An American Islam
Giving Thanks for a God Who Is Appreciative
This is truly, truly amazing. The Lord God—Originator of the heavens and the earth, Creator of all that exists, Giver of Life, the Most Powerful of all things, the King of all kings—is al Shakur, or "the appreciative."
Appreciative of what, however? What have I done, as a servant of God, so that He would be appreciative of me? He gave me life, but I return that debt by being sinful and disobedient. There is nothing that I could do for God; yet He still is al Shakur. He is appreciative when I "do what is good," or "advance God a good loan," or if I am "grateful and faithful." What an amazing, awesome God we have.
It is a tremendous manifestation of God's Infinite Love. He loves us so much that He is merciful toward us. On top of that, He is appreciative of the faith and service we give to Him, even though we constantly sin against Him. What an amazing, awesome God we have.
So, what are the implications of that fact? What should it mean to me that God is the Appreciative? It means that I should redouble my efforts to serve and please the Lord; I should redouble my efforts to try to avoid sinning against Him. It is the best way of my showing gratitude to God for His being so loving, merciful, and appreciative. If God is al Shakur, then the least I can do is be grateful for this by trying my best to stay on His path of obedience.
"Every day should be Thanksgiving." I have heard some Muslims say this to me in an effort to persuade me that Muslims should not celebrate Thanksgiving because it is a "non-Muslim" holiday. While I do not subscribe to this view, I do agree that every day should be Thanksgiving. Each and every day, I must celebrate the beautiful fact that God is al Shakur, or the Appreciative. And I do so by following the commands of God to the best of my ability. And, if I do that, God told me that He will shower his blessings upon me because He is "most appreciative, most clement."
What an amazing, awesome God we have.
Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago-based physician and writer. He is author of, most recently, Noble Brother: The Story of the Prophet Muhammad in Poetry (Faithful Word Press). You can follow Hesham Hassaballa on Facebook.