وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا
“And if you Should Count the Favors of Allah, You Could Not Enumerate Them”
Allah (swt) blessed His worshipers abundantly with favours that man cannot enumerate He (swt) said in Surat Al-Nahl: وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ “And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” [Al-Nahl: 18]. And He (swt) said in Surat Ibrahim: وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ… “And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful” [Ibrahim: 34].
What is remarkable is that with the large number of blessings and the inability to count and enumerate them, Allah (swt) has used the word ‘blessing’ (ni’ma) in the singular form and is not in the plural form in talking about these blessings, and this is a reason for us to think and ponder about the greatness of Allah (swt) and the greatness of His bounty and the miracle of His book in expressing meanings and communicating ideas. I paused in this regard by an observation by Sheikh Al-Shaarawi in his tafseer (interpretation) of the above verse from Surat Ibrahim about the mention of the word blessing (ni’ma) in singular form in the verse, where he says: “Allah (swt) started with mentioning the doubt (shak),” and He used (In) and did not use (Itha), in the verse because it is a matter that does not happen. In addition, the reason for counting the blessings is thinking that they (blessings) can be counted. Money is counted, and the principal in school counts students; however, no one can count or enumerate the particles of the sand for example. This is why there is doubt in that you count Allah’s blessing. It is strange that counting requires gathering, and addition of many things, but He (swt) chose a word in a singular form (ni’ma) and He (swt) did not say: (ni’am) as if every single blessing embraces various blessings. So, we cannot count the blessings embedded in one blessing.”
Glory be to Allah (swt); how He is the Greatest and the Most Generous, and the Most Merciful to His servants! A look of reflection and contemplation in ourselves and the wonderful creation form that Allah gave us: لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ “We have certainly created man in the best of stature;” [At-Tin: 4], and in the blessings that Allah (swt) has bestowed on us from hearing, sight and other senses, and in the delicate system and the great functions performed by the organs and parts of our body in seconds or fractions of seconds, without sensing them, likethe kidneys, liver and blood transport from the heart to other parts of the body; all these make us never stop praising Allah for His greatness and for the greatness of His creation and His giving. This is the same if we think about what we have around us of creatures and cattle and the greatness of their creation, and how these creatures can be utilized to serve man and to get benefit from them. And this is the same if we look in the universe and its precise system. Allah (swt) says in Surat Al-Nahl: وَالْأَنْعَامَ خَلَقَهَا لَكُمْ فِيهَا دِفْءٌ وَمَنَافِعُ وَمِنْهَا تَأْكُلُونَ (5) وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا جَمَالٌ حِينَ تُرِيحُونَ وَحِينَ تَسْرَحُونَ (6) وَتَحْمِلُ أَثْقَالَكُمْ إِلَى بَلَدٍ لَمْ تَكُونُوا بَالِغِيهِ إِلَّا بِشِقِّ الْأَنْفُسِ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَرَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ (7) وَالْخَيْلَ وَالْبِغَالَ وَالْحَمِيرَ لِتَرْكَبُوهَا وَزِينَةً وَيَخْلُقُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ “And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat. * And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture] * And they carry your loads to a land you could not have reached except with difficulty to yourselves. Indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful * And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know” [Al-Nahl: 5-8].
And He (swt) says: هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً لَكُمْ مِنْهُ شَرَابٌ وَمِنْهُ شَجَرٌ فِيهِ تُسِيمُونَ (10) يُنْبِتُ لَكُمْ بِهِ الزَّرْعَ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالنَّخِيلَ وَالْأَعْنَابَ وَمِنْ كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ (11) وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومُ مُسَخَّرَاتٌ بِأَمْرِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ (12) وَمَا ذَرَأَ لَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُخْتَلِفاً أَلْوَانُهُ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَذَّكَّرُونَ (13) وَهُوَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ الْبَحْرَ لِتَأْكُلُوا مِنْهُ لَحْماً طَرِيّاً وَتَسْتَخْرِجُوا مِنْهُ حِلْيَةً تَلْبَسُونَهَا وَتَرَى الْفُلْكَ مَوَاخِرَ فِيهِ وَلِتَبْتَغُوا مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ (14) وَأَلْقَى فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَنْ تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَأَنْهَاراً وَسُبُلاً لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ (15) وَعَلَامَاتٍ وَبِالنَّجْمِ هُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ (16) أَفَمَنْ يَخْلُقُ كَمَنْ لَا يَخْلُقُ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ (17) وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ “It is He who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drink and from it is foliage in which you pasture [animals] * He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought * And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason * And [He has subjected] whatever He multiplied for you on the earth of varying colors. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who remember * And it is He who subjected the sea for you to eat from it tender meat and to extract from it ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through it, and [He subjected it] that you may seek of His bounty; and perhaps you will be grateful * And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided, * And landmarks. And by the stars they are [also] guided * Then is He who creates like one who does not create? So will you not be reminded? * And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” [Al-Nahl: 10-18].
Man should always invoke the blessings of Allah be upon him, and this should make man glorify and praise Allah continuously for His blessings. And from Allah great blessings He has bestowed upon us is that whenever we thank and praise Him for His blessings, He increases his favours upon us وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’” [Ibrahim: 7].
We seek refuge in Allah to be from those ungrateful for Allah’s blessings upon us, and be unjust to ourselves إِنَّ الإِنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ “Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful” [Ibrahim: 34] from those whom Allah promised torment, from those who attributed the credit to themselves and were deceived by it (in arrogance) and forgot the blessings and favours of Allah (swt) over them, as the owner of the two gardens in the Qur’an in the story in Surat Al-Kahf, where Allah punished him, for being ungrateful for the favours from Allah and attributing the credit for himself, by sending a thunderbolt that destroyed his garden and destroyed its fruits: قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلاً (37) لَّٰكِنَّا هُوَ اللَّهُ رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِرَبِّي أَحَداً (38) وَلَوْلَا إِذْ دَخَلْتَ جَنَّتَكَ قُلْتَ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ إِن تَرَنِ أَنَا أَقَلَّ مِنكَ مَالاً وَوَلَداً (39) فَعَسَىٰ رَبِّي أَن يُؤْتِيَنِ خَيْراً مِّن جَنَّتِكَ وَيُرْسِلَ عَلَيْهَا حُسْبَاناً مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ فَتُصْبِحَ صَعِيداً زَلَقاً (40) أَوْ يُصْبِحَ مَاؤُهَا غَوْراً فَلَن تَسْتَطِيعَ لَهُ طَلَباً (41) وَأُحِيطَ بِثَمَرِهِ فَأَصْبَحَ يُقَلِّبُ كَفَّيْهِ عَلَىٰ مَا أَنفَقَ فِيهَا وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَىٰ عُرُوشِهَا وَيَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أُشْرِكْ بِرَبِّي أَحَداً (42) “His companion said to him while he was conversing with him, “Have you disbelieved in He who created you from dust and then from a sperm-drop and then proportioned you [as] a man? * But as for me, He is Allah, my Lord, and I do not associate with my Lord anyone. * And why did you, when you entered your garden, not say, ‘What Allah willed [has occurred]; there is no power except in Allah ‘? Although you see me less than you in wealth and children, * It may be that my Lord will give me [something] better than your garden and will send upon it a calamity from the sky, and it will become a smooth, dusty ground, * Or its water will become sunken [into the earth], so you would never be able to seek it.” * And his fruits were encompassed [by ruin], so he began to turn his hands about [in dismay] over what he had spent on it, while it had collapsed upon its trellises, and said, “Oh, I wish I had not associated with my Lord anyone.” [Al-Kahf: 37-42].
Rather, some have gone deeper on in disbelief, misguidance, and tyranny, despite Allah’s blessings upon him, so he disbelieved in Allah and transgressed on the land and oppressed on earth the servants of Allah and disrupted Allah’s rulings and brought hardship upon the believers in Tawheed. And the likes of these are many in the past and the present, and the Qur’an narrated to us the story of Qarun, whom Allah has given a great money that the men of the earth cannot own. Qarun thought that this money was obtained due to his ability alone and that he was the only disposer of it. Allah (swt) says: إِنَّ قَارُونَ كَانَ مِن قَوْمِ مُوسَىٰ فَبَغَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْكُنُوزِ مَا إِنَّ مَفَاتِحَهُ لَتَنُوءُ بِالْعُصْبَةِ أُولِي الْقُوَّةِ إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ قَوْمُهُ لَا تَفْرَحْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَرِحِينَ “Indeed, Qarun was from the people of Moses, but he tyrannized them. And We gave him of treasures whose keys would burden a band of strong men; thereupon his people said to him, “Do not exult. Indeed, Allah does not like the exultant” [Al-Qasas: 76].
Qarun used his money to compel people to oppress them, and the verses mentioned that there are some of his people who tried to dissuade him from the path he took, except that his arrogance with his money and himself prevented him from following their advice, and his reply to them was as Allah (swt) says: قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ عِندِي “He said, “I was only given it because of knowledge I have.” [Al-Qasas: 78]
He forgot that it was Allah (swt) who gave him this money, and that He (swt) has the power to take it away from him and make him taste the varieties of torment, so his end was that Allah caused the earth to swallow him and his home, and his money could not save him: فَخَرَجَ عَلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ فِي زِينَتِهِ قَالَ الَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا يَا لَيْتَ لَنَا مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ قَارُونُ إِنَّهُ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ (79) “So he came out before his people in his adornment. Those who desired the worldly life said, “Oh, would that we had like what was given to Qarun. Indeed, he is one of great fortune.” [Al-Qasas: 79]. فَخَسَفْنَا بِهِ وَبِدَارِهِ الْأَرْضَ فَمَا كَانَ لَهُ مِن فِئَةٍ يَنصُرُونَهُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُنتَصِرِينَ (81) “And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves” [Al-Qasas: 81].
We warn the arrogant, oppressive tyrants with what they possess, whether they are individuals or rulers in Muslim countries and elsewhere – which is mostly what they robbed of their own people and the people of the countries they colonized – of the bad consequence, and we urge the believers who neglected some of the worships to correct what has been lost and return to Allah (swt). At-Tabari said in his Tafseer of the verse: وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ “And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” [Al-Nahl: 18].
“Allah forgives you, because of your failure to thank Him for some of that (blessings). If you repent and return to obey Him and follow His paths (for His pleasure), Allah is merciful to you, and will not punish you for this after turning to Him and your repentance.”
It is a strange irony that we became familiar with the blessings and their continuity even when we are asked about our situation and we say: “nothing is new”, we became desensitized to the value of these blessings unless we lose them. Shouldn’t we realise the greatness of the blessings and the continued good health, and shouldn’t we draw closer to Allah, especially under the pandemic of the Coronavirus, when we are in greater need of that. We have been deprived of many of the blessings that we considered as a matter of routine in our daily life, such as transportation, work, study and family visits, so we now know their value, as well as the blessing and reward of Jumu’a and congregational prayer and attending the lessons of Islamic knowledge.
Whoever complained about his place of residence and his standard of living and aspired to live a life of wealth and prosperity, he now realised the blessing of having a house that shelters his family in which they quarantine themselves to protect themselves from the Coronavirus, while many of our brothers and sisters have lost their homes due to brutal wars and criminality that they are subjected to, as is the case of the people Syria and the Rohingya Muslims. They no longer have homes to protect them from the cold winter and the heat of the summer and quarantine themselves from the Coronavirus, and we have also felt the blessing of providing food for us and our families, while others find nothing to feed themselves and families. Under this pandemic, we realized the meaning of the hadith of the Messenger ﷺ: «نِعْمَتَانِ مَغْبُونٌ فِيهِمَا كَثِيرٌ مِنَ النَّاسِ: الصِّحَّةُ، وَالْفَرَاغُ» “Two blessings which many people squander: Good health and free time.’”
As far as health is concerned, however much we thank Allah for the good health and well-being He has given us, we will not fulfill His due. The blessing of the breath that many have been deprived of because of this virus and they are now living on ventilators, if they find them at all. This makes us review our matters and seize this health before sickness and use it in Allah’s obedience. As for the blessing of free time that many people waste, they used to complain of boredom, and they are the most complaining and grumbling these days due to the procedures to prohibit movement and prohibiting leaving the homes due to the Coronavirus pandemic, or another section that was complaining about the lack of free time they had because of work and busyness, now this free time is a cause for all of us to think about how we spent our time before.
Did the world and its dazzle take their time at the expense of the Afterlife? It is an opportunity for each one of us to account himself, and try to remedy what he missed, and work to fill the free time with obedience to Allah and draw closer to Him (swt) on the level of individual acts of worship and good deeds, and on the level of working to revive his Ummah and restore Allah’s rule on earth, thus making the ordeal a grant, especially since we are approaching the month of Ramadan, this blessed month, the month of spirituality and opportunities that Allah (swt) has granted us to attain in this month, while others are denied of this, those who have died with this virus or otherwise. This month is one of the greatest blessings from Allah for His servants to make them witness the days of obedience and the opportunity to gain Hasanat (rewards) to erase the bad deeds, and in it is the virtue of emancipation from the hellfire, and realizing a great night described by the Lord of Glory as better than a thousand months (of worship).
The greatest blessing that we must realize these days is the blessing of the great Islam, which brought us out from darkness into light, and from worshiping servants to worshiping the Lord of the servants. It is Islam that has laid down rules and legislation for all of our life’s affairs starting with the cleanliness of bodies and place that some people have begun to learn in the shadow of the pandemic, up to the form of the system of government and taking care after the affairs of the people, which all humankind is missing and not only Muslims, under the capitalist system, especially in light of the Coronavirus pandemic and the way capitalist countries and their followers from the rulers in Muslim countries dealt with it. And while we are talking about the bliss of the world, we must not forget nor neglect what Allah (swt) has prepared for His obedient believers on the Day of Resurrection, because if they have countless abundant blessings in the world, they will have in Jannah that which: «مَا لَا عَيْنٌ رَأَتْ وَلَا أُذُنٌ سَمِعَتْ وَلَا خَطَرَ عَلَى قَلْبِ بَشَرٍ» “What no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard of, and nobody has ever thought of.”
O Allah we ask you to grant us your pleasure and we ask you to grant us Jannah and its blessings. O Allah praise be to you for your patience with your knowledge (of our deeds), praise be to you for your pardon with your power (to punish). O Allah to you is the complete praise, and all the good is in your hand, and to you all matters return, the known and the hidden. O Allah we praise you for all that you bestowed upon us, those that we know and those that we don’t know. O Allah to you is the praise in the way fitting to the majesty of your face and greatness of your Sultan (power), glory be to you, we cannot count the praise for you, you are as how you have chosen the praise to yourself.
Bara’ah Manasrah – the Blessed Land of Palestine
Member of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir