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Article appeared Friday, October 16th, 2015 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (397)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

As we go through a new day, do we consider the blessings that our Creator is giving us? For
example, when we get up from our bed, do we consider the benefits of the restful sleep that we
have just had? Is sleep a blessing?
Scientists at Harvard {1} have studied the phenomenon of sleeping. They have come up with a
wide range of benefits in terms of physical and mental health functions, however, they have not
been able to answer the question, why do we sleep or why does our body signal us to sleep?
Looking for an answer in the Holy Scriptures, we find the following Verse in the Quran.
And among His Signs is your sleep by night and by day and your seeking (livelihood) of
His Bounty. Indeed, these are Signs for people who listen (and reflect). [30.23]
Scientists have discovered {1} that sleep plays a critical role in immune functions, metabolism,
memory, learning, and other vital body processes. Sleep to the body can be likened to the
maintenance function of a car. For the car, who would know when maintenance is required and
recommend it? Similarly, who would know that the body needs regular sleep and built in this
essential life function? While the benefits of sleep are still being researched and discovered {2},
we cannot run away from the fact that the sleep function could only be designed and
implemented by a highly intelligent Being only a One who would be fully aware of the bodys
internal functionality and needs.
Sleep is therefore a built-in regular blessing bestowed by the Creator! Apart from such essential
blessings, are there any individual or personal blessings that He bestows? For example, can we
think of the last instance when He rescued us from a particular problem or a troubled spot in our
personal life? What do we normally do when we get into a trouble? The Quran answers this
question:
When trouble (or affliction) touches man he calls upon Us, whether lying on his side or
sitting or standing; but when We remove him from his affliction, he continues with his
regular activities, almost as if he had never cried to Us to remove the problem that
touched him! Thus do the deeds of transgressors seem fair in their own eyes? [10.12]
The Creator calls ingratitude a serious transgression! He further defines the nature of our
interaction with Him in the following Verse.
After We bestow favors on man he turns away and gets himself remote on his side
(becomes arrogant instead of turning to Us in gratitude); but when evil seizes him (he
becomes) full of prolonged prayer! [41.51]
Essentially we use the Creator only as a cure for our ills. We go out of our way to call Him when
in trouble however, we generally do not thank Him afterwards. For example, after being cured,
after our problem is solved, after passing exams or after we get what we want. Such ingratitude
is transgression a major sin. The Quran points out historic incidents where He directly
intervened to get people out of affliction and grant visible blessings. After these events how did
man respond to the Creator?

14.6 Remember! Moses said to his people, "Call to mind the favor of Allah to you
when He delivered you from the people of Pharaoh. They set you hard tasks and

punishments, slaughtered your sons and let your womenfolk live; therein was a
tremendous trial from your Lord."
History stands witness to how the Creator drowned Pharaoh and saved the people of Moses.
Subsequently, He showered both seen and unseen blessings directly. For example,
And We gave You the shade of clouds and sent down to you manna and quails saying:
"Eat of the good things We have provided for you"; (but they rebelled); to Us they did no
harm but they harmed their own souls. [2.57]
After leaving their homes, as they had no shelter, the Creator arranged shade. As they had no
food, also He arranged Manna and Quails to eat. However, even after having given these visible
blessings, He points out:
And He gives you from all that you ask from Him. But if you count the favors (asked and
unasked) of Allah never will you be able to number them; verily man is given up to
injustice and ingratitude. [14.34]
On the other hand, if we are grateful,

14.7 And remember! Your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): "If you are
grateful I will add more (favors) on you; but if you show ingratitude truly My
punishment is terrible indeed."
Gratitude or ingratitude does not benefit the Creator it only serves to demonstrate our free will
and character. When other humans give us the smallest of gifts or remember us, we generally
say thank you. So the question is is it so difficult to be grateful to the Creator who has given us
existence and the intelligence to understand the blessings given?

14.8 And Moses said: "If you show ingratitude you and all those on earth
together yet is Allah free of all wants and worthy of all praise.
So, how should the Creator respond to those who are arrogant and ungrateful for His favors?

14.9 Has not the story of those who (went) before reached you? For example, the
story of the people of Noah, the `Ad and the Thamud? And those who came after
them? None knows their number but Allah. To them came apostles with clear
Signs; but they put their hands up to their mouths and said, "We do deny the
mission and purpose on which you have been sent and we are really in
suspicious (disquieting) doubt as to that to which you invite us."
The people of Noah, Ad and Thamud were all completely destroyed by the Creator without any
descendants. Equally, if we are repeatedly ungrateful what may the Creator do?

14.10 Their apostles said, "Can there any doubt about Allah, the Creator of the
heavens and the earth? It is He Who invites you in order that He may forgive you
your sins and give you respite for a term appointed!" They said, "Ah! You are no
more than a human being like ourselves. If you wish to turn us away from the
gods our fathers used to worship; then bring us some clear authority."
Just like the job of a book is to deliver content, the job of Messengers was to deliver the Words
of the Creator. These Words need to be analyzed intelligently by each individual to link meaning
to our daily life and the consequences of being ungrateful. How indeed should one respond to
the Creator who has given a unique existence and gives all that one asks for?
--------{Notes}:

{1} http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep
{2} http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20459221,00.html