At a point in time when we find ourselves asking for more… a bigger car, larger home, or better salaries, our newest title, “Noor Kids Discover their Blessings,” seeks to ground ourselves in the philosophy of gratitude.
In an environment when many are challenged due to the woes of high unemployment, rising healthcare costs, and increasing prices for household items like food and gasoline, understanding the philosophy of gratitude is of deep importance.
In Arabic, the term for gratitude, Shuk’r, is often thought of as the antonym (or opposite) of the term for a non-believer, Kufr. In effect, this relationship infers that to have gratitude is to believe. In order for one to be thankful, it requires: (a) recognition of our blessings, and (b) belief that these blessings come an entity greater than ourselves. In effect, this process grounds ourselves in ‘what really matters’ and establishes our faith in Allah (SWT).
The first story in “Noor Kids Discover their Blessings” provides a narrative of Amin, the sports-star, facing loss after loss after loss, but in the end – still finding reasons to be thankful. This story highlights the first integral component of gratitude: realization of blessings. This reflection process can be difficult, especially during challenging periods of time; however, through this story, children are provided with an exceptional example of the concerted effort it sometimes takes to appreciate the things in life that are of value.
The second story in “Noor Kids Discover their Blessings” provides the example of Shireen, the trailblazer, who worked tirelessly on a gift only to have it go unappreciated. The story illuminates the importance of appreciation and introduces children to the notion that blessings come from Allah (SWT) and our prayers to him are a means to appreciate the blessings we’ve been provided. In doing so, the story depicts the strong relationship between gratitude and faith in our creator.
Gratitude in Islamic practice is highlighted in both hadith and verses in the Qu’ran. Allah (SWT) encourages us to count all of our blessings and further instructs us that when we give thanks, he will actually bless us with more. It is no surprise then, that recent academic research support the verses of the Holy Qu’ran in which we find gratitude linked with happiness and success:
A recent study by psychologists at Hofstra University surveyed 1,035 students ages 14 to 19 and found that grateful students reported higher grades, more life satisfaction, better social integration and less envy and depression than their peers who were less thankful and more materialistic. Additionally, feelings of gratitude had a more powerful impact on the students’ lives overall than materialism. (Time, Nov 2010)
The strong results aren’t limited to just children and young adults. The WSJ Health Journal reports that adults who practice high levels of gratitude have, “More energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics.” (WSJ, Nov 2010)
As you experience “Noor Kids Discover their Blessings,” we encourage you to reflect on the philosophy of gratitude with friends and family. Brainstorm blessings and discussion the topic of thankfulness at the dinner table. In the end, finding that the only thing we need more of… is gratitude!
Noor Kids Needs your Help:
We’ve got big dreams to help little Muslims in North America build confidence in their religious identity and learn Islamic education in a relevant and exciting way… but right now, we really need your help. In order for Noor Kids to be sustainable for the long term, we still have a long way to go. Insha’llah if each of us can play our own role, we can brighten the lives of little Muslims all around North America and beyond. Please take a moment to:
1. Share Noor Kids with your friends on Facebook
2. Recommend friends to sign up for a $0.99 trial of Noor Kids!
3. Keep us in your prayers
If you have any questions or would like to get in contact with Noor Kids, feel free to send me a note at [email protected]! We’re excited about our second book. Insha’llah once you receive it, let us know what you think!