What is the Etiquette of Dhikr?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: Can you please detail what is the adab of dhikr? For example, when one is doing one’s daily wird, what should be taken into account? Is it necessary to be in wudu? For women, do I have to be covered? Is it possible to stop and continue where one left off?

Answer:Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah,

Definition of dhikr and its purpose

Ibn ‘Allan mentions Imam al-Razi’s definition for Dhikr: for the tongue, it is any utterance that indicates glorification, praise or exaltation; for the heart, it is pondering Allah’s essence and attributes, as well as considering one’s legal obligations and their proofs, and thinking about the secrets of Allah’s creation. For the body, it is for it to be continuously immersed in obedience.

Etiquette of dhikr

Imam al-Ghazali mentions ten etiquettes of Dhikr:

1. Taking advantage of excellent and beneficial times, such as at night

2. Taking advantage of good situations, such as during rainfall

3. To face the qibla

4. Lowering one’s voice

5. Not going overboard in choosing flowery expressions

6. Being in a state of humility, submission, hope and fear

7. Asking while believing that your prayers will be answered

8. Persisting in one’s supplications, and repeating them thrice

9. Beginning the supplication with the mention or praise of Allah before one’s request

10. Repenting, making amends, and turning to Allah with one’s entirety

Reciting dhikr without wudu

It is not necessary to be in a state of wudu to engage in dhikr, or to recite one’s daily litanies. It is, however, recommended to do so, such that one is in the best of states. This also goes for similar activities, such as reciting the Qur’an or reading Hadith, or engaging in the study of Islamic sciences.

Covering the ‘awrah for dhikr

It is not obligatory for a woman to cover the ‘awrah she would in prayer to engage in dhikr; however, it is generally recommended for a person to be in a good state when performing actions that are meant to draw oneself closer to Allah.

Completing one’s litanies

It is possible to stop and continue where one has left off in one’s daily litanies; they do not have to be completed at one go. However, it is preferable to have set times to do it, so that one is able to regulate one’s time and litany effectively. It is also recommended that one make up any missed litanies.

Sources: al-Hawashi al-Madaniyyah; Dalil al-Falihin; Ihya‘Ulum al-Din, al-Adhkar

Shuaib Ally