March 28, 2013
What does it mean to remember God?
The remembrance [dhikr] of God refers to any feeling, thought, prayer, saying, action, or behavior that keeps you in constant consciousness of your Lord, including the remembrance of His uniqueness and oneness, His infinite powers, unlimited bounties, and profuse graces and favors, His absolute perfection and beauty, as well as your eventual return to and meeting with Him (Yassine, 1998).
An example would be the frequent and abundant repetition of the statement [lā ilāha illallāh], which means that there is no god worthy of worship except God.
The remembrance of God is meant to keep you constantly in touch with your Lord, in order to earn and enjoy His continuous support, help, blessing, and guidance, all of which are very much needed to empower you for your journey of excelling in this life for the next.
Why to remember God?
While men and women of God offer you the necessary guidance and support to have a successful journey, you still have to nurture this companionship with constant remembrance of God.
A good parable would be of someone who wants to climb a mountain and reach its peak. He/she does have a guide (a man/woman of God) to show him/her the way but if he/she does not eat well (the remembrance of God), he/she will not have the necessary power to climb.
How to best remember God?
The way to remember God must be, as Muslims believe, according to the tradition and teaching of Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace. You best remember God when:
♦ It is done with the belief that it is one of God’s most beloved deeds (1)
♦ It is done with concentration, humility, and presence of the heart with God (2)
♦ It is done constantly (3) and abundantly (4)
♦ It is intertwined with the remembrance of the meeting of God
♦ It is done while being engaged in the society’s common concerns, not in isolated retreats (Yassine, 1998)
Six powerful results:
The remembrance of God generates six powerful results that are necessary to stay the course of the journey:
♦ Proximity (5) to God, hence truer and greater success; you can achieve more in quantity and better in quality with less amount of time, effort, and resources
♦ Power to exert the necessary effort to excel; prayer generates power
♦ Patience to face any hardship in your journey; excelling is an act of jihad
♦ Perseverance not to give up and continue the journey until death no matter what; meticulous attention to detail necessitates patient perseverance
♦ Protection from evil thoughts and corrupt intentions that may result in doing “great” work but for the wrong cause
Peacefulness of heart (6) and mind, which is very much needed to relax and counter any potential distress or stress resulting from the journey’s obstacles
|↑1||Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Saḥīḥ Muslim; Ḥādīth narrated by Mu’ādh bnu Jabal, may God be pleased with him “The most beloved deed to God is to die and your tongue is fresh with the remembrance of God.” [أحب الأعمال إلى الله أن تموت ولسانك رطب من ذكر الله]|
|↑2||In Arabic: [الخشوع], [التضرع], and [الحضور]|
|↑3||Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī; Ḥādīth narrated by the Mother of the Believers, ‘Ā’icha, may God be pleased with her “Verily the most beloved deeds to God are those that are done most consistently, even if they are few.” [سددوا وقاربوا، واعلموا أنه لن يُدخل أحدكم عمله الجنة ، وأن أحب الأعمال أدومها إلى الله وإن قل]|
|↑4||Qur’ān 33:41 “O you who believe, remember God abundantly.” [يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْراً كَثِيراً]|
|↑5||Saḥīḥ al-Bukhārī; Ḥādīth narrated by Imām Abū Hurayra, may God be pleased with him “I am with my servant when he remembers Me.” [وأنا معه إذا ذكرني]|
|↑6||Qur’ān 13:28 “Verily by the remembrance of God are hearts at peace.” [أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ]|
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