The Effects of Various Dhikr - Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad
The effects of dhikr are immense and it is hard to fully understand them. Often, one can feel a effect but not be too sure as to what sort of change is taking place in himself/herself. Perhaps there is a wisdom in that, that it keeps one focused in the dhikr and not self-aware.
Some of the effects of the dhikrs mentioned explicitly in the Sunnah are mentioned below, taken from Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad’s “Keys to the Garden.” Its not easy to find literature on this but nonetheless, its fascinating to read and gives direction and motivation for increasing one’s adhkar.
Tasbih- Subhana Allah (Transcendent is God) is an affirmation of the transcendence and holiness of the Real. It is to believe in His exaltation and His being totally beyond comparison as regards His essence, attributes, and actions, so that He is above anything which might suggest a flaw in His highness and perfection. Its result is to make one’s Tawhid clear and unblemished, and to fill the heart with the glory of God and the uniqueness of His perfection. "To Him is the highest analogy in the heavens and on earth." (Quran 30:27)
Tahlil -La ilaha illa’llah (There is no god but God) brings forth a renewal of the kind of Tawhid and faith proper to the elite. Ordinary Tawhid is an attribute of every believer.
Takbir- Allahu Akbar (God is Greater) inspires the reverence and magnification of Him who is the Possessor of Majesty (dhu’l jalal wa’l ikram).
Tahmid- Al-hamdulillah (Praise be to God) and invoking the names which denote His benevolence and mercy, such as the Compassionate (ar-Rahim), the All-Merciful (ar-Rahman), the Generous (al-Karim), the Ever-Forgiving (al-Ghaffar), and other similar names lead to three stations, gratitude, firm hope, and love, for it is inevitable that one who does good will be loved.
Hawqala and hasbala- La hawla wa la quwatta illah billah (There is neither power nor ability save by God) and Hasbuna’Allahu wa ni’ma’l wakil (God is our sufficiency and the Best of Guardians) result in reliance on God, surrendering the management of one’s affairs to Him, and placing one’s trust in Him.
Names carrying meanings of knowledge and awareness, such as the Omniscient, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the Near, and the Witness, lead to vigilance (muraqaba).
As for the invocation of blessings on the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam), this yield a strengthening of one’s love and nearness to him and greater scrupulousness in following his sunna.
Istighfar- Astaghfirullah (I seek God’s forgiveness) results in steadfast piety, care about the conditions necessary for repentance, and extricating oneself from the snares of sin.
If you wish to obtain all of these benefits, and attain to the highest ranks then you should search for a litany which includes all these kinds of invocations and prayers. You are such to find them in the litanies of our master Imam Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad, such as al-Wird al-Latif, al-Wird al-Kabir, al-Ratib, Hizb al-Fath and his Hizb an-Nasr. Similarly, you should use the Ratib of Habib Umar ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Attas, the litanies of Imam Abu’l Hassan al-Shadhili, Imam Nawawi (including the contents of his book al-Adhkar), the Hisn al-Hasin of Imam bin al-Jazari, Hizb al-Akbar of Mulla Ali Qari, and many other litanies of great benefit that may be found- praise to God- throughout the nation.
I shall now present to the reader of this treatise some words of wisdom that were given to me by one of the great saints regarding the invocation of Subhan’Allah wa bihamdih. He said:
To feel and perceive the meaning of wa bihamdih makes the invoker enter a vast space of gnosis, in which he comes to know the secret of the multiplication, growth and blessings of deeds. That is because the personal pronoun in wa bihamdih relates to God, the Majestic and High. When you say, Subhan’Allah wa bihamdih you mean, “I extol Him with His own praise of Himself, which is an ancient and everlasting as Himself and which is circumscribed by no limits or boundaries.” Thus, you are praising Him in a way with which He praises Himself. Similarly, in invoking blessings on the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam), you are asking God to bless His Prophet with His blessing, which is as eternal and everlasting as Himself and which has no limit short of the extent of His knowledge. Thus the reward for this is infinite and without limit.
Invocation and prayer are founded on being attentive, collected, and able vividly to sense their meanings. This will lead to the delight of the harvest and the flashing of lights.
–”Keys to the Garden” by Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad’s, pg. 122-3
Taken from Muslimology
Calligraphy imagery from Divine Collections