Remembering Allah (S.W.T)
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC on October 23, 1987)
Allah (S.W.T) said in surat Al-Azab, (Verses 41 & 42), what can be translated as, "O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance. And glorify His praises early morning and late afternoon."
Here Allah (S.W.T) orders us to do thikr and to do a lot of it. Many verses in the Qur'an and many authentic sayings of the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) mention the importance of thikr.
What is thikr? Thikr is every saying, action, and thinking, which make a Muslim remember his Lord and making away from forgetting Him. Therefore, thikr in general covers all these things.
- Remembering Allah (S.W.T.) by saying includes: Qur'anic recitation, La-illaha-ilaAllah, Allahu-Akbar, Alhamdu-lillah, Subhana-Allah, asking Allah (S.W.T) for forgiveness, and Asalatu upon the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Also all supplications, preaching and teaching the people their deen and what benefits them in their worldly life, and commanding people to do good and avoid evil.
- Remembering Allah (S.W.T.) by action includes: Establishing all pillars of Islam (Prayer, Fasting, zakat, hajj), al-jihad in the sake of Allah, working hard to reestablish Islamic State. Also, visiting the sick, participating in Islamic funeral, and all other services to the Muslim community.
- Remembering Allah (S.W.T.) by thinking includes: Thinking about Allah (S.W.T.)'s creations, which leads to the increase of Iman. Thinking about Death and the hereafter. Also thinking about the concerns of the Muslim ummah and finding ways and means to improve it.
It is clear from what was mentioned before, that thikr-ul-Allah is a very general meaning, that will cover all aspects of a Muslims life, without any limitation in specific time, places, or situations.
This very general meaning of thikr, can be understood from looking at the meaning of many Qura'nic verses and authentic sayings of the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).
In a Qudsi hadith reported by Imam Bukhari and Muslim, that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) that Allah (S.W.T.) said, "I treat my servant according to his expectations from Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I remember him in Myself; if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a better and nobler gathering."
Imam Muslim related that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "The Muffarridoune are ahead (will be rewarded more and first) ". The companions then said Oh messenger of Allah, "Who are the Muffarridoune?" Then the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Men and Women who remember Allah (S. W. T) a lot."
To bring up the importance of thikr in the Muslim's life, the prophet (S.A.W.) compared the one who remembers Allah (S.W.T.) as the living one and the one who forgets Allah (S.W.T.) as the dead one. Imam Bukhari reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "Who remembers Allah (S.W. T.), and who does not, are as different as one who is alive from who is dead " According to this hadith how many Muslims, today, are really dead from this point of view.
Thikr is the best of all good deeds. This is why the prophet (S.A.W.) was practicing thikr all the time. And the prophet (S.A.W.) advised a man who told him reported by Imam Ahmed, At-Termithi, and others, "The legislations of Islam are too many for me, inform me of one thing I can stick to." The prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Keep your tongue always moist (i.e. busy) with thikr of Allah."
Imam At-Tirmithi, Ahmed and Al-Hakem reported in an authentic hadith that the prophet (S.A.W.) told his companions, "Do I inform you of
your best actions, the preferred on to your Lord, and the highest one in your reward, and better for you than spending gold, and silver, and better for you than meeting your enemies and hitting their necks and them hitting your necks. " The companions said, "Yes O Messenger of Allah." Then he replied, "It is Thikr of Allah."
Thikr of Allah (S.W.T) is a protection of the believer from Allah (S.W.T)'s punishment. Imam Ahmad reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Nothing in what a human being does is more saving him from Allah (S. W. T)’s punishment then thikr of Allah."
Thikr of Allah (S.W.T) sets tranquillity in the heart of the believer, whereas forgets Allah (S.W.T) sets stress and disturbance. Allah (S.W.T) said in surat Rai'd, (verse 28),. what can be translated as, "Those who believe (in the ones of Allah), and whose hearts find tranquillity in the remembrance of Allah. Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquillity."
Allah (S.W.T) gives forgiveness and high reward for those who remember Him much. He (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Ahzab, (verse 35), what can be translated as, "And the men and the women who remember Allah much, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and great reward."
Mujahid, one of the famous scholars among the tabe’en (the generation that came after the companions) said, "The one will not be considered among those who remember Allah (S.W.T) much until he of she remembers Allah while standing, sitting or in any situation." He proved this by surat Al-Imaran, (Verse 9), what can be translated as, "Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides."
lbin Abbas (R) said that whenever Allah (S.W.T) orders us to do something, He (S.W.T) legislates it into limits with the option of not to do it if certain specific circumstances occur. This is true for all Islamic legislation but the one of thikr. In legislating thikr, Allah (S.W.T) did not put any limit or leave any option and He (S.W.T) did not excuse anybody from doing it. "Celebrate God's praises, standing, sitting down, or lying on your sides." (Verse 103) of surat An-Nissa’. During night or day, on firm ground or on in the sea, on a trip or at home, in wealth or poverty, in sickness or in health, in secret or announced, in all situations.
That is how the real Muslims who cam before us understood Thikr and cared for it. But those who do not include thikr of Allah (S.W.T) in their lives will get further and further from the reward of Allah (S.W.T) and His mercy and forgiveness, and Allah will appoint to each one of them a (shatan) devil to stick and deviate each one of them from the path of Allah (S.W.T).
He (S.W.T) says in warning us from forgetting Him in surat Az-Zukhrouf, (Verses 36 and 37), what can be translated as, "And whosoever turns away from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah), We appoint for him Satan (devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him. And verily, they (Satans/devils) hinder them from the path (of Allah), but they think that they are guided aright!"
And those who forget Allah (S.W.T) and do not remember Him, Allah (S.W.T) will let them forget themselves and therefore loose themselves. He (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Hejr, (Verse 19), what can be translated as, "And do not be like those who forgot Allah and He caused them to forget their ownselves, those are the fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)."
Brothers and Sisters Thikr of Allah (S.W.T) has a very important impact on our education and behavior. The one who remembers Allah his heart becomes softer, his mind flexible and opened for the guidance of Allah and he will avoid what is forbidden : Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Hadid, (Verse 16), what can be translated as, "Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe, to be affected by Allah's Thikr, and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture before and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)."