A couple of years ago, I took on a personal blogging endeavor based on one of my favorite verses of the Quran. The verse states, “And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them” (Q. 14:34). This verse illustrates the vast bounty of God, from which He bestows upon mankind infinite blessings. Each day I wanted to find one blessing and appreciate it, and it was a endeavor that had me grateful for the things that were obvious (like my grandmother and cousins) and also for the things most people would consider mundane or irrelevant (like scissors and onions).
The Quranic verses preceding the one quoted above talk about big picture blessings like the moon, sun, night, and day. God mentions how He created these things as subservient to man. When the sun rises in the day, we wake up and do our work. The moon and the night follow to provide a time for rest and sleep. The two continuously follow one another in a perfect cycle we ourselves do not control or even need to think about, but we always benefit from them. This cyclical nature of the solar system and our calendar is but one aspect of the blessings provided by the sun, moon, night, and day. There are far more intricate blessings resulting from these aspects of creation. The perfect distance at which the earth is from the sun allows for warmth and light for not only humans but plants and animals (which in turn, then provide sustenance for us). The full moon and stars against the night sky glow with beauty for all to witness. The list of blessings is quite long, and that is only the result of the night and day!
When we look at and within ourselves, the blessings multiply numerous-fold. When I look down, I see my fingers tapping away at the keyboard with ease. Each bone and joint and ligament works together perfectly for me to be able to put together words onto this screen. My fingers and hands can hold a pencil or a pen, a toothbrush, a spoon, a phone, a steering wheel, a needle and thread. They give me the ability to write as a journalist. They give my cousin the ability to teach as an educator, my sister the ability to nurture as a mother, my friend to treat as a doctor. We are all able to pursue our dreams thanks in part to our hands—not to mention our brains, our legs, our eyes, our tongues, our hearts. And again, that is only the outer. Think of the complex systems that run a healthy body—our blood flows, our brains signal, our lungs breathe, our hearts beat—there really is no ceiling for it all.
Another category of blessings to consider is that which comes with the comforts of our present day. We have heating and air conditioning, beds to sleep on with fluffy pillows and cozy blankets. We have drawers and closets to store our numerous clothes and shoes. We have lamps to light up our homes and clocks to tell us the time. We have cleaning supplies like vacuums and soap. We have cars and licenses to drive. We have computers and phones to work and communicate. We have doors with locks, refrigerators, access to entertainment and education, indoor plumbing and clean water.
The people in our lives, of course, cannot be overlooked as blessings. We have our mothers and fathers, who cared for us in our youth and beyond. We have our siblings and/or cousins, our friends, our teachers. We have our spouses and children. We have even the local service workers—those who assist us in sending out our mail, those who help us checking out our groceries, and those who serve us our coffee in the morning. We have so many people we cross on a day to day basis, many of whom may spare a passing smile, or give us an opportunity to merge onto the highway on a congested route during our morning commute. All of these people bring us some kind of joy or assistance or convenience, and we should not think our interactions with them are merely coincidental.
Islamically, we are trained to view all of these things and more as blessings. If you even take one day to list out all the blessings in your life, you will never be able to count them—that is guaranteed in the Quran. Each and every blessing comes to us from God. We need to spend our lives being grateful and thankful for all that we have and realize that so many others do not have as much as we do.