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Allah stated in a famous verse of the Quran in Surah Rad that people’s hearts find rest in His remembrance. Also known as dhikr, this is a very virtuous act in Islam. The term itself is quite broad. It can cover acts of worship, such as the daily prayers, to thinking of Allah. Remembrance of Allah is something that Muslims should make a regular and standard part of our lives. It has no specified time or method.
Muslims should try to make remembrance of a natural thing. This means to be doing it all the time without even deeply thinking about it. As people put more and effort focus on doing this, eventually, they will realize that it becomes second nature to them. This means that they start doing it out of habit. Knowing the human tendency to pick up all kinds of negative habits, this is an excellent one to develop on the positive side.
Dhikr or the remembrance of Allah is not a minor thing. While it may seem very small, it can have far-reaching consequences. These effects are positive for a person, the people around him, the society, and for his relationship with Allah. Allah and the prophets emphasized this topic in the Quran and Hadith.
Remembrance of Allah in the Quran
In Surah al-Baqarah, Allah tells us to remember Him, and then He will remember us. Then, He tells us to be grateful toward him.
Allah says in Surah an-Nisa that the hypocrites try to deceive Allah, but it is the other way around. He knows everything about them. He knows that they pray, but they do not remember Him at all.
In Surah al-Araf, Allah tells humanity to establish His remembrance. He says that we should remember Him within ourselves with humility and with respect and fear of Him.
Allah refers to the Quran as az-Zikr, meaning the remembrance in Surah al-Hijr. This is one of dozens of such occurrences in the Quran.
Allah says in Surah Taha that He is Allah. He is the only one worthy of worship, and He tells us to establish prayer to remember Him.
In Surah an-Nur, our Lord praises the men who aren’t distracted from the remembrance of Allah. He says that men who aren’t distracted by business, etc., and are mindful of Salah and Zakat will gain rewards according to their good deeds.
In Surah al-Ahzab, Allah tells the believers to remember him often. He also says to exalt Him during the day and night.
Allah warns Muslims in Surah az-Zukhruf. He says that whoever is blinded from the remembrance of Allah will be appointed a devil as a companion.
In Surah al-Munafiqun, Ar-Rahman sounds a warning for Muslims. He tells them not to let wealth or children divert them from the remembrance of Allah. He then refers to people who fail to do this as people among the losers.
In Surah al-Muzammil, Allah tells Muslims to remember His name and devote ourselves to Him.
Remembrance of Allah in the Hadith
In a Hadith in Jami at-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (PBUH) said that the best and purest of Muslims’ actions is the remembrance of Allah.
Sahih Muslim and Bukhari: A famous Hadith from the Prophet (PBUH) explains the concept of remembrance. He narrated that Allah said that He is with the believers whenever they think of Him. He said that if we mention Him, then he mentions the believers to be a better company. If we draw near to him a bit, then He draws near to the believers a lot. If believers to go Him walking, then He goes to them running.
In a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) said that the difference between someone who engages in Allah’s remembrance versus one who doesn’t is like the difference between a living and dead person.
Jami at-Tirmidhi: The Prophet (PBUH) said that Muslims should keep their tongues wet with the remembrance of Allah.
In a Hadith from Ibn Majah, the Prophet (PBUH) stated that the best thing a Muslim can do to avoid Allah’s punishment is to mention Him, i.e., remember Him.
Sahih al-Bukhari: The Prophet (PBUH) said that the devil circles the heart of a human. When the person mentions Allah, the devil moves away. When he doesn’t do so, then he gets close to the person and gives evil thoughts.
Methods of doing dhikr
As Muslims, our ultimate aim must be to engage in remembrance of Allah at all times. For a person who is just starting on this path, there are several ways to do so. First of all is the five daily prayers. Muslims must perform the daily prayers at their prescribed timings. We should offer the prayers with full concentration and focus toward Allah. Voluntary prayers are also an excellent way to be mindful of Allah.
Next is to give Zakat and charity. Zakat is an annual payment from our wealth and reminds us of our obligation toward Allah. However, those of us who are financially able should give voluntary charity as well. It reminds us of Allah’s bounties upon us.
Muslims should also fast during the month of Ramadan. Fasting is a great way to engage in remembrance of Allah and to be thankful for His blessings. Additionally, as with voluntary charity, Muslims can also keep voluntary fasts regularly.
Whenever we feel thankful, we should thank Allah first. Any blessing that we get is due to Allah’s permission. On the other hand, whenever we need something, we should also engage in the remembrance of Allah. We should ask Him alone for His help because he is far more capable than anyone or anything of providing us with what we need. If we feel ill, then we should also perform the Ruqyah, alongside consuming things such as medicines.
We must also try to incorporate Islamic terms and greetings in our speech. Saying Assalamu alaikum, Bismillah, Subhan’Allah, Insha’Allah, Alhamdulillah, are all ways of doing this.
Another thing we can do for the remembrance of Allah is to be in good company. The people around us influence us. Hence, we should try to have God-fearing friends.
Duas for dhikr
The Prophet (PBUH) stated that there are two statements that are easy for us to pronounce but are heavy on the scales, and are loved by Allah. They are Subhan Allahi wa bihamdih, Subhan Allah al-Azim.
One of the methods for remembrance of Allah was reported by the Prophet (PBUH) as follows. He said that if a person says these after each prayer, Allah will pardon his sins. Subhan Allah 33 times, Alhamdulillah 33 times, Allahu Akbar 33 times, then once: La ilaha illallahu wah dahu la shari kalah, lahul mulk wa lahul hamd wa huwa ala kulli shay’in qadir.
The Prophet (PBUH) also recommended that Muslims should say Subhan Allahi wa bihamdih 100 times a day. He said that this would lead to Allah forgiving the person’s sins.
Muhammad (S) narrated one of the most rewarding ways of engaging in the remembrance of Allah was to perform the Dhuha prayer. He said that whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits and remembers Allah until sunrise, then performs two rakahs afterward (around 20 mins later – this is Dhuha) will gain Allah’s reward, equivalent to offering Hajj and Umrah.
Remembrance of Allah during our everyday lives
The best and most ideal way to remember Allah often is to have the right intentions when doing deeds. In Islam, many actions count as acts of worship when we do them in accordance with Allah’s commands. These can include things such as entering and leaving the bathroom in the correct manner, or spouses having relations in a halal way.
Even something seemingly insignificant such as removing a stone from the path, is an act of remembrance of Allah. Therefore, we should always have the intention of doing good deeds for the sake of Allah. In this way, we will thank and glorify Him often while simultaneously improving the side of our scale that contains good deeds.
We can see this in the example of how the Prophet (PBUH) lived his life. His life was an example of the remembrance of Allah. And yet, he didn’t only focus on rituals. He lived life as all humans do, but he focused on pleasing Allah with his actions and complying with Allah’s commands in all facets.
Finally, the last suggestion for dhikr is to learn the Sunnah duas. There are duas for many situations for Muslims. From duas for waking up, eating, wearing clothes, to duas for leaving and entering one’s home, leaving and entering a toilet, and many other situations, there is a prescribed dua. We should try to learn these duas, which will help us to engage in remembrance of Allah often by being thankful toward Him and by asking Him for protection.