Question: It is declared in the 152nd āyah (verse) of Baqara Sūra, Make dhikr of Me, and I will make dhikr of you. What does Allahs making dhikr mean?
Dhikr means remembering. Making dhikr of Allahu taālā means remembering Him. Islamic scholars explained the verse you have mentioned, the purport of which is, Remember Me, and I will remember you. Give thanks to Me; do not be ungrateful, as follows:
1. Remember Me by performing acts of worship, and I will remember you with compassion.
2. Remember Me by praying, and I will remember you by answering your prayer.
3. Remember Me in the world, and I will remember you in the Hereafter.
4. Remember Me in private, and I will remember you at a gathering.
5. Remember Me with ikhlās, and I will remember you with salvation.
Once, a person asked our master the Prophet:
Which fasting person earns more rewards?
Our master the Prophet answered:
Those who remember Allah the most
That person asked the same question for namāz, zakāt, and. hajj. But he received the same answer for each. Thereupon, when Hadrat Abū Bakr said, Those who remember Allah have attained all goodness, our master Rasūlullah said, Yes, this is so (Tabarānī).
Being with heedless and negligent people
When a person is in the company of those who are heedless and negligent of Allahu taālā, it brings much more rewards to remember Him, to talk about His commandments and prohibitions, and to urge everyone to do good deeds. It is declared in ahādīth:
(Angels and divine compassion encircle those who have gathered together to remember Allahu taālā.) [Muslim]
(A crier from the heavens calls out as follows to those who gather together only for the sake of divine pleasure and remember Allahu taālā, Allahu taālā has changed your sins into thawāb. Stand up from your places as having been forgiven.) [I.Ahmad]
(If, at a gathering, Allahu taālās name is not made mention of and salawāt is not said for His Prophet, they will feel a longing and remorse on the Day of Resurrection.) [Tirmudhī]
(Attending the suhba of a pious person once will be atonement for the sins resulting from attending the suhba of evil ones many times.) [Daylamī]
Dāwud alaihis-salām would pray as follows:
(O my Allah! When I forsake the gathering of those who remember You and start out for the gathering of the heedless and negligent people, break my foot before I get there, for it would be grace and a favor for me.) [Imam-i Ghazālī]
The heedless and negligent people are those who do not remember Allahu taālā and who do not know of good deeds. We cannot get benefit from them. Instead, they cause us various sorts of harm.
We should see the suhba of the pious, that is, good people, as a golden opportunity. Good people always enjoin right conduct. They strive so that all people can have good moral qualities. If those whose hearts have become rusty with the stains of sins attend the suhba of the pious, the rust of their hearts will be wiped out.
We must be careful about the people we are making friends with, for a nightingale guides one to a rose while a crow guides one to a garbage dump.
To remember Allahu taālā is to remember His commands and prohibitions, to carry out what He has ordered, and to avoid what He has prohibited. Besides these, it is to glorify and exalt Him through the tongue as well. We should do our best to keep on repeating such words as Subhānallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu akbar, and Lā ilāha ill-Allah.
The sign of remembering Allahu taālā
Question: What is the importance and sign of remembering Allah?
It is a great bliss to remember and make mention of Allah when one goes to and comes back from work, performs a task, and at every possible opportunity. It is an utter misfortune to forget Him and to be heedless and unmindful of His remembrance. People always remember their beloved ones. If they love much, they never forget. The basis of īmān is to love Allahu taālā. The symptom that indicates this love, in turn, is to remember Him frequently. That is, those who love Allahu taālā remember Him much, and those who remember Him much love Him.
It was stated in a hadīth-i sharīf:
(The sign of loving Allahu taālā much is to love remembering Him.) [Ibni Shāhin]
The Holy Quran purports:
(To remember Allahu taālā is greater than everything else.) [Sūrat-ul-Ankabūt, 45]
(O Believers! Remember Allah much.) [Sūrat-ul-Ahzāb, 41]
(Remember Allahs blessings, so that you can attain salvation.) [Sūrat-ul-Arāf, 69]
(Know well that only in the remembrance of Allahu taālā do hearts find satisfaction, rest.) [Sūrat-ur-Rad, 28]
(He who does not remember Me will experience woes, and He will be raised up blind on the Day of Resurrection.) [Sūrat-u Tāhā, 124]
The symptom of whether the remembrance of Allahu taālā has settled in a heart manifests itself through a persons having (Islamic manners called) adab and beautiful morals. The following ahādīth declare:
(The difference between a person who remembers Allahu taālā and who does not is like the difference between a living person and a dead one.) [Bukhārī]
(Remember Allahu taālā so much that you will be called a madman in the end.) [Hākim]
(Remember Allahu taālā in such a way that hypocrites will call you pharisees.) [Bayhaqī]
Haqq taālā (Allahu taālā) declared: (I will treat My slave the way My slave thinks of Me. Whenever he remembers Me and makes mention of Me, I will be with him. If My slave remembers Me at a gathering, I will remember Him at a gathering better than it.) [Bukhārī]
(There is a varnish for everything. The varnish of the heart is the remembrance of Allahu taālā.) [Bayhaqī]
(The most virtuous dhikr [remembrance] is to say Lā ilāha ill-Allah.) [Nasāī]
(He who remembers Allahu taālā among negligent and heedless people is like a soldier who continues to fight while everyone is fleeing from the front.) [Tabarānī]
(He who makes remembrance much will be safe from hypocrisy.) [Ibni Shāhin]
(Remembering Allahu taālā in the morning and in the evening is superior to fighting in the way of Allah.) [Daylamī]
(He who cannot perform acts of worship at night, who cannot spend his property on charity, and who is afraid of fighting with the enemy [jihād] should remember Allahu taālā much.) [Bazzār]
Haqq taālā (Allahu taālā) declared:
(I will take him out of Hell who has remembered Me for a day or who has feared Me once.) [Hākim]
Those who remember Allahu taālā will reflect on His greatness, attributes, commandments and prohibitions. So they will develop a desire to do good deeds and to avoid evil ones. In this respect, it is highly effective to remember Allahu taālā.
Hadrat Hasan-i Basrī declared:
The remembrance of Allahu taālā is of two kinds:
1. It is very thawāb to remember Allahu taālā through the heart.
2. What is better than the former is that when one intends to commit a harām, one remembers Allahu taālā and quits it.
In order to attain peace and tranquility
Question: What do dhikr and ghaflah mean? What should we do to attain peace and tranquility?
Remembering Allahu taālā, that is, dhikr, means extricating yourself from ghaflah. Ghaflah means forgetting Allahu taālā. Extricating yourself from ghaflah in any way will be dhikr. Then observing the commandments and prohibitions of Islam is a dhikr. Buying and selling which are done in accordance with Islam is a dhikr. The reason why these are considered a dhikr is that the Owner of commandments and prohibitions are remembered when these are performed, and so ghaflah dies out.
Also, when walking, sitting, and standing, saying the Basmala, repeating the kalima-i tawhīd, salawāt and the like will be remembrance, that is, dhikr, of Allahu taālā. We should not be heedless and negligent. Allahu taālā says:
(O Believers! Remember Allah much.) [Sūrat-ul-Ahzāb, 41]
(Remember Me [with obedience and acts of worship], and I will remember you. Give thanks to Me; do not be ungrateful.) [Sūrat-ul-Baqara, 152]
(He who remembers Me is grateful to Me, but He who forgets Me is ungrateful to Me.) [Tabarānī]
When some people gather together for any activity, they should not leave there without remembering Allahu taālā. It is stated in ahādīth:
(If people gather together at a place and stand up without remembering Allahu taālā, they will be as if they stood up from a donkey carcass. And they will feel sorry for it on the Day of Resurrection.) [Hākim]
(If, at a gathering, Allahu taālās name is not made mention of and salawāt is not said for His Prophet, they [those who are present at that gathering] will feel a longing and remorse on the Day of Resurrection.) [Tirmudhī]
Muslims must correct their belief first. Then they must make an effort to pay humans and Allah their debts. Meanwhile, they should, whenever possible, try hard to remember Allahu taālā in every action. They should recite the supplications and certain prayers they know. The following ahādīth say:
(He who performs remembrance in private is like a person fighting against the disbelievers by himself.) [Shirāzī]
(He who possesses these things has been endowed with the goodness of both this world and the next: a heart that gives thanks, a tongue that performs remembrance, a suitable house, and a pious wife.) [Ibni Najjār]
(In order to attain the goodness of this world and the next, be together with those who remember Allahu taālā. Remember Him at every opportunity. Like for the sake of Allah, and dislike for the sake of Allah.) [Abū Nuaym]
It is stated in a hadīth-i qudsī:
(O Mūsā! If you want Me to be with you, be near the one who makes remembrance of Me. Whoever looks for Me wherever and whenever, he will find Me.) [Ibni Shāhīn]
The glorification of creatures
Question: It is said that all creatures, living or lifeless, make tasbīh (glorification; declaring to be far from defects and imperfections) of Allah. Is it true?
Yes, it is. Islamic scholars declare that all creatures on the earth and in the heavens, living or lifeless, including animals, glorify and make remembrance of Allah. The Noble Quran purports:
(The seven heavens, the earth, and those in them glorify Allah. There is not a single being that does not glorify Him with praise. But you cannot understand their glorification.) [Sūrat-ul-Isrā, 44]
(Verily, those in the heavens, those on the earth, and birds that fly by flapping their wings constantly glorify Allah.) [Sūrat-un-Nūr, 41]
(All that is in the heavens and on earth glorifies Allahu taālā.) [Sūrat-ul-Hadīd, 1]