Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

August 2004 - Rajab 1425 H
Volume 17-08 No : 212
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Scope of Zikr in the Quran

Scope of Zikr in the Quran

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the best person who remembered Allah, and his dhikr was the best.

By Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi

The constant remembrance of Allah is the most praise worthy act after the obligatory deeds and the best way to remember Allah constantly is through the Qur’an. So let us all hasten towards the remembrance of Allah and make the Qur’an the life of our hearts and the comfort of our eyes.

Abu Ad-Darda’ reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: “Shall I not inform you of the best of your actions, the most pure in the sight of Your Master, the one which raises your ranks highest, that which is better for you than giving gold and silver (in charity), and better for you than your meeting your enemies, so that you strike their necks, and they strike yours?” The companions urged, “Of course, O Messenger of Allah! (Inform us!)” He replied, “It is the Remembrance of Allah.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)

Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states the following:

“The word used in the Qur’an is dhikr and it has many meanings. Linguistically, it means both “to remember” and “to mention.” It is said that dhikr is both by the heart and the tongue. When you remember someone in your heart it is dhikr al-qalb, and when you mention someone by your tongue it is dhikr al-lisan.

There is great emphasis on dhikr in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The believers are told again and again to remember Allah and not to forget Him (Al-Ahzab: 41-42; Al-A‘raf: 205). Success and salvation in this life and in the Hereafter depend on dhikr (Al-Jumu‘ah: 10). Allah has praised those who do dhikr and has promised them forgiveness and a great reward (Al-Ahzab: 35). Allah has promised that He will remember those who do dhikr (remember Him) (Al-Baqarah: 152). Allah has mentioned that all good deeds and acts of worship should begin and end with dhikr (Al-Baqarah: 200). Allah has called His dhikr the greatest thing (Al-‘Ankabut: 45). However, it is wrong to think that dhikr only means to recite Allah’s Names and Attributes. In the Qur’an, dhikr is mentioned as meaning:

    1. Mention of Allah by the tongue. See, for example, Al-Baqarah: 200.

    2. Remembrance of Allah in the heart. See, for example, Aal ‘Imran: 135.

    3. Advice. See Al-An‘am: 44.

    4. Revelation (al-wahy) in general. See As-Saffat: 3.

    5. The Qur’an. See Al-Anbiyaa’: 50.

    6. Earlier Scriptures such as the Torah and the Gospel. See An-Nahl: 43. These scriptures were originally revealed by Allah to remind earlier people, but they do not exist now in their original form.

    7. Regular salah (ritual Prayer). See Al-Baqarah: 239.

    8. Friday Prayer. See Al-Jumu‘ah: 9.

    9. Obedience to Allah. See Al-Baqarah: 152.

    10. Explaining and mentioning something. See Maryam: 16.

All these meanings are inter-related. Thus when Allah says in the Qur’an, “Behold, in the remembrance of Allah do the hearts find rest” (Ar- Ra`d: 28), it means in salah and in du`aa’ in obedience to Allah. It also means in the tasbeeh (saying subhan Allah, Glory be to Allah), in saying al-hamdu lillah (praise be to Allah), in the takbir (saying Allahu Akbar, Allah is Greatest), in saying La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah). It also means reading the Qur’an and understanding its meaning and message. It means living according to the rules of Allah, giving the message of Allah to others, and establishing truth, justice, and peace in the world. All of these are dhikr, and in every kind of dhikr there is comfort, peace, harmony, and tranquility for the hearts and souls of the believers.

It is wrong to limit dhikr to one meaning only. The classical interpreters of the Qur’an such as At-Tabari, Ibn Kathir, Al-Qurtubi, and so on, have all explained this verse (Ar-Ra‘d: 28) to mean dhikr in its wide and comprehensive meaning. It is also important that Muslims do dhikr according to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the best person who remembered Allah, and his dhikr was the best. The books of Sunnah give us ample guidance as to what to say in dhikr and how to say it. There is no need to invent any new methods or to follow any person or persons who offer a new style of dhikr. May Allah keep us on the right path.”

Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi,
was former President of
The Islamic Society of North America)

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