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Dhikr by Word and by Action

Answered by Imam Ahmad Sirhindi (Allah be pleased with him)
(famous as ‘Imam Rabbani’ and ‘Mujaddid Alf Thani’)

Question: What is dhikr by word and action?

Answer: There are many different ways of dhikr (remembrance of Allah), both through obeying Allah’s Laws, and through repeating certain phrases. Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi helps to clarify the relationship between the different ways of dhikr in the following passage. Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi says:

Remember that dhikr means to avoid forgetting Allah in any way that is possible. Contrary to what people think it is not confined to repeating the formula of nafi wa ithbat (i.e.la ilaha illa Allah) or repeating the ism dhat(i.e. Allah). In fact every act in compliance to the commands of Allah, whether positive or negative, is to remember Allah. Even the buying and selling in which you observe the regulations of the Shar` is dhikr; similarly, the marriage and divorce which is carried out according to the laws of the Shari`ah is dhikr. For one who performs these acts according to the Shar` is conscious of the Giver of theShar` and does not forget Him.

To be sure, the dhikr which consists in saying the names and attributes of Allah is more effective and more helpful in generating the love of Allah, and winning His nearness; and thedhikr which consists in submitting to Allah’s commands, in carrying out His orders or abstaining from His prohibitions, is less effective in producing these qualities. However, some people have acquired these qualities as a result of practisingdhikr in the sense of obeying Allah’s commands and avoiding His prohibitions. But such cases are few. Khwajah Naqshband has said about Zain ‘l-Din Tabyadi that he reached Allah by way of knowledge.

On the other hand, the dhikr which is saying the names and attributes of Allah, is a means (wasilah) to thedhikr which is obeying the rules of the Shar` in life. For it is impossible to observe the rules of theShar` in all matters unless one has a strong love for the Giver of the Shar`, and the strong love of Allah depends upon the dhikr of Allah by saying His names and attributes. Hence one has to say dhikr in order to do this noble dhikr.

[Quoted from “Sufism and Shari`ah: A study of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi’s Effort to Reform Sufism,” by Muhammad Abdul Haq Ansari (The Islamic Foundation, Leicester, UK, 1986), pp. 232-3. Originally from Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi’s letters, Vol. II:46. I have replaced the word “God” in the translation with the word “Allah”.]

http://www.haqq.com.au/~salam/sufishar/wordaction.html

Dhikr – Remembrance of God

Source: http://www.naqshbandi.org/topics/dhikr.htm

Dhikr is the means by which Stations yield their fruit, until the seeker reaches the Divine Presence. On the journey to the Divine Presence the seed of remembrance is planted in the heart and nourished with the water of praise and the food of glorification, until the tree of dhikr becomes deeply rooted and bears its fruit. It is the power of all journeying and the foundation of all success. It is the reviver from the sleep of heedlessness, the bridge to the One remembered.

The shaikhs strive to remember their Lord with every breath, as the angels are always in the state of dhikr, praising Allah. One of our shaikhs said, “I remembered You because I forgot You for a moment, and the easiest way for me is to remember You on my tongue.” If the seeker will mention his Lord in every moment, he will find peace and satisfaction in his heart, he will uplift his spirit and his soul, and he will sit in the Presence of his Lord. The Prophet (s) said in an authentic hadith mentioned in Ahmad’s Musnad, “The people of Dhikr are the people of My presence.” So the gnostic is the one who keeps the dhikr in his heart, and leaves behind the attachments of the lower worldly life.

Mention of Dhikr in the Qur’an

Dhikr is mentioned in many places in the Holy Qur’an, and in most verses, what was meant by the word dhikr is tasbih, glorifying; takbir, exalting; tahmid, praising; and praising and praying upon the Prophet (s).

Allah said in Surat al-Baqara, 152: “Remember Me and I will remember you.” [2:152]

He said in Surat ali Imran, 41, “…and remember your Lord much and glorify Him in the evening and in the early morning.” And again, 191, “Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides…” [3:41, 191]

He said in Surat al-Rad, 28, “Those who believe, and whose hearts find their rest in the remembrance of Allah–for, verily, in the remembrance of Allah hearts do find their rest.” [13:28]

And He said in Surat al-Ahzab, 35, “…and men who remember Allah much and women who remember Him…” And again, 41,42, “O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance; and glorify Him morning and evening.” [33: 35, 41-42]

There are many, many other verses of Qur’an mentioning dhikr. Imam Nawawi said in his book, “Futahat ar-Rabbani ala-l- Adhkar an-Nawawiyya,” vol. 1, p. 106-109, “All scholars of Islam have agreed on the acceptance and permissibility of Dhikr by heart and by tongue, for the adult men and women, for children, for the one who has ablution, and for the one without ablution; even for the woman during her menses. Moreover, dhikr is allowed by all scholars in the form of tasbih, tahmid, takbir and praising and praying for the Prophet (s).”

Dhikr polishes the heart and is the source of the Divine breath that revives the dead spirits by filling them with the Blessings of Allah, decorating them with His Attributes, and bringing them from a state of heedlessness to the state of complete wakefulness. If we keep busy with Dhikrullah, happiness and peace will be granted to us. Dhikr is the key to happiness, the key to joy, and the key to Divine Love.

Mention of Dhikr in the Sunnah

According to Bukhari, Abu Musa al-Ash`ari related that the Prophet (s) said, “The difference between the one who makes dhikr and the one who doesn’t make dhikr is like the difference between the living and the dead.”

Tirmidhi narrated from Anas (r) that the Prophet (s) said, “If you pass by the Paradises of Heavens stay there.” They asked, “Ya Rasul-Allah, what are the Paradises of Heavens?” He said, “The associations of Dhikr!”

Bukhari narrated in his book from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said, “Allah, Almighty and Exalted, has angels who seek the people of Dhikr. If they find the people of Dhikr they encompass them until they reach the first heaven. And Allah asks his angels, ‘What are my servants doing?’ The angels say, ‘O Allah, they are praising You and glorifying You and they are making Dhikr.’ Allah says, ‘Did they see Me?’ The angels answer, ‘No, they didn’t see You.’ Then Allah asks, ‘How would it be if they were to see Me?’ The angels reply, ‘O Allah, if they were to see You, they would be making more praise of You and more glorification of You and more Dhikr of You.’ And Allah asks ‘What are they asking for?’ The angels say, ‘They are asking for Your Paradise.’ Allah asks, ‘Did they see My Paradise?’ The angels answer, ‘No, Our Lord.’ Allah continues, ‘How would it be if they saw My Paradise?’ The angels reply, ‘They would be more attracted and more eager to reach it.’ Then Allah asks them, ‘Of what are they afraid?’ And the angels say, ‘They are afraid of hellfire.’ and Allah asks, ‘How would it be if they saw my Hellfire?’ and they reply, ‘They would be running more and more away from it and asking more and more protection from it.’ Then Allah said,’ I am making you all My witnesses: that I am forgiving them of all their sins.’ Then one angel asked, ‘O our Lord, there is among these people one who is not from them, he came only to ask for something from one of them.’ Allah said, ‘Those are my beloved ones who are making My Dhikr. Anyone who comes into their circle will be forgiven, and I am forgiving him.'”

In Bukhari and Muslim it is narrated from Abu Huraira that the Prophet (s) said, “As my servant thinks about Me so will I be for him. I am with him if he will remember Me. If he calls on Me in himself I will call him in Myself, and if he calls on Me in a group of people, I mention him in a better group in My presence. If he approaches Me one hand-span, I will approach him one arm’s length; if he approaches Me one arm’s length, I will approach him by a cubit; if he comes to Me walking, I will come to him running.”

Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah narrated on the authority of Abi Darda that the Prophet said, “Do you want me to tell you of your best deeds, and the most honored and praised and sanctified to Your Lord, and the highest in its reward; better than spending gold and better than meeting your enemy and cutting their necks in the jihad?” They said, “Yes, Ya Rasulallah.” He said, “Dhikrullah.”

The Prophet (s) said, “Everything has its polish and the polish of hearts is dhikrullah.”

Mu’adh bin Jabal (r) said, “Nothing saves you from Allah’s punishment except Dhikrullah.”

There are many, many other hadith about the benefits and blessings of Dhikr such that it is impossible to quote all of them here.

From the Sayings of Imams and Scholars about Dhikr

Ibn `Abbas (r) said “Allah, Almighty and Exalted, put a limit on all the obligations that He ordered human beings except for Dhikr. For it there is no limit.”

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya said in his book, Al-Wabil as-Sa’ib, p. 52, “There is no doubt that the heart oxidizes, just as copper and silver oxidize. Its polishing is the dhikr, which will make it like a white mirror. The oxidation of the heart is due to heedlessness and sin. Its polishing is by means of two actions: repentance and dhikr. If someone’s heart is cloudy, the reflections of images will be unclear, he will see falsehood as truth and truth in the image of falsehood (batil). When there is too much oxidization on the heart, the heart will be darkened, and in the darkness the images of the Truth and Reality never appear. The best way to polish it is through Dhikrullah.”

Ibn `Ata’illah as-Sakandari said, “By Dhikr you leave behind heedlessness and forgetfulness, and you keep your heart Present with Allah, Almighty and Exalted. The best way to approach His Presence is by reciting the name ‘Allah,’ in the heart or on the tongue, or by reciting any of His Names.” [Miftah al-Falah, p. 4]

Abul Qasim al-Qushayri said, “Dhikr is the strongest support in the way of Allah, ‘Azza wa Jall. No one can reach the Divine Presence except by continuing to recite Dhikr.” [Risalat al-Qushayriyya]

Mulay al-`Arabi ad-Darqawi said, “Do not say, ‘I am nothing’; neither say, ‘I am something.’ Do not say: ‘I need such and such a thing’; nor yet: ‘I need nothing.’ But say: ‘Allah,’ and you will see marvels.” [Letters of a Sufi Master]

We see from what has been mentioned that all guides and perfect shaikhs advised the seeker in the Way of Allah to make continuous dhikr in all states of their lives and to keep the company of the people in associations of Dhikr. We see that the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) and the scholars are all in accordance on this matter.

The Types of Dhikr

Dhikr can be can be done both silently or aloud. The Prophet (s) encouraged people to do both kinds. Among the scholars of shari’ah and the Sufi shaikhs, some preferred the loud dhikr and some preferred the silent dhikr.

Loud Dhikr

Bukhari narrated that Abu Huraira (r) reported that the Prophet (s) said, “If My servant mentions Me in himself, I will mention him in Myself. If he mentions Me in a group, I will mention him in a group in My presence.” We understand from this hadith that to mention Allah in a group indicates loud dhikr. Some scholars determined from this that using loud dhikr is permitted.

Bukhari narrated in his book of hadith, that Ibn ‘Abbas (r) said, “In the time of the Prophet (s) the people used to raise their voices in Dhikr.”

Bukhari narrated in his book of hadith, that Abu Ma’bad (r), the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbas (r), said: “Ibn ‘Abbas told me, ‘In the lifetime of the Prophet (s), it was the custom to celebrate Allah’s praises aloud after the obligatory congregational prayers.'” Ibn ‘Abbas (r) continued, “When I heard the Dhikr, I would know that the congregational prayer had ended.”

Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi related that as-Sa’ib (r) purported that the Prophet (s) said, “Jibril came to me and ordered me to order my Companions to raise their voices in takbir.”

It is narrated by Bukhari and Muslim and mentioned by Jalaluddin as-Suyuti, from other collections, that ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (r) said, “I asked the Prophet (s) one time, ‘O Messenger of Allah, guide me to the shortest way to Allah’s Presence, and the easiest way to worship, and the best way for Allah, Almighty and Exalted. The Prophet (s) said, ‘O ‘Ali, you have to be continuously making Dhikrullah, silently and aloud.’ I replied, ‘O Prophet (s), all human beings are making dhikr. Give me something special.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘O ‘Ali, the best of what I, and all prophets before me, said is, la ilaha illallah. If all the heavens and earth were placed on one side of the balance and la ilaha illallah were placed in the other, la ilaha illallahwould be heavier. Judgment Day will never come as long as there are people on this earth saying la ilaha illallah.’ Then I said, ‘How should I recite.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘Close your eyes and listen to me reciting la ilaha ill-Allah three times. Then you say it three times and I will listen to you.’ Then the Prophet (s) said it and I repeated it in a loud voice.”

In the narration of Imam Ahmad and Tabarani this hadith is continued, describing how the Prophet taught his Companions the dhikr. “‘Ibada bin Samit said that the Prophet (s) said, ‘Is there any stranger among you?’ And we said, ‘No, Ya Rasul-Allah.’ He said, ‘Close the door.’ Then he said, ‘Raise your hand and repeat after me La ilaha illallah’ We raised our hand and said,la ilaha illallah. Then the Prophet (s) said, ‘Praise be to Allah that He sent me to this world with this kalimah, and He ordered me with it, and He promised me the Paradise with it, and He never changes His Promise.’ Then the Prophet (s) said, ‘Be happy! Allah has forgiven you.'”

Jalaladin as-Suyuti mentioned in an article called “Natijat al-Fikr fi Jahri-dh-Dhikr,” the Benefits of Loud Dhikr, twenty-five authentic hadiths which mention doing loud dhikr.

Silent Dhikr

Allah mentioned in Surat al-Araf, 205, “And remember thy Lord in thy self with humility and fear, and without loudness of speech, in the mornings and evenings; and be not of the neglectful.” [7:205]

Imam Ahmad narrated, “Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (s) said that Allah says, ‘I am with my servant when he remembers Me and by his remembrance of Me his lips move.” Commenting on this hadith, Imam Nawawi said, “Allah is with the one who remembers Him and calls Him in his heart, and calls Him on his tongue, but we must realize that the dhikr of the heart is more perfect. The rememberer made dhikr of the tongue in order to reflect the occurrence of the dhikr in his heart. When the love of Allah and His Remembrance overwhelms the heart and the spirit, the tongue is moved and the seeker brought near.”

Sheikh Amin al-Kurdi said in The Enlightenment of Hearts (Tanwir al-Qulub) p. 522: “The dhikr by tongue, which combines sounds and letters, is not easy to perform at all times, because buying and selling and other such activities altogether divert one’s attention from such dhikr. The contrary is true of the dhikr by heart, which is named that way in order to signify its freedom from letters and sounds. In that way nothing distracts one from his dhikr, as the poet says:

With the heart remember Allah, secretly from creation, wordlessly and speechlessly.

That remembrance is best of all: out of it flowed the sayings of the saints.

“That is why our Naqshbandi masters have chosen thedhikr of the heart. Moreover, the heart is the place where the Forgiver casts his gaze, and the seat of belief, and the receptacle of secrets, and the source of lights. If it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is unsound, the whole body is unsound, as was made clear for us by the chosen Prophet (s).

“Something that confirms this was narrated on the authority of A’isha (r): ‘Allah favors dhikr above dhikrseventy-fold (meaning, silent dhikr over louddhikr). On the Day of Resurrection, God will bring back human beings to His account, and the Recording Angels will bring what they have recorded and written, and Allah Almighty will say: See if something that belongs to my servant was left out? The angels will say: We left nothing out concerning what we have learnt and recorded, except that we have assessed it and written it. Allah will say: O my servant, I have something good of yours for which I alone will reward you, it is your hidden remembrance of Me.’ Bayhaqi narrated it.

“Also on the authority of A’isha: ‘The dhikr not heard by the Recording Angels equals seventy times the one they hear.’ Bayhaqi narrates it.”

Explanation of Prophetic Hadith: “Keep Your Tongue Moist With Remembrance of Allah” from Ibn Rajab’s Commentary on Nawawi’s 40 Hadith

Explanation of Prophetic Hadith: “Keep Your Tongue Moist With Remembrance of Allah” from Ibn Rajab’s Commentary on Nawawi’s 40 Hadith

Jami’ al-‘Ulum wa’l-Hikam – Hadith Fifty – by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

 

Abdullah ibn Busr said, “A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam have become too many for us, so [give us] a means of access to which we can cling which is comprehensive.’ He said, ‘Let not your tongue cease to be moist with the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.’” Imam Ahmad narrated it with this wording.

At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban, in his Sahih, narrated it in the same sense, and at-Tirmidhi said, “Good but unusual [in that there is a single narrator at some point in the chain of transmission].” All of them narrated it in the version of ‘Amr ibn Qays al-Kindi from ‘Abdullah ibn Busr.{{Ahmad in the Musnad (4:188), at-Tirmidhi (3435)}}

Ibn Hibban narrated in his Sahih, and others, the hadith of Mu’adh ibn Jabal that he he said, “The last thing upon which I parted from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace is that I said to him, ‘Which actions are better and closer to Allah?’ He answered, ‘That you die while your tongue is moist with the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.’”{{Ibn Hibban (918)}}

In this book we have previously seen in different places a great deal of mention of the excellences of remembrance, and here we will mention the merit in persisting in it and being constant in it, and in doing a great deal of it.

Allah, glorious is He, orders the mu’minun to remember Him a great deal and praises those who remember Him in that way. He says, exalted is He:

“You who have iman! remember Allah much, and glorify Him in the morning and the evening,”{{Surat al-Ahzab: 41}} and He says, exalted is He:

“and remember Allah much so that hopefully you will be successful,”{{Surat al-Jumu’ah: 10}} and He says, exalted is He:

“men and women who remember Allah much: Allah has prepared forgiveness for them and an immense reward,”{{Surat al-Ahzab: 35}} and He says, exalted is He:

“those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides.”{{Surat Al ‘Imran: 191}}

There is in Sahih Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed a mountain called Jumdan and said, “Travel! This is Jumdan, and the utterly devoted (mufarridun) have preceded.” They asked, “Who are the utterly devoted, Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “The men and women who remember Allah abundantly.”{{Muslim (2676)}}

Imam Ahmad narrated it and his wording has, “The utterly devoted have preceded.” They asked, “Who are the utterly devoted?” He answered, “The ones who are addicted to the remembrance of Allah.”{{Ahmad (2:323)}}

At-Tirmidhi narrated it, and according to him they said, “Messenger of Allah, who are the utterly devoted?” He answered, “Those who are addicted to the remembrance of Allah. The remembrance removes from them their heavy burdens and so they come light on the Day of Rising.”{{At-Tirmidhi (3596)}}

Musa ibn ‘Ubaydah narrated from Abu ‘Abdullah al-Qarradh that Mu’adh ibn Jabal said, “Once while we were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passing by the side of Jumdan he became alert and said, ‘Mu’adh! where are the forerunners (sabiqun)?’ I replied, ‘They have gone on, and some people remain behind.’ He said, ‘Mu’adh, the forerunners are those who are addicted to the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”{{At-Tabarani in al-Kabir (20:326)}} Ja’far al-Firyabi narrated it.

The reason for the mention of the forerunners in this hadith becomes clear from this thread (in the hadith just mentioned), because when the riders went on ahead and some remained behind, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, drew attention to the fact that the forerunners in reality are the ones who are constant in remembrance of Allah so much so that they are hardly able to separate from His remembrance. This is because addiction to some thing (istihtar) is to be devoted to it and passionately in love with it. This is according to the version of those who narrate it as “addicted” (mustahtirun), and one of them narrated it and in it he said, “the ones who lose their reason [yuhtarun] in remembrance of Allah.” Ibn Qutaybah explained hatr as a mistake in speech, as it is in the hadith, “Those who revile one another are two shaytans who accuse one another and deny one another by saying false things [yatahataran].”{{Ahmad (4:162), al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad (427)}}

He said, “What is meant by this hadith is someone whose life is lengthened and he becomes addicted to the remembrance of Allah and to His obedience.” He said, “What is meant by the utterly devoted (mufarridun) in this version is someone who secludes himself in his life away from the generation in which he lives. As for the first version, the meaning of the utterly devoted is those who are isolated from people by the remembrance of Allah, exalted is He.” That is what he said. It is possible – and more obvious – that the meaning of being singled out in both versions is that one is singled out by this action which is much remembrance of Allah and not being singled out physically, either from the generation or from mingling, and Allah knows best.

On this same meaning, there is the saying of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz on the night of ‘Arafah at ‘Arafah close to departure [to Muzdalifah], “The forerunner today is not someone who rode ahead with his camel, but the forerunner is whoever is forgiven.”

With this chain of transmission from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he said, “Whoever wishes to graze in the meadows of the Garden then let him do a great deal of remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”{{Ibn Abi Shaybah (10:302)}}

Imam Ahmad, an-Nasa’i, and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih narrated a hadith of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Seek to do a lot of the ‘right actions which are lasting.’{{See Surat al-Kahf: 45}}” Someone said, “What are they, Messenger of Allah?” He said:

“Allahu akbar – Allah is greater, Subhana’llah – Glory be to Allah, la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah and al-hamdu lillah – praise belongs to Allah, and la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah – there is no power and no strength but by Allah.”{{Ahmad (3:75), an-Nasa’i in al-Kubra and Ibn Hibban (840)}}

There is in the Musnad and in the Sahih of Ibn Hibban from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri also from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, “Do so much dhikr of Allah that they say, ‘[He is] mad.’”{{Ahmad (3:68, 71) and Ibn Hibban (817)}}

Abu Nu’aym narrated in al-Hilyah a marfu’ hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas, “Remember Allah with so much remembrance that the hypocrites will say, ‘You are doing it for show.’”{{Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (3:80-81)}}

Imam Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi narrated in a hadith of Abu Sa’id that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, “Which slaves have the best rank with Allah on the Day of Rising?” He said, “The ones who remember Allah a great deal.” Someone said, “Messenger of Allah, [better] than the one who goes on expeditions in the way of Allah?” He said, “Even if he struck with his sword among the kuffar and the idolaters until it was broken and covered with blood, those who remember Allah would be in a better rank than him.”{{Ahmad (3:75) and at-Tirmidhi (3376)}}

Imam Ahmad narrated a hadith of Sahl ibn Mu’adh [from his father] from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that a man asked him saying, “Which jihad is greater in reward, Messenger of Allah?” He answered, “The one of them who most remembers Allah.” He said, “Which of the fasting people is greater?” He said, “The one of them who most remembers Allah.” Then he mentioned to us the prayer, the zakah, the Hajj and sadaqah, about each of which the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The one of them who most remembers Allah.” So Abu Bakr said, “Abu Hafs, the people of remembrance [of Allah] have gone off with every good thing.” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Indeed.”{{Ahmad (3:438)}}

Ibn al-Mubarak and Ibn Abi’d-Dunya narrated it in other ways as a mursal hadith in the same sense.

There is in Sahih Muslim from ‘A’ishah that she said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to remember Allah at every moment.”{{Muslim (373)}}

Abu’d-Darda’ said, “Those whose tongues remain moist with the remembrance of Allah, each of them will enter the Garden laughing.” Someone said to him, “A man has freed one hundred souls.” He said, “A hundred souls from a man’s property is a great deal, but better than that is an iman to which one clings night and day, and that the tongue of each of you remains moist with the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”

Mu’adh said, “That I should remember Allah from early in the morning until the night is preferable to me than that I should be carried on fine horses in the way of Allah from early in the morning until the night.”{{Ibn Abi Shaybah (10:302)}}

Ibn Mas’ud said concerning His saying, exalted is He:

“have taqwa of Allah with the taqwa due to Him,”{{Surah Al ‘Imran: 102}} “That He is obeyed and not disobeyed, remembered and not forgotten, shown gratitude and not shown ingratitude.” Al-Hakim narrated it as a marfu’ hadith and declared it to be sound, but the well known position is that it is a mawquf statement.

Zayd ibn Aslam said, “Musa, peace be upon him, said, ‘My Lord, You have poured out many blessings upon me, so show me how to thank you a great deal.” He said, “Remember Me a great deal, for when you remember Me a great deal you have shown gratitude to Me a great deal. When you forget Me, you have been ungrateful to Me.”

Al-Hasan said, “The most beloved of the slaves of Allah to Allah are those who remember Him the most and whose hearts have the mosttaqwa.”

Ahmad ibn Abi’l-Hawari said, “Abu’l-Mukhariq narrated to me saying, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘I passed a man, on the night in which I was made to ascend (al-Isra’), who was concealed in the light of the Throne, and I said, “Who is this? An angel?” Someone said, “No.” I asked, “A prophet?” Someone said, “No.” I asked, “Who is he?” He said, “This is a man whose tongue was moist with the remembrance of Allah, and whose heart was attached to the mosques, and who never abused his parents.”’”{{Narrated by Ibn Abi’d-Dunya as mentioned by al-Mundhiri in at-Targhib wa’t-tarhib (2:395)}}

Ibn Mas’ud said, “Musa, peace be upon him, said, ‘Lord, which actions are the most beloved to You that I should do?’ He said, ‘That you remember Me and not forget Me.’”

Abu Ishaq said [narrating] from Mitham, “It has reached me that Musa, peace be upon him, said, ‘Lord, which of Your slaves are most beloved to You?’ He answered, ‘Those of them who most remember Me.’”

Ka’b said, “Whoever remembers Allah a great deal is free of hypocrisy.” And Mu’ammal narrated it from Hammad ibn Salamah from Suhayl ibn Salih from his father from Abu Hurayrah as a marfu’ hadith. {{At-Tabarani in al-Awsat as mentioned in Lisan al-mizan (5:195)}}

At-Tabarani narrated with his chain of transmission as a marfu’ hadith, “Whoever does not remember Allah a great deal is quit of iman,”{{At-Tabarani in as-Saghir (974)}} and what bears witness to this sense is that Allah, exalted is He, describes the hypocrites as only remembering Allah a little. So whoever remembers Allah a great deal has become distinctly clear from them in their description, and it is for this reason that Surat al-Munafiqun is concluded with the order to remember Allah, and that neither property nor children should distract the mu’min from that, and that whoever is distracted by them from the remembrance of Allah is one of the losers.

Ar-Rabi’ ibn Anas said, as [narrated by] one of his companions, “The sign of the love of Allah is that there is a great deal of remembrance of Him, because if you ever love a thing you remember it a great deal.”

Fath al-Mawsili said, “The lover of Allah does not neglect the remembrance of Allah for the blink of an eye.” Dhu’n-Nun said, “Whoever’s heart and tongue are occupied with remembrance, Allah casts into his heart the light of longing for Him.”

Ibrahim ibn al-Junayd said, “It used to be said, ‘One of the signs of love of Allah is being continuous in remembrance with the heart and the tongue. Rarely is a man passionate about remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic, without him benefitting from it the love of Allah.’” One of the right-acting first generations used to say in his intimate discourse [with Allah], “When the foolish people weary of their folly, your lover will never weary of intimate discourse with You and remembrance of You.”

Abu Ja’far al-Muhawwali said, “The heart of the close friend of Allah who loves Allah is never free of remembrance of his Lord, and is never weary of His service.” We have mentioned the saying of ‘A’ishah, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to remember Allah at every moment,” meaning when he stood, walked, sat and reclined, whether he was in the state of wudu’ or not.

Mis’ar said, “The fish in the sea would rest and be still, but Yusuf, peace be upon him, in the prison would not rest and be still from the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”

Abu Hurayrah had a thread in which there were one thousand knots and he would not sleep until he had glorified [Allah] on it.{{Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (1:383)}}

Khalid ibn Ma’dan used to glorify every day forty thousand times apart from what he used to recite of the Qur’an. When he died they put him on his couch to wash him, and he began to indicate with his finger, moving it in glorification.

Someone said to ‘Umayr ibn Hani’, “We do not see your tongue pausing. How much do you glorify every day?” He said, “One hundred thousand glorifications, unless the fingers make a mistake,” meaning that he used to count that with his fingers.

‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Abi Rawwad said, “There was a woman with us in Makkah who used to glorify every day twelve thousand glorifications. Then she died. When [her body] reached the graveyard, it was snatched from out of the men’s hands.”

Al-Hasan al-Basri used often to say if he was not discoursing or he had no work:

“Glorious is Allah the Vast.” Someone mentioned that to one of the fuqaha’ of Makkah and he said, “Your companion is a faqih; no one says it seven times but that a house is built for him in the Garden.”

Generally the speech of Ibn Sirin was:

“Glorious is Allah the Vast, glory be to Allah and in His praise.”

Al-Mughirah ibn Hakim as-San’ani used to descend to the sea when eyes were still [in sleep] and stand in the water remembering Allah with the creatures of the sea.”

One of them slept at Ibrahim ibn Adham’s. He said, “Whenever I woke up at night, I found him remembering Allah, and I became sorrowful.{{He felt sorrowful because he could not do the same. Ed.}} Then later I consoled myself with this ayah:

“That is the unbounded favour of Allah which He gives to whoever He wills.”{{Surat al-Ma’idah: 54}}

For the lover, the name of his beloved is not absent from his heart, and even if he was charged with the task of forgetting to remember Him he would not be able. If he was charged with restraining his tongue from His remembrance he could not be patient.

How could the lover forget the mention of a beloved,

whose name is written in his heart?

When the idolaters tortured Bilal in the hot desert because of his tawhid, he would say, “Ahad! Ahad! – One! One!” When they said to him, “Say, ‘Al-lat and al-‘uzza{{Two idols worshipped by the idolaters. Ed.}},’ he said, ‘I do not know it well.’”

What is desired of the heart is your forgetfulness

and the temperaments refuse the transmitter.

Whenever the ma’rifah (gnosis) is strong, the remembrance flows on the tongue of the rememberer without constraint, so much so that for one of them his tongue used to flow with, “Allah, Allah,” in his sleep. For that reason the people of the Garden are inspired to make glorification just as they are inspired to breathe, and “la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah,” for them becomes as cool water is for the people of the world. ath-Thawri used to recite:

It is not because I forget You that I do a great deal of Your dhikr

but because that is what runs on my tongue.

When the lover hears the name of his beloved from somone else it increases his agitation, and his disquiet is multiplied. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to Ibn Mas’ud, “Recite the Qur’an to me.” He asked, “Should I recite it to you when it was revealed to you?” He answered, “I love to hear it from someone other than me.” So he recited to him and his eyes overflowed with tears.{{Al-Bukhari (5050) and Muslim (800)}}

Ash-Shibli heard someone saying, “O Allah! O Generous Giver!” and he became agitated:

And a caller called when we were in Khayf of Mina

and he agitated the sadnesses of the heart and he does not know.

He called by the name Layla someone other than Her and it was as if

he made a bird that was in my breast fly off with Layla.

The pulse becomes disturbed at the mention of the beloved:

When the beloved is mentioned in the presence of his lover,

The intoxicated one reels and the emotions are stirred with yearning.

The remembrance of the lovers is different from the remembrance of the heedless:

“The mu’minun are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned.”{{Surat al-Anfal: 2}}

A liveliness comes to me from the remembrance of you,

just as the sparrow trembles whom the rain wets it.

One of the seven whom Allah shades in His shade on the day when there is no shade but His shade is, “A man who remembered Allah while alone and his eyes overflowed with tears.”

Abu’l-Jild said, “Allah, mighty is He and majestic, revealed to Musa, peace be upon him, ‘When you remember Me, then remember with your limbs trembling, and at My remembrance be humble and still. When you remember Me put your tongue behind your heart.’”

‘Ali described the Companions one day, saying, “When they remembered Allah, they would become in a state of violent commotion as do the trees on a day of strong winds, and their tears would flow on to their clothing.”

Zuhayr al-Babi, “Allah has slaves who remember Him and whose souls leave [their bodies] out of exaltation and longing; and there are people who remember Him and whose hearts tremble out of fear and awe so that even if they were burned with fire they would not experience the burning of the fire; and there are others who remember Him in the winter in all its coldness, and break out in a sweat for fear of Him, and people who remember Him and so their colours change permanently, and people who remember Him and their eyes dry from remaining awake throughout the night.”

Abu Yazid prayed Dhuhr, but when he meant to say the “Allahu akbar – Allah is greater” he was unable because of his honour for the name of Allah and violent fear siezed him so much that the clatter of his bones was heard.

When Abu Hafs an-Naysaburi remembered Allah, his state used to change so much that everyone who was with him could see it, and he used to say, “I do not think that a truthful person remembers Allah without neglectfulness and then remains alive except for the prophets, because they are aided by the strength of prophethood, and the elect of the close friends [of Allah] because of the strength of their close friendship.”

When she heard the name of the Beloved her joints

clattered because of the shock of what she remembers.

Abu Yazid stood one night until the morning exerting himself in trying to say, “la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah,” but unable to do so because of his great honour [for Him] and awe. When it was morning he came down and urinated blood.

I have never remembered you without forgetting you

with the forgetfulness of honouring but not the forgetfulness of neglect.

Since I remember who you are and how I

honoured the likes of you, it occurs to my mind.

Remembrance is the delight of the hearts of the gnostics. He says u:

“those who have iman and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace.”{{Surat ar-Ra’d: 28}}

Malik ibn Dinar said, “Pleasure seekers find no pleasure like the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”

In some of the ancient books, Allah, mighty is He and majestic, says, “Assembly of the truthful, in Me rejoice, and with My remembrance find pleasure.” In another tradition which we mentioned before, “They return to remembrance just as eagles return to their nests.”

Ibn ‘Umar said, “The people of the Book informed me that this ummah loves remembrance just as the pigeon loves its nest, and that they are quicker in going to remembrance of Allah than are camels to go to the water on the day when they are thirsty.”

The hearts of the lovers are only tranquil with His remembrance, and the spirits of the people of longing are only still by seeing Him. Dhu’n-Nun said, “The world is only sweet with His remembrance, and the next life is only sweet with His pardon, and the Garden is only sweet with His vision.”

Always the souls of seekers

long for your traces.

Similarly, hearts by your remembrance

after fear find stillness.

They are shielded by your love, and who

falls in love with the beloved without being shielded?

By your lives! my masters

be generous regards joining you and grant it.

We have previously seen the hadith, “Remember Allah so much that they say, ‘[He is] mad!’” One of them said:

I have done a great deal of your remembrance

so much so that someone said, “[He is] melancholic [waswas]!”

Abu Muslim al-Khawlani used to do dhikr a great deal, and a man saw him and rejected his state. He said to his companions, “Is your friend mad?” Abu Muslim overheard him and he said, “No, my brother, but this is the remedy for madness.”

By the sanctity of love! I have no substitute for you,

and I have no goal in other than you, my masters.

I stipulated to some people whom I accompanied,

that my heart is for you not for them and they were contented.

From my talking about you they said, “He is sick!”

and so I said, “May that sickness never leave me.”

The lovers are averse to every occupation which keeps them busy from remembrance, for no thing is more beloved to them than isolation with their beloved.

‘Isa, peace be upon him, said, “Hawariyyun! speak to Allah a great deal, and speak to people little.” They asked, “How can we speak to Allah a great deal?” He said, “Isolate yourself in intimate discourse with Him. Isolate yourself in supplication to Him.”

One of the right-acting first generations used to pray one thousand rak’ahs every day until his legs were crippled. Then he used to pray one thousand rak’ahs sitting. When he prayed ‘Asr he would crouch drawing his legs close to his belly, face the qiblah and say, “I am amazed at how people can be intimate with other than You. Indeed, I am amazed at how people’s hearts can light up by the remembrance of other than You.”

One of them used to fast continually, and then when it came time for breaking his fast, he would say, “I sense my self emerging because of my being occupied in the remembrance of food.”

Someone asked Muhammad ibn an-Nadr, “Are you not lonely by yourself?” He answered, “How could I be lonely when He says, ‘I sit with whoever remembers Me’?”{{The saying “I sit with whoever remembers Me” has been mentioned by as-Sakhawi in al-Maqasid al-hasanah.}}

I concealed the name of the beloved from the slaves

and I renewed the tenderness of love in my heart.

Oh my longing for an empty land

so that I might call on the name of the one I love.

When the state of the lover and his gnosis become strong, no occupation keeps him too busy to remember with his heart and tongue. So he is among people in his body, but his heart is attached to the highest locus, as ‘Ali said î in describing them, “They accompany the world with bodies whose spirits are attached to the highest locus.” In this sense it was said:

My body is with me but the ruh is with you

so the body is in exile and the ruh is in its homeland.

Someone else said:

I have put you in the heart as the one I talk to

and I have permitted my body for whoever wishes to sit with me.

My body is an intimate companion for whoever sits with me

and the lover of my heart is my intimate in my heart.

This was the state of the messengers and the siddiqun. He says, exalted is He:

“You who have iman! when you meet a troop, stand firm and remember Allah abundantly.”{{Surat al-Anfal: 45.}}

There is in at-Tirmidhi as a marfu’ hadith, “Allah, mighty is He and majestic, says, ‘My slave, My true slave is the one who remembers Me while he meets his match [in battle].’”{{At-Tirmidhi (3580)}}

He says, exalted is He:

“When you have finished salah remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on your sides,”{{Surat an-Nisa’: 103}} meaning the prayer in the state of fear. For this reason He says:

“When you are safe again do salah in the normal way.”{{Surat an-Nisa’: 103}} He says, exalted is He, in mention of the prayer of Jumu’ah:

“Then when the salah is finished spread through the earth and seek Allah’s bounty and remember Allah much so that hopefully you will be successful.”{{Surat al-Jumu’ah: 10}} and so He commands that we combine seeking His bounty and much remembrance of Him.

For this reason it is narrated that it is better to remember Allah in the markets and the places of forgetfulness and neglect [of the worship of Allah] as is in the Musnad, at-Tirmidhi, and Sunan Ibn Majah from ‘Umar as a marfu’ hadith, “Whoever enters the market in which there is shouting and selling and he says:

‘There is no god but Allah alone without associate. His is the kingdom and His is the praise. He gives life and He gives death, and He is living, He does not die. In His hand is the good and He has power to do all things,’ then Allah will write for him one thousand thousand good actions and efface for him one thousand thousand wrong actions, and raise him up one thousand thousand degrees.”{{At-Tirmidhi (3428-9), Ibn Majah (2235), Ahmad (1:47), ad-Darimi (2:293) and al-Hakim (1:538)}}

In another hadith, “The one who remembers Allah among neglectful people is like someone who remains fighting while others flee. The one who remembers Allah among neglectful people is like a green tree in the middle of dry trees.”{{Ibn ‘Adi in al-Kamil (5:1745)}}

Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said, “As long as a man’s heart remembers Allah then he is in salah even if he is in the market, and if his lips move with it it is better.”

One of the right-acting first generations used to go intentionally to the market to remember Allah in it in the midst of the people of forgetfulness [of His remembrance].

Two men from among them met in the market and one of them said to his companion, “Come let us remember Allah among the neglectful people,” and they went apart in a place and remembered Allah. Then later they separated. Later one of them died and the other met him in his dream. So he said to him, “I was given to know that Allah forgave us the evening we met in the market.”

Section: on specific appointed dhikrs in the day and the night

It is well known that Allah, mighty is He and majestic, made it obligatory for the Muslims to remember Him five times every day and night by establishing the five prayers in their prescribed times, and He prescribed for them along with these five obligations that they should remember Him with other optional (nafilah) acts. And optional (nafilah) is extra, so that that should be over and above the five prayers. This is of two sorts:

First, that which is of the same sort as the prayer, and so He laid down that they should pray along with and before the five prayers or after them, or both before and after other Sunnah prayers which are over and above the obligatory prayers, so that if there is any shortcoming in the obligatory prayers He will heal their shortcomings with these optional prayers, but if there is not [any shortcoming] then the optional prayers will be over and above the obligatory.

The longest space of time between the times of prayer in which there is no obligatory prayer is that between the prayer of ‘Isha’ and that of Fajr, and then that between Fajr and the prayer of Dhuhr, and so He laid down between each of these two prayers [other] prayers which would be optional so that the time of forgetfulness of the remembrance [of Allah] should not be too long. He laid down for between the prayer of ‘Isha’ and Fajr the prayer of the Witr and the standing of the night [in tahajjud], and between the prayer of Fajr and Dhuhr the prayer of Duha.

Some of these prayers are more firmly established than others, and the most firmly established is the Witr – and so the people of knowledge differed as to whether or not it is a duty – and then the standing in prayer at night upon which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, persisted both when resident and travelling, and then the prayer of Duha, about which people differ. There are sound hadith about it being preferable to persist and urging that we practise it. There are also [sound hadith] urging prayer just after the declining of the sun [from the meridian].

As for remembrance with the tongue, it is laid down to be done at every moment, and it is emphasised at some moments.

Examples of times when it is emphasised to remember Allah are: immediately after the obligatory prayers, and that one remember Allah after each prayer of them one hundred times with a mixture of Subhana’llah – Glory be to Allah, al-hamdu lillah – praise belongs to Allah,Allahu akbar – Allah is greater, and la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah.

It is also desirable to remember Him after the two prayers after which there are no optional prayers [allowed], which are the Fajr and ‘Asr, and so it is laid down to remember Allah after the prayer of Fajr until the sun rises, and after ‘Asr until the sun sets. For this reason, Allah, exalted is He, commands His remembrance in these two times in many places in the Qur’an, such as in His saying:

“and glorify Him in the morning and the evening,”{{Surat al-Ahzab: 42}} and His saying:

“Remember the Name of your Lord in the morning and the evening,”{{Surat al-Insan: 25}} and His saying:

“glorify Him in the evening and after dawn,”{{Surah Al ‘Imran: 41}} and His saying:

“and gestured to them to glorify Allah in the morning and the evening,”{{Surah Maryam: 11}} and His saying:

“So glory be to Allah when you start the night and when you greet the day,”{{Surat ar-Rum: 17}} and His saying:

“Ask forgiveness for your wrong action and glorify your Lord with praise in the evening and the early morning,”{{Surat al-Ghafir: 55}} and His saying:

“Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening. Do not be one of the unaware,”{{Surat al-A’raf: 205}} and His saying:

“and glorify your Lord with praise before the rising of the sun and before its setting,”{{Surah Ta Ha: 130}} and His saying:

“and glorify your Lord with praise before the rising of the sun and before it sets.”{{Surah Qaf: 39}}

The best remembrance done at these two times are the prayers of Fajr and of ‘Asr which are the best prayers, about each of which it has been said that they are the midmost prayer, and that they are the two loved ones [lit: cool] which whoever safeguards them will enter the Garden. Next to them in the times of remembrance is the night; for this reason the glorification of the night and its salah are mentioned after the mention of these two times in the Qur’an.

[When mentioned] without any qualification remembrance includes salah, recitation of the Qur’an and learning and teaching it, useful knowledge, just as it includes glorification, praise, magnification and la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah. Among our companions there are those who regard recitation of Qur’an as being weightier than glorification and the like after Fajr and ‘Asr. Al-Awza’i was asked about that and he said, “Their guidance was remembrance of Allah, but if one recites then it is good.” The apparent meaning of this is that remembrance at this time is better than recitation, and Ishaq spoke similarly about glorification right after the obligatory prayers one hundred times, “It is better than recitation at that time.” The acts of remembrance and supplications which are transmitted from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, for morning and evening are very many.

It is also recommended to fill the time between the two night prayers [Maghrib and ‘Isha’] with prayer and remembrance, and we have seen previously the hadith of Anas that about that was revealed His saying, exalted is He:

“Their sides eschew their beds.”{{Surat as-Sajdah: 16}}

It is recommended to delay the prayer of ‘Isha’ until one third of the night as sound hadith show – and this is the madhhab of Imam Ahmad and others – so that one does this prayer in the best time for it which is the end of its time, and the person who waits for this prayer in congregation in this first third of the night occupies himself in prayer or remembrance waiting for the prayer in the mosque. Then later when he prays ‘Isha’ and he prays after it those established Sunnah prayers which follow it or he performs the Witr after that if he wishes to do the Witr before sleeping.

Then when he goes to his bed after that to sleep, then it is recommended for him only to sleep in purity [having done wudu’] and in remembrance, and to glorify, praise and say Allahu akbar – Allah is greater to the number of one hundred, as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught Fatimah and ‘Ali to do when they went to bed,{{Al-Bukhari (3113), Muslim (2727) and others}} and that he should do as much as he is able of the acts of remembrance transmitted from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to be done at sleep, and there are many types including recitation of Qur’an and remembrance of Allah, and then one should sleep in that state.

Then if one wakes up at night and turns about on one’s bed one should remember Allah each time one turns. There is in Sahih al-Bukharifrom ‘Ubadah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever wakes up at night and says:

‘There is no god but Allah alone without associate. His is the kingdom and His is the praise, and He is able to do all things. Glory be to Allah, praise belongs to Allah, there is no god but Allah and Allah is greater, and there is no power and no strength but by Allah,’ and then says:

‘Lord forgive me,’” – or he said, “and then he supplicates, he will be answered. Then if he has a high resolve, performs wudu’ and prays, his prayer will be accepted.”{{Al-Bukhari (1154)}}

There is in at-Tirmidhi from Abu Umamah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever goes to his bed in a state of purity remembering Allah until slumber overcomes him, if he turns over at some hour of the night and asks Allah for anything of the good of the world or the next life, He will give it to him.”{{At-Tirmidhi (3526)}}

Abu Dawud narrated it in the same sense in a hadith of Mu’adh,{{Abu Dawud (5042)}} and an-Nasa’i narrated it in a hadith of ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah.{{An-Nasa’i in ‘Amal al-yawm wa’l-laylah (807-9)}}

Imam Ahmad has in the version of ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah of this hadith, “…and the first of what he says when he wakes up is:

‘Glory be to You! there is no god but You, forgive me,’ then he will emerge out of his wrong actions as the snake emerges out of its skin [which it sheds].”{{Not found in the published version of Musnad Ahmad}}

It is firmly established that when he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, woke up from his sleep, he used to say:

“Praise belongs to Allah Who made me live after he made me die, and to Him is the raising to life.”{{Al-Bukhari (6312) and Muslim (2711)}}

Then when he stands up and does wudu’ and tahajjud, he does all of that according to what is transmitted from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and concludes his tahajjud by seeking forgiveness in the pre-dawn, as Allah praises those who seek forgiveness in the pre-dawn. Then when it is the dawn, he prays two rak’ahs of Fajr, and then prays the Fajr prayer, and is busy after the Fajr prayer with the remembrance which is transmitted until sunrise according to what we have already mentioned. Whoever’s condition is according to what we have mentioned, then his tongue does not cease to be moist with the remembrance of Allah, and he chooses remembrance as a constant companion in his waking moments until he sleeps in that condition, and then begins again with it when he wakes up, and that is one of the sure indications of sincere love, as one of them said:

The last thing is You at every slumber

and the first thing is You at the moment when I stir.

The first thing that a person does throughout the day and the night of those things which are of benefit in his din and in his world, then in all of that generally it is laid down that he should remember the name of Allah over it. Thus it is laid down that he should remember the name of Allah over his eating and drinking, his dressing, and his sexual intercourse with his wife, his entering his house and his going out of it, his entering the toilet and leaving it, his mounting his riding beast and he should mention the name of Allah over that which he slaughters both in his rites and elsewhere; he should praise Allah, exalted is He, when he sneezes, and when he sees people who are tried in their din or in their worldly life, when he meets brothers, and when they ask each other about how they are, and in the renewal of blessings that people love and in the repulsion of misfortunes that people dislike. More perfect than that is that he should praise Allah in happiness and hardship, distress and in comfortable circumstances, and that he should praise Allah in every state.

He should supplicate Allah, exalted is He, when he enters the market, when he hears the cock crowing at night, when he hears thunder, when it rains, when heavy gales blow, when he sees the new moon and when he sees the first fruits.

He should also remember Allah and supplicate him when something distressful happens, and when worldly hardships happen, when he goes out on a journey, and when he alights at stations on his journey and when he returns from a journey.

He ought to seek refuge with Allah when he becomes angry, and when he sees something he dislikes in his sleep, and when he hears the voices of dogs and donkeys at night.

He should supplicate Allah to choose what is good for him [with the istikharah] when he is deciding on that in which the choice (or good) is not obvious.

It is a duty to turn in tawbah to Allah and to seek forgiveness from all wrong actions, whether minor or major, as He says, exalted is He:

“those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions.”{{Surah Al ‘Imran: 135}} Whoever safeguards all of that, then his tongue will continuously be moist with the remembrance of Allah in all of his states.

Section

We have mentioned in the beginning of the book that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was sent with concise and comprehensive words. So he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was pleased by and admired concise and comprehensive [words of] remembrance and would choose them in preference to other types of remembrance, as is in Sahih Muslim from Ibn ‘Abbas from Juwayriyyah bint al-Harith that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, left her early when he went to pray the morning prayer and she was in her place of prayer. Then he returned after the first part of the morning and she was still seated. He said, “Have you remained continuously in the condition in which I left you?” She answered, “Yes.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “After [leaving] you, I said four phrases three times which if they were weighed against what you said this day, they would outweigh them:

‘Glorious is Allah and in His praise according to the number of His creations, the pleasure of His self, the weight of His throne, and the ink of His words.’”{{Muslim (2726)}}

An-Nasa’i narrated it and his wording is:

“Glorious is Allah, and praise belongs to Allah and there is no god but Allah and Allah is greater, according to the number of His creations, the pleasure of His self, the weight of His throne, and the ink of His words.”{{An-Nasa’i in ‘Amal al-yawm wa’l-laylah (161)}}

Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and an-Nasa’i narrated a hadith of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas that he went in along with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace to a woman in front of whom were date stones, or he said pebbles with which she was [counting her acts of] glorifying and he asked, “Shall I not inform you of that which is easier than this and better?

‘Glorious is Allah according to the number of what He created in the heaven. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what He created in the earth. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what is between them. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what He is to create [in the future] and Allah is greater the like of that, and praise belongs to Allah the like of that, and there is no power and no strength but by Allah the like of that.’”{{Abu Dawud (1500), at-Tirmidhi (3568), and an-Nasa’i in ‘Amal al-yawm wa’l-laylah}}

At-Tirmidhi narrated a hadith of Safiyyah that she said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace entered to visit me while in front of me there were four thousand date stones with which I was [counting as I] glorified Allah, and I said, ‘I glorify with these,’ and he asked, ‘Shall I not teach you something more than that with which you glorify?’ and I answered, ‘Teach me.’ He said, ‘Say:

“Glorious is Allah according to the number of His creations.”’”

An-Nasa’i, and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, narrated in a hadith of Abu Umamah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace passed by him while he was moving his lips, and he asked, “What are you saying, Abu Umamah?” He answered, “I am remembering my Lord.” He asked, “Shall I not inform you of more and better than your remembrance all night along with the day and all day along with the night? It is that you say:

‘Glorious is Allah according to the number of what He created. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of what He created. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what is on the earth and in the heaven. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of what is on the earth and in the heaven. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what His Book reckons. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of what His Book reckons. Glorious is Allah according to the number of every thing. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of every thing,’ and that you say:

‘Praise belongs to Allah’ the like of that.’”{{An-Nasa’i in ‘Amal al-yawm wa’l-laylah (166) and Ibn Hibban (830)}}

Al-Bazzar narrated the like of it in a hadith of Abu’d-Darda’.{{Al-Bazzar (3080)}}

Ibn Abi’d-Dunya narrated with his chain of transmission that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to Mu’adh, “Mu’adh, how many times do you remember your Lord every day? Do you remember Him ten thousand times every day?” He answered, “All of that I do.” He asked, “Shall I not show you some words which are easier for you than ten thousand and ten thousand, that you say:

‘There is no god but Allah according to the number of that which He reckons. There is no god but Allah according to the number of His words. There is no god but Allah according to the number of His creations. There is no god but Allah according to the weight of His throne. There is no god but Allah according to the volume of His heavens. There is no god but Allah according to the volume of His earth. There is no god but Allah to the amount of the like of that along with it, and Allah is greater to the amount of the like of that along with it, and praise belongs to Allah to the amount of the like of that along with it.’”

There is with his chain of transmission that Ibn Mas’ud mentioned to him a woman who glorified Allah with [the use of] a string in which were tied knots, and he said, “Shall I not direct you to that which is better for you than it?

‘Glorious is Allah according to the volume of land and sea. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of the heavens and the earth. Glorious is Allah according to the number of His creations, and according to the pleasure of His self,’ because then you have filled the land and the sea, the heaven and the earth.”

There is with his chain of transmission from al-Mu’tamir ibn Sulayman at-Taymi that he said, “My father used to narrate five hadith and then he would say, ‘Leisurely!

Glorious is Allah and praise belongs to Allah and there is no god but Allah and Allah is greater and there is no power and no strength but by Allah according to the number of what He has created and the number of what He will create, and according to the weight of what He created and the weight of what He will create, and according to the volume of what He created and the volume of what He will create, and according to the volume of His heavens and the volume of His earth, and the like of that and multiples of that, and according to the number of His creations, the weight of His throne, the furthest limit of His mercy, the ink of His words, the furthest reach of His good pleasure until He is pleased and when He is pleased, and according to the number of times His creation remembered Him in all that is now past, and according to the number of times they will remember Him in what remains, in every year, every month, every week, every day, every night, every single moment, and [according to the number of times His creation] inhaled and exhaled from endless time to forever, as long as there is the world and the next life, the utmost extreme of the time of that whose first is not cut off and whose last does not come to an end.’”

There is with his chain of transmission from al-Mu’tamir ibn Sulayman that he said, “I saw ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Khalid [in a dream] after his death and I asked, ‘What have you done?’ He said, ‘Good.’ I asked, ‘Do you hope for anything for the one who makes mistakes?’ He answered, ‘That he cling to the knowledge of the glorifications of Abu’l-Mu’tamir is the best thing.’”

Ibn Abi’d-Dunya said, “Muhammad ibn al-Husayn narrated to me, ‘One of the people of Basra narrated to me that Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd saw in that which the dreamer sees a man who had been struck down in the land of the Byzantines, and he asked, “What is the best that you have seen there [in the next life] of actions?” He answered, “I saw that the glorifications of Abu’l-Mu’tamir have a place with Allah.”’”

Similarly, concise comprehensive supplications used to please the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. There is in the Sunan of Abu Dawud that ‘A’ishah said, “Concise comprehensive supplications used to please the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and he would give up anything other than that.” {{Abu Dawud (1482)}}

Al-Firyabi and others narrated a hadith of ‘A’ishah also that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to her, “‘A’ishah, you should take to the concise comprehensive supplication:

‘O Allah, I ask You for all good now (or in this world) and in the future (or in the next world), that which I know and that which I do not know. I seek refuge with You from all evil now (or in this world) and in the future (or in the next world), that which I know and that which I do not know. O Allah, I ask You of that good which Muhammad, Your slave and Your prophet asked of You. I seek refuge with You from that evil from which Your slave and Your prophet sought refuge. O Allah, I ask You for the Garden and that which will draw me closer to it of word and deed. I seek refuge with You from the Fire and that which will draw me closer to it of word and deed. I ask You that whatever decrees You have decreed for me, that You make its outcome rightness of action.’” Imam Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban, in his Sahih, and al-Hakim narrated it, but none of them have mention of concise comprehensive supplication. Al-Hakim has the word “complete” supplications. Abu Bakr al-Athram narrated it and according to him the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to her, “What stops you from taking concise comprehensive words and their opening words?” {{Opening words are words that are clear and unlock deep meanings and interpretations as opposed to words that are shallow and complicated. Ed.}} and then he mentioned this supplication.{{Ahmad (6: 134, 146-7), al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad (639), Ibn Majah (3846), Ibn Hibban (869) and al-Hakim (1: 521-522)}}

At-Tirmidhi narrated the hadith of Abu Umamah in which he said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace supplicated with many supplications of which we memorised nothing, so we said, ‘Messenger of Allah, you have supplicated with many supplications of which we memorised nothing.’ He said, ‘Shall I not direct you to that which includes all of that? You should say:

“O Allah, we ask You for that good for which Your prophet Muhammad asked You, and we seek refuge with You from that evil from which Your prophet Muhammad sought refuge with You, and You are the One from Whom help is sought, and the fulfilment [of wishes and needs] is Your responsibility, and there is no power and no strength but by Allah.”’”{{At-Tirmidhi (3521)}}

At-Tabarani and others narrated a hadith of Umm Salamah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace used to say in a long supplication of his:

“O Allah, I ask You the matters which open up good and those which conclude it, and the concise comprehensive [good things], and its first and last, its outward and inward.”{{At-Tabarani in al-Kabir (23:717) and al-Hakim (1:520)}}

There is in the Musnad that Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas heard one of his sons supplicating saying, “O Allah, I ask You for the Garden and its bliss and its silk brocade,” and the like of this, “and I seek refuge with You from the Fire and its chains and manacles.” So he said, “You have asked Allah for much good, and you have sought refuge with Him from much evil, but I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace saying, ‘There will be people who will go beyond the limit in supplication,’ and he recited this ayah:

‘Call on your Lord humbly and secretly. He does not love those who overstep the limits.”{{Surat al-A’raf: 55}} Indeed, it is sufficient for you to say:

‘O Allah, I ask You for the Garden and what draws one nearer to it of word and deed, and I seek refuge with You from the Fire and what draws one nearer to it of word and deed.’”

There is in the two Sahih books from Ibn Mas’ud that he said, “We used to say in the prayer behind the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Peace be upon Allah, and peace be upon Jibril and Mika’il, and peace be upon so-and-so and so-and-so.’ So the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to us one day, ‘Allah is Peace, so when any of you sit in the prayer, then say:

“Greetings are for Allah and the prayers and the wholesome good things. Peace be upon you, O Prophet and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and upon the right-acting slaves of Allah,” for when one says it it reaches every right-acting slave of Allah in the heaven and on earth:

“I witness that there is no god but Allah and I witness that Muhammad is His slave and His messenger,” and then let him choose whatever petitions he wishes.’”{{Al-Bukhari (835) and Muslim (402)}}

There is in the Musnad from Ibn Mas’ud that he said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught the matters that opened up good and gathered it, or gatherers of good, its openers and its conclusions, and we didn’t know what we should say in our prayer until he taught us, and he said, ‘Say, “Greetings are for Allah…”’” and he mentioned the rest of it, and Allah knows best.

The end of the book, and praise belongs to Allah alone, and may Allah bless our master Muhammad and his family and companions and grant peace, and Allah is enough for us and the Best of Guardians.

Second hadith

October 14, 2006

Remembering the Prophet: Brief Explanation of a line from Habib Umar’s Mawlid

Remembering the Prophet: Brief Explanation of a line from Habib Umar’s Mawlid

Special thanks to Ebrahim and Nausheen Omar for their transcription of Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s talk.

Remembering the Prophet: Brief Explanation of a line from Habib Umar’s Mawlid from Faraz Rabbani on Vimeo.

Remembering the Prophet: A Brief Explanation of a Line from Habib Umar’s Mawlid

Bismillahir Rahmaan Ar-Raheem

In the Mawlid that we read, there is one line that I wanted to remind myself of, and all of us:

By Allah! Repeat the mention of the attributes, the traits, the description, the characteristics, of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), so that you can remove from your heart the rust that affects it by one’s worldly distractions.

This is particularly important for us, living as we do in an age of heedlessness in which few are those who are thinking of God in society. Even our day-to-day activities have become bereft of the mention of God. The Rope of Allah (Most High) in that is the remembrance of Allah and the connection with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One of the things that we should do, as Sayyidna Habib ‘Umar mentioned, is to repeat regularly the mention of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in your life in many ways.

Send Frequent Blessings upon the Messenger

The first way is to send frequent blessings upon him (peace and blessings be upon him). We should each ask ourselves, how often do we mention the Prophet by day and by night? If you had a friend named Jack, and he was in love with Jill. You ask Jack when the last time he mentioned or thought about Jill. If he said he didn’t remember her today, you would doubt he really loved her. How often do we think about the Prophet? To keep doing that is to make a commitment to regularly remember the Prophet and send blessings upon him (peace and blessings be upon him).

One of the practical things that the ‘Ulama mention in that is to have a regular form by which one sends blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). A form that many of the ‘Ulama have encouraged is one that is very short and light on the tongue:

Allahumma Salli ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammadin wa Aalihi Wasallim

(O Allah! Send Your Blessings upon our Master Muhammad and his folk and grant peace).

When we say wa Aalihi we intend specifically his own family, but we also intend with it the family of faith, because the Aal of someone is both their family but also everyone who has turned to him. So we intend to send blessings on the family of the Prophet, but it also includes within it the mention of the Companions, and all the followers until the end of time.

As mentioned earlier, this is light on the tongue so it can be repeatedly mentioned during the day and night – for example whilst waiting for the computer to boot up.

Learn about the Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

If we claim love for the Prophet, we should ask, what do we know about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)? Do we know how he looked? Do we know about his habits, how he lived his life (peace and blessings be upon him)?

So what Habib ‘Umar is telling us here is to repeat regularly the mention of the characteristics of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The practical thing in that is that everyday, just as we should be reading the Qur’an, there should be something of the Prophetic person, example, or teachings that one should be reading everyday. Even if it’s just one page from a book about the Prophet, by the end of the year you will probably have finished it. Ten years will have passed and you would have read ten books on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

A Recommended Book

One of the greatest ever books written about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has recently been translated into English, which is a book by Shaykh ‘Abdallah Sirajuddin called Sayyidna Muhammad Rasulullah translated as ‘Our Master Muhammad.’ It is very well translated, and it is one of the most beautiful books in praise of the Prophet, describing how he was, his person, character, conduct, and his teachings (peace and blessings be upon him). It is dripping with love of the beloved Prophet.

I had a Saudi friend who told me that a friend of his was wondering for a while about how to learn more about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One night in his dream he saw the Prophet, and so he asked the blessed Prophet, “Ya Rasulullah, how do I learn more about you?’

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to him, “If you want to know about me, then read the book Sayyidna Muhammad Rasulullah by Shaykh ‘Abdallah Sirajuddin.”

This book was banned in Saudi, so he asked the beloved Prophet where to find it as he has never heard of it. In the dream he heard the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) say, “Go to Halab, and you will find it.”

This man never knew who Shaykh ‘Abdallah Sirajuddin was, or what this book was. He went to Halab and he found out about the book; he read it and it transformed his life.

Similarly, one of my teachers, a Halabi himself Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish, mentioned, ‘I used to be a common person. I was 15 or 16 and I read this book and it transformed me. I used to take this book after ‘Isha, lock my door and sit under the light, and I used to read and cry in yearning for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). I used to cry in love for the Prophet. I used to cry out of my sense of distance from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). I would cry at the beauty of this man (peace and blessing be upon him). I would cry at how far I was from his radiant example. Those tears melted how I was, and it transformed me.”

Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish, when I met him, was in his early twenties, and he was truly a remarkable man. It is as Imam Busiri said, ‘By the mention of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), do hearts come to life and sins and errors are forgiven and cast off. And I long that I live through him, content and successful, and that I meet him and have no burdens upon me. A Prophet, perfected in his qualities, until he was called the Beloved.”

We should really reflect on that, because Allah Most High has told us:

Verily you have in the Messenger of Allah the most beautiful of examples, for whoever seeks Allah and the Last Day.

Appreciate and emulate the Prophetic Example

We should really strive to appreciate that beauty of the Prophetic example, and reflect on it so that we can make our lives, worship, conduct and character beautiful, so that we can be of those who truly seek Allah and the Last Day. The key to that is to make much remembrance of Allah. When we send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), it is of the greatest of Remembrance of Allah because Allah has Commanded us to send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). But the Believer realises that we can’t do anything to repay the debt we owe to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Sidi Abdul Nawulsi said, “I am just like a flash of light from the Chosen One.” Anything of good that you have in your life, anything of guidance, anything of blessing, it is just like one flash of light from the light of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). So we don’t send blessings upon the Prophet, although we have been Commanded to. Rather, we consign the matter to Allah – “O Allah send Your Blessings on our master Muhammad”

May Allah Most High make us of those who remember Him much, through sending blessings on His Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), who can reflect so deeply on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that we can say, as many of the greatest Imams of Islam, early and late said, “Were the Prophet veiled from me for more than a moment, I would not count myself as one of the Believers.” Many of the great Awliya said that, because they were in constant Seeking of Allah Most High. If you are true with Seeking Allah, then you take the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as your constant exemplar and the one you are looking up to at every moment, and whose light reflects in your person, conduct and character.

Collection of Duas for the Oppressed

Collection of Duas for the Oppressed

The following are duas that have been compiled and recommended to recite in moments of peril and great oppression amongst the Muslim masses. Please utilize, spread for the sake of God and continue to pray for our brothers and sister. May Allah grant our brothers and sisters protection and peace, inwardly and outwardly, ameen.

It is worth bookmarking this page for future access. Allah is sufficient for us and He is our Guardian.

Duas relating to alleviating oppression from the Quran and Hadith

Hizbun-Nasr of the Shadhili Tariqa

Hizb al-Itmaam of Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (courtesy of  SIIASI):

Arabic text

English translation

See also: Nasiri Dua for the Middle East

How Do I Raise My Resolve to do Good & Overcome Hardness of the Heart?

Answered by Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish

Question: When I began practicing, I used to be very motivated to perform the good. Now, I feel a hardness in my heart and less motivated to do good deeds. Can you please give some advice on how I can raise my motivation?

Answer: Bismillah

Allah Most High says,

“O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful.” [Qur’an 9.119]

Thus, with our taqwa (God-consciousness), it is necessary to keep the company of the truthful and righteous.

With this, we should supplicate often with the words of the Best of Creation (peace and blessings be upon him),

“O over-turner of hearts, make my heart firm on your religion.”

If our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to make this supplication, it behooves us to follow his example (peace and blessings be upon him) and have fear of the overturning of hearts. And Allah Most Glorious is the Overwhelming over His creation, and He decrees whatever He wills for whoever He wishes. Thus, we ask Him to make us with the truthful and righteous, and to give us a good ending. And we seek refuge in Him from deception and being led astray, for He is the Hearing and Answering.

Worshiping Allah for His sake, not for illumination

When a believer obeys Allah Most High, they do so in obedience to the command of Allah. This good deed gives fruit to a light in the heart, and an increase in one’s spiritual resolve (himma). However, if our good deeds do not give apparent fruits, it is not allowed for us to leave them, because whenever we do the good, we will have obeyed the command of Allah—this is our duty.

Then, [having done our duty] if we find the apparent fruits of our deeds, then so be it. Otherwise, we at least obeyed the command of Allah, and we ask Him for acceptance. We are the servants of Allah, not the servants of illuminations that result from our deeds. The one who worships Allah for the fruits of their worship, such as the light and softness they find in their heart, are in need of sincerity to Allah alone in their worship.

What to do about hardness of heart and weakness of resolve

As for when one fears non-acceptance when they find hardness of heart and weakness in resolve, then one should make remembrance of Allah and istighfar (seeking forgiveness). It has been related in a hadith from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he said,

“Truly, hearts rust just as iron rusts, and their polishing is La ilaha illa Allah (‘There is no god but Allah’) and seeking forgiveness.”

Thus, if a Muslim seeks to polish their heart, they should adhere to the remembrance of Allah until their heart is purified and illumined. If one makes remembrance of Allah but finds no light therein, then they should make themselves in a position to benefit from the winds of Allah’s beneficence.

It has been related in hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,

“You Lord has in the days of your lives winds of beneficence, so benefit from them.”

Among these winds of beneficence are the blessed days mentioned in the Prophetic hadiths, in which worship is especially virtuous.

Among them is to search for truthful and righteous believers and to keep their company.

Among them is to establish night worship at the end of the night, and to supplicate at that time.

Among them is to remain constantly in the remembrance of Allah. Sayyidi Ibn `Ata’illah says,

“Do not leave the remembrance because of your lack of presence of heart with Allah therein, because your heedlessness of the remembrance of Allah is more harmful than your heedlessness during the remembrance of Allah. It may well be that He take you from remembrance in which there is heedlessness to remembrance in which there is consciousness; and from remembrance in which there is consciousness to remembrance in which there is presence of heart; and from remembrance in which there is presence of heart to remembrance in which there is obliviousness to all but the One Remembered, “And that is not difficult for Allah.””

Loss of motivation and the importance of moderation

As for loss of motivation, this is natural to the human temperament, and is the reason why the acts of good and worship are variegated—so that the lower selves of creation not get weary. Thus, if one finds weakness in one’s resolve, then move to another type of good, while being wary—when given success—not to take on too many voluntary acts of worship, lest this lead to loss of motivation and a sense of being fed up. Allah Most High enjoined upon us certain obligations which we cannot leave. After this, He encouraged us to supererogatory works from which we should take that which our selves can handle, sustain, and remain avid for the good.

Imam Muslim related in his Sahih, in the chapter on ‘Moderation in Exhortation,’ from Shaqiq that he said,

“We were sitting before the door of Abdullah [ibn Masud (Allah be pleased with him), the great companion of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)], waiting for him, when Yazid ibn Mu`awiya al-Nakha`i passed by us. We said to him, “Tell him about our presence.” He entered. Soon after, Abdullah [ibn Mas`ud] came out. He said, “I have been told about your presence. The only thing preventing me from coming out to you is my dislike of boring you. Verily, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to carefully choose when to give us exhortation, out of fear of us becoming weary.”

We ask Allah to make our days rich with His obedience, and to increase love and desire of drawing closer to Him in our hearts, until we meet Him and He is pleased with us. Amin.

Muhammad Qaylish

(Translated by Faraz Rabbani, a student of Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish)

3- حينما بدأت ألتزم كنت أجد دافعاً قوياً في نفسي نحو الخيرات ونوافل العبادات وكثرة الذكر . وكنت أجد رقة في قلبي .. الآن لا أجد ذاك الدافع وأشعر بقسوة في قلبي وضعف في همتي .. لا أقع في معاص ظاهرة … لكن أخاف أن يزداد ضعفي … كيف أقوي عزمي نحو الخير وتنوير قلبي؟

الجواب: يقول الله تعالى : [يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وكونوا مع الصادقين]. فمع التقوى لا بد من مصاحبة الصادقين . ومع هذا وذاك علينا أن نكثر من دعاء سيد الوجود e : “يا مقلب القلوب ثبت قلبي على دينك” . فإذا كان نبينا e يدعو بهذا الدعاء فعلينا أن نقتدي به e ونخاف من تقليب القلوب . والله سبحانه هو القاهر فوق عباده يحكم بما يشاء على من يشاء . فنسأله أن يجعلنا من الصالحين وأن يختم لنا بخاتمة الحسنى . ونعوذ به من المكر والاستدراج. إنه سميع مجيب.

والمؤمن حين يطيع الله عز وجل فإنه يفعل ذلك امتثالاً لأمر الله . فتثمر هذه الطاعة نوراً في القلب، وزيادة في الهمة . ولكن إذا لم تثمر الطاعة ثمارها فلا يجوز أن نتركها، لأننا حين نعمل الخيرات فإننا نكون قد امتثلنا أمر الله. وهذه هي وظيفتنا. ثم إذا أتت ثمار الطاعة فأهلاً وسهلاً. وإذا لم تأت نكون قد امتثلنا أمر الله. ونسأله سبحانه القبول. فنحن عباد الله ولسنا عباد الأنوار التي هي ثمرة عبادتنا . وإذا كان المسلم يعبد الله لأجل أن ينال ثمار العبادة من نور في القلب ورقة فيه فإن عبادته تحتاج إلى إخلاص النية لله وحده.

وأما إذا كان يخاف من عدم القبول حين يجد في القسوة في قلبه والضعف في همته فعليه بذكر الله والاستغفار . وقد ورد في الحديث عنه e : إن القلوب تصدأ كما يصدأ الحديد وجلاؤها لا إله إلا الله والاستغفار .

فإذا أراد المسلم أن يجلو قلبه فعليه بذكر الله حتى يصفو ويتنور. وإذا كان يذكر الله فلا يشعر بالنور يدخل إلى قلبه فليتعرض لنفحات الله سبحانه . فقد ورد في الحديث : إن لربكم في أيام دهركم نفحات . ألا فتعرضوا لها. ومن النفحات الأيام المباركة التي وردت الأحاديث في فضل العبادة فيها . ومنها البحث عن الصالحين الصادقين والبقاء معهم . ومنها قيام آخر الليل والدعاء فيه…. ومنها المداومة على الذكر . يقول سيدي ابن عطاء الله السكندري : لا تترك الذكر لعدم حضورك مع الله فيه فغفلتك عن وجود ذكره أشد من غفلتك مع وجود ذكره . فعسى أن ينقلك من ذكر مع وجود غفلة إلى ذكر مع وجود يقظة ومن ذكر مع وجود يقظة إلى ذكر مع وجود حضور ومن ذكر مع وجود حضور إلى ذكر مع غيبة عما سوى المذكور وما ذلك على الله بعزيز .

وإن السآمة من طبع النفوس البشرية . ولذلك تنوعت الطاعات والعبادات كيلا تمل نفوس العباد . فإذا شعر المسلم بشيء من الضعف في الهمة فلينتقل إلى نوع آخر من الطاعة . وليحذر الموفق من حمل نفسه على كثرة النوافل حتى لا تمل وتسأم . فإن الله سبحانه قد فرض علينا فروضاً لا يجوز لنا أن نتركها . ثم ندبنا بعد ذلك إلى نوافل نأخذ منها ما تحتمله نفوسنا وتبقى معه راغبة في الخير . وقد أخرج الإمام مسلم في صحيحه في باب الاقتصاد في الموعظة عن شقيق قال: كنا جلوساً عند باب عبد الله – بن مسعود – ننتظره، فمر بنا يزيد بن معاوية النخعي فقلنا: أعلمه بمكاننا. فدخل عليه، فلم يلبث أن خرج علينا عبد الله فقال: إني أُخْبَرُ بمكانكم، فما يمنعني أن أخرج إليكم إلا كراهية أن أُمِلَّكُمْ. إن رسول الله e كان يَتَخَوَّلُنَا بالموعظة في الأيام مخافة السآمة علينا. نسأل الله أن يجعل أيامنا بالطاعات عامرة وأن يزيد في قلوبنا محبته والرغبة بالإقبال عليه حتى نلقاه وهو عنا راض . آمين.

MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and SunniPath.

The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

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

Tackling Homosexual Feelings: Supplication, Repentance, and Going Cold Turkey

Answered bu Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: One of my friend has requested me to approach you and get some advice on his behalf. He is a young male adult currently studying with me. Recently he told me that he gets attracted to both sexes. Although he knows homosexuality is forbidden in Islam, he keeps getting into this kind of stuff again and again. He has also started watching gay porn. He seems to be depressed because of this as he knows it is not the right thing to do. Now it has come to a stage where he is complelty frustrated and doesnt know what to do. He is misrable and sometimes thinks of ending his life. He feels if something is not done with it soon he might get too much into homosextuality and it may make his whole life hell. Please advise.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

May Allah give your friend strength in this trial and a way out.

I think the first step is that we acknowledge his feelings and homosexual tendency as a reality that has to be dealt with. Often times such tendencies are denied altogether, which only accentuates the problem. These feelings are real and are an affliction whose remedy must be sought.

Having said that, the following can serve as an outline of a few steps that might prove beneficial, inshaAllah:

Recognizing the Problem and Desiring to Stop

The first step in this situation is to recognize the problem and have a sincere desire to quit. MashaAllah, your friend has already taken this first step, and this is not to be underestimated. It is a very praiseworthy thing for a person with a problem or addiction to at least admit he has a problem and genuinely want to rid himself of it. Your friend should have hope in Allah that with each step he takes towards Allah, Allah will take ten towards him.

Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) conveyed the following from his Lord, “When My servant draws near to Me a handspan, I draw near to Him a forearm’s length. And when he draws near to Me a forearm’s length, I draw near to him the span of two outstretched arms. And when comes to me walking, I come to Him running” [Bukhari].

The Power of Supplication [dua]

The next step is to make sincere supplication to Allah to help him get rid of the problem. He should beg Allah from the bottom of his heart to give him the strength, will and determination to forever close this door. He should make sure he fulfills the conditions of having his supplication answered, the most important of which are to eat only lawful food [halal], and to have conviction that Allah will answer his prayers. Allah never lets His servants down, and as hard as something might be for us, nothing is difficult for Him, Exalted and Glorious.

He should try to make dua at blessed times, especially in the last part of the night before fajr, as well as between the adhan and iqama of the prayer.

He should also rejoice in his very supplication, for our master Ibn Ata’illah states, “If He [Most High] causes your tongue to ask [for something], then know that He wants to give it to you.” The greatest indication that your friend will overcome this problem, inshaAllah, is the fact that he consistently asks Allah to rid him of it.

Going Cold Turkey: The Only Solution

Now it’s time for your friend to really roll up his sleeves and be strong for the sake of Allah. Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, yet there is good in both. Be avid for that which benefits you, seek Allah’s help, and don’t be weak” [Muslim].

The only solution for this problem is to completely shut the door, 100%. He has to go cold turkey. It cannot be gradual, but sudden and final. He has to just stop. Now, this will no doubt be extremely difficult, especially at the beginning. But if he can simply get through the initial stage when it’s the hardest, it will only get easier.

Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, “No servant leaves something for the sake of Allah except that Allah replaces it with that which is better for his religion and his worldly affairs” [Hilyat al-Awliya’]. Your friend is guaranteed, if he can just get through this test, that Allah will replace the pleasure he found in the unlawful with a much greater pleasure in the lawful, inshaAllah. Something better is in store for your friend if he can just show Allah that he can be strong for His sake.

This promise is further explained by our master Ibn Ata’illah, who said, “Our Lord is far too magnificent to delay recompense if the servant pays up front.” That is, reward for good deeds – the very best of which is to leave the unlawful – does not come only in the next life. Allah is kinder and greater than that; rather, His recompense is immediate and in this life too, yet comes in various forms. He sends a certain kind of contentment, tranquility, and joy in the heart of the believer who avoids the unlawful and cleans up his life. As the Qur’an itself states, “Whoever acts righteously, whether male or female, while believing [in Allah],  We will certainly give him a renewed goodly life [of contentment and joy], and [furthermore] We will certainly recompense them with a reward based on the very best of what they used to do” [Nahl:97].

Some Practical Aids to Going Cold Turkey

Tell your friend to fast at least once a week. Fasting has an incredible effect on subduing the evil qualities and tendencies of the ego, and it is a prophetic cure. Fasting also gives one a window into the renewed goodly life promised by Allah, as the fasting person finds a new sort of contentment that does not come with eating all the time.

Your friend has to find good company. A common idiom in English is “Birds of a feather flock together,” and this is especially true when it comes to spiritual matters. Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) said, “A person is on the religion of his close friend, so let him carefully examine who he befriends” [Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud]. He should spend quality time with believers that are strong-willed and of good character, people who remind him of Allah Most High. Our Prophet [peace and blessings upon him] described such people when he said, “Indeed some people are keys to the remembrance of Allah; when they are seen, Allah is remembered” [Tabarani, Kabir]. Part of this entails that he goes the masjid regularly and prays with the believers.

Your friend has to develop a relationship with the Qur’an, and make much remembrance of Allah, especially sending blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him). He should spend at least half an hour every morning and every night doing this. Our Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) conveyed that Allah says, “Whoever is too preoccupied with reciting Qur’an to mention Me and ask Me for something, I shall give him something better than what I give to those who ask” [Bayhaqi, Shu’ab].

Lastly, your friend must adopt a new rule and make no exceptions whatsoever: He can never go on the internet alone. He must force himself to use the internet only in public places where the screen can be seen by others. This is not impossible, and is crucial to his success in this endeavor, inshaAllah.

The Power of Repentance (tawba)

Finally and most importantly, all of this is part of repentance or tawba. This is the most powerful tool we have as humans, because our very nature is one of incapacity, inability and utter need, as Allah says, “The human being was surely created weak” [Nisa:28]. Yet the beauty of our weakness is that Allah loves when we go back to Him broken and in pain. He loves to see us beg Him for help. He loves to see us put our heads on the ground and just ask Him, as our Beloved said, “Ask Allah out of His bounty, for verily Allah Mighty and Majestic loves to be asked” [Sunan Tirmidhi].

No sin is too great for Allah’s mercy. It’s never too late. As long as one has breath in his body, there is always hope. This is Allah’s promise, and cannot be stressed enough. And once we turn back to Him, the past darkness transforms into pure light, as He Most High states in His magnificent book, “…Except he who repents, believes, and works righteous deeds; verily, for those people, Allah transforms their evil deeds into good deeds. And Allah is Ever-Forgiving, All-Merciful” [Furqan:70].

All of the indecent and evil images your friend looked at can at once be transformed into beautiful righteous deeds that will shine with light on the Day of Judgment. This is the Divine Promise…if he can just have the strength to stop the sin, feel remorse, and have the resolve never to return again. This is tawba, and this is Allah’s gift to humanity.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Worship & Prayer on Laylat al-Qadr

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Does one attain the reward of worshiping on laylat al-qadr for any act of worship performed on that night?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

One attains unto the reward of worshipping on the Night of Power through any worship one performs that night. The most important is to strive to perform Isha and Fajr in congregation. After that, the most important of spiritual actions on that night is sincere repentance: one should seek to return to ones Lord through making the firm commitment to leave ones state of heedlessness and disobedience and also to turn ones heart in the direction of Divine Pleasure.

Imam Nawawi mentions in his Riyad al-Salihin in the chapter “On the excellence of praying on the Night of Power” (Ust. Bewley translation):

1189. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Anyone who prays on the Night of Power motivated by belief and in anticipation of being rewarded will be forgiven his past wrong actions.” [Agreed upon]

1190. Ibn ‘Umar reported that some of the Companions of the Prophet were shown in a dream that the Night of Power is during the last seven days. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I think that your dreams agree about the last seven. Those who want to look for it, should look for it in the last seven.” [Agreed upon]

1191. ‘A’isha said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do i’tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and he said, ‘Look for the Night of Power during the last ten nights of Ramadan.'” [Agreed upon]

1192. ‘A’isha reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Look for the Night of Power during the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” [al-Bukhari]

1193. ‘A’isha said, “When the last ten days of Ramadan started, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray during the night, wake up his family and intensify his efforts.” [Agreed upon]

1194. ‘A’isha said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do night prayers in Ramadan which he did not do in other months, and in the last ten nights of it what he did not do during the other nights.” [Muslim]

1195. ‘A’isha said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, if I know what night the Night of Power is, what do you think I should say during it?’ He said, ‘Say: “O Allah, You are Pardoning and you love pardon, so pardon me.”‘” [at-Tirmidhi] [f: Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee]

Wasalam
Faraz Rabbani

When Does One Recite The Post-Prayer “Tasbihat”?

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: According to the Hanafi School, is it Sunnah to recite Tasbih and Dua after the Fard or the Sunnah prayers? And if one decides to offer some of his make-up prayers after the completion of either Fard/Sunnah prayers, then should s/he pray all his prayers consecutively and delay the Tasbeeh and Dua until the end?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

It is from the sunnah to stand up almost immediately after the fardh (obligatory) prayers to pray the sunnah prayers, according to the Hanafi school.  It is liked that one separates the two prayers only by a short dua’ such as “Allahumma! Anta as-salaamu, wa mink as-salaamu, tabaarakta ya dhal- jalaali wal- ikraam!”, or one of similar length [Maraqi al-Falah, al-Shurunbulali].  This is because it is disliked to separate the fardh and the sunnah prayers with anything lengthy between them, as it reduces ones reward and focus.  This is taken from a hadeeth reported by Muslim, Ahmad, Ibn Majah and al-Tirmidhi, with slight variations in wording, that Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), after he would say his salaams [in the end of the prayer], wouldn’t sit except for the time it took for him to say “Allahumma anta al-salamu wa minka al-salamu tabaarakta ya dhal jalaali wal-ikram!””  [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

After the sunnah prayers are completed, then is the time to make the tasbih and the longer dua’s that have been reported in other hadeeths.  Al-Shurunbulali states that the Hanafi jurist Shams al-A’immah al-Halwani opined that there is no harm in reading one’s adhkaar before the sunnah prayer, but other scholars said that “no harm” here means this is not the most ideal thing to do, but merely permissible.  The Hanafi jurist Ibn al-Humam also mentions that the hadeeths which point to the tasbih after each prayer actually mean after the fardh and sunnah, not just the fardh, and that though the practice of reciting Ayat al-Kursi and tasbeehaat after fardh was common in his time (circa 850 Hijri!) doing so was not established by narrations.

Now, in terms of if one has many make-up prayers to do after the current fardh and sunnah prayers, because the texts mention to do the tasbih and dua’s after the sunnah specifically, it would seem that you should pray the fardh, then sunnah, then your adhkar and dua’, and then begin with your make-ups.  Its possible if you delay the tasbih and dua’ to the end after a long series of make-ups, you may forget to make them or something may come up that demands you leave them out, whereas right after the sunnah prayer, there is still a freshness and high presence of heart to praise and ask Allah Ta’ala in dua’.

That being said, Hanafis in different places hold different positions on the tasbih being before or after the sunnah, for various reasons.  My personal experience has been that if you are in a place where you will offend others by standing up while their Imam is still seated in dhikr or dua’, it will be best to take the other position as it is permissible to do so, and also corroborated by the opinion of the other schools.  May Allah Ta’ala make us constant in our prayers, steadfast on the sunnah and immersed in His remembrance.

Wasalaam,

Abdullah Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani