2013

The Essence Of Dhikr

Umm Sulaim
Umm Sulaim’s Thoughts
1/10/2013 Safar 28, 1434

The Essence Of Dhikr FOLLOWING THE DHIKR

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Dhikr Defined Dhikr is the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. The Qur’an is described as the Dhikr1 in several Aayaah including,

(10.) Allah has revealed to you a Reminder (the Qur'ân).

The applicable definition of Dhikr is the recall to memory of Allah’s Majesty and the mention of Allah’s Words praising Him

seeking His Forgiveness during the on a daily basis in the life of a Muslim.

The Non-Perishing Nature of Dhikr The Dhikr is preserved for posterity against distortion by Allah Himself.2 (9.) We have, assuredly, sent down the Dhikr (the Qur’an); and We are certainly preserving it.

From the Sunnah these words of the Messenger of Allah – “A group of people
1 2

Surah At-Talaq: Ayah 10 (Chapter 65: Verse 10) Surah Al-Hijr: Ayah 9 (Chapter 15: Verse 9)

The Essence Of Dhikr

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among my followers will remain obedient to Allah’s Commands and they will not be harmed by anyone who will not help them or who will oppose them until Allah’s Command (the Last Day) comes upon them while they are still on the right path.”3 and “Some of my followers will remain victorious (and on the right path) till the Last Day comes and they will still be victorious.”4 – hold a comparable purport.

The Methodology of Dhikr Dhikr has its rules and guidelines including attentiveness humility and lowered tone5 (204.) When the Qur'ân is recited, listen to it attentively and silently that you may receive Mercy. (205.) Remember Your Lord within your person in humility and awe and without loudness of expressions in the mornings and evenings and be not of those who are irresponsibly negligent.

in any comfortable posture6 Individuals who celebrate the Praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides

3 4

Bukhari. Vol. 4. Bk 56. Num 835 Bukhari. Vol. 4. Bk 56. Num 834

The Essence Of Dhikr and with purity of thoughts at all times and of body when necessary7.

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(14.) Successful is he who purifies himself (15.) and remembers the Name of his Lord and Cherisher, and prays.

But, unlike the mystics, he, in the hour of contemplation in supplication, does not lose himself but realises himself to be a humble servant of God and therein lies his spiritual strength and unwavering confidence in God.8

Dhikr through the Eyes of the World A crucial observation is that several western dictionaries define Dhikr with reference to deviants particularly Sufis. This is not only a source of concern as Dhikr is a legal meritorious and obligatory act of worship but also because of the danger that Muslims who engage in legally approved forms of Dhikr will be seen as Sufis or just as worrisome as performing the wrong form of Dhikr.

Some of these misguided definitions of Dhikr are listed: I. British and World English accurately assigns Dhikr to Islam with the Arabic meaning of remembrance. It however defines Dhikr as “a form of
5 6

Chapter 7: Verses 204-205 Surah Aal-Imran: Ayah 191 (Chapter 3: Verse 191) 7 Surah Al-A’laa: Aayaah 14-15 Chapter 87: Verses 14-15 8 Saheeh Muslim, Book 35

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devotion, associated chiefly with Sufism, in which the worshipper is absorbed in the rhythmic repetition of the name of God or his attributes”9 and “a Sufi ceremony in which Dhikr is practised”10. II. Britannica Online Encyclopaedia offers fresh meanings of Dhikr “reminding oneself or mention”11, but follows the same pattern and described Dhikr as “ritual prayer or litany practiced by Muslim mystics (Sufis)”12. III. Dictionary.com correctly attributes the origin of the word to Islam and as an Arabic word for recitation, but goes on to define Dhikr as: a meeting of dervishes at which a phrase containing a name of God is chanted rhythmically to induce a state of ecstasy,13 and “each set of passages from the Koran so chanted with its accompanying ritual”14. IV. Looklex’s definition faired a bit better than those mentioned previously, for though it identified Dhikr with Sufism as a practice “in which a name of God is repeated over and over again”15, it offers a wider perspective of Dhikr whose purpose is “to glorify God or as is more common in Sufism, by the means of which one tries to step out of this world in order to come closer to God”16.

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http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/dhikr Ibid 11 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/160785/dhikr 12 Ibid 13 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Dhikr 14 Ibid 15 http://looklex.com/e.o/dhikr.htm 16 Ibid
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The Essence Of Dhikr Understanding Dhikr and Its Importance

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Without Dhikr of Allah actions are deprived of numerous benefits and become mere mechanical acts. I. Dhikr Maintains Interaction with Allah:

When a slave calls his Creator to mind and acts according to the Dhikr, thus fulfilling his part of the contract with Allah, Allah remembers him17 and mentions him to a gathering of Angels18. This is the highest recommendation any human can receive. (152.) Therefore remember Me. I will remember you, and be grateful to Me and never be ungrateful to Me. Allah says: I am with My Slave, when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him in My Heart. If he remembers Me in a crowd, I remember him in a better assembly.

Imagine receiving a recommendation from the President of ones nation. Multiply to infinity the feeling, the elation and the pride which the President’s referral commands and one gets the sense of the impact of Allah’s Mention of a Muslim.

II.

Dhikr is the Difference between the Living and the Dead:

Dhikr of Allah is living; a Muslim comes alive when he remembers his Creator.
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Surah Al-Baqara: Ayah 152. Chapter 2: Verse 152 Bukhari

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As Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah noted, “Remembrance of Allah is to the heart what water is to fish. What happens to fish when it is taken out of water?”19 Dhikr of Allah increases the dignity of a Muslim in the Sight of Allah, the Angels and humanity. The Speech of Allah20 confirms this: (36.) In homes, which Allah has approved to be raised to honour is His Name remembered and glorified in the mornings and in the evenings. (37). Men whom neither corporate transactions nor retail divert from the Remembrance of Allah, nor from establishment of Salah (regular Prayer), nor from the practice of Zakah (regular charity): their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be transformed.

For this reason, the Messenger of Allah encouraged Muslim men to perform the Sunnah or supererogatory Prayers as well as the recitation of the Qur’an at home. The former makes our home a living and comfortable space and the latter is a defence shield and a home-guard against shaytan (devil).

19 20

Comp. Farid A. Surah An-Nur: Aayaah 36-37 (Chapter 24: Verses 36-37)

The Essence Of Dhikr III. The Dual Pathway between Dhikr and Salah:

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Dhikr of Allah is a natural consequence of Salah (Prayer)21 a means of Dhikr in itself.22 (14.) Certainly, I am Allah. There is no god but I: so worship Me, and establish regular Salah (Prayer) for celebrating My Remembrance.

IV.

Dhikr is a Shield against Misconduct

Dhikr accentuates living on principles and ethics,23 on the formula: The greater the performance of Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), the more the performance of Prayers, and the more one adheres to ones principles”24. (45.) Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur’an), and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; besides, the Remembrance of Allah is the zenith, and Allah knows what you accomplish.

21 22

Surah Ta Ha: Ayah 14. Chapter 20: Verse 14 Surah Al-A’laa: Aayaah 14-15 Chapter 87: Verses 14-15. See footnote 5 23 Surah Ankabut: Ayah 45. Chapter 29:45 24 Umm Sulaim

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V.

Dhikr is the Source of Inner Peace:

Dhikr of Allah confers on the believer calmness and pleasure in his worship of Allah. His worship of Allah is elevated from an obligation from which he cannot escape to actions based on wilful and delightful choice. At this psychological state, he achieves internal peace for Allah reminds us that25: (28.) They are those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the Remembrance of Allah, for undeniably in the Remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.

Disregard towards Dhikr There is a common perception among some Muslims that Dhikr is limited to the remembrance and mention of Allah’s Names in the manner mentioned in a previous section without a corresponding change in conduct. For instance, Dhikr is seen as an in-club and an in-mood chant of “Ma Sha Allah” and a copy-and-paste lifestyle of the Qur’an, the Sunnah and eloquent statements of the Ulema and the pious. Once a discussion develops into thoughts and expressions, “Ma Sha Allah” is promptly replaced with obscenities and impudence.

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Chapter13: Verse 28

The Essence Of Dhikr Innovated Forms against Dhikr

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The section on “Dhikr through the Eyes of the World” touched on erroneous demonstrations against Dhikr. Atop the list of the misguidance on Dhikr are the Sufis and their various tariqah (sects), whose distortions include congregational synchronised chants of Allah Names and perversions of Allah’s Names. The practice of congregation Dhikr – except for Salah, Hajj (Pilgrimage) and other Sunnah – was condemned by the Companions of the Messenger of Allah and individuals involved in such innovations rebuked. A study case is the event involving AbdAllah Ibn Mas’ud who rebuked a group of men he found in the Masjid (Mosque) engaged in collective chants of Allah’s Praise and His Greatness.

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Bibliography

Farid, A. (Compiled). The Purification of the Soul. Compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali Ismaeel, Muhammad. Saheeh al-Bukhari Umm Sulaim. http://www.facebook.com/UmmSulaimsThoughts 4 January,2013. Retrieved 19 December, 2012. Saheeh Muslim, Book 35 : KITAB AL-DHIKR http://www.tanzeem.org/resources/hadithonline/Muslim/035_smt.html Retrieved 19 December, 2012. Britannica Online Encyclopedia http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/160785/dhikr Retrieved 19 December, 2012. Dhikr | Define Dhikr at Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Dhikr Retrieved 19 December, 2012. Definition of dhikr - ceremony and Islam (British & World English) http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/dhikr Retrieved 19 December, 2012. Looklex Encyclopaedia http://looklex.com/e.o/dhikr.htm