What do you say when you stub your toe or pinch your finger or worse? Is the first word that comes out of your mouth “Damn!” or “Sh__!” or “F__!” (or their equivalent in your language if English is not your mother tongue)?

Would it ever occur to you to say “Praise God!” instead?

And why would you praise God when you just got hurt?

To begin with, you can praise Him that you only stubbed your toe and didn’t break it. You say you did break it? Then you can praise Him that you didn’t break the whole foot! You can praise Him that you have a toe and foot to begin with. You can praise Him that He created the rock on which you just stubbed it. (OK, so it was a chair you stubbed it on. God still created the tree from which the chair was made.) You can praise Him for the laws of physics He created, for that same hardness of the rock (or wood) allows you to use it for building and other purposes.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us that any trouble that comes to a Muslim — even something as small as the pricking of a thorn — is an expiation for him.

So the next time you stub your toe (or worse), try saying, “Praise God!” or, as we say in Arabic, “Al-hamdulillah — all praise be to Allah (God)!”

And just how are you supposed to think of saying that when you’re hopping around on the remaining foot?

That’s where frequent remembrance of Allah comes in. You can do this remembrance, called dhikr, in many ways. You can count on your fingers (or on prayer beads) and say certain formulas over and over. You can just think about Allah and all the blessings He has given you while you are doing some mindless task. You can also ask forgiveness for your sins. Or you can ask Allah for help with whatever task or worry you have. You don’t have to be in any particular position or face the qiblah, or say the words in Arabic. You don’t even have to raise your hands in the usual palms up gesture of supplicating.

When you remember Allah, you draw nearer to Him. Remembering Allah — making dhikr —expresses your confidence in His mercy, grace and blessings. It reminds you of your total submission to and dependence on Him. If you make it a habit to remember Him frequently, the words will come to your tongue easily. If you make it a habit to remember Him all the time, even when things are going well, it will be easier to remember Him first when things go wrong.

Prophet Muhammad stated that Allah said, “I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.”

By AElfwine Mischler