A believer’s day should be spent as much as is possible in his Creator’s remembrance. This remembrance not only reinforces his relationship with God his Lord, but also provides him with the inner strength to ward off evil when it comes his way. It blesses him with inner peace and serenity and endows him with a life that is spent to serve and please the Almighty.
There are a number of ways to remember God: Some of the important forms include saying the prayer, reading His guidance, making supplications, asking His forgiveness, expressing gratitude at His favours and blessings and deliberating on His attributes and established laws and practices. However, in order to reap the benefits of God’s verbal remembrance there is one primary requirement: one must pay special attention to what is said and recited. The more one concentrates on the words he utters, the more meaningful the whole exercise becomes.
Today, unfortunately, the spirit of keeping God in remembrance seems to be marred by two things:
Firstly, certain words that express God’s remembrance are repeated in a certain fixed quantity often counted on beads and ticker-machines. This has given this remembrance a sort of mechanical and artificial element. One tends to be more attentive to the count than to what is actually being said. In fact, one seems to be so overwhelmed with the figure he or she has in mind that words which might otherwise be a beautiful expression of Allah’s remembrance fail to move the heart or stir the soul.
Secondly, God’s remembrance in general has assumed the form of congregational recitals. This is something which was not found in the time of the Prophet (sws). The only congregational dhikr which the Prophet (sws) seems to have undertaken was the collective prayer offered in the mosque. All other forms are generally more suited to be done when a person is alone. In seclusion, a person’s emotions and feelings are very pure and flow naturally out of him; dhikr in such circumstances is also more free from false pretense.
It is, therefore, strongly recommended that people should adopt only those forms of dhikr which do not deride its spirit and are a means of illuminating both the mind and the heart.
(Dr Shehzad Saleem)