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Dhikr: the Remembrance of Allah

Allah is the Loving and Caring Lord, whom we are close to through Dhikr, remembrance.

Read this excerpt from my new book titled Journey to Allah. This book explains the provisions needed, precautions necessary and the companions to travel with on this momentous journey.

‘We’re sensitive to stress, whether it’s from the debt we owe, jealousy of the neighbour’s expensive car or the perceived evil eye of the enemy or the looming fear of unemployment. We’re suspicious creatures afraid of the future and unexpected hardships.

What’s the solution to these fears? Remember most fears are just imagined. Here is something that can prevent anxiety, self-pitying and commiseration. Dhikr-ullah, the Divine remembrance is the answer. Dhikr is a shield against Satan’s arrow, the ego’s dagger, and people’s spear. The more focused the Dhikr, the more passionate, intense and effective it is. What’s the best time for this? Early morning when you’re fresh, preferably after the Fajr prayer until sunrise and later in the evening after the Asr prayer till sunset.

Dhikr means remembrance, holding in the memory, thinking of it in the mind, feeling it in the heart and saying it silently or loudly. Dhikr is with the heart and the tongue. Sometimes it is with the tongue alone, but the best remembrance is done with the heart and tongue together. Imam Nawawi praises this kind of Dhikr in his famous commentary on ‘Muslim’.

He said, “the remembrance of the heart is of two kinds: One is taffakur (also called Dhikr-al Khafiy), which is contemplation and the other verbal utterance.” The remembrance of the heart can be reflected in the creation of Allah, a study of nature and the environment or the universe. It leads to the fear of Allah, the Majestic Lord and it deepens a believer’s faith in Tawhid.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once said “The best worship is reflection” (Baihaqi). The second kind of remembrance of the heart is whenever one does something, they remember Allah with fear and thereby avoid sinning. Remembrance is the opposite of a dreamy state of the mind.

Hence, remembrance is the combined action of mind and tongue. Allah says: “And remember your Lord whenever you forget Him” (Kahf: 24). The Sufi Masters stress the impact of remembrance of the heart and its excellence and thereby avoid all else besides Him. So, the love of Allah overwhelms the love of things. This is the purpose of remembrance.

Four ways of remembering Allah:

  1. Remembrance only with the tongue whilst the heart is forgetful. This is a poor way of remembrance but still has some effect.
  2. Both the tongue and the heart are engaged but remembrance is still not fully established in the heart and requires a lot of effort.
  3. The heart is fully engaged in the remembrance, such that it ignores all distractions. This is a wonderful state.
  4. The thought of Allah is dominant to such an extent it’s difficult to distinguish between the remembrance and the remembered. The heart is immersed in Allah’s love yet unaware of the remembrance, engrossed in the remembered. In this state, the world seems like a poison to be avoided. This is the state of Fana (annihilation, absorption in the Divine) this is true remembrance.

Allah says, “Remember me and I will remember you” (Baqarah: 152). This is the excellence of remembrance, can there be anything better than the Lord of the universe remembering this weak being? Sadly, humans are heedless of their Benevolent Lord and lost in the amusement of the world.

Thabit al-Banani used to tell his disciples “I know when my Lord remembers me”. The disciples anxiously enquired “how do you know that?” He replied, “When I remember Him, He remembers me”. This means remember me through obedience and I shall remember you with forgiveness; remember me by repentance and I shall remember you with acceptance; remember me supplicating and I shall answer; remember me in your home and I shall remember you in the grave; remember me by trusting me and I shall remember you by supporting you, remember me with charity and I shall remember you with kindness.

Conclusion

The reason we remember Allah is because it’s a duty of the faithful. You join the natural world in glorifying and singing the praises of the Lord, thanking, appreciating and enjoying the gifts of Allah. It’s an effective way of affirming one’s faith in Allah’s greatness and majesty. There are many benefits and paybacks including:

  • Receiving barakah in all walks of life, you will remain healthy and jolly in the world.
  • Earning Divine rewards, our sins are wiped off the record, the good news of passing to paradise and positive results on Judgement day.
  • Being content, satisfied and able to deal with difficulties.
  • Relishing the opportunity of being in the Divine presence in the morning and the evening.
  • Shielding yourself against sin, vice and evil. Who doesn’t want to be protected from the harm of sin? It’s the best way to protect yourself from anxiety, depression, illness and the devils around you.’

If you liked this excerpt and would like to read more, click here to purchase the book.

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