Verily, the Muslims (those who submit to Allâh in Islâm) men and women, the believers men and women (who believe in Islâmic Monotheism), the men and the women who are obedient (to Allâh), the men and women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds), the men and the women who are patient (in performing all the duties which Allâh has ordered and in abstaining from all that Allâh has forbidden), the men and the women who are humble (before their Lord Allâh), the men and the women who give Sadaqât (i.e. Zakât, and alms, etc.), the men and the women who observe Saum (fast) (the obligatory fasting during the month of Ramadân, and the optional Nawâfil fasting), the men and the women who guard their chastity (from illegal sexual acts) and the men and the women who remember Allâh much with their hearts and tongues (while sitting, standing, lying, etc. for more than 300 times extra over the remembrance of Allâh during the five compulsory congregational prayers) or praying extra additional Nawâfil prayers of night in the last part of night, etc.) Allâh has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise). [33:35]


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Remembering Allah:
The Purposes and Procedures of Dhikr

O you who believe! Remember Allâh with much remembrance.  (Holy Qur'an 33:41)

And glorify His Praises morning and afternoon [the early morning (Fajr) and 'Asr prayers]. (Holy Qur'an 33:42)

Allah (SWT) has commanded us to remember him always. He says:

Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying, etc.). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me. (Qur'an 2:152)

Thus it is very important for us as Muslims to carry out dhikr, (the remembranceof Allah).

The purpose of dhikr is to purify our hearts and souls and uplift our spirits. All words of praises and glorifications to Allah (SWT), whether spoken out loud, or silently in one's heart, are both forms of dhikr. When people do dhikr, their hearts turn to the highest ideals and are free from the temptations of sin. Obviously this is true only if the words come from the heart and not just from the tongue.

The Qur'an says:

Recite (O Muhammad SAW) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur'ân), and perform As-Salât (Iqamât­as­Salât). Verily, As-Salât (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahshâ' (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed, etc.) and the remembering (praising, etc.) of (you by) Allâh (in front of the angels) is greater indeed [than your remembering (praising, etc.) Allâh in prayers, etc.]. And Allâh knows what you do. (29:45)

In other words, dhikr has an even greater impact in protecting us from shameful and unjust deeds than regular prayers do. This is because when a person opens his heart to Allah (SWT) and utters words in His praise, Allah (SWT) fills him with strength and inner peace, comforting his minds and his heart. The Prophet (PBUH) once said, "When any group of men remember Allah, the angels surround them and mercy covers them, tranquillity descends upon them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him." (Reported by Abu Hurairiah)

The Prophet (PBUH) has described many forms of dhikr and their importance. Among them is what is described in this hadith: ""And whoever says Subhaa nallah wa bihamd dihi (Glorified is Allah with all praise due to Him) a hundred times during a day, will have all sins wiped off even if they were as numerous as the foam on the surface of the sea." (Narrated by Abu Hurairiah) The Prophet (PBUH) has also said, "When a servant of Allah utters the words la ilaha illa'Allah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah (SWT)) sincerely, the gates of heaven will open for these words until they reach the Throne of Allah, so long as it utterer keeps away from the major sins." (Reported by Abu Hurairiah) It is better to count the phrases on the fingers than counting beads because the fingers will be questioned and will speak on your behalf on the Day of Judgment.

Dhikr has been given much importance in Islam, and thus it is better to follow a certain etiquette of dhikr. One should face the Ka'bah (this is not compulsory, however if you do so it will be of much greater benefit for you in this life and the next) when doing dhikr. For the best assemblies are those that are facing the qiblah. There is a verse in the Qur'an which implies that it is preferable to do dhikr in silence rather than out loud; the verse says:

And remember your Lord by your tongue and within yourself, humbly and with fear without loudness in words in the mornings, and in the afternoons and be not of those who are neglectful.

The Prophet (PBUH) once found a group of Muslims doing dhikr out loud. He then said, "Give yourselves a respite, you are not calling upon someone who is deaf or absent. Surely He Whom you are calling upon is near you and He listens to all." This hadith also emphasizes the love and closeness to Allah (SWT) that a person should feel when doing dhikr.

Ibn Umar has narrated that "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, 'When you pass by a garden of Paradise, avail yourselves to it.' The companions asked, 'What are the gardens, O Messenger of Allah?' The Prophet, peace upon him, replied "The assemblies or circles of dhikr. There are some angels of Allah who go about looking for such assemblies of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them.'" Often times people gather in a group and talk about trivial and irrelevant matters. Participating in such vain conversations is clearly looked down upon in Islam. Therefore, we should constantly remember Allah (SWT) and do dhikr. The Prophet (PBUH) said: "If people sit in an assembly in which they do not remember Allah nor invoke blessing on the Prophet, it will be a cause of grief for them on the Day of Judgment." (Narrated by Abu Hurairiah)

In conclusion, to feel the importance and see the benefits of dhikr, this hadith has been provided: The Prophet narrated: "Allah (SWT) 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, I draw nearer to him a fathom length, and if he comes to me walking I rush to him at [great] speed."



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