Part 7: Dzikr (3-3)

This kind of Dzikr is not an additional duty but a natural corollary to the belief in Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. A true faith always will be accompanied by passionate remembrance. Carelessness towards Allaah’s remembrance should be a real cause for concern for a believer. There are strong warnings for the believers who are forgetful of the remembrance of Allaah SWT:

O you who believe! You should not let your wealth or your children distract you from the Dzikr of Allaah. Those who let it happen are the losers.

Do not be like those who forgot Allaah, therefore He caused them to forget their own selves. They are the disobedient.” 

And whoever turns away from the remembrance of (Allaah) the Gracious, We appoint for him a Shaytaan to be his companion.

The Shaytaan has overpowered them, so he has made them forget the remembrance of Allaah. They are Shaytaan’s party and, be aware, Shaytaan’s party are to be the losers.” 

And he who turns away from his Lord’s remembrance, He will cause him to undergo a severe torment.

A person who sits in a gathering and does not remember Allaah therein, he will suffer severe anguish for it from Allaah. Similarly, a person who lies down in the bed and does not remember Allaah therein, he will suffer severe anguish for it from Allaah.” 

On the other hand, Allaah appreciates remembrance from His slaves by remembering them:

So remember me, I will remember you; and thank me, do not be ungrateful.” 

The Messenger of Allaah, Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “Allaah says: I am with my slave as soon as his lips move in my remembrance.”

The Messenger of Allaah said, “Allaah says: I am exactly as my slave expects me to be. I am with him, as soon as he remembers Me. If he remembers Me privately, I also remember him privately. If he mentions Me among people, I mention about him among those who are better than his people. If he comes toward Me a hand’s stretch, I go towards him an arm’s length. If he moves an arm’s length toward Me, I move towards him two yards’ distance. If he walks towards Me, I go to him running.” 

In fact Allaah’s remembrance protects a believer from Shaytaan:

I command you for frequent remembrance of Allaah. Imagine a person who is being chased hurriedly and aggressively by an enemy. The person comes to a strong fort wherein he enters and protects himself. Thus is the situation of Allaah’s slave. One cannot protect oneself from Shaytaan without Dzikr of Allaah.” 

After the declaration of Shahaadah, the remembrance of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala and His Dzikr must pervade everything a Muslim does. Every act of a believer must be imbued with Allaah’s Dzikr. Even the essence of the performance of the pillars like Salaah, Hajj and Jihaad is the remembrance of Allaah. And remembrance of Allaah during the performance of those acts of worship is what makes them purely for Allaah and effective in cementing our relationship with Him. The second pillar of Islam – Ŝalaah – is in itself an embodiment of Allaah’s remembrance. It consists of multiple forms of remembrance we have talked about: Shukr, Duaa, Tasbeeĥ[10], Tahleel[11], Takbeer[12] and Qur-aan. That is why Allaah SWT says:

Establish Salaah for my remembrance.” 

Examples for other acts of worship are:

When you return from ‘Arafaat, remember Allaah staying at Mash’ari-Ĥaraam, and remember Him as He has directed you, because you were misguided before … Once you have completed rites of Ĥajj, remember Allaah as you had been remembering your forefathers, or rather more intensely … And remember Allaah during the numbered days; then whoever hastens off in two days, there is no blame on him, and whoever remains behind, there is no blame on him, this is for him who has Taqwa.” 

O believers! When you confront an army, be steadfast and remember Allaah much, so that you may attain Falaaĥ.

The Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam talking about the Hajj rituals said, “Circumambulation of Ka’bah, running between Safaa and Marwah, and stoning at the pillars of Shaytaan have all been decreed for the remembrance of Allaah.”

The value and the quality of any act of obedience to Allaah is determined by the quality and quantity of remembrance and consciousness of His presence that is felt during that act, and intensity and passion with which He is remembered and His presence is felt. If Allaah is not remembered during an act of worship, the act is not acceptable to Allaah SWT.
A person asked the Prophet Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, “O’ Messenger of Allaah, of all the Mujaahideen, who will earn the most reward?” He said, “One who remembers Allaah, the exalted, the most.” The he asked, “Who of the fast-keepers will be rewarded the most.” The Prophet Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam responded, “One who remembers Allaah, the Magnificent and the Awe-inspiring, the most.” Then, the person asked about Ŝalaah, Zakaah, Ĥajj and charity. In response to every one of them, the Messenger of Allaah answered, “One who remembers Allaah the most“.

This indicates that the essence of every act of worship and every pillar of Islam is the remembrance of Allaah. The same message was given by the following verse where the greatest objective is said to be the remembrance of Allaah:

Recite what has been revealed to you from the Book and establish Ŝalaah; verily Ŝalaah restrains from obscenities and unacceptable behaviour; but the remembrance of Allaah is indeed the greatest, and Allaah knows what you perform.

The more a person is conscious of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, and the more his heart and soul are filled with His remembrance while performing any act of virtue, the more his act of worship is valued by Allaah and the more he is rewarded.

While every other act of worship has a particular time and place, the remembrance of Allaah is an ongoing affair that continues before, during and after other acts of worship and obedience. 

When you have finished Ŝalaah, remember Allaah standing, sitting, and lying on your sides.

Then when Ŝalaah is over, disperse in the land and seek Allaah’s bounty and remember Allaah much so that you may succeed.

Once you have completed rites of Hajj, remember Allaah as you had been remembering your forefathers, or rather more intensely.

Frequent remembrance of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala is an essential quality of believers and is one of the pre-requisites for forgiveness and great reward:

Verily, Allaah has prepared forgiveness and great reward for all the men and women who are: Muslim, believing, obedient to Allaah, truthful, steadfast, humble before Allaah, charitable, and who observe fasts, guard their chastity, and remember Allaah much often.

Although the remembrance of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala is mostly a very personal affair, His remembrance through learning and teaching activities is better done as a group activity. That form of remembrance has a very special place of its own: 

The Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said: “When a group of people sits down to recite Allaah’s book and to discuss its message among themselves (in another version “to remember Allaah”[13]), the angels surround them, Allaah’s mercy envelops them, tranquility descends upon them and Allaah mentions them to the angels around Him.

Once the Prophet Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam saw a group of his companions in a Halaqah. He asked them, “Why are you sitting here?” They replied, “We are remembering Allaah and thanking Him with praise for guiding us to Islam and favouring us by it.” The Prophet Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam asked, “Do you swear by Allaah that you are sitting only for this purpose?” They swore by Allaah for that being the only purpose. Then, the Messenger Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said, “I did not ask for the oath by reason of doubt in your statement but to highlight the purpose of your gathering because Jibreel just came to me and told me that Allaah is expressing His pride in you to angels.

One day, when the Messenger of Allaah Sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam saw two groups of people sitting in the Masjid, he said, “both of them are doing good, but one of them is better than the other. As for this one, they are praying to Allaah and turning towards Him; if He wants, He will give them or refuse them. As for the other, they are learning and teaching knowledge and promoting understanding, so they are superior; and I have been sent as a teacher.” So, he sat with them.

Concluding remarks

Frequent remembrance or Dzikr of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala is the natural result of true faith. It may take many forms such as:

  • Being conscious of Allaah’s presence, 
  • Feeling His love or fear in mind, thinking of Him fondly, 
  • Yearning to seek His pleasure, 
  • Actively seeking to serve him or obey Him like a slave, 
  • Performing obligatory acts of Worship and Nawaafil[14] 
  • Learning or teaching Qur-aan and/or Ĥadeeth, 
  • Delivering or receiving Islamic education, 
  • Reciting and reflecting upon the verses of the Qur-aan with due reverence for it being the word and command of the Lord and with due gratitude for Allaah’s guidance contained therein, 
  • Praising Him thankfully while thinking of his bounties and mercy, 
  • Glorifying Him humbly while remembering His perfection and greatness, 
  • Renewing your commitment to Him as your only Ilaah, Lord and Master by reciting Kalimah, or witnessing to the truth of this fact from the bottom of your heart and the depth of your intellect by reciting the words of Shahaadah, 
    • Seeking His forgiveness, 
    • Praying or supplicating to Him, etc.

Zikr is a state of mind and a matter of heart. It starts from there and expresses itself in appropriate words, then, also reflects itself in the attitude of a believer and in his actions and behaviour. The attitude that the remembrance of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala creates is called Taqwa, which makes a person very concerned, cautious and careful to make the right kind of choices and decisions. In actions, it puts a believer on the path of continuous improvement towards excellence in his interactions, dealings and all affairs of life. It takes a believer to a stage where his behaviour is completely in tune with the guidance of Allaah – a stage of completion of faith:

“When someone’s likes, dislikes, giving and withholding become solely for the sake of Allaah, he has perfected his faith.” 

This is the kind of remembrance that brings tranquility to heart. This remembrance is not an option. It is the first duty that a Muslim has to fulfill. It is a corollary of Shahaadah – the first pillar of Islam. Shahaadah is not merely uttering Kalimah, but witnessing the reality of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala’s existence and His Majesty through preoccupation with His remembrance and consciousness of His presence. 


______________________________________

[10] Saying Subĥaanallaah (glorifying)

[11] Reciting Kalimah

[12] Saying Allaahu Akbar

[13] It indicates that Allaah’s remembrance and Qur-aanic studies were treated as synonymous.

[14] Acts of worship in addition to obligatory or recommended quantity.

 


(Al-Munaafiqoon 63:9)


(Al-Ĥashr 59:19)


(Az-Zukhruf 43:36)


(Al-Mujaadalah 58:19)


(Al-Jinn 72:17)


(Reported by Aboo Dawood and Mishkaah from Aboo Hurayrah)


(Al-Baqarah 2:152)


(Reported in Bukhaaree from Aboo Hurayrah)


(Reported in both Bukhaaree and Muslim from Aboo Hurayrah)


(Reported by Tirmidzi)


(Taa-Haa 20:14)


(Al-Baqarah 2:198-203)


Al-Anfaal 8:45


(Reported in Musnad Ahmad from Mu’aadz bin Anas Al-Juhni)


(Al-‘Ankaboot 29:45)


(An-Nisaa 4:103)


(Al-Jumu’ah 62:10)


(Al Baqarah 2:200)


(Al-Aĥzaab 33:35)


(Reported by Muslim from Aboo Hurayrah)


(Reported by Muslim from Aboo Sa’eed Khudri who reported from Mu’aawiyah)


(Reported by Bukhaaree from Aboo Umaamah.)

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