The Qur'an undoubtedly emphasizes the need for dhikr: “O Believers! Remember Allah with much remembrance and glorify Him early and late.” (Qur’an 23:41) The Qur'an itself is referred to as al-dhikr (The Remembrance) (Q15:9). Allah furthermore states: “We have made the Qur'an easy to remember (and an easy mode of remembrance), are there any among you who care?” (Q54:17)

 

Dimensions of Dhikr

There are over 150 references in the Qur'an to words from the root dh-k-r (to remember, to mention, to invoke). To pronounce words reflecting the attributes or glory of Allah is dhikr by tongue. To understand and reflect on Allah's Majesty is dhikr by heart. Both these desirable modes of remembrance of the Divine reinforce each other; so conscious oral repetition engraves the words in the heart while understanding, reflection and obedience to Divine commandments gives meaning and life to the spoken word.

Altogether they assist us in focusing on our ultimate destination towards Allah while journeying through life in this world. All forms of dhikr help us develop and reinforce our relationship with the Divine.

 

Dhikr by True Believers

Dhikr is not detachment from action but rather the companion and spirit of actions. See how Allah has paired it with salāh which is the best of all acts of worship, and made dhikr the very reason for it, when He says, Establish salāh (Prayer) for My dhikr (remembrance) (Q20:14). Going through rituals of prayer without the component of remembering Allah indicates elements of hypocrisy. Behold, the hypocrites seek to deceive God - the while it is He who causes them to be deceived [by themselves] And when they rise to pray, they rise reluctantly, only to be seen and praised by people, remembering God but seldom(Q 4:142)

True believers are only those whose hearts tremble when the name of Allah is mentioned, and who, when His Signs are recited to them, have their faith increased thereby, and who put their trust in their Lord. Who observe Prayer and spend out of that which We have provided for them. These it is who are true believers. They have grades of rank with their Lord, as well as forgiveness and an honorable provision." (Q 8:2)

These verses from Surah Anfāl make reference to the signs of true Believers (mu'minuna haqqaa) and this includes ...

  • Remembering Allah (dhikr) and its effect on them
  • Reading the Qur'an (tilāwah) and its effect on them
  • Their dependence on Allah (tawakkul)
  • Their pursuance of spiritual and moral welfare through prayer (salaah)
  • Their pursuance of social and economic welfare through charity (infaaq)

All Believers ought to be constantly conscious of Allah and it is this kind of consciousness that is the essence of excellence/ goodness as is evident in the Islamic definition of ihsaan (goodness) alluded to in the Prophetic tradition that … Ihsaan is worshipping Allah as though you witness him, for though you do not see Him He is ever observing you [Muslim].

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