subject that certain things are enough to start your day with gratitude, when wake up healthy, having shelter to live in. When in fact in Islam 1400 years back there is hadith mentioning about gratitude practice narrated by Ubaydullah ibn Mihsan (may Allah be pleased with him),

The Messenger of Allah Said:

Whosoever among you wake up secure in his property, healthy his body and he has food for day, it is as if he well given entire world

  1. Count your Blessings: Most importantly in gratitude sessions the individual is asked to write down all the good events that happened during the day for every coming day.  In Islam it is mentioned in Quran “And if you count blessings of Allah Subhana Watallah never shall you be able to do that al Quran (14:34). And once you start writing things, surely you will find lot of things that is really blessing in your life and feel like that there is lot of things you should be really grateful of.
  1. Take Gratitude Walk Everyday: Be keen observer of surrounding and reflect on the nature. Appreciate the beauties of nature. In Quran, Allah also had driven attention towards nature in order to increase awareness most importantly gratefulness in us. He mentioned about The creation of Universe, plants, animals, smallest creature to a biggest one are for man and none of them are useless “And grazing livestock He has created for you, in them is warmth and numerous benefits and from them you eat” two great bodies of water are not alike, the sweet one pleasant to drink and other salty and bitter and either of them you eat fresh meat, sky as canopy and earth as place of settlement and place of living, and rain from sky as means of making dead earth to grow gardens and grains Al Quran.
  1. Be thankful for Small Think: Like gratitude in having food for today, having normal day, having good relationship, being able to do work, in starting any task, after completing new project etc. Narrated by Ana’s Bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him)

The messenger of Allah (PBUH) said

Allah is pleased with his servant who eats Morsel of food and then says thanks to Allah, or who drinks some drink and says thanks to Allah

The effect of gratitude is slow but once individual became habitual of counting blessings the results are permanent and highly satisfying. The grateful will bring peace to mind and used as way of dealing with demanding situations reduce worries and tension,

“The Best wealth is tongue that remembers Allah, a grateful heart and a believing wife to help one in his Faith”

And we realize that the best of wealth one possesses is a grateful heart, which fills life with happiness, joy and satisfaction and a psychological cure to lot of disorders that arise due to thought processes.

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