Written by Muslim Girl Staff writer, Vanessa ElShamy
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’m sure that we’re all looking forward to devouring delicious food and spending precious time with friends and family. Hopefully, we’re all remembering to be thankful for what we have as well. But we do also have to remember that while the concept of Thanksgiving is a good one, the background of the holiday is actually very dark.
We all tend to think of Thanksgiving as merely the holiday that marks the 17th century feast that was shared between the European Pilgrims that colonized the US and the New England Native Americans that lived in the US. This was a story that spread shortly after World War 1, making it a pretty recent tale.
In reality, the actual events of Thanksgiving were a lot less peaceful and sadly, a lot less full of thanks and good tidings. Thanksgiving was actually started to mark the safe return of colonial soldiers from Connecticut, where they had gone to murder and steal land from the Pequot Native American Tribe. The pilgrims murdered around 700 of these Native Americans. 700! Just in one trip.
And while a lot of people tend to glaze over or forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving, Native Americans will never forget the stories of how their land, as well as their ancestors, were taken away from them.
With that being said, it’s never a bad thing to be thankful for what you have in your life. As Muslims, it’s very important that we read the Qur’an as often as we can, and we often find ourselves reading about and begging for forgiveness from Allah (SWT.) But it’s equally important to remember that we are thankful for everything Allah (SWT) has given us, too. Here are 5 ayat from the Qu’ran that deal with being thankful that we can all keep in our minds this holiday:
1. Surah Al-Luqman has a verse that says:
“…Anyone who is grateful does so to the profit of his own soul…” (31:12)
In other words, being grateful for your life will benefit and purify your soul.
2. “…If anyone desires a reward in this life, We shall give it to him; and if anyone desires a reward in the Hereafter, We shall give it to him. And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve us with) gratitude.” (3:145)
Basically, if you are truly grateful for what you have, Allah will reward you for showing Him this gratefulness.
3. “If you are grateful, I would certainly give you more; and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is truly severe.” (14:7)
This is the same concept as the ayat above – being filled with gratitude for the life you were given is something that will be rewarded, while being ungrateful will result in the opposite.
4. Surah An-Nisa states:
“Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked Him and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.” (4:147)
Allah will not punish you if you show that you are grateful for what you have, because Allah does not want to punish you if you worship Him and remember Him and all He has given you.
5. “And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah.” (16:53)
At the end of the day, just make sure you remember the meaning behind Thanksgiving, and when someone asks you what truly happened, try to educate them to the best of your ability. And as a Muslim, remember Allah at the end of the day, in addition to all He has blessed you with. I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving.