An Attitude of Gratitude– The Psychology Behind Shukr


by Bela Khan

She opens her wardrobe. Two dozen dresses— red, yellow, orange, pink, and you-name-it— are hanging there.  After a cursory glance, she bangs the door shut.

“Mom, I have nothing to wear for the party,” she whines.  “I’ve been begging you to take me shopping for ages— you never listen to me!  What do I do now?”

He’s rummaging in the fridge for the fourth time.  Pizza, chocolate, ice-cream, fruits, and juices are stuffed inside.  He closes the door despondently and leaves the kitchen, saying, “There’s nothing much to eat in here. Let’s go to the café and get some decent food.”

She wakes up with the same feelings of depression and dread that she’s been experiencing every morning.  Thoughts of suicide are again floating in her mind.  She’s married to a handsome man and has two lovely kids, a home, and a car— everything most women would ask for.  Apparently, life is perfect, but something is missing; she’s just not married to the man of her dreams.

He’s seventeen years old. He has an iPhone, Core I-7 Dell, and 1000 bucks monthly pocket money, but according to him his life sucks.  He can’t focus on his textbook.  He slams it shut and starts pacing the room as he thinks aloud: “If my friend can own a Jaguar, why the hell can’t I? Everything sucks.”

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

 The Ingratitude Habit

As we grow up, we get tuned to be ungrateful, to be blind to the blessings in our lives. We focus all our energy and attention on looking for what’s lacking in our lives. This is really ironic, because the more we focus on scarcity, the more we tend to attract it.

How to Become a Black Hole of Despair

Research has proven that our thoughts and emotions emit powerful signals, and that these signals have the ability to attract signals of the same frequency!  In other words, whenever you’re ungrateful or have negative, self-defeating thoughts (for example, I never seem to have enough of money, or I can never be healthy, or I’ll never find a practicing husband) or worry about issues beyond your control, you’re actually emitting energies that will attract similar energies. Ultimately, you’ll end up becoming a black hole of despair.  All the worries, arguments, and frustration just lead to more of the same.

Want to try to attract more peace, joy, harmony, ease, and prosperity? Choose your thoughts consciously and carefully.

Open Secrets in the Quran

Today non-Muslim researchers have discovered these secrets in the name of natural laws, while these “open secrets” were given to us in the Quran 1400 years ago. Psychologists and philosophers have painstakingly conducted research and come up with new theories and ideas.  All this “newly discovered” stuff was presented to us in the Quran in no uncertain terms.  Allah (swt) promises us: If you are grateful, I’ll give you more.

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ [Quran, 14:7]

This is a ready-made formula for attracting more of what you want in life.

Surah Fatihah: A Pillar’s Pillar

It is well-known that prayer, the important pillar of Islam, is incomplete without Surah Fatihah.  Surah Fatihah begins with expressing our gratitude to our Lord for the countless blessings He has showered upon us.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of duas taught by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also start with the same expression of gratitude— alhamdulillah? The day starts with the supplication Alhmdulillahilazi ahyana… (All praise and thanks be to the one who gave us life.)
Allah (swt) wants you to start your day in a super-charged state, attracting ample happiness and abundance in life. The meal ends with the supplication Alhmdulillahizli at’amana wa sakana . . . (All  praise and thanks be to the one who gave us food and drink). Why? Because He always wants you to have better food every time you eat.  The same expression— alhamdulillah; it’s not a coincidence, is it?

Getting Back on Track

Gratitude is one of the quickest ways to regain our focus. When we feel stuck it means we’re giving too much attention to something that doesn’t really deserve it. Most so-called problems are usually mundane preoccupations and mental obsessions. We focus so much on one area to the exclusion of everything else that we create and thus magnify our problems.

Surprisingly, when we focus so much on what’s not working, we can’t even access the part of our brain that provides us with solutions. So, when something is not working, we should focus on what is working and say alhmdulillahi rabbil 3lameen aloud.

What do you think you’re doing by saying this?  You’re freeing your mind from those thoughts that bog you down and reinforcing strong, positive beliefs that even if some areas are not working in life, others definitely are. In this way, you’re able to think in a quicker and better way to resolve what’s not working in life. Try it out!

It’s reported that some of the companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) were even grateful for the calamities they faced and presented their gratitude to Allah (swt) for not letting something worse befall them.  Now that’s the attitude of gratitude!

Being grateful to Allah (swt) does wonders. When you’ll acknowledge His hand in your life, miracles will happen. You’ll be in the middle of a problem, not knowing what might happen next, and suddenly the solution will dawn upon you. You might be in dire need of money and someone might, for example, return to you an old loan that you completely forgot about. Or you might be missing your loved ones and they give you a call right then.

We usually ignore many things that are readily available to us and need a big reason to be grateful. Our family, friends, body, health, job, leisure time, education, food, wisdom, smiles, children, and even the painful lessons that life teaches us (and the list goes on) are huge blessings to be grateful for. If you don’t have the same feeling, just close your eyes and imagine one of these blessings vanishing from your life. How does that feel? This is exactly the reason you need to be thankful each day, every moment.

All of us need a bit of fine tuning, so below are some tools that I am sharing with you to enable you to be grateful to Him and let the magic unfold.

Essential Tools for a Grateful Life:

1). Make a list of twenty things you appreciate right now. Write alhamdullilah in front of every blessing. Make a list of the things you feel good about and why you’re grateful for that thing, situation, or person in your life. How did you feel doing this? Here’s the good news: you just increased your positive emissions and now you are actually able to attract more happiness, abundance, and prosperity in your life.

2). Start looking for everything you can be grateful for in life and start talking about it all the time no matter how insignificant it is. If you find a buck from your old shirt’s pocket, celebrate. Go around and tell everyone how grateful you are for that. That’s how you are actually tuning your mind to show gratitude for tiniest blessing in your life.

3). At least once a day, share a gratitude status on Facebook and Twitter (or whatever social media you use) and ask others what they are grateful for. Insha Allah, you’ll get ajar for your shukr and theirs too.

4).  Try to seek the positive in every negative. Take out at least three good lessons from every painful experience and be grateful that life threw that situation at you so that you could learn.

Do share with us a list of some blessings in your life in the comments below.

Bela Khan is a student of Islam, a Muslim women empowerment coach, speaker, writer, and philanthropist. Her mission is, as she says, “to make every single woman reconnect with her Lord, refine her relationships, and get the money flow by inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset.”


  1. Rosna Abdul Razack November 28, 2012 Reply

    Alhamdulillah..JazakAllahu khairan for this great article! First of all Alhamdulillahi katheeran I am born as a Muslim,my,sister,hidayah,pious husband,my son,health,wealth

    • Muslim Women Empowerment December 3, 2012 Reply

      Wa iyyaki Rosna. Alhmdulillah you an amazing life. All praise be to Allah.

      Jazak Allah Khair for reading 🙂

  2. khairunnisa November 28, 2012 Reply

    asalam,if any person helps us, we say to him thank you,we have to be more thankful to Allah because he is the owner of all the things. we cant make the list of blessings of allah has given to us , because each and every thing in our life is blessing of allah. if i am typing now, it is a blessing, if i am able to sit in front of computer and able to do all this , it is a blessing,they are countless,infinte.uncountable,the day i came into exsitence, till the day i die and hereafter all are the blessings of allah.Allamdullilah, may allah go on giving the blessings to all of us . ameen.

  3. Aziza Yusuf November 28, 2012 Reply

    jazakalahukhiran for this wonderful article. It is a good reminder for us to be thankful for everything good or bad our life and there is wisdom in everything that happens in our life. Alhamdulillah

  4. Mustansar November 28, 2012 Reply


    Very inspiring article.
    May Allah(SWT) bring you the best, aameen.

  5. sarwar November 28, 2012 Reply

    zabardast mail,appreciated,really need like such mails to enhance my emaan

  6. sarwar November 28, 2012 Reply


  7. Sana November 28, 2012 Reply

    al hamdulilah…i just gave a big smile reading this. We r connected to this website frm quite a lon g time reading every article and getting productive day by day al hamdulila a biggest blessing.

  8. Umm Aaishah November 28, 2012 Reply

    A Good timely reminder. I read it exactly at the right time when I felt a feeling of despair sweeping over me. Praise and Thanks be to the one who sent it my way! Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah for all the Ni’mah I have in my life… My sister when studying medicine once said we should be doing shukr for every single nerve in our hand for its perfect functioning. I once heard a scholar say if we are having enough time to complain about our lives then that itself is sufficient to show that we didn’t spend enough time on Shukr!

  9. Anita November 28, 2012 Reply

    JazakAllah khair, a wonderful article .May Allah gives you the best Ameen .

  10. marquadri November 28, 2012 Reply

    Assalaamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu hu wa magfirah. nice article,thanks 4r reminding to be all time thanks to our Rab.keep it up.Allah may help u to guide human on siratalmustaqeem Allahuhafiz.

  11. Abdur Rahman November 28, 2012 Reply

    Mashallah, a very nice article. We all need such reminders to be thankful to Allah Almighty. We are truly blessed, Alhumdulillah for every single breath.

  12. Abubakari Nasirdeen November 28, 2012 Reply

    its good for us!

  13. Mumtaz Talukdar November 28, 2012 Reply

    Alhamduiliiah, real good article.

  14. Khadijah (7) and Zainab (4) November 28, 2012 Reply

    Asalaamu alaikum,

    JazakumAllahu khairun for this reminder.

    Khadijah – Alhamdulilah for having the ability to read this article.

    Zainab – Alhamdulilah for being a muslim.

    Wa salaam

  15. Mansoor Fahmeed November 28, 2012 Reply

    Shukar Alhamadolillah, JazzakALLAH. I have the best of my life since I born. 🙂 JazzakALLAH for making me realize that.

    • Rabia Khalid November 29, 2012 Reply

      kya perh liya apne asa..main bhi perh k dekhti hon 😉

    • Rabia Khalid November 29, 2012 Reply


    • Mansoor Fahmeed November 29, 2012 Reply

      I hope you know now 🙂

    • Muslim Women Empowerment December 3, 2012 Reply

      All good comes from Allah brother. Jazak Allah Khair for the taking out time to give it a read.

    • Muslim Women Empowerment December 3, 2012 Reply

      Rabia Khalid Hope that benefited you Rabia 🙂

  16. Sarwat Shuja November 28, 2012 Reply

    it is very helpful for me.ALHAMDULILLAH!

  17. kelly November 29, 2012 Reply

    Jazak Allah Khair for this uplifting article, it was exactly what I needed to hear and it has inspired me to approach my entire life with a refreshed approach!

  18. Silvia Johnson November 28, 2012 Reply

    wow Bela Khan, beautiful article! well thought out. many thanks and blessings.

    • Bela Khan November 29, 2012 Reply

      Thanx for reading Silivia 🙂 Really touched 🙂

    • Muslim Women Empowerment November 29, 2012 Reply

      Thankyou for reading Silvia. Really touched 🙂

  19. Mahjabeen Riaz November 28, 2012 Reply

    very good article with lots of learning thankyou for sharing.

  20. Gud Wyne November 28, 2012 Reply

    Bell!jazakAllah for writing such a beautiful article.i will only write this sentence "that God gives and forgives,man gets and forgets"may Allah Kareem make us grateful to his countless blessings.(Ameen)

    • Muslim Women Empowerment December 3, 2012 Reply

      Wa iyyaki Gud. Indeed, this is so beautiful that Allah gives and forgives 🙂 So beautiful 🙂

      Jazak Allah Khair for your nice words 🙂

    • Muslim Women Empowerment December 3, 2012 Reply

      Wa iyyaki Gud. Indeed, this is so beautiful that Allah gives and forgives 🙂 So beautiful 🙂

      Jazak Allah Khair for your kind words 🙂

  21. Mohammad Abdul Wadud Tarafder November 29, 2012 Reply

    Awsome! It's a great reminder for many of us. Zajakallah.

  22. Ahmad November 29, 2012 Reply

    Asalamu Alaykum,

    Great article sister, Masha’allah. Jazak Allahu Khair for sharing.

    From my experience, we are surrounded by ungratefulness 24/7. It’s in our workplace, school, and at home. Conversation starters nowadays are often responded to with a negative answer, a complaint, a dose of ingratitude. People around us are always complaining: the grocery line was too long, the highway is a parking lot, the weather is ‘sick’ or ‘disgusting’. It’s strange that we seem to like to talk about the bad that’s happened to us, how we got cut off by that rude driver, or how badly we bombed that last test – maybe because we want others to sympathize with us, or maybe we think people will agree with our complaints more often than they will with anything positive that we have to say. But regardless, what’s worse is that this negative attitude is quite contagious. Nobody ever disagrees and says, “no- the weather today is actually quite lovely”. We often find ourselves agreeing with the other person, and before we know it, we start noticing for ourselves just how absolutely terrible and horrible this world is. We start adopting the same helpless and pessimistic perspective.
    But as you have mentioned, we need to look at the things that we *do* have, the good things that are happening to us, rather than the opposite. I won’t elaborate, as I can’t contribute on this point better than you already have.

    Thanks and Jazak Allahu Khair sister.


  23. Yusoph November 29, 2012 Reply

    Alhamdulillah, we should always thanks to Allah to get more blessings besides to enter paradise

  24. Ameenuddin Mohammed November 29, 2012 Reply

    Mashallah….a nery nice and well scripted article. It was after quite a while that I read an article as inspriing as this–Alhumdulillah. Thanks to allah who bestowed he knowledge to read and understand what is being conveyed by Sister Bela Khan…I pray to Allah to help me inculcate me the attitude of Grattitude.

  25. Faiza November 29, 2012 Reply

    Bela,I feel it is written for me.I do fall into one of the categories of ungratefulness you mentioned obove.I feel its Allah’s way of opening my eyes.I felt Allah swt has shown me a way out.
    Thankyou so much.After reading this,I prayed for you from the depths of my heart.May Allah always keep you happy and blessed.Ameen.

  26. Jamshed Ali November 29, 2012 Reply

    jazzakAllah, great reminder..i was really sick for the past week or so and realised yet again that how fragile and weak we are..take the Almighty’s countless blessings for granted and keep forgetting thanking Him..Alhamdolilah i’m ok now and pray that Allah swt make us all His grateful servants..aameen

  27. Jamshed Ali November 29, 2012 Reply

    jazzakAllah, great reminder..i was really sick for the past week or so and realised yet again that how fragile and weak we are..take the Almighty’s countless blessings for granted and keep forgetting thanking Him..Alhamdolilah i’m ok now and pray that Allah swt make us all His grateful servants..aameen.

    • Rizwan Ahmad November 30, 2012 Reply


    • Naveed Akram November 30, 2012 Reply

      Aameen…… what happened jamshed? its good to know that u r alright now by the grace of ALLAH TA`ALA….. hows every one?

    • Muslim Women Empowerment December 3, 2012 Reply

      Ameen. May Allah grant you shifa. La ba'sa tahurun Insha Allah!

  28. Sadeeq Shehu Danjuma November 29, 2012 Reply

    Allahu akhbar may all the praise and blessings be upon Almigthy Allah and prophet muhammad (SAW) ameen.

  29. Jannah Aminah November 29, 2012 Reply

    As Salaamu Alaikum This article really touched home. I enjoyed it very much, and will reflex Inshallah.

  30. Hasan November 30, 2012 Reply

    Jazakallah. May Allah reward you and accept your finely drafted article. May He help us to reflect on His uncountable blessings and be grateful every moment to the best of our capacity. Aameen.

  31. erum nosheen November 30, 2012 Reply

    MASHALLAH BELA…great job. i am thankful to ALLAH for every blessing he has bestowed upon us. I express my gratitude to ALLAH (STW) for giving me the chance to read this article, for my parents, family, friends, education, life…………………………………..and everything i just can’t even count.

  32. Nabila Butt November 30, 2012 Reply

    Alhamdulillah for putting everything we are always thinking of in such a nice way. May Allah bless you with knowledge, guidance and good deeds.

  33. Nadira Sultana November 30, 2012 Reply

    AlHamdulillah for being able to read this article at this perfect time when I needed it! AlHamdulillah… Allahu Akbar!

    • Muslim Women Empowerment December 3, 2012 Reply

      Imperfect things become perfect when they arrive at the right time. 🙂 Alhmdulillahi Rabbil 3lameen.

  34. Shahed Aftab December 2, 2012 Reply

    Alhamdulillah, this article have inspired me and sure to inspire more whoever read. Allah (swt) have shown all the direction in Al Quran for living a peaceful life in this short living world, only thing we need to give some effort to understand Quran and Sunnah. As our prophet (peace be upon him) directed us to follow these two strictly, nobody will be able to misguide us.

  35. tahera December 2, 2012 Reply

    I had cancer three years back, the operation removed all my reproductive organs, I was an unmarried woman. Yet I am so grateful that I went through the ordeal. I have lost everything dear to a woman but ALLAH was back in my life and from then I begun my journey on “siratul mustakim”. The disease was the greatest blessing in my life because Allah called me back to His path using it.

  36. Muhammad Anwar December 5, 2012 Reply

    Masha Allah, this articles is worth understanding and then teach and preach to other Muslims. We should be thankful to Allah Almighty Who has bestowed us the most precious and reliable holy book QURAN. May Allah bless the writer for contributing such a nice and finely worded article.
    Anwar (Daily Nawa-i-Waqt Lahore).

  37. Hiba Aydeed December 6, 2012 Reply

    jazakallah khair for this really great reminder…… may Allah bless us to be among his content n grateful ones ameen.

  38. Musarrath Aydeed December 6, 2012 Reply

    jazakallah khair for this beautiful reminder. . may Allah bless us to be among the content n grateful ones ameen

    • Haneeya Basheer December 6, 2012 Reply

      Wow!!! What an article!!! Aaameeen n Alhamdulillah ya Rabbil-aalameen for evvvverything!:-)))

    • Mohammed Nasser Nasser December 15, 2012 Reply

      Hi , Harris Aydded ?

  39. Bilal Idrees December 8, 2012 Reply

    Alhamdulillah, a beautiful and effective article. To suggest some practical work at the end, shows that author does practice what she is teaching. I promise that i’ll make my list.
    May Allah SWT bless the author with khair-e-katheer considering “من يؤت الحكمة فقد أوتي خيرا كثيرا ”
    Thanks sister for sharing such a meaningful article.

  40. Tayaba Humayun December 12, 2012 Reply

    JazakALLAH … Amazing article !! Masah-a-ALLAH…. Worth reading … Also realised me of the point that by negative thiking you attract more things alike …. Rest Alhamdolilah I also thank everytime to ALLAH …. Stay Blessed and keep posting such articles… ALLAH bless you ..

  41. Asma Shabbir December 15, 2012 Reply

    Assalaam alaikum

    This article is really very nice and i think we should all try to implement on it daily. We should not only comment and forget rather we should try to think and respond.

  42. Aamir Sultan Khan December 16, 2012 Reply

    alhamdulilah…… jazakallah sister….. I remeber our beloved profet hadith " Alhamdulilahe kullu haal " means : o ' lord thanks in all walk of life..

  43. Hayden Khan January 2, 2013 Reply

    JazakAllah khair for this excellent reminder. May Allah make you among the successful ones, ameen. I am grateful for Allah's protection over my family and home.

  44. Nada Safwat February 1, 2013 Reply

    Alhamdulilah, I'm grateful to be alive for another blessed day, where I have the chance to get closer to Allah.

  45. Khadijah March 12, 2013 Reply

    Jazaakillaahu khaira. I need this to be grateful but I made a list of 20 things I am grateful for and I am so down that my heart didn’t change. I still don’t feel grateful. Astagh firuallaah. I weep. Am so down and I can’t seem to find an atom of shukr in my heart. Astagh firuallaah. Jazaakillaahu khaira

    • wanda March 12, 2013 Reply

      Dear sister, please have patience. I was once where you are now, and I swear to you that beyond that dark cloud is a world of bliss. I will make dua for you that you will find it soon.

  46. Murjanatu YAHYA April 10, 2013 Reply

    Alhamdu lillahi ala ni matul islam wa kafaa biha amin may we be among those who will be gratiful to ALLAH amin

  47. Sobaah August 6, 2013 Reply

    Ma Sha ALLAH…….So inspiring article sister……..Jazaakillah khair……..

  48. Adeeb August 26, 2013 Reply

    Excellent piece, alhumdulilah. I am grateful for it ! Thank you for writing & sharing.

  49. Sanjida Shaheed August 29, 2013 Reply

    I am truly grateful that Allah has granted me the light of Islam.

    Alhamdulillah for hidayaah!

  50. Nasir September 13, 2013 Reply

    I am very grateful that ALLAH gave me fantastic parents,fantastic wife,fantastic sons and a wonderful daughter in law,i can not thank ALLAH enough for what he has given me ALHAMDULILLAH

  51. fouzia asghar November 13, 2013 Reply

    great article..very inspiring and thoughtful…

  52. Ahmed Sk January 19, 2014 Reply

    Mashallah,very truthful.

  53. nazish February 27, 2014 Reply

    I am by carrear counsellor and psychologist and running an Islamic supplementary school called Al jannah academy in UK. Right now searching Quran and human psychology and found very little resources. I am quite inspired by your research.

  54. Imtiaz November 11, 2015 Reply

    ALLAHUMMA LAKAL HAMDU WA LAKA SHUKRU KULLUHU for everything ALLAH SWT has blessed me with.

  55. Ajmal Hasan February 29, 2016 Reply

    Jazak Allahu Khaairan Sister ! I am highly thankful for my life. I have a prestigious profession of teaching, an obedient and beautiful wife, two lovely daughters and a son. All are studying in very good schools. We all have good health and everything necessary for a smooth life. All my sisters and brother are loving to us. Masha Allah, Masha Allah.

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