Islam stands for self-surrender and submission to Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa). It calls on men to fashion their lives according to the Divine Will. It wants them to be loyal to Him in all circumstances and in every sphere of their conduct, personal as well as social. This can be possible only when our minds eye is fixed permanently on the Almighty, and the consciousness of His love and Glory overshadows all our thoughts and actions.
It is, as such, one of the special teaching of Islam that we remember Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) much and often and keep our tongues fresh with the recital of His names, praises and attributes. It is an excellent and well-tried method for producing in our hearts His love and the consciousness of His Greatness. It is natural for a man's heart to be filled with the love of anyone on whose splendour and excellence his mind dwells all the time.
In any way, it is a fact that frequent remembrance kindles the flame of love and lends strength to it and so also that the life of complete loyalty and submission to Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) which is the essence of Islam can be possible only through Divine love. It is love alone that makes one the willing bondsman of anothers. As a Persian verse says:
What is Love?
Say : "To be the beloved's bondsman."
Consequently, great stress has been laid in the Holy Quraan and by the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) on Zikr (Remembrance of Allah Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa).
The Holy Quraan reads:
O ye who believe! celebrate, the Praises of Allah, and do this often; and glorify Him morning and evening. [XXXIII:41-42]
And celebrate the Praises of Allah much and often: that ye may prosper: [LXII:10]
There are two things which lead one to forget Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa when one gets absorbed in them. These are wealth and family. So the Holy Quraan names them specifically and warns Muslims against becoming a prisoner to them.
O ye who believe! let not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Those who act upon this, Those are the people in loss. [LXIII:9]
The five daily prayers (Salaah) are obligatory for Muslims. These prayers, certainly, are a means of remembering Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) and a very good one too. But it would not be proper for a Muslim to stop at them considering that if he had offered the Salaah he had done all that was required of him by way of remembrance of Allah (Suhhaanahu Wata'aalaa) and there was no need to do anything Further. It is a clear commandment of Islam that, in addition to Salaah, one should also not neglect Zikr in whatever state one may be. It is said in Surah Nisaa.
When ye pass (congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah's Praises, standing, sitting down or lying down. [IV:103]
Thus, even those engaged in Jihad are enjoined to carry out the Zikr of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) keenly and enthusiastically. Says Surah Anfaal.
O ye who believe! when ye meet a force, be firm, and call Allah in remembrance much (and often); that ye may prosper. [VIII:45]
This verse, as the verse quoted earlier, "And celebrate the Praises of Allah (Suhhaanahu Wala'aalaa) much and often: that ye may prosper", show that Zikr, by no means, constitutes an important factor in the success and felicity of the believers. As against it, the verse we mentioned a few lines ago candidly declares that those who neglect the Zikr do a very wrong thing. They are at a great loss. In Surah Ra'ad, further, it is stated as a characteristic of Zikr that it imparts peace and tranquility to the mind and the soul.
For without a doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. [XILL:28]
It is related that once the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) was asked who would he the most exalted among the servants of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) on the Last Day. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) replied; "Those who do the Zikr of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) be they men or women."
Hadhrat Abu Moosa relates from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) that "Those who remember Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) and those who do not are like those who are alive and those who are dead (i.e. those who remember Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) and celebrate His praises are alive while those who don't, are dead)."
Relates Hadhrat Abdullah bin Omar that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) once said, "There is a polish for everything; for the hearts it is the Zikr of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa). Nothing is more effective then Zikr for deliverance from Divine chastisement."
It should be understood clearly that the real meaning of Zikr is that a man should never be without the thought of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa). In whatever circumstances he may be placed, with whatever thing he may be occupied, he must not allow himself to become unmindful of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa), His laws and ordinances. Though for this it is not necessary that the tongue should also always be repeating His names, attributes etc., such a state of permanent and all- pervading Allah - consciousness is commonly found only in devout servants of the Lord who succeed in producing within themselves an everlasting awareness of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) and a feeling of. infinite devotion to Him through frequent Zikr. There is developing a tendency among some of the modern educated people to hold the Zikr as futile. This is a grave folly. Zikr is a most valuable instrument for forging a living and all-embracing link with Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa). The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) was very clear about its worth and importance.
It is related by Hadhrat Abdullah bin Busr that once a man presented himself before the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) and said, "O Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa)! There are numerous teachings of Islam. Please tell me something which I may hold fast forever". The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) replied, "Keep your tongue wet always with the Zikr of Allah (Subhaanahu
Another Tradition related by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah reads; "Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) says, 'When anyone remembers Me and his lips move in My Zikr, I am by his side'."
Some Zikr of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam)
The value and importance of Zikr would have become apparent from the Quraanic verses and Traditions we have just quoted. We have seen how Zikr of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) promotes and strengthens Divine love in our hearts. Below we give some of the favourite Zikr of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam).
Relates Hadhrat Jabir from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) that:
"The best of all Zikrs is the Zikr of "
Narrates Hadhrat Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) once remarked: "When anyone recites from the depth of his heart the gates of the heavens open for the Kalimah till it reaches the seventh heaven provided, of course, that the devotee abstains from the major sins."
According to another Tradition the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) is reported to have said, "Once Moses (Alaihis Salaam) begged the Lord to tell him something through which he could do His Zikr. The Lord told him to do so through the Kalimah of upon which Moses (Alaihis Salaam) said, "This is what every one does. I want something special." Came the reply, "If the seven heavens and all the heavenly creatures and the seven climes on the earth and all that is contained in them are placed on one side of the balance and the Kalimah of on the other, the later shall turn out to be heavier."
Such, indeed, is the splendour of . People, unfortunately, take it to be a mere phrase. The writer of these lines, himself has heard it from an inspired devotee of the Lord in a moment, of rare spiritual feeling that, "If someone with the entire wealth of the world at his command were to tell me to give him one Kalimah of recited by me in return for his treasures, this humble self shall rd use to do so."
The Third Kalimah
Related Hadhrat Samurah bin Jundub that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) once said that of all the spoken words and the Kalimah the most excellent were these four:
Narrates Hadhrat Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) said, "The Kalimah is dearer to me than the entire world on which the sun shines."
This Kalimah i most complete and comprehensive and all the aspects of Divine praise are covered by it. In some Tradition the phrase is also included it. It occurs after . A revered spiritual mentor used to explain the importance of the Kalimah to the writer of these lines in following manner:
Glory be to Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa), free from all faults and blemishes and other things that are not worthy of His Glory. Praise be to Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa), He is the embodiment of perfection and the centre of very kind of virtue, (therefore) all praise is for Him, and when such is His Glory that He is absolutely blemishless and all the wonderful virtues are assembled in Him. He alone is our Lord and the sole object of our heart's desire.
"There is no God save Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa), We are His own helpless slaves and of no one else. Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) is Great, He is Most powerful, Almighty. We can never acquit ourselves of our duties to Him as His slaves nor can we ever gain nearness unto Him except that He Himself blesses us with His Grace.
"There is no power or virtue but in Allah."
A well-known Tradition of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) has it that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam)'s beloved daughter (and Hadhrat Ali's wife), Hadhrat Fatimah, used to perform all the domestic duties with her own hands. She had even draw water from the well and to carry it home and to grind the corn in the millstone. One day she begged the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) to provide her with a domestic servant upon which the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) observed, "I will tell you of something that will serve you better than a domestic servant: Recite 33 times 33 times and 34 times after each Salaah and on retiring to bed. This will be of greater value to you than a servant."
Another Tradition says, "whoever will recite after each Salaah 33 times, 33 times and 34 times and, at the end of it, the following Kalimah, all his sins will be forgiven even if they be as profuse as the foam of the sea."
(There is no god but Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa). He is alone. No partner hath He. Unto Him belongs sovereignty and unto Him belongs Praise and He is all-Powerful).
SubhaanAllah wa Behamdehi
It is related by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) said, "He who will recite a hundred times in morning and evening regularly no one shall take with him a greater provision of virtue to the Hereafter than him save the person who recited it even more."
Another Tradition related again by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah says: "Two phrases are very light on the tongue but are very heavy in the Balance of Deeds and Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) loves them very much. These are and .
There are many other phrases of Zikr commended by the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam). But the few we have given here, are quite sufficient for anyone to adopt for regular recitation.
As regards the rewards and recompense in the Hereafter promised in the Traditions, it needs to be noted that there is no fixed measure or a standard yard-stick for it. Whoever will recite a Kalimah of Zikr sincerely and with no other objective then the propitiation of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) will, Inshaa Allah, merit the full reward no matter how many times and at what hour he does so. But when a spiritual guide prescribes a Zikr for anyone for a particular purpose like the kindling of Divine love or awakening of the heart and the creation of a permanent consciousness of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) or for the eradication of a moral or spiritual ailment, it is necessary to follow the routine he lays down and to do the Zikr as many times as he tells. Without this the desired results can't be obtained by the devotee. For example, if a person recites the Surah Faatihah or any other Surah of the Holy Quraan as an act of religious merit there is no harm if he does so once in the morning once at noon, once in the afternoon, once in the evening and a couples of times in the night, but if he wants to learn the Surah by heart, also, he will have to recite it scores of times during one sitting. Otherwise he will not be able to memorise it. This is exactly the difference between an ordinary Zikr which spiritual mentors prescribe to disciples for the cure of a spiritual morbidity or as a means for the attainment of any other objective of a similar category.
Many people get caught in confusion because of not knowing this difference. This is why these few lines have been added above.
The Reading of The Holy Quraan
The reading of the Holy Quraan is also a very good Zikr. A Tradition says:
"The superiority of the word of Holy Quraan over any other word is the same as the superiority of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) over any of His creature."
Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas'ood relates from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) that: "He who reads one letter of the Holy Quraan for him there is one virtue and the reward on this virtue is equal to that on ten other virtues. When I say I do not mean that Alif, Laam, Meem is one letter, but Alif () is one letter Laam () is another letter, and Meem () the third."
Yet another Tradition as related by Hadhrat Abu Umaamah, reads:
"O people, read the Holy Quraan. On the Day of judgement the Holy Quraan will intercede for those who will have been reading it (in their lives)."
1. There is no need for those in whose hearts Zikr of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) has come to dwell permanently as a result of constant endeavour and become a part of their existence to follow a set routine or to make a special effort in this respect. But if common people like us want to strengthen their bond with Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) and to partake of its auspiciousness and blessedness they must practise the Zikr at a fixed time and in a fixed number according to their individual circumstances. Better still, they should seek the advice of a spiritual guide while choosing a Zikr phrase for themselves. Or they can select a Kalimah from the Kalimahs we have given above which may be most suited to their temperament. "Time should also be set aside daily for the reading of the Holy Quraan.
2. As far as possible the meaning of the Kalimah used for Zikr should be kept in mind during the recitation. The Zikr should be done with an active awareness of Divine Glory and Magnificence and with the feeling and the belief that Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) is near, right here, listening to every word that is being recited.
3. Wudhu (ablution) is not necessary for Zikr. It can be done freely without the Wudhu. The reward will not suffer because of it. But the spiritual effectiveness of the Zikr is very much enhanced when it is done with Wudhu.
4. It has been seen earlier that the third Kalimah is the most comprehensive one among all the Kalimahs. If it is adopted for recitation, it can fulfil all the needs. This writer has seen that spiritual mentors generally prescribe it to their disciples with Durood Shareef and Istighfaar.
1. It does not mean that just as it is compulsory for a Muslim to offer Salaah five times a day in the same way it is also essential for him to keep him self engaged always in the remembrance of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa). What is required is that that a Muslim should not be neglectful of the duty of remembering Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa).
1. Some people these days believe that merely reading of the Holy Quraan without following its meaning, is useless. They, perhaps, imagine the Holy Quraan to be like any other book and just as it is useless to read a book unless one also understands what it says, in the same way they feel that the reading of the Holy Quraan also without following its translation is meaningless. But the truth is that the Holy Quraan is just not like any other book. It is the book of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) and nothing besides it. The mere reading of it, with due reverence and humility, is not without its significance. It indicates devotion to Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa), and, thus, it becomes an act of worship. Had the purpose of reading the Holy Quraan been only to realise its import and to appreciate intelligently what it seeks to convey, it would not have been necessary to recite the Surah Faatihah as many as four times is in the course of a single Salaah. Only once would have been enough for knowing its meaning. Such a misunderstanding arises, generally, among those who imagine Allah (Subhaanahu Wata'aalaa) to be something of a worldly sovereign. They have no idea of His supreme Belovedness and His Worshipfulness. They have known Him and accepted Him only with their minds. Their hearts do not fully participate in it. Together with this, it should also be remembered that the real purpose of the Holy Quraan i.e. guidance and instruction can be realised only when it is properly understood, when it is read carefully and the meaning of its verses are studied diligently. This is the best way of reading it and a source of greater augustness. At the same time, the mere reading of the Holy Quraan also, is not futile. The correct and balanced view in this matter is what we have stated here.
1. Dealt with separately in lessons 19 and 20