Saturday 9 April 2022

Turning Complaints into Gratitude

Alhamdulillah, a week into Ramadan and I have found this Ramadan and fasting an interesting experience. The nights are longer and the days shorter, so these fasts are a little easier than previous years.  Working from home also means I can start work later, so for once I am not feeling lightheaded with sleep deprivation (although I did have a nice little nap in the middle of a lecture in the masjid this week, I heard someone let out a loud snore, so I wasn’t the only one).

My parents’ in-laws are not here this year, so that means a little less work and thinking of someone else, but also less good company, especially from my mum in law who is a bit of a cheerleader for me.


Despite not feeling sleepy, hungry or thirsty, I have found fasting difficult. The first few days were accompanied by sugar and caffeine withdrawal headaches, subsequent days have been filled with intense muscle pain that have disrupted my sleep and made it difficult to get through the day. I suspect this is caused by the loss of nutrients and sodium, so I am trying to manage it through my diet until I see a doctor. After a week of trying to work and manage home through the pain, I felt exhausted by it.  I sat on my prayer mat in the quiet time after taraweeh prayer and mulled over how I felt. It struck me that Allah (SWT) forgives our sins for the smallest discomfort, even the prick of a thorn. From that perspective, the aches and pains are a blessing, a means of forgiveness and with patience (sabr), also a means of reward.


I have been praying recently for a grateful heart and contentment with what Allah (SWT) decrees for me. I realised one way was to take my complaints and turn them into gratitude:

I am tired becomes I am grateful for a full day

My back hurts becomes alhamdulillah for my mobility

The kids misbehaving becomes gratitude for your children.


The shift in perspective got me thinking about the challenges I have had with my children through their teen years and how that sometimes left me feeling so low.

I remember when they were babies praying to Allah (SWT) that if He tests me, to make it with my wealth, but not my children. Now I realise that He could test me with my children (through loss of some kind) or through my children with the challenges parenting them brought up for me. It made me think that Allah (SWT) accepted my prayers – my children are healthy and whole Alhamdulillah, but they are also a handful. In being so they have forced me to grow, become more understanding, more patient and turn to Allah (SWT) more often. I never had the strength for tahajjud until my children drove me to despair on occasion and I needed to seek solace and help from Allah.


Once again my complaint turned out not really to be a complaint, but as challenging as parenting three strong-willed, irreverent, quick-witted teens is, this challenge is part of a journey to becoming a better person insh’Allah and turn back to Allah (SWT).


I am trying to hold onto this way of thinking, so that it becomes my default. It has made me feel more peaceful and happier and helped m to cope with all sorts of situations.


  1. Jazakillakhair for this perspective :)

  2. waʾiyyākum, may Allah SWT reward you with goodness.