Everything has its polish and the polish of hearts is Dhikrullah
Dhikr is mentioned in many places in the Holy Qur'an, and in most verses. It is also mentioned in numerous ahadith. Dhikr literally means Remembrance, mentioning, and recollection, to rehearse, to celebrate or commemorate, and in our context, the Remembrance of Allah. It includes tasbih (glorifying), takbir (exalting), tahmid (praising), proclaiming one's helplessness and destitution before Him in prayer and supplication, and praising and praying upon the Prophet
Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) has commanded us to remember him always. "Remember me, I shall remember you." [surah al-Baqarah; 2:152]. Dhikr Islam is made up of Islam, Iman and Ihsan. Dhikr can encompass all these areas. Since it involves all forms of worship to our Creator. Our duty is to worship Allah (Ta'ala), and so any thought or action, even if just waking up early in the morning, can form part of the dhikrullah.
The idea behind Dhikr is the Remembrance of Allah. It is to purify our hearts and souls and uplift our spirits. All words of praise and glory to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala), whether spoken out loud, or silently in one's heart, are known as dhikr. When people do dhikr, their hearts turn to the highest ideals and are free from the temptations of sin. If one continues to keep the remembrance of Allah in one's heart day and night, the human soul is strengthened. It is food for the soul, and a polish of the heart, so invigorates it. And with an invigorated soul it becomes easy to overcome one's base instincts, overcoming the nufs, and to vanquish the Devil. Thus one is able more easily to avoid sins and the good deeds increase. Obviously this is true only if the words come from the heart and not just from the tongue.
Dhikr has the ability to awaken a peron's soul. It cleanses the heart from all else but Allah and increases His love in the heart. And so, one is able to come closer and closer to their Maker.
Dhikr, being imital or verbal remembrance of Allah is so consoling, pleasant and such an easy form of worship that one can perform it continuously at all times and with great benefit. It is known that the sahabiyaat had tongues filled with continuous dhikr, that they would have to bite their tongues while relieving themselves to stop themselves from making Dhikr! A man once complained to the Prophet , "The laws of Islam are too heavy for me, so tell me something that I can easily follow," the Prophet, peace be upon him, told him, "Let your tongue be always busy with the remembrance of Allah." It doesnt have any prescribed timings, such as salah, or fasting, and this only adds to easiness. From the small three year old child; reciting adhkar (pl. du'a) before going to sleep, to the Old man reciting the beautiful Names of Allah (Ta'ala) during the day. Both being dhikr.
Our weekly routines demand much time and effort. Every new day brings old challenges and the work never ends. If its not school, University, or work, then its the homework, exams, or bills. It is only too easy to become swept away with the dunya and become devoid of any upliftment for the soul, and as a result have hardened hearts.
Invoking and calling upon Allah (Ta'ala) will bring forth His favors. One who remembers Him even while going about his or her daily affairs and pre-occupations will find all obstacles removed in both this world and the next. His company will always be felt, and He will befriend one left alone and in need of friendship. If one remembers and mentions Him during times of ease and comfort, His Mercy will reach one during times of trouble and pain.
The Prophet said "Everything has a polish, which takes away rust. The polish of the heart is dhikr." A peron's heart is susceptable to becoming hard. This hardness can only be softened by the remembrance of Allah. One who is devoid of dhikr and remembrance of Allah, becomes dry and stiff and as lifeless as a dried up leaf. If you step on it, it will crumble into pieces, but if you moisten it, it will revive, and become invigorated. May Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) make us among the Dhaakireen (those who remember him); those most fortunate servants who oft engage in His dhikr, and among those who have tranquil, peaceful hearts. Ameen.
Compiled by 'Mutma'inaa' [2/12/02]
DHIKR IS THE GREATEST OBLIGATION AND A PERPETUAL DIVINE ORDER
Dhikr of Allah is the most excellent act of Allah's servants and is stressed over a hundred times in the Holy Qur'an. It is the most praiseworthy work to earn Allah's pleasure, the most effective weapon to overcome the enemy, and the most deserving of deeds in reward. It is the flag of Islam, the polish of hearts, the essence of the science of faith, the immunization against hypocrisy, the head of worship, and the key of all success.There are no restrictions on the modality, frequency, or timing of dhikr whatsoever. The restrictions on modality pertain to certain specific obligatory acts which are not the issue here, such as Salat. The Shari`a is clear and everyone knows what they have to do. Indeed, the Prophet said that the People of Paradise will only regret one thing: not having made enough dhikr in the world! Are not those who are making up reasons to discourage others from making dhikr afraid of Allah in this tremendous matter?
Allah says in His holy Book: "O Believers, make abundant mention of ALLAH!" (33:41) And He mentions of His servants "Those who remember their Lord standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides" (3:191), in other words at all times of the day and night. He said (3:190-191): "The creation of heaven and earth and the changes of night and day are signs for people who have wisdom: -- consider who is described as having wisdom -- Those who remember (and recite and call) Allah standing up, sitting, and lying on their sides." `A'isha said, as narrated by Muslim, that the Prophet mentioned/remembered Allah at all times of the day and night.
The Prophet said: "If your hearts were always in the state that they are in during dhikr, the angels would come to see you to the point that they would greet you in the middle of the road." Muslim narrated it. Imam Nawawi in his Sharh sahih muslim commented on this hadith saying: "This kind of sight is shown to someone who persists in meditation (muraqaba), reflection (fikr), and anticipation (iqbal) of the next world."
Mu`adh ibn Jabal said that the Prophet also said: "The People of Paradise will not regret except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by and in which they made no remembrance of Allah." Narrated by Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:392 #512-513) and by Tabarani. Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id (10:74) said that its narrators are all trustworthy (thiqat), while Suyuti declared it hasan in his Jami` al-saghir (#7701).
Allah placed His remembrance above prayer in value by making prayer the means and remembrance the goal. He said:
"Lo! Worship guards one from lewdness and iniquity, but verily, remembrance of Allah is greater/more important." (29:45)
"He is successful who purifies himself, and remembers the name of his Lord, and so prays." (87:14-15)
"So establish prayer for My remembrance." (20:14)
Ibn Hajar in his Fath al-bari (1989 ed. 11:251) relates Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-`Arabi's explanation that there is no good deed except with dhikr as a precondition for its validity, and whoever does not remember Allah in his heart at the time of his sadaqa or fasting, for example, then his deed is incomplete: therefore dhikr is the best of deeds because of this.
Dhikr is, therefore, something of tremendous importance. Abu Hurayra said that the Prophet said, Peace be upon him: "The earth and everything in it is cursed, except for dhikr and what attends dhikr, and a teacher (of dhikr) and a student (of dhikr)." Narrated by Tirmidhi who said it is hasan, Ibn Majah who said the same, Bayhaqi, and others. Suyuti cites it in al-Jami` al-saghir from al-Bazzar's similar narration from Ibn Mas`ud and he declared it sahih. Tabarani also narrated it in al-Awsat from Abu al-Darda'.
By the words "the world and everything in it" is meant here all that claims status or existence apart from Allah instead of in Him. In fact, all creation does dhikr because Allah said that all creation does praise to Him constantly, and tasbih is a kind of dhikr. Allah said of the Prophet Yunus, when the whale swallowed him: "Had he not been one of My glorifiers (musabbihin), he would have remained inside the whale's stomach until Judgment Day." (37:143-144)
The one who engages in dhikr has the highest rank of all before Allah. The people who call on Allah without distraction have been mentioned in Qur'an, as well as the effect that calling has on their heart: "In houses which Allah has allowed to be raised to honor and for His Name to be remembered in them; He is glorified there day and night by men whom neither trade nor sale can divert from the rememberance of Allah" (24:36-37). "Those who believe, and their hearts find satisfaction in the rememberance of Allah: By remembering Allah, truly satisfaction comes to the heart" (13:28).
During the night of Isra' and Mi`raj, the Prophet was taken up to a point where he heard the screeching of the Pens (writing the divine Decree). He saw a man who had disappeared into the light of the Throne. He said: "Who is this? Is this an angel?" It was said to him, no. He said: "Is it a Prophet?" Again the answer was no. He said: "Who is it then?" The answer was: "This is a man whose tongue was moist with Allah's remembrance in the world, and his heart was attached to the mosques, and he never incurred the curse of his father and mother." Shaykh Muhammad `Alawi al-Malaki cited it in his collated text of the sound narrations on that topic entitled al-Anwar al-bahiyya min isra' wa mi`raj khayr al-bariyya.
In Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban declared it fair (hasan): A man came to the Prophet and said, "O Rasulallah, the laws and conditions of Islam have become too many for me. Tell me something that I can always keep (i.e. in particular, as opposed to the many rules and conditions that must be kept in general)." By reading that the man said there were too many conditions to keep, one must understand that he was unsure that he could keep them all. He wanted something that he would be sure to keep always. The Prophet said: "(I am advising you in one thing:) Keep your tongue always moist with dhikrullah."
It is well-known in Islam that the best work in the path of Allah is jihad. Yet the Prophet, Peace be upon him, placed dhikr even above jihad in the following authentic hadiths.
Abu al-Darda' narrates: The Prophet once asked his companions: "Shall I tell you about the best of all deeds, the best act of piety in the eyes of your Lord, which will elevate your status in the Hereafter, and carries more virtue than the spending of gold and silver in the service of Allah or taking part in jihad and slaying or being slain in the path of Allah? The dhikr of Allah." Related in the Malik's Muwatta', the Musnad of Ahmad, the Sunan of Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and the Mustadrak of Hakim. Al-Bayhaqi, Hakim and others declared it sahih.
Abu Sa`id narrates: The Prophet was asked, "Which of the servants of Allah is best in rank before Allah on the Day of resurrection?" He said: "The ones who remember him much." I said: "O Messenger of Allah, what about the fighter in the way of Allah?" He answered: "Even if he strikes the unbelievers and mushrikin with his sword until it broke, and becomes red with their blood, truly those who do dhikr are better than him in rank." Related in Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Bayhaqi.