Question: It is declared in the 152nd âyah (verse) of Baqara Sûra, “Make dhikr of Me, and I will make dhikr of you.” What does “Allah’s making dhikr” mean?
Dhikr means remembering. Making dhikr of Allahu ta’âlâ 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 ikhlâs, 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 namâz, zakât, and. hajj. But he received the same answer for each. Thereupon, when Hadrat Abû Bakr said, “Those who remember Allah have attained all goodness,” our master Rasûlullah said, “Yes, this is so” (Tabarânî).
Being with heedless and negligent people
When a person is in the company of those who are heedless and negligent of Allahu ta’âlâ, 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 ahâdîth:
(Angels and divine compassion encircle those who have gathered together to remember Allahu ta’âlâ.) [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 ta’âlâ, “Allahu ta’âlâ has changed your sins into thawâb. Stand up from your places as having been forgiven.”) [I.Ahmad]
(If, at a gathering, Allahu ta’âlâ’s name is not made mention of and salawât is not said for His Prophet, they will feel a longing and remorse on the Day of Resurrection.) [Tirmudhî]
(Attending the suhba of a pious person once will be atonement for the sins resulting from attending the suhba of evil ones many times.) [Daylamî]
Dâwud ‘alaihis-salâm 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 Ghazâlî]
The heedless and negligent people are those who do not remember Allahu ta’âlâ 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 ta’âlâ 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 Subhânallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu akbar, and Lâ ilâha ill-Allah.
The sign of remembering Allahu ta’âlâ
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 îmân is to love Allahu ta’âlâ. The symptom that indicates this love, in turn, is to remember Him frequently. That is, those who love Allahu ta’âlâ remember Him much, and those who remember Him much love Him.
It was stated in a hadîth-i sharîf:
(The sign of loving Allahu ta’âlâ much is to love remembering Him.) [Ibni Shâhin]
The Holy Qur’an purports:
(To remember Allahu ta’âlâ is greater than everything else.) [Sûrat-ul-‘Ankabût, 45]
(O Believers! Remember Allah much.) [Sûrat-ul-Ahzâb, 41]
(Remember Allah’s blessings, so that you can attain salvation.) [Sûrat-ul-A’râf, 69]
(Know well that only in the remembrance of Allahu ta’âlâ do hearts find satisfaction, rest.) [Sûrat-ur-Ra’d, 28]
(He who does not remember Me will experience woes, and He will be raised up blind on the Day of Resurrection.) [Sûrat-u Tâhâ, 124]
The symptom of whether the remembrance of Allahu ta’âlâ has settled in a heart manifests itself through a person’s having (Islamic manners called) adab and beautiful morals. The following ahâdîth declare:
(The difference between a person who remembers Allahu ta’âlâ and who does not is like the difference between a living person and a dead one.) [Bukhârî]
(Remember Allahu ta’âlâ so much that you will be called a madman in the end.) [Hâkim]
(Remember Allahu ta’âlâ in such a way that hypocrites will call you pharisees.) [Bayhaqî]
Haqq ta’âlâ (Allahu ta’âlâ) 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.) [Bukhârî]
(There is a varnish for everything. The varnish of the heart is the remembrance of Allahu ta’âlâ.) [Bayhaqî]
(The most virtuous dhikr [remembrance] is to say Lâ ilâha ill-Allah.) [Nasâî]
(He who remembers Allahu ta’âlâ among negligent and heedless people is like a soldier who continues to fight while everyone is fleeing from the front.) [Tabarânî]
(He who makes remembrance much will be safe from hypocrisy.) [Ibni Shâhin]
(Remembering Allahu ta’âlâ in the morning and in the evening is superior to fighting in the way of Allah.) [Daylamî]
(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 [jihâd] should remember Allahu ta’âlâ much.) [Bazzâr]
Haqq ta’âlâ (Allahu ta’âlâ) declared:
(I will take him out of Hell who has remembered Me for a day or who has feared Me once.) [Hâkim]
Those who remember Allahu ta’âlâ 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 ta’âlâ.
Hadrat Hasan-i Basrî declared:
The remembrance of Allahu ta’âlâ is of two kinds:
1. It is very thawâb to remember Allahu ta’âlâ through the heart.
2. What is better than the former is that when one intends to commit a harâm, one remembers Allahu ta’âlâ 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 ta’âlâ, that is, dhikr, means extricating yourself from ghaflah. Ghaflah means forgetting Allahu ta’âlâ. 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 tawhîd, salawât and the like will be remembrance, that is, dhikr, of Allahu ta’âlâ. We should not be heedless and negligent. Allahu ta’âlâ says:
(O Believers! Remember Allah much.) [Sûrat-ul-Ahzâb, 41]
(Remember Me [with obedience and acts of worship], and I will remember you. Give thanks to Me; do not be ungrateful.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 152]
(He who remembers Me is grateful to Me, but He who forgets Me is ungrateful to Me.) [Tabarânî]
When some people gather together for any activity, they should not leave there without remembering Allahu ta’âlâ. It is stated in ahâdîth:
(If people gather together at a place and stand up without remembering Allahu ta’âlâ, they will be as if they stood up from a donkey carcass. And they will feel sorry for it on the Day of Resurrection.) [Hâkim]
(If, at a gathering, Allahu ta’âlâ’s name is not made mention of and salawât 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.) [Tirmudhî]
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 ta’âlâ in every action. They should recite the supplications and certain prayers they know. The following ahâdîth say:
(He who performs remembrance in private is like a person fighting against the disbelievers by himself.) [Shirâzî]
(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 Najjâr]
(In order to attain the goodness of this world and the next, be together with those who remember Allahu ta’âlâ. Remember Him at every opportunity. Like for the sake of Allah, and dislike for the sake of Allah.) [Abû Nu’aym]
It is stated in a hadîth-i qudsî:
(O Mûsâ! 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 Shâhîn]
The glorification of creatures
Question: It is said that all creatures, living or lifeless, make tasbîh (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 Qur’an 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.) [Sûrat-ul-Isrâ’, 44]
(Verily, those in the heavens, those on the earth, and birds that fly by flapping their wings constantly glorify Allah.) [Sûrat-un-Nûr, 41]
(All that is in the heavens and on earth glorifies Allahu ta’âlâ.) [Sûrat-ul-Hadîd, 1]