by Shahid Athar, M.D.*

Sometimes we take things for granted and behave as if we created ourselves and acquired everything we have from our own efforts.

It is He who brought you forth from the wombs of your mother when
you knew nothing, and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence
and affections, that you may give thanks to God. (Quran 16:78)

Thus the concept of thanksgiving immediately raises the question, to whom, for what, and how should we express our thanks. We thank God for everything we have, for everything good that happens to us.

Everything good that happens to you (O Mankind) is from God,
everything bad that happens to you is from your own actions. (4:79)

We thank Him for creating us as humans, the best of creation, with intelligence and five portals to decide right and wrong.

Have we not given him (mankind) two eyes, a tongue and a pair of
lips, and shown Him the two highways of good and evil. (90:8-10)

Our Creator, who sustained us through nine months of helpless intrauterine life, continued to provide us with food and other materials to sustain us throughout our life.

0 you who believe! Partake of good things which we have provided
for you as sustenance, and render thanks to God, if it is truly Mm that
you worship. (2:172)

Thus we thank God not only for creating and sustaining us, but also for guiding us, for accepting our prayers and for forgiving us when we wrong ourselves. Thus it is impossible for us to deny the favors of our Lord.

For how long, you (mankind) will deny the favors of your Lord.
(Qur'an: Surah Ar-Rahman)

We thank God for our own gains.

Whoever is thankful (to God) is in fact thankful for his own self. But
if anyone is ungrateful, God is self-sufficient and glorious. (31:12)

We thank God for giving us, to live and prosper, a spacious land of
freedom and opportunity, where 'the weak and oppressed could
migrate to.'

We should thank Him by remembering Him not on just one day a year but in our daily life.

Remember Me, I will remember you, thank Me and reject Me not. (Qur'an 2:152)

*Chairman Interfaith Alliance Indianapolis, presented during interfaith Thanksgiving service, 1994.