Islamic Character With the Divine

The Number that Never Changes

thank yoHe was right; having a good friend for over fifty years is impressive. I was attending a dinner in which a well-respected scholar and professor was being recognized for his accomplishments. Instead of focusing on himself and his journey, he spent his entire speech thanking the numerous individuals that impacted his life. As he reflected on his experience, he said one of the most rewarding gestures he ever received had been from a former student going out of his way to find the professor’s contact information to contact him and thank him for the time and effort he put into his education. I found it peculiar that after several decades of many accomplishments, friends and family, one of the most rewarding gestures the professor received was a thank you.

It’s true though. Sometimes, after trying so hard and going out of our way to help someone, all it takes is two words—thank you—to start the rush of accomplishment and success. In fact, it happens all the time at work and school when we get a pat-on-the-back for the job-well-done on a project or a paper.

I used to ponder on the significance of giving “thanks” to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). Clearly there is no benefit to Him, al-Ghani (the One that is free of all needs). Slowly yet surely though, life comes to show that it truly is the thought that counts; at the core, it’s about the very process and not the details. The very act of giving thanks is a humbling comment; a recognition of benefit and respect or even awe. The professor didn’t reminisce on the contents of the thank you, but rather the fact that he was thanked. And notice – the value of the thank you increased because the student was so thankful that he was willing to thank his professor years later, even at the cost of the student’s time and effort. In other words, the fact that his student was so thankful that he thanked him again, was worth more.

We’re so blinded by our own heedlessness and the thick, murky fog of this dunya (the physical Universe) that we readily miss the blessings that surround us. But when we are so fortunate to see some of the things that keep us standing, we don’t have to search for Allah’s contact information. He’s the friend that we’ve known the longest and His number never changes wa alhamdulilLah (and praise be to Allah).

About the author

Omar Zarka

Omar Zarka

Omar Zarka was born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Irvine, where he was involved with the Muslim Student Union. Omar is married and received a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles.

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  • AlhamdulilLah, God bless all these people and what their experience woke up in you. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.


  • There is a story of Banu Israil that a man committed a sin and then repented and remain engaged for many years in divine service but still his repentance was not accepted. The Prophet of that time was asked about the acceptance of his taubah, and God revealed to him : By My honour and glory, if the inmates of heaven and earth make intercession for him, I will still not accept his repentance, as the pleasure of sin still lies within his mind. (Imam Ghazali, Ihya Ulum Id-Din, p38)

    How can you counter attack this? If this is how you feel??

    • Assalamualaikom,
      The experience tells me that Real Repentance only comes from God, and a step forward to Forgiveness is to recognice this.
      We can change our surface but mantain inside what brought us to sin. If we want to heal ourselves from deep inside, if we want God´s Forgiveness, we go directly to Him, nobody has to know it, but everyone will notice it, surrender to God from deep inside, tell Him what is in your mind, that you don´t have the power to go over it alone, and your recognition that He is The Only One that has the Power to help you to let that go in your mind, body, emotions, soul,…and your recognition that this will happen when He considers best.
      Surrender to Him, to His Love, to His Mercy, this is the answer.
      Be patient with yourself and the others, love yourself and the others, forgive yourself and the others and be sure you will see the answers.
      God is Infinitely Loving, Caring and Patiente, He gives us many opportunities to get the right way in life, ask Him to touch you, to guide you, to show you the right path and to give you the strength to follow Him despite everything that happens around you.
      Whoever you are or whoever is the person that needs this, as my brother or sister, thank you very much for sharing and for listening to me, God bless you, and I send you all the Unconditional Love you are able to receive from me.
      Allah subhanahu wa ta´ala knows best.

  • brother/sister anon, is that a hadith? I’ve heard from a lot of imams and scholars that imam ghazali’s (RH) book, ihya ulum id-din, contains a lot of weak hadith. Allah knows best. maybe imam Suhaib can shed some light on this.

  • I dont know. It matters not in this case , as this is how I feel. I more concerned about getting rid of these feelings. Thank you Maria.

    • Alhamdulillah! This is a Heart to Heart sharing. You are learning a lesson of Wisdom, and sometimes is a bit hard, but you´ll get it because you have felt the need of getting rid of these feelings as you said; that´s the Call, now it is your time to pick up the phone and talk to Him. Sometimes will be easier than others, but it deserves the effort because it is the beggining of a Holy Process inside of yourself. Alhamdulillah!
      God bless you and bless all your steps in this Holy Process you are in.
      All my Unconditional Love to you.
      Salam alaikum

  • Thank you for your support. You have no idea how much it is helping me. Please say a dua for me, I am desperate to get out of this plight.


  • Salam alaikum,

    You´ll get it, keep in contact with Him, today maybe seconds, tomorrow minutes, in a week will be …. . everyone of us has our own rythm, none is better than the other, all that surrounds the process is different, but the essence of it, is the same.
    Please, be Patiente, Loving and Caring with yourself, you deserve it.
    Don´t be afraid of tears, when the Heart begins to melt, all the hardness that we have kept around it, comes out as tears when we are praying. Those tears will bring spring to your Heart. You will recognize them for the Peace you will feel afterwards. They will come to you at the right moment, remember you are in His Hands, you are not alone anymore.
    Be sure, I have you in my Heart. God bless you.
    All my Unconditional Love.

  • Jazakum Allahu khyran for the reminder. It reminded me of the supplication of Prophet Daud (David) `alayhi assalam: Oh Allah, How can i thank you enough, when thanking you, is itself a blessing that is deserving of thanks. But as i was taught from my mentor, when we thank Allah (swt), we’re indeed the beneficiaries. Allah (swt) said in the quraan (in the meaning of which): and if you you’re thankful, i will give you more (wa la’in shakartum la azeedanakum). When we thank Allah, the recognition goes to Him (swt), but the benefit comes back to us.

    and Allah knows best 🙂

  • A lot of non-believers reading scripture are put off by how often God seems to command gratitude from us. They think it makes the Almighty seem petty and that it isn’t seemly. Actually I will admit that part of me once did too, kind of, only that I figured if anyone has the right to be as He likes, it would be God, and He can just say, so what?

    But through life experience and years of contemplation (which goes to show, young people, that wisdom of revelation isn’t something that you can fully realise just by reading once, or even over a year, with your own mind and a limited experience) I realise that as with many things He ‘imperiously’ commands or forbids us, is for our own good.

    If the universe is to end one day and turn into an intense plasma of Hell, into which we will all be brought, and our only way to safety is to pass on the straight bridge to the Heights and into the universe of heaven, which requires preparation and no trivial assistance, we should be grateful that we are told about this fate beforehand to prepare. And if the human trait most likely to make us fail to prepare is the belief of self-sufficiency, to train ourselves to say thank you, to train gratitude, is very important to make us realise we are not, as we want to believe, self-sufficient even now.

    The order to be thankful is like a sergeant barking “give me 50!” which profits the sergeant not at all, but is intended to build your own strength for that which you will face.

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