I was naive. In school the first time I read about the need to 'syukur' I thought "Ok, so I need to be thankful. I need to be grateful."
I had thought that in order to be thankful and grateful I needed to be able to achieve great things, like passing exams with flying colours, or to be given a big and expensive present. Hahahaa.. see naive I was then? You see, the way I was brought up, to be thankful is to measure something in monetary terms. You thank somebody for giving you something. You thank somebody for helping you. You thank God for answering your important prayer. You are grateful for Him granting your wishes. That's how 'to be thankful' means?
Yet that's not what syukur means according to Islam. Syukur is such a wide concept. I'm amazed that my Muslim friends whom I've known since childhood had never explained to be the Islamic concept of syukur until I embraced Islam myself, and learn it on my own. Perhaps they too had understood 'syukur' as I had?
Is not just being thankful for what you have
Syukur is not just being grateful for what you're given.
But to be syukur is to praise His blessings upon us all,
For we're blessed with such abundance that we're sometimes unaware of His love.
Syukur is when you look at yourself and realise that you're given another day to gain pahala and His blessings
Syukur is when you look at your loved ones, and realise that He's sent them to you although you sometimes never ask for them,
Syukur is when you compare yourself with the less unfortunate and needful and find yourself blessed with more than you need.
Yet not many realise that they're far off better than others
Yet not many are thankful that they're not tested with difficult tests
Yet still many are not contented by comparing their lot with other more fortunate ones.
And they're not contented, and they're still unhappy, and they (nadzubillah) blame God.
Oh, I've walked the road of many roads,
I've known the life of a member of a disfunctional family,
I've known the life of a neglected and penniless wife,
I've experienced the life of a much-gossipped-about divorcee,
I've experienced the life of a lone muallaf,
I've walked the path many had dared not walk,
And I praise His name, syukur alhamdulillah.
For it's through all those paths that I've become who I am today, stronger, more resilient, more independent and more courageous, eager to savour the remaining of my life in the most beneficial way I can, insyaAllah, although I pray that I won't have to go through all those path again.
Many who don't really know me said,"you're strong" but I say, "Alhamdulillah, He gives me strength."
Many who don't know me deeply said,"you're tough" but I say,"Alhamdulillah, He protects and guides me in the darkest hours."
Friends, never ever compare yourself with others whom you think are more fortunate than you.
I know, for behind every closed door, people are coping in their own way. All you will ever see are controlled smiles and things they want to display and that they want others to know. Many do wear masks, so don't ever compare your lot with others.
Be thankful for all the small blessings that He has bestowed upon you.
If you still have money in your pocket, think of the single mother who cries for she has nothing to feed her children;
If you're unsatisfied with a not-so-romantic husband, think of those women who want to marry but haven't found a good Muslim man they can trust to guide them;
If you're tired of scolding your unruly children, think of those childless couples who pray so hard for an heir,
If you're complaining about your family members, think of those orphans who long for a loving family.
Syukur for everything you have.
Syukur for everything you're given without even you asking for them - good health, a steady income, a comfortable home, a country safe from wars, loved ones who care for you, and family members whom you can turn to.
Not everyone is as fortunate.
And may you never have to walk the path of the 'unfortunates' whom He tests for their faith and patience, ever.