|In the name of
GOD, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
There is no other god beside GOD
What Does It Really Mean?
In light of the horrific events of September 11 and with the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, it's a good time to reflect on God's blessings. Immediately following the attacks on New York and Washington, DC, people turned to God in droves. All over Tucson, as I'm sure in every city and small town in America, signs outside of stores, which normally displayed weekly specials or witty sayings to draw in customers, all suddenly said, "God bless America;" or "Pray for the victims and their families;" or "In God We Trust. United We Stand." In a society where the mention of God is frowned upon and prayer in school prohibited, suddenly it was "cool" and popular to invoke God.
I say, "Thank God." Maybe it's not too late. Maybe we can find our way out of the darkness of today's immoral lifestyles and back to the path of God. This nation was founded on the understanding that we need to turn to God for everything. Our forefathers recognized this and acknowledged it in many ways, including putting on all our money: In God We Trust. Some-where along the way we've lost sight of those principles, and it's time to find our way again.
It won't be the first time someone has tried to write our path. Abraham Lincoln recognized that, less than 100 years after our becoming a nation based on "In God we Trust," we were in danger of losing the understanding of what made us great. Lincoln recognized the need to make Thanksgiving Day a permanent Federal holiday. He said: "We have been the recipient of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no nation has ever grown.
"But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own."
He is the One who moves you across the land and sea. You get onto the ships, and they sail smoothly in a nice breeze. Then, while rejoicing therein, violent wind blows, and the waves surround them from every side. This is when they implore GOD, sincerely devoting their prayers to Him alone: "If You only save us this time, we will be eternally appreciative." But as soon as He saves them, they transgress on earth, and oppose the truth. O people, your transgression is only to the detriment of your own souls. You remain preoccupied with this worldly life, then to us is your ultimate return, then we inform you of everything you had done. [10:22-23]
If the human is touched by adversity, he implores us, but as soon as we bestow a blessing upon him, he says, "I attained this because of my cleverness!" Indeed, this is only a test, but most of them do not know. [39:49]
And the Quran gives us a very specific example of what happened to one community when they failed to remain appreciative of God's blessings.
GOD cites the example of a community that used to be secure and prosperous, with provisions coming to it from everywhere. But then, it turned unappreciative of GOD's blessings. Consequently, GOD caused them to taste the hardships of starvation and insecurity. Such is the requital for what they did. [16:112]
Plus, God gives us the example of Sheba's homeland. When they became unappreciative, God turned their beautiful and well-producing gardens into gardens with thorny plants and skimpy harvest (34:15-17)
So Abraham Lincoln recognized both that Americans were turning unappreciative of God's blessings, and the peril that posed for the nation. Certainly, we are no better now; in fact, we are much farther from the right path. Is this one reason why this horrible event happened here and now? God allowed this strike against the very symbol of today's "idol" wealth, the "almighty dollar." If it causes people to remember God, to investigate for themselves the teachings of true Submission, to foster what's right and eliminate what's wrong in our lives, then it is truly a blessing in disguise.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, let's remember that we need to be appreciative and thankful every single day.
Your Lord has decreed: "The more you thank Me, the more I give you." But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe. [14:7]
It was George Washington, our first president, who first called for a day of national thanksgiving. If we look at excerpts from the Proclamation he issued in 1789, we see clearly the righteous principles upon which America was founded. We need to reassert those principles, putting God foremost in our thoughts and actions, and remember especially to thank Him for His blessings and His guidance.
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits and humbly to implore His protection and favor….[we] recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God….[a day] to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the benefit-cent author of all the good that was, that is, or will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our service and humble thanks for His kind care and protection;…for the great degree of tranquility, union and plenty which we have since en-joyed; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
"And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplication to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our duties properly and punctually; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best."
I think this Thanksgiving Day will find thousands more Americans flocking to churches than ever before. For us, Thanksgiving falls during Ramadan, so we will have even more to be thankful for. Thanksgiving-it means so much more than turkey and football. It means giving thanks to Almighty God, turning in times of prosperity AND adversity to our Creator, as individuals, as communities, as a nation, as one world. And carrying this sense of grateful appreciation beyond one day, to make giving thanks to the One God part of every single day.
And He gives you all kinds of things that you implore Him for. If you count GOD's blessings, you can never encompass them. Indeed, the human being is transgressing, unappreciative. [14:34]
(Reproduced from the Submitters Perspective, November 2001. Published by International Community of Submitters, Masjid Tucson, P. O. Box 43476, Tucson, AZ 85733)
United Community of Submitters / United Submitters International
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