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Islamic Society ( 28 Nov 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Thanksgiving for Muslims



By Amal Al-Sibai

November 27, 2014

THANKSGIVING Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest.

President of the United States, George Washington, proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America in the year 1789 “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many favours of Almighty God”, according to historian Hodgson.

As Muslims, we do not hold a ceremony to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. The occasions to be celebrated by Muslims are Eid, the Eid that comes after the month of Ramadan, and the Eid associated with the days of Haj (pilgrimage). Every day is Thanksgiving Day; thanksgiving is celebrated in our hearts every single day.

American-born Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick said, “For Muslims, every time we eat food, all year round it is thanksgiving. Muslims are taught to say ‘Alhamdulillah’ (praise and thanks to Allah) after every meal. You thank the Lord every time you have food to eat.”

From his standpoint, he stressed the importance of learning this part of history, which many of us do not know much about.

“When Columbus came to the shores of the Americas, he came to a land that had already been populated by people for somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 years. America was not a wilderness with a few savages running around, living in tents,” said Quick.

“The Americas were populated by a people who had a high level of civilization. They had a high level of health, and were physically fit. They had a system of fishing and growing corn, potatoes, and several varieties of squash. They were free of parasites and viruses that were wreaking havoc in Europe, such as smallpox, cholera, and bubonic plague.”

“The Native Americans’ lack of exposure to such viruses actually worked against them when the Europeans landed on their shores. The Europeans that sailed to the Americas were running away from bubonic plague in Europe. When these diseases hit the shores, the Native Americans died so rapidly that historians today are shocked just reading about it. In New England, in three years, 90% of the original population was dead. And the ones that survived the illness were either captured or enslaved or killed. That is the reality. It is important to understand history,” said Quick.

So, no — Muslims do not celebrate Thanksgiving Day, but yes — they do celebrate thanks every day, and yes — they should read history.

It is important to be thankful every day. And who deserves our praise, thanks, and gratitude more than our Creator?

As mentioned in Chapter 14, verse 34 of the Holy Qur’an, {And He [Allah] gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favours of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful}.

Being thankful is not something you do once a year with a traditional feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie. Thanking the Lord is a full-time occupation and we should remember Allah and thank Him each day of our lives.

The famous scholar, Imam Al-Shafi’ie said, “Praised be Allah, Who, whenever He is thanked for one of His blessings, provides another blessing which in turn obliges one to thank Him again!”

And do not forget to show appreciation and to thank those around you; your parents, brother, sister, teacher, neighbour, colleague. Think of those who have showed you kindness, have helped you, and have touched your lives.

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “Whoever does you a favor, then reciprocate, and if you cannot find anything with which to reciprocate, then pray for him until you think that you have reciprocated him.” (Abu Dawud)