In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever-Merciful…
As a recipient of a Saudi government scholarship to study at Umm al-Qura University, I thank Allaah and ask Him to forgive me and my brothers and sisters who study here on full scholarships for not realizing how many blessings from Allaah we have overlooked and/or not properly thanked Him for.
Have we thanked Allaah for granting us years of peaceful and secure living in a land of Towheed and Sunnah? Some Muslims are living in fear for their lives and property right now. Some live in countries that do not allow them to practice Islaam. Some live in countries that openly promote polytheism and acts of blasphemy. By Allaah, we are spoiled in this land. By Allaah, we have not shown enough gratitude for our blessings!
Have we thanked Allaah for the ability to pray at the two greatest masjids in the world? Muslims around the world save for years to make one trip. Many of them never make it. Many of them beg Allaah in the depths of the nights to make one prayer at one of the two sacred Harams one day. By Allaah, we are spoiled and ungrateful.
Have we thanked Allaah for the ability to visit and study from a number of today’s greatest scholars? Our brothers in Islaam dream of the chance to meet a scholar one day. Muslims huddle together secretly in lands of oppression to listen to one lecture from the scholars whom we have daily access to. By Allaah, we do not reflect, nor do we thank Allaah as He deserves to be thanked!
Have we thanked Allaah for the many times we have been able to make Hajj and ‘Umrah, either without cost, along with our university or other government program, or in a relatively inexpensive way? Our brothers and sisters around the world save their earnings for their entire lives, begging Allaah for Hajj, waiting on government waiting lists for decades in some countries, just to get the chance to make Hajj. By Allaah, we have oppressed ourselves greatly by not reflecting. We have not thanked Allaah.
وإن تعدوا نعمة الله لا تحصوها
“Were you to count the favors of Allaah, you would never (be able to) enumerate them.” [16:18]
If we could put a price tag on some of the blessings we have received, what would that even look like?
All costs considered, someone traveling from the West may easily spend about $10,000 to make Hajj. A student living in Makkah took his wife and walked for most of the Hajj one year, spending about SR 200 (less than $55) on food and a few taxis here and there. He complained about a taxi driver requesting too much for a trip. By Allaah, we are not grateful!
A student receives a monthly stipend of about SR 900 (about $240), free housing, discounted meals, free health care, and free airfare to his home country and back every summer, among other amenities. Let us think about what all of that means for a typical American student who spends seven years in Saudi Arabia to finish his undergraduate degree (2-3 years for Arabic, plus 4-5 years to finish his BA program).
- Yearly stipend: $2,880 x 7 = $20,160
- Estimated cost of housing per year (single students): $600 x 7 = $4,200
- Estimated yearly health care costs: $1,000 x 7 = $7,000
- Discounted meals (estimated yearly savings): $1,000 x 7 = $7,000
- Yearly Airfare: $2,500 x 7 = $17,500
- Tuition value and administrative costs (conservative yearly estimate): $5,000 x 7 = $35,000
Total conservatively estimated value of an average scholarship package: $90,860
That number could easily top $100,000 with more concrete numbers and consideration of other amenities not mentioned.
هذا من فضل ربي ليبلوني أأشكر أم أكفر ومن شكر فإنما يشكر لنفسه ومن كفر فإن ربي غني كريم
“This is from the Bounty of My Lord, to test me: Shall I thank (Him) or be ungrateful? And whoever thanks (Allaah), his gratitude will only be (beneficial) for himself (i.e. It does not increase Allaah in anything). Yet, whoever is ungrateful, then verily my Lord is Self-Sufficient and Ever-Generous (i.e. He is not in need of His servants’ thanks).” [27:40]
By Allaah’s Grace, thousands of international students receive full scholarships valued at such an amount. May Allaah generously reward the government of Saudi Arabia who provide these scholarships! May Allaah give us success in showing our gratitude to Him, and then to His servants who have extended such opportunities!
We complain that we are asked to buy a file folder for SR 2 (about 55 cents)!
We complain that we could not get a seat on the university shuttle bus a few times and so we had to pay SR 10 or 20 ($3 to $6) for a taxi to get to class.
We complain that we have to spend SR 20 or 40 ($6 to $12) to buy medicine when it is not in stock at the university clinic.
May Allaah purify our ungrateful hearts! May Allaah purify our ungrateful tongues! May Allaah save us from the evils of our own selves and grant us the ability to recognize His Blessings and be thankful to Him for them. May Allaah distance us from the arrogance that prevents us from showing appreciation and thanks to Allaah’s servants who have given us so much!
By Allaah, we fail to recognize His blessings. By Allaah, we are not grateful. We are not grateful to our Generous Lord firstly, nor are we grateful to His servants who have been so kind to us.
By taking the time to sincerely reflect over the Favors of Allaah, we might rejuvenate our hardened hearts and become thankful servants of Allaah. May Allaah give us success.
May Allaah help us to recognize His Blessings.
May Allaah help us to speak about His Blessings and thank Him verbally.
May Allaah help us to live up to the Blessings we have received, and to show show true gratitude to Allaah by taking advantage of His Blessings and using them in ways that He is pleased with.
And Allaah knows best.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson