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Thanksgiving is a holiday that translates well

A few years ago when I moved to the United States from Germany, I was pleasantly surprised to notice the greater social and also religious significance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday here as compared to the German close equivalent, "Erntedankfest," which is confined to gratefulness for plentiful crops only.

As a Muslim, this American practice of thankfulness to God for all the blessings received is much closer to my heart since thankfulness has a very central role in the Islamic teachings as well. "One who is not grateful to others is not grateful to God" is a famous saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) promoting social peace and harmony. Thus, gratitude in Islam is not restricted to one day only but rather it is a part of everyday life. Whenever a Muslim experiences anything good he is supposed to express his thankfulness to God with the words, "Al-hamdu-lillah," which means, "all praise belongs to God." A Muslim recites these words at least 32 times daily as part of the five daily prayers, thus reminding oneself of all the known and unknown divine blessings.

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So, with reference to the upcoming Thanksgiving Day, I close with the words, "Al-hamdu-lillah" — all praise belongs to God!

Rehana Akhtar, Randallstown

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