In The Remembrance of Allah do Hearts find rest

We are constantly confronted with issues and problems, which often derail us from appreciating the purpose Of life and its objective. We are faced with tribulations such as, war, sickness, poverty, crime, fear, anxiety and even extreme wealth that make things unbearable in our existence. We spend considerable amount of resources in searching for solutions that will provide a certain satisfaction, contentment, happiness and rest of mind that have increasingly become so elusive. There is no man who does not have as his main life goal the attainment of peace and rest of mind. Allaah, as-Salaam, the Source of peace arid rest In His, Mercies gives us a simple and easy answer to our life quest: Remembrance of Him. He says: "

Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allaah, verily, in the remembrance of Allaah do heart finds rest." (Q13[Rad]:28)

Virtues of adh-Dhikr

Adh-Qhikr (remembrance of Allaah) is the most excellent act of a servant, the most praiseworthy work to earn Allaahs pleasure, the most effective weapon to overcome the enemy and the most deserving of deeds in reward. It is the polish of hearts, the essence of faith, the immunization against hypocrisy, the head of worship and above all, the key to all success. Allaah has recommended the constant remembrance of Him in various portions of the Quran. Allaah says: "

O you who believe! Remember Allaah with much remembrance." (Q33[Ahzab]:41-42)

He also says:

"And remember the Name of your Lord every morning and afternoon [i.e. offering of the Morning (Fajr), Zuhr, and Asr prayers." (Q76[ad-Dahr]:2S-26)

A Constant Value

The remembrance of Allaah is one value upon which all other actions of man depend. In other words no action has any value without dhikr. Ibn Hajar (RAH) in his Fath al-Baari relates Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabis explanation that:

"there is no good deed except, with dhikr as a precondition for its validity, and whoever does not remember Allaah in his heart at the time of his sadaqah or fasting, for example, then his deed is incomplete: therefore dhikr is the best of deeds becauseof this."

There are dozens of other texts which speak of its virtues, enjoin it and encourage it, such as the words of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam): "

Shall I not tell you of the best of your deeds, the most; pleasing to your Sovereign, those that raise you most in status, and that are better than your giving gold and silver, or meeting your enemy (in battle) and you strike their necks and they strike you necks?" They said: "Yes,"He said: "Remembrance of Allaah (dhikr), may He be exalted." (Saheehal-Tirmidhee)

Dhikr is, therefore, something of tremendous importance. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"The earth and everything in it is cursed, except for dhikr and what attends dhikr, and a teacher (of dhikr) and a student (of dhikr)." (Tirmidhee)

The Meaning of Dhikr

The word dhikr has many connotations. It connotes: Allaahs Book and its recitation; prayer (salaah and duaa); learning, teaching etc. In an exposition of the meaning of Dhikr, Said ibn Jubayr said, "Anyone engaged in obeying Allaah is in fact engaged in the remembrance of Allaah." However, some of the earlier scholars tied it to some more specified form. Ata (RAH) said, The gatherings of dhikr are the gatherings where the lawful and the prohibited things are discussed, for instance, selling, buying, prayers, fasting, marriage, divorce, and pilgrimage."

Imaam al-Qurtubi said, "Gatherings of dhikr are the gatherings for knowledge and admonition, those in which the Words of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, accounts of our righteous predecessors, and sayings of the righteous scholars are learned and practiced without any addition or innovation, and without any ulterior motives or greed."

Ad-Dhikr also applies to the invocation of Allaah with the tongue according to one of the various formulas taught by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). It could also mean the remembrance of Allaah in the heart, or in both the heart and the tongue. The dhikr of Allaah also applies to diligence in obligatory or praiseworthy acts, such as the recitation of Quran, the reading of hadeeth, the study of the Science of Islaam (al-ilm), and supererogatory prayers.

Types of Dhikr

 There are three different types of dhikr:

The first type: dhikr of Allaah's Names and Attributes and their meanings and praising of Allaah with it; and tawheed of Allaah with it and to steer Him clear of what does not befit His Majesty. This is of another two types:

a). To come up with praising Him with it by the praiser. This is the type mentioned in the ahaadeeth such as Subhaanallaah [Glory be to Allaah] , Alhamdu Iillaah, [Praise be to Allaah], Lao ilaaha illallaah, [None deserves to be worshipped except Allaah], Wallaahu Akbar [and Allaah is the Greatest].

b). The information about the Lord, the Exalted, with rulings of His Names and Attributes like the following statement: Allaah the Exalted has power over all things, He is happier, with the repentance of His servant, than the one who lost his means of transportation, He hears the cries of His servant, He sees their movement, there is no secret in their actions that is hidden from Him and He is more merciful to them than their mothers and fathers.

The second type: Dhikr of command, prohibition, halaal, haraam and its rulings. The remembering slave of Allaah carries out the command and leaves the prohibitions. He makes haraam what Allaah has made haraam and halaal what Allaah has made halaal. And this is of another two types also:

a). His remembrance with that, information from Him because He commands so and so, prohibits so and so, loves so and so, is displeased with so and so and is pleased with so and so.

b). His remembrance at His command, hence, hastening to it and acting with it. He also remembers His prohibition, runs away from it and abandons it. The third type: Dhikr of the blessings, bounties and goodness. This, too, is one of the greatest types of dhikr; and this can be of five types. It can also be of three types:

1. Dhikr that is done in conjunction with the heart and tongues; it is the highest of them;

2. Dhikr of the heart alone; it is in the second degree;

3. Dhikr of the tongue alone; it is in the third level. The concept of dhikr is to free [oneself] from negligence and forgetfulness. Negligence is for a man to leave something undone knowingly. Forgetfulness is to leave something undone unknowingly.

The Levels of Dhikr Dhikr is of three levels:

1). Open Dhikr: Praising Allaah, the Exalted, with statement like: "Subhaanallaah. wal-hamdu Iillaah wa laailaaha iIIallaah, wa-lIaahu akbar." (Glorified is Allaah, all praise is due to A1laah,and there is no God worthy of worship but Allaah and Allaah is the Greatest) Or dhikr of duaa like, "They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy we shall certainly be of the losers." (Q7[Araaf]:23) and similarly his statement, "Yaa Hayyu yaa Qayuum, birahmatika astagheeth (O Ever living One, O Eternal One, by Your mercy I call for help.)" and so on. Or dhikr riaayah (i.e. being aware that Allaah is aware and watchful of what one does) just like the utterance of a person who says, Allaah is with me, Allaah is looking at me, Allaah is my witness and similar to that in what is used to reinforce the presence [of someone] with Allaah. Also, there is consideration for the interest of the heart and preservation of manners of [relating with] Allaah, guarding [oneself] from negligence and protection from Shaytaan and evil [emanating from] the soul. The Prophetic dhikr combines the three types. It comprises of the praise of Allaah, supplication and request and declaring it. It incorporates complete consideration, benefit for the heart, guard against negligence and protection from devilish insinuations.

2). Secret Dhikr: This is dhikr with the heart alone. It liberates the heart from negligence and forgetfulness and removes the screen that blocks the heart from its Lord, the Glorified. It is the continuous presence of the heart with its Lord as if it sees Him.

3). The Actual Dhikr: That is Allaahs remembrance of His servant. Allaah says:

"Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying, etc.). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me."(Q2(Baqarah): 152]

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Allaah says: I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running." (Bukharee)

The Purpose of Dhikr

The purpose of dhikr is to purify hearts and souls and awaken the human conscience. The Quran says, "

And establish regular prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds, and remembrance of Allaah is the greatest thing in life, without doubt." (Q29(Ankabut]:45)

In other words, the remembrance of A1laah has a greater impact in restraining one from shameful and unjust deeds than just the formal regular prayer. This is so because when a servant opens up his soul to his Lord, extolling His praise, Allaah strengthens him with His light, increasing thereby his faith and conviction, and reassuring his mind and heart. This refers to

"those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah, for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction." (Q13(Rad]:28) And when hearts are satisfied with the Truth, they turn to the highest ideals without being deflected by impulses of desire or lust. 

The Etiquette of Dhikr

All of these underscore the importance of dhikr in mans life. Obviously it would be unreasonable to expect these results just by uttering certain words, for words of the tongue unsupported by a willing heart are of little consequence. Allaah Himself has taught us the manner in which a person should remember Him, saying,

"And do bring your Lord to remembrance in your very soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, In the mornings and evening, and be not of those who are unheedful." (Q7{Araaf}:205)

Silent Dhikr is Better

This verse indicates that doing dhikr in silence and without raising ones voice is better.

Once during a journey the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) heard a group of Muslims supplicating aloud. There upon the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Give yourselves a respite, you are not calling upon someone deaf orabsent. Surely He Whom you are calling, upon is near you and He listens to all.. He is nearer to you than the neck of your mount." (Bukhaaree)

With Attentive Hearts

The most perfect of dhikr is that in which the heart and tongue are both focused, then that which is in the heart only, then that which is on the tongue only. In all cases there is reward. Insha Allaah. AI-Nawawi (RAH) said:

"Dhikr may be in the heart, or on the tongue, but the best is that which is both in the heart and on the tongue. If it is limited to just one of them, then the heart is better." (Al-Adhkaar).

Ibn al-Qayyim (RAH) said: "The types of dhikr may be in the hear and on the tongue sometimes. which is the best of dhikr. or they may be in the heart only sometimes which is the second level and on the tongue sometimes which is the third level. The best of dhikr is that on which both the heart and tongue are focused and dhikr in the heart only is better than dhikr on the tongue only. [This is] because dhikr in the heart increases knowledge, provokes love, increase shyness before Allaah, promotes fear of Allaah, calls one to draw closer to Him, and it prevents one from falling short in acts of worship and being heedless about sins and bad deeds. Dhikr on the tongue only does not give any of these results and it is of little benefit." (Madaarij al-Saalikeen)

The Wordings of the Prophet is Best

The best dhikr are those whose words were narrated from the Prophet (sallaIlau alayhi wa sallam) because Allaah, did not choose for him anything but the most perfect and the best and he did not choose anything but that for his ummah. Avoid Prescription Dhikr The one who is remembering Allaah (reciting dhikr) should not specify any particular time. number or manner of reciting dhikr unless that is proven with saheeh evidence, because Allaah cannot be worshipped except in the manner that He has prescribed in His Book or on the lips of His Messenger (sallaIlau alayhi wa sallam). Worship must be that which is prescribed in shareeah, with regard to the act itself, the manner in which it is done, the time when it is done and how many times it is done. Whoever adopts a wird whose wording was not narrated from the Prophet (sallaIlau alayhi wa sallam), or specifies a particular number of times or does it at a specific time is committing bidah.

The scholars called this bidah al-idaafiyyah (additional innovation), because the action itself is prescribed in shareeah, but some innovation has been added to it with regard to the manner, the number of times or when it isto be done. On this issue. it important to note that dhikr and duaas are of two types:

1- Adhkaar which were narrated in the Quraan and Sunnah, to be recited at a certain time, in a certain place or in certain circumstances. This type should be recited as prescribed, at the appropriate time, or in the appropriate circumstances or place, with the correct words or posture, without adding anything or taking anything away.

2 - All dhikr or duaa in general that is not connected to certain times or places. These fall into two categories:

a) Those which were narrated from the Prophet (sallallau alayhi wa sallam), so they should be recited in the wording that he used. They should not be connected to any particular time or place, and they should not be connected to a specific number of times to be recited.

b) Those which were not narrated from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)rather the person makes them up himself, or they were narrated from the salaf It is permissible to say such words so long as five conditions are met:

i) He should choose the best and clearest words, for he is conversing with his Lord and God.

ii) The words should be, of an appropriate style.

iii) The duaa should be free of anything that is forbidden In Islaam, e.g. it should involve any element of seeking help from anything other than Allaah, and so on.

iv) It should be of the general kind of dhikr and duaa, not connected to a particular time, place or circumstances.

v) It should not be taken as a regular practice. (Tasheeh al-Duaa by Shaykh Bakr AbuZayd) Counting on Fingers is Better than Counting Beads Yusairah reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) commanded them (the emigrant women) to be regular inremembering Allaah by saying, "Allaah is the most great," "Glory be to Allaah, the Holy," and "There is no God but Allaah," and never to be forgetful of Allaah and His Mercy, and to count them on their fingers, for the fingers will be questioned and will speak. (Al-Hakim) In another hadeeth, Abdullah bn Amr b. al-As said, "I saw the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) counting the glorifications of Allaah on his right hands fingers." (Abu Dawood)

Dhikr in a State of Sexual Defilement

It is permissible for a person, if he is junub, to make duaa to Allaah and remember Him, including the adhkaar before sleeping and others, because of what is reported in the hadeeth of Aaishah (RA), who said, "The Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to remember Allaah in all circumstances." (Muslim) Some of the commentators on this hadeeth said: this hadeeth is stating a basic principle, which is the remembrance of Allaah in all circumstances, even when one is in a state of minor or major impurity.

Dhikr in the form of tasbeeh (saying subhaan Allaah),tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha illa Allaah), takbeer (saying Allaahu akbar), tahmeed (saying al-hamdu Lillaah) and other similar adhkaar is permissible in all situations, according to the consensus of the Muslims. However, what is forbidden is dhikr that consists of reciting Quraan, a full aayah (verse) or more, whether that is read from the mus-haf or recited by heart, because the prohibition of doing so has been narrated. But it is mustahabb for the person who is junoob to wash his private parts and do wudoo when he wants to go to sleep, because of what is stated in the hadeeth of Umar (RA), who said, "O Messenger of Allaah, may one of us sleep when he is junub?" He said, "Yes, if he does wudoo." (Bukhaari)


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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