Between Giving Thanks and Praising the Lord God:
Quranic Terminology: Being (Un)Thankful to the Lord God (2):

آحمد صبحي منصور Ýí 2018-05-31

Quranic Terminology: Being (Un)Thankful to the Lord God (2):

Between Giving Thanks and Praising the Lord God


Published in May 30, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy


Within several contexts of the Quranic preaching, we see that being thankful also means to praise and glorify the Lord God; this is done by the real, pious, monotheistic believers; this meaning is not included when the verses address disbelievers who are called and urged to believe and be thankful, as we have explained in the previous article, found in English on this link: ( We provide more examples in the points below.

1- Within the contexts of many verses, God calls disbelievers to be thankful to Him; i.e., to believe in Him and in His Book, and He reminds people of His miracles and bounties so that they may believe and be thankful and appreciative. Let us quote some examples in the following points.

1/1: This preaching comes within the direct style in the following examples.  

1/1/1: God has given humanity seas and water surfaces to provide them with many bounties, blessings, and provisions so that they may be thankful; i.e., so that they may be among the believers: "Eat of the lawful and good things God has provided for you, and be thankful for God's blessings, if it is Him that you worship." (16:14); "It is God who placed the sea at your service, so that ships may run through it by His command, and that you may seek of His bounty, and that you may give thanks." (45:12); "The two seas are not the same. One is fresh, sweet, good to drink, while the other is salty and bitter. Yet from each you eat tender meat, and extract jewelry which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through them, so that you may seek of His bounty, so that you may give thanks." (35:12).

1/1/2: God preaches human beings here to be thankful believers as God has provided them with many bounties: "God brought you out of your mothers' wombs, not knowing anything; and He gave you the hearing, and the eyesight, and the brains; that you may give thanks." (16:78).

1/1/3: To be thankful means to believe in Allah as the Only God the Creator of many bounties, blessings, signs, and provisions: "And of His signs is that He sends the winds bearing good news, to give you a taste of His mercy, and so that the ships may sail by His command, and so that you may seek of His bounty, and so that you may give thanks." (30:46).

1/1/4: The same meaning mentioned above is repeated here in this Quranic context: "And there is a sign for them in the dead land: We give it life, and produce from it grains from which they eat. And We place in it gardens of palm-trees and vines, and cause springs to gush out of it. That they may eat from its fruits, although their hands did not make it. Will they not be thankful?" (36:33-35).

1/1/5: The synonymy between being thankful and being a true believer is mentioned also here in this Quranic context within the same Quranic Chapter: "Have they not seen that We created for them, of Our Handiwork, livestock that they own? And We subdued them for them. Some they ride, and some they eat. And they have in them other benefits, and drinks. Will they not give thanks?" (36:71-73).

1/2: God preaches human beings in the Quran within this topic/theme of believing in Him as the Only True God using the interrogative style; i.e., rhetorical questions. Let us quote some examples in the points below.

1/2/1: God has made the earth a round globe revolving around its axis so that days and nights follow one another: "Say, "Have you considered? Had God made the night perpetual over you until the Day of Resurrection, which god other than Allah will bring you illumination? Do you not hear?" Say, "Have you considered? Had God made the day perpetual over you until the Day of Resurrection, which god other than Allah will bring you night to rest in? Do you not see?" It is out of His mercy that He made for you the night and the day, that you may rest in it, and seek some of His bounty; and that you may give thanks." (28:71-73).

1/2/2: God is the Creator of water that brigs life to everything on earth; we should be thankful believers for this great bounty: "Have you seen the water you drink? Is it you who sent it down from the clouds, or are We the Sender? If We will, We can make it salty. Will you not be thankful?" (56:68-70).

1/3: God mentions in the Quran the bounties granted to the people of Sheba as He urged them to believe only in Him and be thankful: "In Sheba's homeland there used to be a wonder: two gardens, on the right, and on the left. "Eat of your Lord's provision, and give thanks to Him." A good land, and a forgiving Lord." (34:15).

1/4: God has said the following to the Israelites: "And recall that We appointed for Moses forty nights. Then you took to worshiping the calf after him, and you turned unjust. Then We pardoned you after that, so that you might be among the thankful ones." (2:51-52); this means that they were believers but they fell into the trap of misguidance, but God has pardoned them so that they might believe only in Him, without polytheism.

1/5: God has said the following to the Israelites: "And recall that Moses said to his people, "O my people, you have done wrong to yourselves by worshiping the calf. So repent to your Maker, and kill your egos. That would be better for you with your Maker." So He turned to you in repentance. He is the Accepter of Repentance, the Merciful. And recall that you said, "O Moses, we will not believe in you unless we see God plainly." Thereupon the thunderbolt struck you, as you looked on. Then We revived you after your death, so that you may be thankful." (2:54-56); this means that the disbelievers demanded from Moses to see God so that they might believe, and they were duly punished; they were revived and given the chance to repent and to believe in Dominant Lord God. 

1/6: Within the above Quranic contexts, God has urged disbelievers to believe by using the terms (thankful) and (giving thanks) within the theme of reminding human beings of bounties bestowed on them by the Lord God. Hence, this means that being unthankful/ungrateful/unappreciative regarding God's bounties is synonymous with polytheism/disbelief and rejecting the Dominant Lord God. 

2- Urging believers to be thankful to the Lord God means to praise and glorify Him: within other Quranic contexts which address believers, calling them to be thankful t means to praise and glorify he Lord God. This is perceived in the Quranic Chapter One recited within the daily prayers; it contains praising the Lord God using His Holy Names/Epithets and the supplication imploring him to guide the believers to the Straight Path. Those who praise the Lord God all their lives will be among the Paradise dwellers as per the promise of God: "Those who repent, those who worship, those who praise, those who journey, those who kneel, those who bow down, those who advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and those who keep God's limits - give good news to the believers." (9:112); "They believe in Our Verses, those who, when reminded of them, fall down prostrate, and glorify their Lord with praise, and are not proud." (32:15). Let us provide some examples of the Quranic verses that urge believers to be thankful; i.e., to glorify and praise their Lord God. 

2/1: When Adam's wife became pregnant with her first child, she and her husband implored and supplicated to the Lord God to grant them good progeny; both were believers and they were thankful to God; i.e., they praised and glorified their Lord: "It is He who created you from a single person, and made from it its mate, that he may find comfort with her. Then, when he has covered her, she conceives a light load, and she carries it around. But when she has grown heavy, they pray to God their Lord, "if You give us a good child, we will be among the thankful."" (7:189).

2/2: God says in the Quran: "As for the good land, it yields its produce by the leave of its Lord. But as for the bad, it produces nothing but hardship and misery. Thus We explain the revelations in various ways for people who are thankful." (7:58). The term (thankful) here refers to those who are praising and glorifying their Lord God all the time as a great act of worship, as per their monotheistic belief and within piety and reverence.

2/3: Once a human being reaches the age of 40, he/she must turn a new leaf and maintain one's monotheism, piety, and good deeds more than ever; one must not go on committing sins; one must praise and glorify the Lord God and implore and supplicate to Him; God will admit the good, pious ones into Paradise: "We have enjoined upon man kindness to his parents. His mother carried him with difficulty, and delivered him with difficulty. His bearing and weaning takes thirty months. Until, when he has attained his maturity, and has reached forty years, he says, "Lord, enable me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to act with righteousness, pleasing You. And improve my children for me. I have sincerely repented to You, and I am of those who have surrendered." Those are they from whom We accept the best of their deeds, and We overlook their misdeeds, among the dwellers of Paradise - the Promise of Truth which they are promised." (46:15-16). This is a great preaching and warning to those who are drawing nearer to the age of 40.

2/4: The cognates and derivatives of (thankful) come in the Quranic contexts of stories of God's prophets/messengers to refer to the meaning of praising/glorifying the Lord God.

2/4/1: Abraham implored and supplicated to his Lord this way: ""Our Lord, I have settled some of my offspring in a valley of no vegetation, by Your Sacred House, our Lord, so that they may perform the prayers. So make the hearts of some people incline towards them, and provide them with fruits, that they may be thankful."" (14:37). This means that being thankful here refers to praising/glorifying the Lord God within gratitude for His Bounties; this is not embracing the monotheistic belief.

2/4/2: God has said the following to the believers after they attained victory within the battle of Badr: "And remember when you were few, oppressed in the land, fearing that people may capture you; but He sheltered you, and supported you with His victory, and provided you with good things - so that you may be thankful." (8:26). Being thankful here means to praise/glorify the Lord God within appreciation for His bestowed blessings; this context is not about embracing the monotheistic belief, of course.

2/5: The same meaning is repeated in the Quranic contexts of legislations.

2/5/1: Within the legislations of pilgrimage, being thankful means to glorify/praise the Lord God: "We have made the animal offerings emblems of God for you. In them is goodness for you. So pronounce God’s name upon them as they line up. Then, when they have fallen on their sides, eat of them and feed the contented and the beggar. Thus We have subjected them to you, that you may be thankful." (22:36).

2/5/2: Within the legislations of fasting, being thankful means to glorify/praise the Lord God: "Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed. Guidance for humanity, and clear portents of guidance, and the Criterion. Whoever of you witnesses the month, shall fast it. But whoever is sick, or on a journey, then a number of other days. God desires ease for you, and does not desire hardship for you, that you may complete the number, and celebrate God for having guided you, so that you may be thankful." (2:185).

2/5/3: Within the legislations of purification, being thankful means to glorify/praise the Lord God for the ease/facilitation offered to the believers within this topic: "O you who believe! When you rise to pray, wash your faces and your hands and arms to the elbows, and wipe your heads, and your feet to the ankles. If you had intercourse, then purify yourselves. If you are ill, or travelling, or one of you returns from the toilet, or you had contact with women, and could not find water, then use some clean sand and wipe your faces and hands with it. God does not intend to burden you, but He intends to purify you, and to complete His blessing upon you, that you may be thankful." (5:6).

2/5/4: Within the legislations of atoning for swearing by God's Name within oaths, being thankful means to glorify/praise the Lord God: "God does not hold you accountable for your unintended oaths, but He holds you accountable for your binding oaths. The atonement for it is by feeding ten needy people from the average of what you feed your families, or by clothing them, or by freeing a slave. Anyone who lacks the means shall fast for three days. That is the atonement for breaking your oaths when you have sworn them. So keep your oaths. Thus God makes clear His Verses to you, that you may be thankful." (5:89). The Quranic verses explain one another; this is God's Promise expressed here: "Then upon Us is its explanation." (75:19). There are many Quranic verses which describe the Quran as the Clear Book containing Clear Verses made easy to understand and to remember; of course, deeper levels of pondering are available to all those who desire to delve deeper into contemplation and reflection. Some Quranic verses end within indications of explaining things mentioned in other verses; e.g.: "...God thus clarifies His Verses to the people, that they may attain piety." (2:187). Hence, within this phrase: "...Thus God makes clear His Verses to you, that you may be thankful." (5:89),  being thankful means to glorify and praise the Lord God.   

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