General / Motivational

“Dhikrullah” – The Remembrance of God

Dhikr of Allah”

***

dhikr

  • Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:

(So remember Me, I shall remember you and thank Me always and never be ungrateful to Me).[1]

فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِي وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ

(So hold fast to this [Quran] which has been revealed to you. Surely you are [firm] on the straight path. And verily this [Quran] is the greatest honour for you and for your Umma and [O People!] you will be soon asked (as to how strong and firm a relation you established with the Quran).[2]

فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِي أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ وَإِنَّهُ لَذِكْرٌ لَّكَ وَلِقَوْمِكَ وَسَوْفَ تُسْأَلُونَ

(And he who loses sight of the remembrance of the Most Kind [Lord] We appoint a Satan to stick to him [all the time]).[3]

وَمَن يَعْشُ عَن ذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَنِ نُقَيِّضْ لَهُ شَيْطَانًا فَهُوَ لَهُ قَرِينٌ

–          Remembrance of Allah is a duty on all Muslims.

–          Slipping from remembering Allah is a means to have shaytan establish themselves over a believer.

–          Not remembering Allah means to forget Allah or be negligent/neglectful of Him.

  • As believers, we have to understand that dhikr of Allah is the greatest blessing and divine gift Allah can grant to his servants:

“Khalid ibn Ma‘dan said, “Indeed, Allah (SWT) grants charity every day, but He never blesses His servant with anything superior to His own remembrance…”[4]

عَنْ خَالِدٍ بْنِ مَعْدَانَ رضی الله عنه: قَالَ إِنَّ اللهَ يِتَصَدَّقُ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ بِصَدَقَةٍ. فَمَا تَصَدَّقَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ بِشَيْءٍ أَفْضَلَ مِنْ ذِكْرِهِ.

–          If we fail to engage in dhikr or to remember Allah, then we have to consider ourselves devoid of blessing.

–          We have to reflect on how Allah probably does not intend any good for us and this could be because our hearts and minds are filled with things other than Allah and His names.

  • In a world of materiality, success or achievement is measured according to wealth, status and property whereas this is not necessarily the case within the Islamic belief.
  • Islam emphasises success and gain in terms of what pleases Allah and His Messenger:

Thawban narrates, “We were with the Holy Prophet on one of his journeys when the verse ‘…those who gather gold and silver…’ was revealed. One of his Companions said, ‘This verse has come down regarding gold and silver. Would that we knew what wealth is best so that we might acquire it!’ The Holy Prophet said, ‘The best wealth is a tongue which remembers Allah (SWT), a heart which is grateful and a believing wife who assists him in his faith.’”[5]

عَنْ ثَوْبَانَ رضي الله عنه قَالَ لَمَّا نَزَلَتْ (وَالَّذِينَ يَكْنِزُونَ الذَّهَبَ وَالْفِضَّةَ) قَالَ: كُنَّا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم فِي بَعْضِ أَسْفَارِهِ. فَقَالَ بَعْضُ أَصْحَابِهِ: أُنْزِلَ فِي الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ مَا أُنْزِلَ. لَوْ عَلِمْنَا أَيُّ الْمَالِ خَيْرٌ فَنَتَّخِذَهُ! فَقَالَ: أَفْضَلُهُ لِسَانٌ ذَاكِرٌ وَقَلْبٌ شَاكِرٌ وَزَوْجَةٌ مُؤْمِنَةٌ تُعِينُهُ عَلَى إِيمَانِهِ.

–          It is a tongue that is moist with the remembrance of Allah and a thankful heart that will be the most valuable on the day of judgement.

–          Interestingly mentioned here too is a wife who is pious and enriches the belief of her partner. > Islam considers this one of the most valuable assets one can acquire.

  • Indeed, the dhikr of Allah is a means of avoiding Hellfire (jahannam):

Anas ibn Malik narrates that the Holy Prophet said, “Whoever remembers Allah (SWT) and his eyes well with tears for fear of Allah (SWT), and the tears fall and wet the ground, Allah will not torment him at all on the Day of Resurrection.”[6]

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رضي الله عنه أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم قَالَ: مَنْ ذَكَرَ اللهَ فَفَاضَتْ عَيْنَاهُ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللهِ حَتَّى يُصِيْبَ الْأَرْضَ مِنْ دَمُوعِهِ، لَمْ يُعَذِّبْهُ اللهُ تَعَالَى يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

–          We thus we see dhikr as a means of salvation.

–          It is one of the actions that protects against Divine chastisement in the Hereafter.

–          This hadith also indicates the extreme importance of dhikr.

  • The hadiths of the Messenger of Allah mention numerous virtues and excellences (fada’il) related to dhikr (remembrance) of Allah.
  • Some of the distinguished and surprising points about remembrance of Allah include the following:
  1. 1.      Allah’s pride over those who remember him:

“Abu Sa`id al-Khudri narrates that Mu`awiya came to a group of people in the mosque and said, “… The Messenger of Allah came to a group of his Companions in the mosque and said, ‘Why are you sitting?’ They said, ‘We are sitting remembering Allah and paying our thanks to Him for His favour of guiding us to Islam.’ The Holy Prophet said, ‘Do you say that on oath that is what has made you sit here?’ They submitted, ‘By Allah we are sitting here only for this purpose.’ The Holy Prophet said, ‘I have not made you take oath for any doubt but the truth is that Gabriel came and told me that Allah is expressing His pride on you in front of angels’.”[7]

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ رضي الله عنه قَالَ: خَرَجَ مُعَاوِيَةُ عَلَى حَلْقَةٍ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ، فَقَالَ: … إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم خَرَجَ عَلَى حَلْقَةٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِهِ، فَقَالَ: مَا أَجْلَسَكُمْ؟ قَالُوا: جَلَسْنَا نَذْكُرُ اللَّهَ وَنَحْمَدُهُ عَلَى مَا هَدَانَا لِلْإِسْلَامِ، وَمَنَّ بِهِ عَلَيْنَا. قَالَ: آللَّهِ مَا أَجْلَسَكُمْ إِلَّا ذَاكَ؟ قَالُوا: وَاللَّهِ مَا أَجْلَسَنَا إِلَّا ذَاكَ. قَالَ: أَمَا إِنِّي لَمْ أَسْتَحْلِفْكُمْ تُهْمَةً لَكُمْ، وَلَكِنَّهُ أَتَانِي جِبْرِيلُ، فَأَخْبَرَنِي أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُبَاهِي بِكُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ.

  1. 2.      Angels roam the streets looking for those who remember Allah:

“Abu Hurayra narrates that the Holy Prophet said, “Surely there are some angels of Allah (SWT) who conduct patrolling in search of remembrance assemblies (majalis al-dhikr). When they find such an assembly, they join and sit with them…””[8]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضي الله عنه، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم، قَالَ: إِنَّ لِلَّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى مَلَائِكَةً سَيَّارَةً فُضُلًا يَتَتَبَّعُونَ مَجَالِسَ الذِّكْرِ، فَإِذَا وَجَدُوا مَجْلِسًا فِيهِ ذِكْرٌ، قَعَدُوا مَعَهُمْ…

  1. 3.      Angels protectively cover those who gather to remember Allah:

“Abu Hurayra narrates that the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah has angels who roam about on roads looking for such people as remember Allah. When they find people remembering Allah, they call out to one another, ‘Come here to your coveted goal.’ Then he said: “They keep their wings spread over them one above another until they reach the lowest heaven….””.[9]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ وَأَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ رضي الله عنهما أَنَّهُمَا شَهِدَا عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم أَنَّهُ قَالَ: لَا يَقْعُدُ قَوْمٌ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلَّا حَفَّتْهُمْ الْمَلَائِكَةُ، وَغَشِيَتْهُمْ الرَّحْمَةُ، وَنَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ السَّكِينَةُ، وَذَكَرَهُمْ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ

  1. 4.      Remembrance of Allah is superior to fighting in his way:

“Abu Sa`id al-Khudri narrates that the Messenger of Allah was asked, “Who will be superior in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection?” He said, “The men and the women who remember Allah (SWT) greatly.” The narrator states: I submitted, “O Messenger of Allah, are they superior even to those who fight in the way of Allah (SWT)?” He said, “Even if he wields his sword among infidels and polytheists until it breaks blood stained, the rememberers of Allah are superior to him in grade.””[10]

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ رضي الله عنه أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم سُئِلَ: أَيُّ الْعِبَادِ أَفْضَلُ دَرَجَةً عِنْدَ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ؟ قَالَ: الذَّاكِرُونَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتُ. قُلْتُ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ! وَمِنَ الْغَازِي فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ: لَوْ ضَرَبَ بِسَيْفِهِ فِي الْكُفَّارِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ حَتَّى يَنْكَسِرَ وَيَخْتَضِبَ دَمًا لَكَانَ الذَّاكِرُونَ اللَّهَ أَفْضَلَ مِنْهُ دَرَجَةً.

  1. 5.      Those who remember Allah will have radiant faces on Resurrection day:

“Abu ’l-Darda’ narrates that the Messenger of Allah said, “On the Day of Resurrection Allah will raise people with their faces radiant bright; they will be sitting on pulpits of pearls. People will marvel at them. They will be neither Prophets nor martyrs.” Abu ’l-Darda’ says, “A Bedouin rose on his knees and submitted, ‘O Messenger of Allah, describe to us their appearance so that we may recognise them.’ He said, ‘Despite coming from different tribes and areas these people love one another for the sake of Allah; they get together and remember Allah (SWT) jointly.’””[11]

عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ رضي الله عنه قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم: لَيَبْعَثَنَّ اللهُ أَقْوَامًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِي وُجُوهِهِمُ النُّورُ عَلَى مَنَابِرِ اللُّؤْلُؤِ. يَغْبِطُهُمُ النَّاسُ لَيْسُوا بِأَنْبِيَاءَ وَلاَ شُهَدَاءَ. قَالَ: فَجَثِىَ أَعْرَابِيٌّ عَلَى رُكْبَتَيْهِ فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، حِلْهُمْ لَنَا نَعْرِفُهُمْ. قَالَ: هُمُ الْمُتَحَابُّونَ فِي اللهِ مِنْ قَبَائِلَ شَتىَّ وَبِلاَدٍ شَتىَّ. يَجْتَمِعُونَ عَلَى ذِكْرِ اللهِ يَذْكُرُونَهُ

  1. 6.      The supplication of those who remember Allah is accepted:

“Abu Hurayra narrates that the Holy Prophet said, “Allah (SWT) does not reject supplication of three kinds of people: the one who remembers Allah greatly (SWT), the oppressed and a just ruler.””[12]

أَبِيْ هُرَيْرَةَ رضي الله عنه عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم قَالَ: ثَلاَثَةٌ لاَ يَرُدُّ اللهُ دُعَاءَهُمْ: الذَاكِرُ اللهَ كَثِيْرًا وَدَعْوَةُ الْمَظْلُوْمِ وَالْإِمَامُ الْمُقْسِطُ

  1. 7.      Paradise is the reward of those who remember Allah greatly:

Jabir ibn `Abd Allah narrates, “The Holy Prophet came to us and said: ‘O people, there are armies of Allah’s angels who come to dhikr sessions on earth and stay there. So eat wholeheartedly from the gardens of Paradise.’ The Companions submitted, ‘Where are the gardens of Paradise?’ He replied, ‘Dhikr sessions. So remember Allah (SWT) morning and evening and continually remind yourselves of Him. Whoever wants to know his own status and station in the sight of Allah (SWT) should see what he deems of Allah (SWT), because Allah (SWT) ranks a person as he believes Him in his heart.’”[13]

قَالَ جَابِرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللهِ رضي الله عنهما: خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا النَّبِيُّ صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم فَقَالَ: يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، إِنَّ لِلَّهِ سَرَايَا مِنَ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ تَحِلُّ وَتَقِفُ عَلَى مَجَالِسِ الذِّكْرِ فِي الْأَرْضِ. فَارْتَعُوا فِي رِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ. قَالُوا: وَأَيْنَ رِيَاضُ الْجَنَّةِ؟ قَالَ: مَجَالِسُ الذِّكْرِ. فَاغْدُوا وَرُوْحُوا فِي ذِكْرِ اللهِ وَذَكِّرُوهُ أَنْفُسَكُمْ. مَنْ كَانَ يُحِبُّ أَنْ يَّعْلَمَ مَنْزِلَتَهُ عِنْدَ اللهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ كَيْفَ مَنْزِلَةُ اللهِ عِنْدَهُ، فَإِنَّ اللهَ يُنْزِلُ الْعَبْدَ مِنْهُ حَيْثُ أَنْزَلَهُ مِنْ نَفْسِهِ.

Additional points for the da`wa carrier:

  • Remembrance of Allah must extend to all areas of one’s life.
  • One cannot remember Allah in the devotional acts (`ibadat) and forget him in the mu`amalat. > this would be contradictory.
  • We cannot likewise remember Allah in our homes but forget him in politics. > we have no right to be selective or inconsistent in our areas of worship to Allah.
  • Separating the remembrance of Allah from certain areas of our actions is secularising the religion and a way of pacifying the umma as a whole. > this is not allowed.
  • Our scholars are often unaware that teaching remembrance of Allah strictly as a private matter aids the umma in privatising their observance of the Religion.

Conclusions:

  • Islam emphasises remembrance of Allah.
  • Remembrance of Allah is a duty in Islam.
  • Remembrance of Allah brings one closer to Him.
  • Remembrance of Allah is a means of attaining Paradise.
  • Remembrance of Allah must not be restricted to a private devotion but a comprehensive and holistic enterprise.

And with Allah is true success.

s.z.c.

London 2009.


[1] See Q. 2:152.

[2] See Q. 43:43, 45.

[3] See Q. 43:33.

[4] Ibn Abi Shayba, al-Musannaf (6:61#29481) and al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur fi ’l-Tasfir bi’l-Ma’thur (1:363).

[5] Tirmidhi, al-Jami` al-Sahih (5:277#3094); Ibn Majah, Sunan (1:596#1856); Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad (5:282#22490); al-Ruyani, al-Musnad (1:406#620); al-Tabarani in his al-Mu`jam al-Awsat (2:376#2274) and al-Mu`jam al-Saghir (2:121#890); al-Kanani, Misbah al-Zujaja (2:96#664) and al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib (2:255#2300).

[6] al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak (4:289#7668).

[7] Muslim, Sahih (4:2075#2701); Tirmidhi, al-Sunan (5:460#3379); Nasa’i, Sunan (8:249#5426); Ahmad bin Hanbal, al-Musnad (4:92); Ibn Hibban, al-Sahih (3:95#813); Ibn Abi Shayba, al-Musannaf (6:59#29469); Tabarani, al-Mu`jam al-Kabir (19:311#701) and al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib (2:259#2317).

[8] Muslim, Sahih (4:2069#2689); Ahmad bin Hanbal, al-Musnad (2:25#7420); Ahmad bin Hanbal, al-Musnad (2:382#8960) and Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib (2:259#2316).

[9] Muslim, Sahih (4:2074#2700); Tirmidhi, al-Jami` al-Sahih (5:459#3378); Ibn Majah, Sunan (2:1245#3791); Ibn Abi Shayba, al-Musannaf (6:60#29475); al-Tabarani, al-Mu`jam al-Awsat (2:137#1500); Ahmad bin Hanbal, al-Musnad (3:92#11893); Tayalisi, al-Musnad (1:296#2233; 1:314#238); Abu Ya`la, al-Musnad (2:444#1252; 11:20#6159).

[10] Tirmidhi, al-Jami`al-Sahih (5:458#3376); Ahmad bin Hanbal, al-Musnad (3:75#11738); Abu Ya`la, al-Musnad (2:530#1401); Ibn Rajab, Jami`al-`Ulum wa ’l-Hikam (1:238); al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa ‘l-Tarhib (2:254#2296) and Ibn Kathir, Tafsir-al-Qur’an al-`Azim (3:489).

[11] al-Haythami said in Majma` al-Zawa’id (10:77) that al-Tabarani transmitted it and its chain of narrators is hasan (‘fair’); al-Mundhiri said in al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib (2:262#2327; 4:12#4583) that Tabarani has related it with a hasan (‘fair’) chain of transmitters and al-Suyuti said in al-Durr al-Manthur fi ‘l-Tafsir bi ’l-Ma’thur (1:368).

[12] al-Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-Iman (1:419#588).

[13] al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (1:671,672#1820) declaring the chain of narrators as sound; Abu Ya`la, al-Musnad (3:390#1865); `Abd ibn Humayd, al-Musnad (p.333#1107); Hakim al- Tirmidhi, Nawadir al-Usul fi Ahadith al-Rasul (2:126); al-Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-Iman (1:398#528) as well as al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib (2:261#2325).

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