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There are so many ways of remembering Allah, taught to us by our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). When we glorify Him by saying ‘Subhanallah’ (How perfect is Allah), when we praise Him by saying ‘Alhamdulillah’ (All praise is for Allah), when we magnify Him by saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the Greatest), all this is dhikr. When we say ‘Astaghfirullah’ (I seek Allah’s forgiveness), when we say ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah’ (There is no power nor might except with Allah), all this is dhikr.

Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) also said:

“(There are) Two words, (which are) light on the tongue, heavy on the Scale and beloved to The Most Gracious: “SubhaanAllaahi wa bihamdihi. Subhaan Allaahil azeem.” (How perfect Allah is and I praise Him. How perfect Allah is, The Supreme.)

We have also been taught the prescribed dhikr for the mornings and evenings. Allah tells us in the Quran regarding prayers and dhikr:

“So glorify Allah when you come up to the evening and when you enter the morning. And His are all the praises and thanks in the heavens and the earth; and in the late afternoon and when you come up to the times when the day begins to decline.”
(30: 17-18)

This morning and evening dhikr should also include seeking Allah’s protection from Satan’s machinations and whisperings and all those things that can harm us. Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:

“The devil is encircling the heart of the son of Adam, when he mentions Allah, he withdraws; but when he is neglectful, he makes evil suggestions.”

When we supplicate to Allah earnestly, this is also dhikr. Dhikr can be done anywhere and at anytime. Allah tells us in the Quran:

“Men who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation.”

Ablution is not a prerequisite for dhikr and dhikr can be pronounced with the tongue or done silently. However, when one is saying it, one must not do it with a careless and inattentive heart and try to be conscious of what one is saying.

Dhikr is not only to remember and mention Allah when one is on one’s own but also when one is amongst people i.e. in assemblies. Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) told us that that Allah said:

“I am present when My servant thinks of me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me inwardly I shall remember him inwardly and if he remembers Me in people, I shall remember him among people who are better than they.”
[Bukhari & Muslim]

Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) also said:

“People will not sit remembering Allah without the angels surrounding them, mercy covering them, peace descending on them and Allah mentioning them among those who are with them.”

Gatherings where people assemble to learn and teach religion and to remember Him are greatly encouraged and valued in Islam. Allah has angels who go about seeking those who remember Allah. Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:

“When you come upon the pastures of Paradise, feed on them.”

When asked what the pastures of Paradise were he replied that they were circles where Allah is remembered.

Even when people come together for social purposes, it is important to remember Allah in some way. Our Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:

“People who arise from an assembly in which they do not remember Allah will be just as if they had got up from an ass’s corpse and it will be a cause of grief to them.”
[Abu Dawud].

There are many prescribed ways of dhikr that are acceptable and praiseworthy in our religion. It is important to remember that dhikr must be done in these prescribed ways as Allah tells us:

“And celebrate His praises as he has directed you.”

Thus creating one’s own ways of dhikr for e.g. reading something or reading something for a specific number of times, unless there is evidence of it in the Quran and the Sunnah, is to be avoided as it may result in the wastage of one’s good deeds.

Dhikr is a means of blessings and reward from Allah and also results in peace of mind. Allah tells us in the Quran:

“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.”

It is vital for our salvation that we remember Allah at all times, both in private and when amongst people. The men and women who remember Allah have been specially mentioned in the Quran amongst the categories of people that are dear to Allah. We have been told about them:

“And for men and women who engage much in Allah’s remembrance. For them has Allah prepared forgiveness and a great reward.”

May Allah make us of those who remember Allah much.