A Muslim Gives Thanks

Few things are more Islamic than thanking God for His blessings.

Thanksgiving

is an American cultural tradition that is wholly consistent with Islamic principles. Typically, American Muslims (including my family) get together with their families and have dinner together on Thanksgiving, usually because everyone has a day off on Thanksgiving, and so it is convenient and natural for families to come together.

In the past, I never gave the concept of Thanksgiving much thought, but that is changing now. Even though the story of Thanksgiving has a Christian backdrop, few things are more Islamic than thanking God for His blessings.

It is God alone who created me and gave me life, breath, and sustenance. He nurtures me and comes to my aid when I ask (or don't ask) Him. Simply saying, "Thanks, Lord" and continuing to sin against him is to show the utmost ingratitude. And so, since He has given me so much, we Muslims ask: isn’t it only fair that my will be trumped by His? This is the best way to show my thanks to God, on Thanksgiving and beyond.

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For instance, the stock market has taken quite a beating in recent months. Many Americans have had their nest eggs wiped out. If I had money in the stock market (which I don't, fortunately or unfortunately), it would be tempting to funnel all the money into bonds or other interest-bearing investments.

Yet as a Muslim, I show my gratitude for God's blessings differently. Islam prohibits me from earning money from usury, and thus, bonds, bank certificates of deposit, or even simple money market accounts are out of the question. Either I tough out the storm in the markets, or I pull out altogether.

Islam embraces the idea of the need for occasional entertainment; it is essential to help us relax and rejuvenate. That entertainment, however, must occur with some limitations. Alcohol and gambling, for instance, must not be in any Islamic entertainment program. Thus, I will not be hitting the slot machines any time soon.

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