It is interesting that Satan’s claim to God when he challenged God’s authority, was not that he would prove that most people are idol worshipers, hypocrites, or disbelievers, but instead that most people are unappreciative.

[7:17] “I will come to them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left, and You will find that most of them are unappreciative.”

The Arabic for this verse states:

In Arabic the word for unappreciative and disbeliever is the same. Therefore it is impossible to call ourselves a believer if we are unappreciative. The two cannot mix.

[2:152] You shall remember Me, that I may remember you, and be thankful to Me; do not be unappreciative.

فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ

[14:7] Your Lord has decreed: “The more you thank Me, the more I give you.” But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.

 وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

The paradox of appreciation is the more people have the more unappreciative most people become. There is a quote I like that summarizes this paradox:

No food one problem. Lots of food, many problems.

We live in a time with more abundance than ever, yet these numerous blessings often turn into our own curses as it just provides more reason for complaining and turning unappreciative. A remedy for this is through deprivation. By temporarily suffering loss for something that used to be in abundance it allows us to come to terms of the value for the blessings we have.

While sometimes God imposes this on the people unwillingly for their own good:

[16:112] GOD cites the example of a community that used to be secure and prosperous, with provisions coming to it from everywhere. But then, it turned unappreciative of GOD’s blessings. Consequently, GOD caused them to taste the hardships of starvation and insecurity. Such is the requital for what they did. [16:113] A messenger had gone to them from among them, but they rejected him. Consequently, the retribution struck them for their transgression. [16:114] Therefore, you shall eat from GOD’s provisions everything that is lawful and good, and be appreciative of GOD’s blessings, if you do worship Him alone.

The best solution is for us is to impose it upon our selves willingly as a form of exercise for our souls. I believe this is one of the major benefits of Ramadan. By temporarily refraining from food and drink from dawn to sunset we relearn the absolute blessing we have of being able to eat such a variety of delicious foods and protect ourselves of becoming habituated to such luxuries and turning unappreciative.

Today the world suffers as much from over eating as it does from lack of food, but like the example above if we forget about what a tremendous blessing this is, then for our own good the hardships of starvation and insecurity may be forced upon us against our wills in an attempt to get us to relearn appreciation. So before it comes to that, let us relish in this beautiful month and praise God for providing us such outlets to refresh our souls and strengthen our appreciation muscles.

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