…excerpts from a most brilliant article by Imam Afroz Ali, via Seekers Guidance, where he elucidates and educates about the relationship between the exquisite camel, the exquisite Arabic language and the exquisite state of gratitude…
Well-documented properties of camel’s milk include:
Ten times more iron than cow’s milk
Three to five times more vitamin C than cow’s milk
Rich in B vitamins
High in imuno-globins (note- not goblins)
Very high in protein
Low in fat – 1.8-2% fat compared to 3.5-4% in cow’s milk
Much lower in cholesterol
That is pretty good for a desert roamer.
And do not worry; I have not side tracked into animal husbandry. All of this information is very important… crucial in fact, in order to understand shukr, or gratitude.
When the she-camel’s udder is full with milk, it is said to be shakar. The operative word is “full”, or “in abundance”, and which we will return to later. The camel with such full and wholesome udder is called shakira, despite the fact is it had only a small share of herbage and pasture to forage on and feed itself with.
The meaning of shukr lies in the entire process of the camel finally giving milk. The camel takes from the praiseworthy bounty of herbage, seeming to the eye scarce and insufficient, takes from it what it needs to sustain itself, but yields a significantly more praiseworthy gift called milk, that benefits everything else- its young as well as human beings. Its sincerity only sees abundance in what others see scarcity; its selflessness sees benefit from it for others in what others see profit for themselves. As a shakira, the camel manifests altruistic benefit. Its gratefulness for existence is seen and experienced in it using the bounties to produce beneficial result over and beyond its self.
Shukr is more than being thankful or grateful; in fact that would be seen as self-indulging and greed. Shukr is only gratefulness if from what one receives out of the beneficence of another, that the recipient utilise it only in ways that is pleasing to the benefactor, primarily that the recipient would utilise such a favour in a beneficial and good manner over and beyond himself. As such, gratefulness carries the condition of unconditional charity from what one receives, after thanking the benefactor. Thus, Shukr has an inward and outward reality; the outward being using the tongue to thank and using the limbs to effect unconditional and beneficial altruism.
The inward reality is a lot more complex. But before that, the use of the tongue to thank the benefactor is also an important element of shukr (unfortunately it is frequently the only aspect of it that is acted upon or known to most). There are three essential forms of the outward reality of shukr.
One must verbalise one’s gratefulness; to say thank you, truthfully.
One must acknowledge the beneficence of the benefactor by utilising the gifts appropriately.
One must commend and praise the benefactor for their beneficence they so generously gave, and to do so frequently.
Shukr therefore rests on five foundations.
Humility in the recipient towards the benefactor, rather than have a selfish expectation.
The recipient to have sincere love for the benefactor shown in limbic action, rather than intent of exploitation.
The benefit in the gift to be acknowledged by the recipient, rather than unchecked abuse.
The recipient to praise the beneficence of the benefactor, rather than heedlessness.
The recipient to verbalise thankfulness and praise, rather than silence and concealing it.
So we observe that there are three parts of shukr: the two outward that we have already discussed in length- the manifestation in the limbs (beneficial altruism) and the tongue (thankfulness). The third, the inward, is the manifestation in the heart, this being the pillar of the entirety of shukr. Without its manifestation in the heart in a specific way, the outward manifestations are futile and even hypocritical.
ALTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
The depths and heights of shukr is beholding a profound state of awe-inspiring consciousness of the benefactor. Its reality is not in the beneficence at all, but in the benefactor. Heedlessness of the benefactor is ungratefulness, regardless of how well what was granted to the recipient was used.
We need to return to the camel!
Continue reading from this brilliant analogy here…
…these magnificent creatures seen on while zooming along the Hijrah Highway…
…and learn of the amazing qualities of camel’s milk through this video series…
Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens and on the earth- the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many from among the humans? (22:18)
…and while you are looking at the Seekers Guidance site check the inspiring list of online courses being offered in a few weeks…no excuse for not seeking knowledge with their Knowledge without Barriers…
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do good. Ameen.