Remembrance of Allah
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Zikr - Remembrance of Allah is a great worship which has enormous reward. It includes recitations of the Holy Qur’an, Kalima-e-Tayyeba, Astaghfaar, and Darud Shareef. Think of Salah. It is all Zikr. Surah Al-Fatiha, the recitation of other verses from the Holy Qur’an, and the Tasbeehaat in Ruku and Sajdah are Zikr and nothing but Zikr. These highlight the importance of Zkir. The external joins the internal in unison in Salah. The heart and soul join the tongue and the rest of the body to glorify and submit to Allah (SWT) in humility. Had there not been any traditions or the verses, even then the Zikr and remembrance of the Kind and Exalted Majesty, the Master, the Lord, the Creator demands that no one should ever remain unmindful of His remembrance. And when Zikr has been mandated in the Holy Qur’an and traditions of Prophet (SAW), there is no way that one should take it lightly. Let us see just a few examples of Zikr from the Holy Qur’an.
Aayah 45 of Surah An-Kabut says: “[Ya Rasul Allah], recite what has been revealed to you of the Scripture, keep up the prayer: prayer restrains outrageous and unacceptable behavior. Remembering Allah is greater: Allah knows every thing you do.”
Aayah 152 of Surah Al-Baqarah says: “So remember Me; I will remember you. Be thankful to Me, and never be ungrateful.”
Aayah 205 of Surah Al-A’raf says: “[Ya Rasul Allah], remember your Lord inwardly, in all humility and awe, without raising your voice, in the mornings and in the evenings –do not be one of the heedless-.”
Aayah 10 of Surah “Jumu’a says: “Remember Allah often so that you may prosper.”
Aayah 41-42 of Surah Al-Ahzaab says: “Believers, remember Allah often and glorify Him morning and evening.”
Aayah 27-28 of Surah Al-Ra’ad says: “…those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah – truly it is in the remembrance of Allah that hearts find peace.”
Similarly there are many traditions of our beloved Prophet (SAW) strongly recommending Allah’s Zikr and remembrance. Ummul Momineen Aa’isha (RAnha) quoted in Muslim says: that Prophet (SAW) was busy in Zikr all the time.
According to Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (RA) Prophet (SAW) said: “The similitude of one who remembers his Lord and one who does not remember Him, is like that of the living and the dead. [Bukhari & Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Prophet (SAW) said: “Allah the Exalted says: “I am as my slave expects me to be, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me inwardly, I will remember him inwardly, and if he remembers Me in as assembly (i.e., in the assembly of angels.” [Bukhari & Muslim].
According to yet another tradition Abu Hurairah narrates that Prophet (SAW) said: “The Mufarridun have gone ahead.” When asked “Who were Mufarridun?” He (SAW) replied: “Those men and women who frequently celebrate the remembrance of Allah.” [Muslim]
Abud Darda (RA) quotes Prophet (SAW) who said: “Shall I not inform you of the best of your actions which are the purest to your Lord, which exalt you to the high ranks, which are more efficacious than spending gold and silver (in charity), and better for you than you should encounter your enemies whom you will smite their neck and they will smite your necks?” Companions submitted, “Certainly Ya Rasul Allah!” He (SAW) said: “Remembrance of Allah the Exalted,” [At-Tirmidhi]
Zikr is in fact the very soul, the very heart beat of the universe. The human body is nothing without soul! Similarly the universe is nothing if it lacks its soul. The question is what is the soul? The soul which is in the human body also regulates the universe. Human soul as defined in Aayah 85 of Surah Al-Isra is:
“[Rasul Allah], they ask you about the soul. Say, ‘The soul is part of my Lord’s domain. You have only been given a little knowledge.”
Similarly the soul of the universe is the remembrance of Allah. According to one of the traditions of Prophet (SAW), Qiyamah (Last Day) would dawn on the universe until even one person who remembers Allah is alive. Every thing big or small in the universe is busy in Zikr.
Some traditions cite the example of certain birds and their Zikr. Sulaymaan (AS) was given the miracle to understand the language of the birds as mentioned in Aayah 16 of Surah Naml:
“Sulaymaan (AS) succeeded Dawood (AS). He said, ‘People, we have been taught the speech of birds, and we have been given a share of everything: this is clearly is a great favor.”
Allah (SWT) gave our beloved Prophet (SAW) the knowledge of the animals, and at times he (SAW) resolved their disputes. Though an average person does not understand the Tasbeeh of different creatures, but it is a fact that all are engaged in the remembrance of Allah as mentioned in Aayah 44 of Surah Bani Isra’el:
“The seven heaves and the earth and everyone in them glorify Him. There is not a single thing that does not celebrate His praise, though you do not understand their praise: He is the most forgiving.”
The real life lies in Allah’s Zikr, and Zikr is the nourishment of the soul. All Prophets and Messengers had great strength and stamina, but their food intake was very simple and small. Source of real strength is the remembrance of Allah. Prophet (SAW) advised his Ummah to refrain from “Sawm-e-Wisaal”, which means continuous fasting without eating or drinking. When his companions submitted: “Ya Rasul Allah you observe “Sawm-e-Wisaal”, but refrain us from doing that, why is that?” Prophet (SAW) replied: “Who among you is like me? My Rub provides me nourishment.”
This nourishment in fact is the remembrance of Allah; it is a source of strength. When remembrance of Allah runs in the heart, soul and mind, it becomes the very life blood, the very source of living minimizing the need of the physical food. When everything in the universe is engaged in the remembrance of Allah, we then should be more committed to Zikr than any one else. The greatest Zikr is Salah as mentioned in Aayah 14 of Surah Ta Ha:
“I am Allah; there is no god but Me. So worship Me and keep up the prayer so that you remember Me.”
In Surah Hajj too, mention of Zikr has been made in many places. The purpose of Zakah and Sadaqah is also Zikr. Along with these obligatory duties, Prophet (SAW) has taught us to remain engaged in Zikr. Some Azkaar (remembrances) are time related, or should be done at a specific time like morning, evening and at night, while others are not time related and can be made at any time as mentioned in this tradition:
“Abdullah bin Busr (RA) submitted to Prophet (SAW) and said: “Ya Rasul Allah! There are many injunctions of Islam for me. So please tell me something to which I may hold fast.” He (SAW) said, “Keep your tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah.” [Tirmidhi]
Haafiz Ibn-e-Qayyim (RahA) in his book “Al Wabilus Sayyib min’al Kalimit Tayyib” has mentioned 78 blessings and rewards of Zikr. Let me mention only ten from among those:
Insha Allah I will mention more about Zikr in the future Khutbahs. Please make effort that there is Allah’s Zikr in the heart and on the tongue. May Allah teach us to love Him and make us steadfast in His Love and remembrance! Aamin!
SWT = Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala
SAW = Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam
RAnha= Radhiyallaho anha
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.