Being blessed is something we all want, right? When we’re happy or pleased with someone, we tend to say things such as “God Bless”, or May Allah bless you.” However, let’s take a step back and ask, what is a blessing? What does it mean to be blessed?
Blessed. This is one of the words that often goes overlooked for its depth and inner meanings. What’s the state of being “blessed?”
There’s a short story I want to share about an old righteous person. This man was bald, blind, a leper, and was paralyzed in his hands and feet. None of these ailments acted as impediments to his to content and peaceful state. He would engage in dhikr and make a specific duah which was,
“All praise is due to Allah who saved me from that which He has afflicted others, and blessed me greatly over many of those whom He has created.”
One day, while the old man was making this duah, a man walked by and asked the old man, “Saved you from what, man? You’re bald, blind, a leper and paralyzed! So, saved you from what?” The man replied, “How could you say that? Allah has given me a tongue that is in constant remembrance of Him, a heart that is in constant gratitude towards Him and a body that is in constant patience over its afflictions” Right there, the old man brought the matter of blessings into perspective for the questioner.
For many of us, we have to ask ourselves what comes to our mind when we hear the word blessing? For a lot of us, maybe physical goods, usually materialistic wealth tend to come to mind. The true meaning is how Allah (swt) defines it in Surah al-Qasas when He says,
“And whatever thing you people have been given – it is only for the enjoyment of worldly life and its adornment. And what is with Allah is better and more lasting; so will you not use reason?”
Surah al-Qasas, Ayah 60
In Surah al-Kahf, Allah (swt) says,
“Indeed, We have made that which is on the earth adornment for it that We may test them as to which of them is best in deed.”
Surah al-Kahf, Ayah 7
The Qur’an and hadith all agree on one central theme and that is that blessings, no matter what they are, are a test. Having health, wealth, fame, etc are not anywhere near total success. Losing these is not total failure either. Blessings can be so dangerous sometimes that they suck people into the worldly life, taking them away from the remembrance of Allah (swt). Greed, arrogance, etc are all side effects of being given something and not being thankful to Allah (swt). In this case, are these things that us away from the remembrance of Allah (swt) really blessings? A lot of times when an individual is afflicted with a health problem, or loss of wealth and fame, this can act as a catalysts to direct people to Allah (swt). Allah (swt) loves each and every one of us. He wants to see us on His path. Our minds don’t see it that way unfortunately. Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Fajr,
And as for man, when his Lord tries him and thus is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.” But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.” No!”
Surah al-Fajr, Ayah 15 – 17
Blessings and tribulations are both trials. This reinforced the fact that what may look like good fortune from the outside is not necessarily the source of success and vice versa. The Prophet (saw) said,
“Richness is not having many possessions, but richness is being content with oneself.”
The old man at the beginning knew what a true blessing is. He was content, peaceful, and grateful all because he had in fact been blessed with wisdom. Allah (saw) says in Surah al-Baqarah,
“…and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding.”
Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 269
For true contentment, we need to understand the meaning of blessings and how it related to our spirituality. If we don’t understand the true meaning of what blessings actually are, we can damage our connection with Allah (swt). We all face trials, difficulties, and failures. Being afflicted with hardship will lead many to think that they’re not “blessed.” The majority of the world today agrees that the meaning of blessed has to do with having material wealth, happiness, and health all with no problems. If even one of those isn’t checked off in an individuals life, a person might feel cursed, or unworthy and may fall into depression or rebellion against Allah (swt). Allah (swt) wants us to love Him and think good of Him. When we’re going through times of hardship, the last thing we should do is turn our back on Him thinking He doesn’t love us anymore. Love itself is such a deep word. Love doesn’t mean that you continuously shower the other with blessings that are all of worldly interest. Love and commitment entail sticking to the other in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer. If your reading this, and think that your one of those who believes Allah (swt) doesn’t love you because your going through hardship, it’s time to change that view. Hardships oftentimes carry very important lessons we can learn so that we can improve our overall life and relationship with the Almighty.
To be content in this world, our mind must adjust to being in these two conditions:
- A state of shukr (gratitude towards Allah (swt) ) for whatever good you have been given
- A state of patience over whatever affliction you think you’re in
Success in its true essence is to be grateful to Allah (swt) because that’s what shows our mindfulness of Allah (swt) and not heedlessness of Him. We need to be hopeful of Him and have to be mindful again of His great power, along with the reward He has promised if we follow His guidance.
The whole point of this life is to worship Allah (swt). Along with that, we have to remember never to get attached to our material goods we have in this world. The same goes for being depressed about something we don’t have. If we allow ourselves to be fixated and occupied with these things and ignore the reality that our lives can end at any moment, where are the blessings then? What have we earned? What are we taking with us to the grave? May Allah (swt) BLESS all of us with sincere wisdom to face the ups and downs in life, and for Him to BLESS us with patience and thankfulness. Ameen.