The First Call to Action of Salat is to Cultivate a Grateful Heart

When we stand for Salat (Divine Prayer), the connection of remembrance for the servant and his or her Lord – the very first Call to Action after the beginning is to cultivate a Grateful Heart.

How so?

The very first utterance we make when we stand at our salat after the intention is Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin.

What does it mean? All true praise and thanksgiving is for the Sustainer Lord of the worlds.

Hamd is the praise, the grateful acknowledgement, the thanksgiving, the giving of credit, the apperciation, the ackowledgement out of love, to adore, to exalt and much more. To praise the Real Source of praise is the essence of worship.

Rabb is the Lord, the One Who Sustains all, the One Who Preserves all. Rabbil alamin is a reminder to the Universal nature of the Sustainer Lord. Alamin means all the worlds, the multiverse cosmos.

There is an external cosmos out there, and like Allah has created everything in pair, so is there an internal cosmos within us. We have within us the entire cosmos, that is the inner cosmos.

When we say Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin, we are called not only to acknowledge the One Sustainer Who sustains the external cosmos, but Who in every moment is Preserving and Sustaining our inner cosmos.

Human beings we are the focus of creation, and hence we are also the microcosm. We have many subtle worlds within including the world of thoughts, the world of mind, the world of emotions, the world of memory, the world of feelings, the world of creativity, the world of intuition, the world of physical body, the world of spirit, the world of the soul.

When we give thanks to the Lord of all the worlds, that also includes the many worlds, the multiverses within us. We must thank for the well being and wholeness of our physical body, our mind, wholeness of our emotions and feelings, the outpouring of our creativity, the sparks of our intuitions, the soundness of our spirit and the vitality of our soul.

Gratitude is the best medicine, it heals our mind, our body and our spirit. And attracts more things to be grateful for. For Allah is a Generous giver Who loves to give more. A secret of receiving endless gifts from Allah is to continue to be grateful everyday, every moment. And Allah makes sure that we do that by prescribing the Salat which must begin with al-Fatiha (the Opening), which again opens or begins with Alhamdulillah. Isn’t that amazing?

The surest path to happiness is gratefulness. The root of joy is gratefulness. One who is grateful for what is, is promised to be gifted with much more. Gratefulness brings contentment and one who is content has everything regardless of what he or she may possess or not. One who is grateful is content and one who is content is free of attachment to the dunya or the transitory world where the only thing that is certain is its uncertainty and impermanence.

Every action prescribed by the Divine has a purpose and a goal. The purpose of salat according to the Qur’an is to remember Allah, both as a single human being and also as a collective society. That is why we are called again and again to establish the salat because it is both a collective action, i.e. establishing it as a social action as well as a personal action.

The goal of Salat is to get rid of negativity, to keep us away from actions which are contrary to our fitra or natural state or the Divine blue print, actions which are against our conscience, the built in guidance system within us. If our salat is not slowly rubbing off those from us, if our salat is not helping us to polish our rough edges (even if it is painstakingly slowly) then we surely are failing in our salat and failing to reach our goal. May Allah save us from such condition and help us improve our salat, our connection back to Allah, our life long remembrance of Allah.

The fruit of Salat is to transform a human being and among the few transformational aspects of salat, being grateful is the first call to action. Becoming more and more grateful is what should happen within us as a result of our salat. Why So?

Because we begin each cycle of our salat by invoking the statement of praise and thanksgiving, Alhamudlillahi Rabbil Alamin.

That simple statement can have ocean of words within it. It can mean the following and much more. For each heart in each moment, Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin can reveal fresh feelings of gratitude for many new experiences in life for which we can be endlessly grateful for.

O Beloved Lord of the worlds, O Honorable Sustainer, Creator Lord, I give thanks to You for everything, for every moment of my life, for my life, my existence, for the wellness of my physical body, my health, my spirit and my soul, for the loving family that you have given, for those who love me and for those whom I can love, for the food on the table, for the roof over my head, for the bed and for the rest, for my sustenance and for my financial freedom, for my earnings, for my parents, my spouse and my children – for everything in my life, I can only praise You Who is True Owner of all true praise and thanksgiving. If I were to count Your blessings in my life, I will surely fall short so inadequately for they are infinite and my mind can not fathom them; If I were to even attempt to praise You I could never praise You as You truly deserve, if the entire humanity would praise You, they would surely fall short even if they would go on counting Your blessings for them and give thanks to You until the Judgement day.

O my Beloved Lord of the worlds both within me and without, I bear witness to the truth that indeed, YOU ARE THE OWNER OF ALL TRUE PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin.

True Praise and Thanksgiving to You alone O my Beloved Lord of all.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin.

All credit and and honor is for You alone O my Beloved Lord of all that is.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin.

I can never praise You enough, for You are Who You Are in all Your Glory for ever and ever.

Cultivating a grateful heart is what we all may aspire to if we wish to be transformed from our salat. Out of our everyday recitation of the first Signs from Surah Fatiha, we may try to achieve a grateful heart.

And here is the good news for them who can achieve a grateful heart because Allah has promised that on the day of judgement, that person will be benefited and successful who arrive with a sound heart, with a wholesome heart, with a purified heart. And being grateful and not can make a great deal of difference.

May Allah help us in cultivating a grateful heart. May Allah include us among His grateful servants. May Allah accept our praise and thanksgiving. 
Bi Iznillah (By the Permission of Allah) So be it.  Amen.

# Interesting to note:
Graphics credit: Part of an Artwork by Michael Green / shared from image in public domain

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