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Dhikr Of Allah

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By Muhammad Tauseef Tariq

Amongst the most mystical of commands and directions given to us by Allah, Transcendent is He, in His final revelation, is His Holy Dhikr or “remembrance”.

"Remember Me and I will Remember you." (2:152)

Dhikr Allah is reminding a Muslim of the reality, presence and closeness of the Lord of the Worlds to us all and in every moment. Al-Bukhari narrates that the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) said; “the difference between one who makes dhikr and the one who does not make dhikr is like the difference between the living and the dead.” Remembering Allah constantly in the heart, on the tongue and with your limbs is to constantly be in the Divine Presence, to keep the heart in a perpetual state of spiritual bliss awakening and reception of Divine blessings and keeps the one who is conducting the Dhikr detached from the influences of the lower worldly life. The Human will always remain in a state of yearning for Allah until the moment of his Wisaal or “meeting” with Allah i.e. his death. Until that time, Dhikr is the way in which one can ease the soul’s yearning and give the human some peace as Allah says in Surah al-Ra’d, verse 28: “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah, hearts do find their rest.”

 

The Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) have repeatedly exhorted us to keep constant in this act of worship since it is the one thing that polishes the heart from the effects of sins and draws us in purity to our Most Loving Lord. Allahu Akbar, the Islamic sciences of the heart are so sophisticated that, for example, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya describes how the heart encrusts over by sinning and harmful characteristics, in his Al-Wabil as-Sa’ib and how its cure is Dhikr Allah. This is taken from a tradition of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam), which says that “everything has its polish and the polish of hearts is dhikr Allah.” Indeed, the famous hadith related by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah about Dhikr being the best possible deed, better even than spending gold or killing your enemies in battle. So, we can see how the meritorious nature of the Dhikr is well grounded in the Qur’an and the Holy Sunnah of Rasoolallah (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam). The Ulema themselves have spoken at length for 14 centuries about these and other benefits of Dhikr; indeed whole volumes have been exhausted in the elucidation of this subject.

Specific types of Dhikr are many in number and take different forms. The Beloved (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) said; “ O Ali, the best of what I and all Prophets before me said is la ilaha illallah.” The salaah is a Dhikr, tilaawah al-Qur’an is Dhikr, reading Allah’s Names, glorifying Him, praising Him, etc on prayer beads or on the fingers, reciting Durood Shareef are all Dhikr. Anything that you recite that comes from the Qur’an or from the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) is Dhikr. The salaah, for example, incorporates three different types of Dhikr Allah: the Dhikr of the tongue, since one is reciting ayaat, du’aas, praises and Durood, the Dhikr of the limbs since you are moving from one physical position to another to symbolise your obedience in acting upon the commands of Allah for the salaah and finally the Dhikr of the heart, since after all the tilaawah, sajdah, qiyaam, etc are ideally all just indications of the state of the heart itself i.e. submissive and attentive.

 

 

Gatherings of Dhikr are organised on a weekly basis all over the world for the specific purpose of reciting Allah’s Names and to recite the kalima. These are amongst the most virtuous forms of Dhikr after the salaah since the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa sallam) said in a hadith related by Tirmidhi that the gardens of Paradise are the “circles of Dhikr.” One of the interpretations of this by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali is exactly the sort of circles of Dhikr that we see carried out by the practitioners of the orthodox Sufi orders. Also, remembering Allah by His Names in a group multiplies the blessings enormously as we see in the hadith related by Al-Bukhari in which even the inattentive attendants of these circles are forgiven due to their blessed nature.

 

The ideal state of a believer is one in which he is in a constant state of dhikr, however, this is not always easy. The daily chores of life, business, studying, and working all repeatedly try to pry a person’s attention from the Dhikr of Allah. It is indeed a great struggle, especially these days when even Muslims inadvertently hinder one from remembering Allah. The key is to, at the very minimum, keep the heart in a constant state of Dhikr so whether one is conducting a business transaction, lecturing a class, performing an operation or filing some papers one is always in a state of awareness of Allah’s Divine Presence. This is absolutely possible and after a bit of struggle one can achieve such a noble station. Keeping with the pious people of Dhikr is also crucial to help refresh your heart which is why we have to make that extra effort to go to Dhikr gatherings. Heedlessness and forgetfulness are our enemies: being heedless of Allah and forgetful of our coming transitions to our graves and Dhikr Allah is our weapon against these. Employ this weapon, brothers and sisters, and see the sweet heights you reach in this world and the next.

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