References of Ethics
Qur'an • Nahj al-balagha • Misbah al-shari'a wa miftah al-haqiqa • Makarim al-Akhlaq • Al-Mahajjat al-bayda' • Tanbih al-khawatir wa nuzhat al-nawazir • Jami' al-sa'adat • Mi'raj al-sa'ada • Al-Muraqabat
Ingratitude (Arabic: کُفر النّعمة, kufr al-niʿma) is among great sins. It refers to abusing the blessings and is against being grateful for the blessings. In the Qur'an and hadiths, ingratitude is criticized and considered as a type of disbelief.
Ingratitude is sometimes in the heart and sometimes expressed by one's tongue or in his actions. High ambitions, ignorance about divine blessings, ignorance about God and abasement are mentioned among the causes of development of ingratitude.
Ingratitude leads to adverse results, including lack of knowledge about God, decaying the blessings and their change into afflictions, destruction, painful punishment in the hereafter, quick punishment in this world, social isolation and distress in life. To cure ingratitude , some solutions such as acquiring knowledge about divine blessings and looking at the lives of lower people have been advised.
Ingratitude is criticized in several verses of the Qur'an and is considered against gratitude for blessings. In hadith collections too, many hadiths are mentioned which criticize the ingratitude. They have considered it the third type of disbelief and among the armies of ignorance.
An ungrateful person is sometimes negligent about divine blessings in his heart, sometimes says things which indicate valuelessness of divine blessings for him and sometimes, shows ingratitude through abusing the blessings in action.
In religious texts, ingratitude is considered to be caused by having high ambitions, ignorance and lack of knowledge about divine blessings, ignorance about God, not acquiring the opportunity for the good, not observing God-wariness and committing sins, despair, attributing divine blessings to ones other than God and abasement.
Ingratitude causes dire consequences for ungrateful people. In religious texts, some consequences are mentioned for ingratitude, including lack of knowledge about God, decay of blessings, destruction, painful punishment in the hereafter, istidraj, development of envy, impediment of the good, quick punishment in the world, development of discomfort and lack of the feeling of happiness, social seclusion, not fulfillment of supplications and pressure in the grave.
Lack of Knowledge about God
Ingratitude about divine blessings is considered a cause for being held from acquiring the knowledge of God; because, being grateful for the blessings is the first step for knowing God. This way, when human being sees himself embraced by divine blessings, will be thankful to the Giver and this paves the way for knowing God, while ignorance toward God's blessings takes away the opportunity from human being to know God.
Decaying the Blessings and Their Change into Adversity
One of the most important consequences of ingratitude is considered to be decaying of the blessings and their change into adversity. In Qur'an 16:112, God introduces hunger and fear among the consequences of ingratitude and in Qur'an 34:15-17, mentions the destruction of developed lands of the people of Sheba and being afflicted with adversity as the result of their ingratitude about blessings. Imam al-Sajjad (a) considered ingratitude, among the sins which changes divine blessings to adversity. Imam al-Sadiq (a) too, considered ingratitude as a cause which makes blessings transient.
Painful Punishment in the Hereafter
Painful punishment in the hereafter is a promise God gives to ungrateful people in Qur'an 14: 7. In this verse, gratefulness is introduced as the cause of increasing the blessings and ingratitude for them is mentioned as the cause of divine punishment. In Qur'an 14:28, God warns those who changed His blessings with ingratitude to stay in the Hell.
Imam al-Husayn (a) considered istidraj or leaving a person unsupported by being drowned in worldly pleasures and deprivation of the opportunity to thank God and thus being included in divine punishment among the consequences of ingratitude.
Cures for Ingratitude
To cure ingratitude, some solutions are suggested. Acquiring knowledge about apparent and spiritual blessings of God to human being, looking at the lives of lower people and paying attention toward the punishments of human beings are among the methods of curing ingratitude.
- Qur'an 2:152, Qur'an 14:7, 28, Qur'an 27:40, Qur'an 31:12, Qur'an 34:15-17, Qur'an 16:112
- Qur'an 34:15-17, Qur'an 16:112
- Allah draws a parable: There was a town secure and peaceful, its provision coming abundantly from every place. But it was ungrateful toward Allah’s blessings. So Allah made it taste hunger and fear because of what they used to do.
- There was certainly a sign for Sheba in their habitation: two gardens, to the right and to the left. ‘Eat of the provision of your Lord and give Him thanks: a good land and an all-forgiving Lord!’ But they disregarded [the path of Allah], so We unleashed upon them a violent flood and replaced their two gardens with two gardens bearing bitter fruit, tamarisk, and sparse lote trees. We requited them with that for their ingratitude. Do We not requite ingrates?
- Qur'an 8:54, Qur'an 44:37, Qur'an 22:45
- And when your Lord proclaimed, “If you are grateful, I will surely enhance you [in blessing], but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is indeed severe.”
- Have you not regarded those who have changed Allah’s blessing with ingratitude, and landed their people in the house of ruin?
- In this regard, Qur'an 7:182 has stated, "As for those who deny Our signs, We will draw them imperceptibly [into ruin], whence they do not know."
- The material for this article is mainly taken from کفران نعمت in Farsi WikiShia.