The Importance of Dhikr – The Mindful Muslim
by Abu Shama
The Benefits of Dhikr
Simple dhikr is a powerful tool. Light on the tongue but heavy on the scales.
My servant continues to draw near to Me with optional works so that I will love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. [Bukhari]
Worship does not end with the Obligations
Some students may think that as they seek knowledge they do not need to pray any of the optional prayers, nor do they need to fast optional days. They may feel that they are not in need of these kinds of deeds. How mistaken are they from the truth?
All knowledge seekers must have their own individual programme that includes a session where they remember Allah. It is a great shame that the students of knowledge abandon the remembrance of Allah and the acts of obedience that would draw them closer to Him as stated in the hadith that Allah loves those who supplement the obligatory with the optional.
The one who excels in his search for knowledge, but abandons the optional prayers, and loses out here and there, he cannot truly be considered a student of knowledge. He is lazy and is not giving his optional deeds its proper share of attention.
By contrast, the pious predecessors used to have great moments between them and Allah the Mighty and Majestic. They used to have private sittings wherein they would take account of themselves, taking charge of their desires and energising their souls. And they would pray salah with the presence of Allah Almighty.
These days are like a farm, it is then unwise for one to stop planting seeds or to slacken in doing so. Allah has commanded you to remember Him on a continuous basis. The Qur’an says:
O you who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do so often; and glorify Him morning and evening. [Al-Ahzab 33.41]
And men who remember Allah much and women who remember, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward. [Al-Ahzab 33.35]
Time is too valuable to have even one moment being wasted. The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
Whoever says Glory be Allah, the Magnificent and praise be to Him [Subhan Allah al-Azim wa bihamdihi] will have a palm tree for him in Paradise. [Tirmidhi]
The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
There are two qualities or characteristics which will not be returned by any Muslim without his entering Paradise. While they are easy, those who act upon them are few. One should say: Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah) x 10 after every prayer, Alhamdulilah (Praise be to Allah) x 10 and Allahu Akbar (Allah is Most Great) x 10.
If we do this after the five salah, that comes to 150 on the tongue, but 1500 on the scale.
Going to Bed
When he goes to bed, he should say:
Allahu Akbar x 34 (Allah is Most Great)
Alhamdulilah x 33 (Praise be to Allah)
Subhanallah x 33 (Glory be to Allah)
Total = 100 on the tongue = 1000 on the scale.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) would count them on his hand. The people asked: ’Messenger of Allah! How is it that while they are easy, those who act upon them are few?’ He replied:
‘The Devil comes to one of you when he goes to bed and he makes him sleep, before he utters them, and he comes to him while he is engaged in prayer and calls a need to his mind before he utters them.’’ [Abu Dawood]
The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) also said:
‘If anyone says three times in the morning, ‘I seek refuge in Allah, the Hearer and Knower, from the accursed devil’, and recites three verses at the end of surah al-Hashr, Allah will put in charge of him seventy thousand angels who will invoke blessings on him till the evening, and if he dies that day he will die as a martyr. If anyone says them in the evening he will be in that rank.’ (Tirmidhi)
These verses in surah Hashr contain the highest concentration of Allah Almighty’s names:
He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.
He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (59:22-24)
Dhikr – a Fortress
It is binding on the student of knowledge that he concerns himself with the dhikr of Allah, those phrases of remembrance in the morning and the evening, and the dhikr that follows the five daily prayers. So many of the students do not recite the phrases prescribed as if that is something for the common people only! Abandoning dhikr causes a man to exit his fortress. Dhikr is a mighty fortress, whoever enters it will be safeguarded. Abandoning dhikr, or being heedless about it, makes a man susceptible to the attacks of human devils, as well as those from the Jinn.
Dhikr – Evokes Allah’s Attention
If anyone remembers Allah Almighty, He remembers that person, the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) narrated that Allah Almighty says:
‘I am to my servant as he expects of Me, I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly better than his, and if he draws nearer to Me a hand’s span, I draw nearer to him an arm’s length, and if he draws nearer to Me an arm’s length, I draw nearer to him a fathom length, and if he comes to me walking, I rush to him at [great] speed. [Bukhari]
Dhikr – Being in a Constant State of Remembrance
Allah has bestowed a special distinction upon those who remember Him. The Prophet (peace be on him), peace be upon 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 – Food for the Soul
When Ibn Taymiyyah, used to pray Fajr, he would sit making dhikr until the sun rose. He used to say:
‘This is my morning meal, if I don’t do this, I would lose my strength.’ This was his nourishment for his soul.
Remembrance of Allah is the foundation of good deeds. Whoever succeeds in it is blessed with the close friendship of Allah. That is why the Prophet (peace be on him), peace be upon him, used to make remembrance of Allah at all times. Therefore, it is paramount that a knowledge seeker is busy in the remembrance of Allah.
This is a series compiled following lectures on ‘The Manners and Etiquette of the Teacher and the Students’. The course was based on a book written by Shaykh al-Islam, Badr al-Din Ibn Jama’ah and conveyed to us by our Shaykh Haytham Tamim.
Qadi al-Qudat, Shaykh al-Islam, Badr al-Din Ibn Jama’ah was born in 639 AH (1241 AD). Originally from Syria and later moved to Egypt. He was educated at Hama, achieved excellence in religious studies and jurisprudence, and became a leading promoter of the Shafi’i Fiqh. Eventually, he attained the high status of Shaykh al-Islam and held the high position of Chief Justice. Imam al-Dhahabi has observed that Qadi Ibn Jama’ah was well versed both in prose and poetry, and had left abundant notes on Fiqh, Hadith, Usul al-Fiqh, and Tarikh(History). He commanded respect and influence, and had a large number of students and followers. He died at Cairo in the year 733 A.H. (1332 A.D.), aged 94, and was buried by the side of the great Imam Shafi’i.
His book on the subject of Adab al-Alim wal-Mutaalim
It was in the year 672 AH (1273 AD) that Ibn Jama’ah completed this book as a guide for both students and teachers to help improve quality of their academic life and work.
Ibn Jama’ah – Etitquettes of Seeking Knowledge
Abd Al Barr – Jami’ Bayan Al Ilm
Al Khateeb Al Baghdadi – Al Jami’ li Akhlaq Al Rawi
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