Does dhikr count if it is in the heart?

Does dhikr count if it is in the heart?

Dhikr is an important way to maintain one’s connection with Allah and one’s shield.

In the Quran, Allah mentioned:

Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], ‘Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.’ (3:191)

O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance. And exalt Him morning and afternoon. (33:41-42)

Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured. (13:28)

Allah has bestowed a special distinction upon those who remember Him. The Prophet (peace be on him) said,

‘The devotees have surpassed all.’ They asked, ‘Who are these exceptional people (Mufarridun), O Prophet (peace be on him) of Allah?’ He replied, ‘Those men and women who remember Allah unceasingly.’ [Muslim]

Dhikr and Fikr

How does one remember Allah? In two ways – by dhikr or fikr.

Dhikr and fikr are related but distinct concepts. While dhikr involves specific acts of remembrance and utterances, fikr is the process of contemplation and reflection.

Fikr refers to contemplation or reflection, particularly on the signs of Allah in the universe, life, and within oneself. Fikr involves deep thinking and pondering over the creation, the purposes of life, and the divine wisdom behind the events and phenomena in the world.

Dhikr refers to the remembrance of Allah through specific phrases and prayers, either silently or aloud. It involves reciting words like “SubhanAllah” (Glory be to Allah), “Alhamdulillah” (All praise is due to Allah), and “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest). This form of dhikr can be performed at any time and in various states, as mentioned in the Quran. One does not need to be in a state of wudu, though it is always more rewarding to perform any act of worship in a state of purity. Dhikr also includes the recitation of the Quran.

Does dhikr count if it is not verbalised?

Dhikr can be performed silently in one’s heart or mind, as well as aloud. The better form of Dhikr is when it is recited audibly, not necessarily loudly, as it is preferable to keep the tongue moist with the remembrance of God.

Saying it aloud helps to maintain focus, enhancing the sense of devotion, and serving as a reminder to others around you.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,

Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah” (Tirmidhi)

Silent dhikr however is still valid if you recite tasbih in your heart when it is not feasible to move your lips, as it helps you maintain a state of mindfulness of Allah.

It is important to note that in the context of salah (prayer), moving the lips is essential. Silent dhikr and internal remembrance are valuable, but for the recitation parts of salah to be valid, one must move their lips, even if the recitation is inaudible. This distinguishes it from purely internal thoughts.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.