Be Thankful for the Simple Things
a man once approached a wise sage complaining of poverty. the sage asked him: "would you sell me your eyesight for 100 thousand gold coins?" the man said no. the sage continued: "would you sell me your hearing for 100 thousand gold coins?" the man again said no. the sage then asked the man about his hands, his feet, his sanity, and his other limbs. to each question the man replied that he would not sell. the sage then pointed out to the man that he had valued himself to the tune of a few million gold coins.
the sage then declared: "you have a great debt upon your shoulders. this great wealth you possess places demands on you. when are you going to show thanks? instead, you complain that you want more. your lord is truly forgiving and generous."
a person who is free from worry, secure in home and health, takes greater pleasure in food and drink and life in general. the simple everyday enjoyments are savored, like time spent with one's spouse or children and in partaking of even the simplest meals. the happy atmosphere that comes from being relaxed, feeling safe, and having one's health makes one's enjoyments all the greater.
by contrast, if someone possesses a variety of food and drink and wealth in abundance, but lives in a constant state of fear, anxiety, and stress, what that person possesses will be of little real value. the same can be said for a person who is stricken with a serious physical or mental illness.
this is why the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"whoever is secure in his home, has his health and enough provisions for a day, it is as if he has everything in the world." [sunan ath-tirmidhi (2346) and sunan ibn majah (4141)]
it is a great blessing to have enough food, clothing, and shelter to satisfy one's needs. there is nothing wrong with desiring more than that, as long as one seeks it by lawful means, since allah apportions his bounty among his creatures as he pleases. some people are better off being wealthy. if allah gives them wealth, they spend a portion of it on the poor and needy. moreover, they feel humble before allah in recognition of what he has given them.
we should never forget that allah provides us with our health, our minds, our food and drink, our children, our good appearances, our strength, our vitality in youth and our good sense. many of us take these blessings for granted and fail to recognize them as allah's gifts. only those whose hearts are alive with faith recognize the blessings in everyday things. prophet muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"allah is pleased with a servant who praises him when he eats something and praises him when he has something to drink." [sahih muslim (2734)]
we show our thanks to allah for all of his blessings when we praise him. is it a small thing to have your health and strength? is it a small thing to live assured of enough food and drink, a home to live in, clothes to wear, and the means to get around?
"glorified be he who has subdued these unto us, and we were not capable (of subduing them); and surely to our lord we must return." [noble quran 43:13-14]
the water we drink, the air we breathe, the ears we hear with, the eyes that allow us to see, the minds we reason with, the hearts by which we feel - these are all enjoyments that allah provides for us, whether we realize it or not. we should make ourselves aware of this fact, thank allah, and avoid ingratitude. when we show thanks for allah's blessings, they grow stronger in our lives. when we are ungrateful, those blessings abandon us. allah tells us:
"...proclaim the favor of your lord." [noble quran 93:11]
one of the best things allah can provide us with is a contented heart. we are also blessed immensely if we have stability in our lives, harmony in our homes, and peace in our hearts.