believers who put aside their habitual views and observe their environment will understand that everything they perceive is a blessing from allah. they will understand that everything—eyes, ears, body, all the food they eat, the clean air they breathe, houses, goods and property, the things they own and even micro-organisms and stars—have been put at their service. and these blessings are too numerous to count. as our lord says in the following verse, it is not even possible to classify and count all these blessings:
if you tried to number allah's blessings, you could never count them. allah is ever-forgiving, most merciful. (surat an-nahl: 18)
a believer can legitimately use all the blessings given to him in this world but he will never be deceived by them and so forget to live without thought for allah, the afterlife or the teachings of the qur'an. no matter how many possessions he has, prosperity, money, or power, etc., they will never cause him to become decadent or arrogant; in short, they will never lead him to abandon the teachings of the qur'an. he is aware that all of these things are blessings from allah and that if he wills, he can take them back again. he is always aware that the blessings of this world are transitory and limited, that they test him and that they are only reflections of the real blessings of the garden.
for someone who lives according to the teachings of the qur'an, the blessings of this world such as property, possessions and position are only means by which to draw near and give thanks to allah. for this reason, it is never his aim to possess the blessings of this world, which he knows he will only enjoy for a limited time. for example, one of the most enduring blessings of which a person can make use in this life is a house, but it benefits a person for a couple of decades of his life at most. when his life in this world comes to an end, he will go away and leave the house he loved, valued and worked so hard to own throughout his life. there is no doubt that death marks the definite separation between an individual and his earthly blessings.
a believer knows that allah is the real owner of the blessings given him and that they come only from him. he does everything he can to give thanks to our lord who created these blessings and to show his appreciation and gratitude. in return for his countless blessings, he will always make every effort to give thanks by what he says and what he does, to recall allah's blessings and remember them and to speak of them to others. here are a few relevant verses:
your lord will soon give to you and you will be satisfied. did he not find you orphaned and shelter you? did he not find you wandering and guide you? did he not find you impoverished and enrich you? so as for orphans, do not oppress them, and as for beggars, do not berate them. and as for the blessing of your lord, speak out! ( surat ad-duha: 5-11)
or are you astonished that a reminder should come to you from your lord by way of a man among you in order to warn you? remember when he appointed you successors to the people of nuh, and increased you greatly in stature. remember allah's blessings, so that hopefully you will be success ful. (surat al-a'raf: 69)
before some people give thanks, they wait for some special blessing or for some big problem to be solved. but if they thought for a moment, they would see that every moment of a person's life is filled with blessings. continually, at every moment, countless blessings are given to us such as life, health, intelligence, consciousness, the five senses, and the air we breathe. and we should give thanks for every one of these blessings separately. people who are careless in their remembrance of allah and recollection of the proofs of his creation do not realize the value of their blessings while they have them; they do not give thanks and they only understand the value of these blessings when they are taken from them.
but believers consider how helpless they are and how much they need these blessings, and so they always thank allah for them. the believers don't only thank allah for wealth, property and possessions; but knowing that allah is the owner of and ruler over everything, they thank our lord for their health, good looks, knowledge, intelligence, for their love of their faith and disgust for godlessness, for the fact that they are on the right path, for their association with pure believers, for their understanding, insight and perception, and for their spiritual and physical strength. they immediately give thanks to allah when they see a beautiful view or when they manage their work well, when they receive something they wanted, hear a good word and witness acts of love and respect, and other such blessings that are too many to mention. they remember him as the compassionate and merciful one.
if a believer shows in his acts of gratitude that the blessings he has received will not make him greedy, arrogant or haughty, allah will give him even more blessings. this statement of allah in the qur'an speaks of this:
and when your lord announced: "if you are grateful, i will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, my punishment is severe." (surah ibrahim: 7)
at the same time, all blessings are a part of a human being's worldly testing. for this reason, people of faith, in addition to giving thanks, use the blessings given to them as much as possible in doing good works; they don't want to be stingy and hoard wealth. this is because collecting and hoarding wealth is a characteristic of the people of the fire. our lord draws our attention to this in the qur'an:
but no! it is a raging blaze stripping away the limbs and scalp, which calls for all who drew back and turned away, and amassed and hoarded up. truly man was created headstrong, desperate when bad things happen, begrudging when good things come. (surat al-ma'arij: 15-21)
in response to the question as to what people should give away, allah recommends that one give from "whatever is surplus to your needs." (surat al-baqara: 219) it is a requirement of the teachings of the qur'an that believers use a portion of their earnings apart from their own needs for good works as allah directs. the legal minimum of that is the obligatory zakat, which is collected by the ruler or community leader for distribution to the poor and needy and those others allah mentions in the ayah about zakat. giving beyond that is not obligatory but highly recommended.
certainly believers' thanksgiving for their blessings will be to use the blessings allah has given them to win his approval. a believer is responsible for using what he has been given in performing the good works that allah has commanded. along with the material means that allah has given him, a believer uses his body to gain allah's approval and to work in his way and thereby hopes to win allah's pleasure and mercy and attain the never-ending blessings of the garden:
allah has bought from the believers their selves and their wealth in return for the garden… (surat at-tawba: 111)
a community of individuals living according to the teachings of the qur'an and the sunnah of the best of creation, may allah bless him and grant him peace, will by their payment of zakat and their voluntary acts of giving remove the violence, strife, theft and other ugly criminal activities caused by poverty, hunger, destitution and other such problems. in this way and allah willing, peace of mind and well-being will attain their highest level.