وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ
Wa ammā bi ni ‘mati rabbika fahaddith
And as for your Lord’s Blessings, proclaim it!
(Surat al-Duhā, No. 93, Āyat 11)
Happiness comes easier when we stop complaining about our problems and start being grateful for all the problems we don’t have. We don’t need to look far to realize that we are surrounded by countless blessings: If you enumerate Allah’s blessings, you will not be able to count them (Q 16:18). An extension of counting these blessings is described in this verse, and that is to declare these blessings. When we look at the tafsir of this verse, it tells us that this assertion of blessings is multidimensional.
The first dimension is to verbally declare these blessings. It is made clear that this spoken proclamation should be with the intention of being grateful and thankful and not as a means of being arrogant. Imam Ja‘far al-Sādiq ‘alayhis salām says: Whoever is granted blessings by God and feels this by his heart and gives thanks for it, then God will order an increase in his blessings before he finishes his words. This is what is meant by God the Almighty’s statement: ‘If you are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you’. (Q 14:7) (Mishkāt Al-Anwār Fi Ghurar al-Akhbār, H. 127)
A second dimension of proclaiming the blessings is by spending the said blessings in the way of Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā. Whether is it is monetary, time, certain skills, or any blessings, we have a responsibility to share them and use them to benefit others. Amīrul Mu’minīn Imam Ali ‘alayhis salām says: By being generous with blessings, the blessings last longer (Ghurar al-Hikam, H. 2118).
It is clear from the explanation of this verse that for us to truly show our appreciation of all that Allah ‘azza wajall provides for us, we must acknowledge and express our appreciation. Our gratitude must be seen through our words and actions. We must maintain a positive attitude, speak of these blessings and share them with others. Imam Ali (a) said: Let the effect of that which Allah, the Glorified, has blessed you with be seen on you [Ghurar, H. 9827).
Some scholars take the interpretation of blessings a step further and suggest that it also refers to spiritual blessings such as Prophethood, and the Holy Quran and its teachings.
In light of this, one such spiritual blessing that we must not take for granted, is the sanctity and the blessings of the month of Rajab that is upon us. Rajab marks the beginning of ‘the spiritual season’ and it is narrated from the Prophet sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam that: Rajab is the month of Allah with abundant outpouring, because Allah pours His Mercy in it upon His servants (Bihār al-Anwār, v.93, p.366).
The reward for every positive action this month is amplified. Take advantage of the extra blessings of this month and make a point to do more of the following:
a) Recite and reflect on verses of the Quran.
b) Try to recite Du‘ās that you usually don’t get a chance to recite.
c) Give charity.
d) Fast as often as you can.
e) Seek forgiveness of Allah (swt).
f) Volunteer your time to help with various causes.
g) Make extra effort to keep in touch with friends and family.
h) Improve relationships with those you may have differences with.
Apply this verse, especially during this sacred month of Rajab. Declare your blessings everyday and this will cultivate a habit of positivity for yourself and those around you.
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī, Al-Amthal fí Tafsīr Kitāb Allah al- Munzal, ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān.