Dhikr, in religious parlance, means remembering the
Almighty. 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 forms of doing dhikr: Some of the
important forms include saying the prayer, reading the Qur’ān, making
supplications, asking Allah’s forgiveness, expressing gratitude at His
favours and blessings, remembering His attributes and established laws and
practices, reciting certain phrases and sentences mentioned in the Āhadīth.
However, in order to reap the benefits of dhikr 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
Today, unfortunately, the spirit of dhikr among Muslims
seems to be marred by two things:
Firstly, certain words that express Allah’s remembrance
are repeated in a certain fixed quantity often counted by a small meter or a
tasbih. This has given dhikr 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, dhikr in general has assumed the form of
congregational dhikr and people, in particular ladies, gather to
collectively recite certain kalimahs/verses. 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.