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. Somewhere along
the way we’ve lost sight of those principles, and it’s
time to find our way again.
Appreciative vs Unappreciative
It won’t be the first time someone has tried
to right 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.”
Doesn’t that sound eerily like the Quran?
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
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
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.
Cont’d on page 4