What does your knee feel like?

Or your lower back?

Or your wrist?

Funny how despite them being a part of our being, we don’t actually “feel” our body parts… until they start aching.

It’s like they’re sending us reminders that they’re still around. Every tense muscle, every scratched bit of skin, every ache resonating deep into the side of my hip bone.

“Okay, okay, I feel you. Every milimetre of you. You exist and deserve acknowledgment. Now could you just stop that radiating, throbbing, stabbing pain for a sec?!”

“Have you thanked God for me today?”, my right knee seemed to ask back, with one eyebrow raised – if knees had eyebrows.

“Oh, you’re talking…?”, I whisper back.

“Well, have you?”

“No…”

“Then what are you waiting for? You forget about me when it doesn’t hurt, don’t you?”

“Yeah … well … I’m sorry. I didn’t realise…”

“You humans never do – you ungrateful lot!”

“Hey now, be nice…”

“And then when it hurts, you whine and grumble, moan and groan… you even curse me at times.”

“Okay okay, I get the point! Now can you stop talking? It’s weirding me out that I’m having a conversation with my knee. Enlightening as it may be.”

“Fine, just remember your promise.”

“My promise?”

“To thank God! You’ve forgotten already?”, my knee sighed in exasperation.

“Yes, yes, I get it.”

Then I recalled a few Hadith talking about how we “owe” the Almighty for even our body parts, and what ways we can attempt to repay that “debt”.

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “There are 360 joints and each of them owes Charity (Sadaqah) every single day. Every good word is charity. A man helping his brother is charity. A drink of water which he gives someone is charity. Removing something harmful from the road is charity.” [Bukhari]

We often restrict our view of charity to mean money, or tangible items – clothing, food etc. However, we can clearly see above that charity could come in many forms, and in another Hadith, even a smile is charity! Now tell me who can’t even afford that? How easy it should be when living a God-conscious life, to show appreciation for our 360 joints daily – to use our whole being to share and spread mercy and goodness.

gratitude 2

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “There is a Charity (Sadaqah) to be given for every joint of the human body; and for every day on which the sun rises there is a reward of a charity for the one who establishes justice among people.” [Bukhari]

This establishment of justice applies to everyone, not just on some grand nationwide political scale which you feel may not be relevant to you – but justice at home between your kids, justice in the office when you’re mediating a discussion, justice in the shopping mall when returning a faulty product. Any form of enjoining good and forbidding evil, really.

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “In the morning, charity is due on every joint bone of the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s Glorification (i.e., saying Subhanallah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Praise (i.e., saying Alhamdulillah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e., saying Lailahaillallah) is an act of charity; and enjoining good (ma’ruf) is an act of charity, and forbidding evil (munkar) is an act of charity, and two Raka’ah Dhuha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).”  [Muslim]

From this we see that another way to give charity on behalf of our joints is to make adzkar or remembrance of the Almighty – whether in praise, glorification or gratitude. This extends also to performing two raka’ah of solah (prayer) in the time of Dhuha (morning).

There are so many ways the Almighty has taught us to consciously show appreciation for our body parts. Do what works for you. Mix and match on some days, but make the intention to do something, every day. And do it consciously. Don’t take your knuckles, ankles and jawbone for granted.

And you know what, although the aches and pains are still there on some days, they don’t bother me as much anymore. It feels more like an old friend dropping by for a visit – “Hello, Right Knee…”.