DHIKR – ITS EFFECTS ON THE HEART
اذكروا الله ذكرا كثيرا
Remember Allah with much remembrance. (Al-Ahzaab:41)
Ali ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with them both) stated regarding this statement of Allah The Most High.
Verily, Allah did not obligate an obligation upon his servants except that he legislated a fixed limit for it (e.g. obligatory prayers are a fixed with set number of raka’aat, obligatory fasts of Ramadhan are one month every calendar year), and then excused its performers when they are in a situation when they are excused (traveller, sick etc), except in the case of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) for indeed Allah did not legislate a limit for it and nor is a person excused for abandoning it, except when compelled. Allah said,
فَٱذۡڪُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ قِيَـٰمً۬ا وَقُعُودً۬ا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِڪُمۡ
Remember Allah standing, sitting down, and (lying down) on your sides (An-Nisaa:103)
night and day, at land or sea, whilst travelling or resident, when wealthy and in times of poverty, in sickness and in health, in private and public and in all circumstances, He, The Mighty and Majestic said,
و سبحوه بكرة و أصيلا
And glorify His Praises morning and afternoon [the early morning (Fajr) and ‘Asr prayers]. (Al-Ahzaab:42)
So if you were to do that (in the manner mentioned by ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with them both)) then Allah will send His Blessings upon you, and the Angels will supplicate for you.
Allah, the Exalted, also says:
These verses contain a command to remember Allaah intensely and abundantly, since the worshipper is in dire need of [remembering Allaah] and cannot do without it even for a twinkling of an eye. This is because every moment that a person does not spend in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah will not be of any benefit to him. Rather, the harm entailed in being neglectful of the dhikr of Allaah is far greater than any benefits that can be gained.
Al-Bayhaqee relates from ‘Aaishah radiallaahu ‘anhaa that the Prophet ﷺ said: “There is no time in which the son of Aadam does not remember AIIaah in it, except that it will be a source of regret for him on the Day of Judgement” [Hasan: It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee in Saheehul-Jaami’ (no.5720)]
Mu’aadh ibn jabal radiallaahu ‘anhu relates that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The people of Paradise will not have any regrets except for those moments in which they were not engaged in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah.” [Saheeh: Related by lbnus-Sunnee in ‘Aml al-Yawma wal-Laylah (no.3). Refer to Saheehul-Jaami’ (no.5446)].
Mu’aadh ibn Jabal also relates that Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ was asked: What action is the most beloved to Allaah? So he ﷺ replied: “That you continue to keep your tongue moist with the dhikr of Allaah, until you die.” [Hasan: Related by lbn Hibbaan (no.2318). It was authenticated by Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee in Saheeh al-Waabilus-Sayyib (p.80)]
POLISHING THE HEART
Al-Bayhaqee relates from Ibn ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu that AlIaah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “For everything there is a polish, and the polish for the hearts is the dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah. There is nothing more potent in saving a person from the punishment of Allaah than the dhikr of Allaah.” It was said: Not even Jihaad in the path of Allaah. So he replied: “Not even if you were to continue striking with your sword until it breaks.” [Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/352), from Mu’aadh ibn Jabal radiallaahu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheehul-Jaami’ (no.5644)]
There is no doubt that hearts becomes rusty just as copper and silver coins become rusty. The polish for [this rust] is the dhikr of AIlaah. This is because [dhikr] is like a polish [which polishes the heart] like a shiny mirror. When dhikr is left, the rust returns. But when dhikr resumes, then the heart is [again] polished. And hearts become rusty due to two things:-
The polish for these two things is:
CONFUSING TRUTH WITH FALSEHOOD
Whoever neglects [remembering Allaah] most of the time, then his heart will become rusty in accordance with how neglectful the person is. And when this [filthy] rust accumulates on the heart, then it no longer recognises things as they really are. Thus, it views falsehood as if it is the truth, and truth as if it is falsehood. This is because this rust darkens and confuses the heart’s perception, and so it is unable to truly recognise things for what they really are. So as the rust accumulates, the heart gets blackened, and as this happens the heart becomes stained with this filthy rust, and when this occurs it corrupts the heart’s perception and recognition of things. The heart [then] does not accept the truth nor does it reject falsehood, and this is the greatest calamity that can strike the heart. Being neglectful [of dhikr] and following of whims and desires is a direct consequence of such a heart, which [further] extinguish the heart’s light and blinds its vision. Allaah – the Most High – said:
“And do not obey him whose heart We have made to be neglectful of Our remembrance, one who follows his own whims and desires and whose affairs are furat [have gone beyond bounds and whose deeds have been lost].” [Soorah al-Kahf 18:28].
However, if it is found that the person is, in most cases, pre-occupied with the dhikr of Allaah and with following the Sunnah, and his affairs do not exceed the limits, but rather he is judicious and resolute in his affairs, then he should cling to him very firmly.
Indeed, there is no difference between the living and the dead, except with the dhikr of Allaah; since the Prophet ﷺ said: “The example of one who remembers Allaah and someone who does not, is like the example between the living and the dead.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
SOME BENEFITS OF DHIKR
1. Dhikr brings joy, happiness and relaxation in the heart of a person.
It makes the heart calm and tranquil, just as Allaah [The Most High] said:
ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَتَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِۗ أَلَا بِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ
Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. [Surah Ar-Ra’d. Aayah 28].
And the meaning of Allaah’s statement [and whose hearts find rest] is that the distress and unease in their hearts will cease and are replaced with cheerfulness, joy and relaxation. And what it also means is that it has to be the case that nothing else can bring sound and everlasting tranquillity to the heart except remembrance of Allaah. If a person is deprived of remembrance of Alaah, his state is similar to a body that is deprived of its essential nourishment. There’s no life based upon virtue for the heart except through remembrance of Allaah. And because of this Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] said, “The heart’s [need of] Dhikr is like a fish’s [need] for water, so what will be the state of a fish when isolated from the water!”
2. Protects from Shaytaan.
Indeed, Dhikr [remembrance of Allaah] protects a person from shaytaan. Whoever leaves Dhikr, shaytaan will accompany him in that manner in which a person is accompanied by his shadow. Allaah said: “And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah) (i.e. this Qur’an and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Shaitan (Satan – devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him”. [Surah Az-Zukhruf. Aayah 36]
A person is not able to protect himself from shaytaan except through remembrance of Allaah and this one of the magnificent benefits of Dhikr.
3. When a person remembers Allaah, Allaah remembers him.
Allaah said: [Therefore remember Me [through acts of obedience], I will remember you [by forgiving you].[Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 152]
Narrated Aba Hurairah [radiyallaahu-anhu]: The Prophet ﷺ said that Allaah says, “Whoever remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than them.” [Al-Bukhaari 7405]
4. It prevents one from committing sins, wipes away sins and saves a person from Allaah’s punishment.
Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal [radiyallaahu-anhu] said that Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “The son of Aadam never performs an act that brings grants him safety from Allaah’s punishment more than the remembrance of Allaah [The Exalted].” [Saheeh Al-Jaami. Number 5633]
5. It earns a person Allaah’s favour, reward and grace [in a way] that a person cannot earn through other acts of worship, even though it [i.e. Dhikr] is the easiest act of worship.
That is because moving the tongue is easier than moving the other limbs, for if the movement of the other limbs – day and night – was to be carried out in the same way as the movement of the tongue, a person will face great difficulty; rather he will not be able to do so, but still the reward of Dhikr [with the tongue] carries great good recompense and abundant reward.
The Messenger of Allahﷺ said: “The Mufarridoon have gone ahead.” He was asked, “Who are the Mufarridoon?” He ﷺ replied, “Those men and women who remember Allaah much.“ (Sahih Muslim).
Rewards like freeing number of slaves, one hundred good deeds added, hundred bad deeds wiped out, sins being forgiven even if they are as much as the foam of the sea, increase in the number of trees in Jannah and many more are amongst the great rewards from simple adhkaar, we will study about these and their ahadeeth in the upcoming classes In Sha Allah.
6. It is a light for the person in this Dunyah, in his grave and in the hereafter.
It [i.e. this light] will be running forward in front of him when he crosses the bridge of Siraat. There is nothing that illuminates the heart and the grave in a manner similar to Dhikr. Allaah [The Exalted] said: “Is he who was dead (without Faith by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (by knowledge and Faith) and set for him a light (of Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men, like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out? “[Surah Al-An’aam Aayah 122]
The first person is a believer who is [given insight, clear guidance etc] through the light of Eemaan, love of Allaah, knowledge and awareness of Allaah and remembrance of Allaah. The second person is a heedless person who is heedless of Allaah, turns away from remembrance of Allaah and love of Allaah. [Indeed], absolute success is [achieved as a result of the] light of [Eemaan, Allaah’s guidance etc] and absolute wretchedness [befalls a person as a result of] missing this light. And due to this, the Prophet ﷺ used to ask Allaah: “O Allah! place light in my heart, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light on my right, light on my left, light in front of me, light behind me, light above me, light below me, make light for me.” [Muslim 763]
Dhikr is a light for a person’s face and body parts, light for him in his worldly [affairs], in the grave and on the day of resurrection.
7. A person earns Allaah’s blessings, forgiveness, praise and benevolence] and the angels [supplicate for him and ask Allaah to forgive him].
Whoever receives this from Allaah and the angels, then indeed he will be successful. Allaah said: “O you who believe! Remember Allaah with much remembrance. And glorify His Praises morning and afternoon [the early morning (Fajr) and ‘Asr prayers]. He it is Who sends [blessings, forgiveness, praise and benevolence] on you, and His angels too [supplicate for you and ask Allaah to forgive you], that He may bring you out from darkness [of disbelief and polytheism] into light [of Belief and Islamic Monotheism]. And He is Ever Most Merciful to the believers”. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Aayaat 41-43]