The fundamental component of a person’s relationship with Allah is worship. As one’s heart is filled with gratitude to his benefactor, he expresses indebtedness, humility, and surrender to Him. This is a natural response, observed even in domesticated animals and pets. They express gratitude by gesture or look, but human beings are required to express gratitude in a much more pronounced manner. It is an ordinary experience that a person owing a debt of gratitude to another human expresses these feelings in appropriate manners and speech. How much more so then to one’s Creator and Sustainer?
One should demonstrate gratitude to Allah SWT by way of surrendering humbly and fully to Him
Those failing to thank their benefactors are generally regarded as at least uncouth or ill-natured. It is part of the human nature to hold one’s benefactor in esteem. Given this, we can see what gratitude we owe to our true Benefactor, Allah, Who is the source of all favors and blessings. We owe our very existence to Him. His favors pervade all of nature and existence and include the mercy needed to warrant a person’s entry to paradise, a favor of eternal magnitude.
One should demonstrate gratitude to Allah by way of surrendering humbly and fully to Him. In doing so, one acts in a natural way and will be blessed with tranquillity and spiritual contentment. However, those disposed to ignorance and spiritual neglect fail to give thanks to their Creator and Benefactor, or do so only in a passing and cursory manner.
The gratitude we owe to Allah is manifested in our worship. It is expressed both verbally and by gesture and body movement. In fact, one’s whole being is involved in the act of worship—each body part contributes in its own way, and one’s mental and spiritual faculties are actively involved in paying homage to the Creator. There is no need of weighty arguments to illustrate that the worship of Allah manifests our gratitude to our real, true Benefactor. This appears clearly in the opening surah of the Qur’an, Al-Fatihah. The surah is woven around the theme of gratitude and it forms an essential part of prayer in Islam. It emerges from studying this surah that one’s gratitude in response to Allah’s lordship, mercy, and compassion prompts one to exclaim “We worship You alone” (Al-Fatihah 1:5).
It is also evident from other Qur’anic verses that worship is conjoined with the expression of gratitude to Allah, as in the verse, “Worship Allah and be among His grateful servants” (Az-Zumar 39:66). And in another verse we are told, “So seek your provision from Allah, and serve Him, and give thanks unto Him” (Al-`Ankabut 29:17). It is reported about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that he stood for so long in his Night Vigil Prayer, in worship and giving of thanks to Allah, that his feet would swell up. The Prophet’s wife `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, why do you exert yourself so much while all your sins have been forgiven?’ To this he replied, ‘A’ishah, should I not be a grateful servant of Allah?’” (Muslim). Worship is prompted by one’s feeling of gratitude to Allah. Allah’s commands are not meant to put us through difficulty or inconvenience. Rather, Allah has prescribed certain rituals and practices by which to worship Him, express our gratitude, and accrue the blessings associated with obeying Him and earning His pleasure.
The gratitude we owe to Allah is manifested in our worship – both verbally and in actions
In terms of its essence, true worship is characterized by genuine and overflowing gratitude to Allah. By worshiping Allah, one discharges obligations toward the Creator, Master, Benefactor, and Lord. One does not worship for the sake of benefiting in any way the Creator and Master, as He is independent of any need. Rather, one earns blessings for himself and makes himself worthy of more rewards. Allah is to be worshiped because He is the Creator, Master, Sustainer, and Lord; our worship does not profit Him in any way, and our refusal to worship Him does not harm Him in the least. Those who refuse to worship Him only harm themselves, ever liable to fall more deeply into error, deceived and misguided on the path of Shaitan. Those who feel and acknowledge their gratitude to the One who created and sustains them, follow the straight way prescribed by Allah.