A man who is not turned towards Allah Ta'ala through the medium of His kindness and bounties, will be dragged with the chains of trials to face Allah.
Those servants in whom nobility and lofty intelligence are inherent, do not become proud and arrogant as a result of the bounties of Allah they are awarded. They do not lose themselves in indolence, unmindfulness and worldly love. The bounties serve to increase their love for their True Benefactor. In consequence they become engrossed in obedience and worship.
Those who consider these bounties as the goal to pursue, do not direct their attention to Allah Ta'ala. Consequently they are caught up in many trials and hardships. These misfortunes act like chains by means of which these recalcitrant servants are forcibly drawn to Allah Ta'ala. In this way they are accepted by Allah Ta'ala. Thus, the trials and hardships are in reality a blessing for them.
He who does not express gratitude for Allah's bounties, has initiated the process of their elimination, and he who is grateful has arranged a solid protection for the bounties.
The one who is not grateful for the bounties of Allah Ta'ala is in reality pursuing the elimination of the bounties. Shukr (gratitude) envisages abandonment of transgression and adoption of obedience. Only The One Being should be acknowledged as the bestower of all bounties. Ingratitude leads to the disappearance of the ni'mat (bounties).
The one who is grateful for the bounties and recognises the True Bestower, is ensured of the perpetuation of the favours of Allah. In fact, the favours will be increased. In this regard, Allah Ta'ala states in the Qur'aan: “If you are grateful, most certainly I shall increase (the bounties) for you. And, if you are ungrateful, then (know) that My punishment is severe.”
Occasionally darkness settles over you so that you understand and appreciate the bounties of your spiritual illumination. The condition of the bandah here on earth is not always the same. Sometimes the noor of obedience settles on him while at times the darkness of the contamination of desires and unmindfulness settles in his heart. If only the illumination of anwaar had to settle on him, he would not have known its value. Also, the reality of noor is understood from its opposite, viz. darkness (zulmat). When there is no appreciation, the bandah will not express Shukr to his Master. For this reason sometimes the darkness of ghaflat and shahwat settles on the Saalik so that he values the noor of obedience.
He who has not recognised the worth of bounties while they exist (with him), will recognise it after elimination of the bounties.
Extracted from Ikmaalush Shiyam
Perfection of Morals
Shaykh Ibn Ataullah Iskandari