The word dhikr means remembrance and in the Islamic context, it is used in the sense of remembrance of Allah.
Allah (swt) tells us in the Quran:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱذۡكُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ ذِكۡرً۬ا كَثِيرً۬ا
“O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance.”
Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) also told us:
“He who remembers his Lord and he who does not are like the living and the dead.”[Bukhari & Muslim]
Dhikr is an all-embracing term that, in addition to including the ritual acts of worship, covers an array of activities of the tongue and heart. It involves thinking of and making mention of Allah at all times and in every area of our lives. This is the worship that has no special time, but is performed constantly so that it permanently links up man’s life with Allah and His service.
The importance of constant dhikr cannot be emphasized enough, particularly if we desire to be on the receiving end of Allah’s attention, Grace and Mercy.
Allah tells us in the Quran:
“Then remember Me, I will remember you.”
Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) told us that Allah has said:
“I am with My servant when he remembers Me and his lips move making mention of Me.”
Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) also said:
“A man does nothing more calculated to rescue him from Allah’s punishment than making mention of Allah.”
[Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]
In addition to our ritual acts of worship including the most frequent one i.e. salat-prayer, there are many other ways of remembering Allah. Of these, reading and reciting the Quran is the foremost. Allah refers to the Quran as ‘Adh-dhikr’ i.e. ‘The Remembrance’ or ‘The Reminder’ in as many as 55 places in the Quran. In Surah Saad, Verse 1, he tells us: “By the Quran, full of dhikr.” And in verse 49: “This (the Quran) is no less than a dhikr for all the worlds”. Reading, understanding, reflecting and pondering on Allah’s words is the most effective way of remembering Him.
Dhikr also includes remembering Allah when one gets up in the morning, on starting to do anything, on eating, leaving the house, on entering various places and before performing so many other activities. Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) has taught us the appropriate supplications for every occasion and if we can recite these with understanding, all our activities will, Inshallah, amount to His remembrance and worship. With a little effort these can be learnt; but if for any reason one cannot remember the appropriate one, then even saying Bismillah and being conscious of Allah amounts to dhikr and will be a source of barakah – blessing in everything we do.
When a man said: “O Messenger of Allah the ordinances of Islam are too many for me, so tell me something that I may cling to”,
He (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) replied:
“Your tongue will continue to be supple by making mention of Allah.”
[Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah]
(… Continued in Part 2)