By: Sharzana Muthalip
When you stand by the beach looking out at the vast ocean, there is a soothing sound that you hear, which keeps you mesmerized. If questioned, about the origin of that sound you would say it was the sound of the sea, caused by the huge waves crashing against one another. Similarly, have you paid attention to the rustling of leaves on a windy day or the buzzing of a bee and pondered over it. We would say that all these sounds were made by nature. But, did you know, that some scholars interpret these sounds to be the result of the creations of Allah following His command and glorifying and praising Him. But since we are so limited in our knowledge we are unable to comprehend it.
Allah says in the Quran:
“The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [ Allah ] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving.” (Surah Al-Isra : 44)
Some of us think that to do zikr means to take a thasbih and say Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, etc.. But this is just one of the different forms of zikr called zikr-ul-lisan (zikr of the tongue). Did you know that obeying the injunctions of Allah like praying, fasting, Hajj, etc; as well as following the sunnahs of Prophet Muhammad (saws) are also zikr . Just contemplating about Allah when you are by yourself is another kind of zikr, done silently by your heart (zikr-ul-qalb).
Engaging in zikr has many benefits, one of the most important being to cure the spiritual diseases of the heart like pride, jealousy, hatred, insincerity and desire for worldly pleasures.
There’s a hadith of the Prophet (SAWS) where he says: ‘’Indeed there is a piece of flesh in the body when that stays right, the whole body stays right, when that goes astray, the whole body goes astray! Listen carefully, that is the Qalb (the heart)’’. (Bukhari)
The heart is like a key to the rest of our body. If we safeguard it, we will be able to protect the other parts, for eg; the tongue, which when we indulge in zikr helps us keep away from bad habits like backbiting, lying and gossiping.
Frequent zikr helps us to be aware of Allah and of our soul. This is very important because in (Surah Al-Hashr, verse 19) Allah says:
‘’And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.’’
If you forget Allah, He says he will make you forget yourselves. What does that mean?
It means you become careless about yourself and your well being. You forget the real interests in life. So just like how when a farmer neglects his crops, it gets yellows and wilted; same will be the plight of such a person’s life. He will be a loser in both this world and the next.
Zikr is also a means of getting near to Allah. It is a source of spiritual elevation, whether one is engaged in it in bed or at work, in health or sickness, at hard times or good times.
In Surah Baqarah : verse 152, Allah says:
‘’So remember Me; I will remember you.”
The creator of this universe, the creator of you and me is saying that if you remember Him, He will remember you. In another beautiful hadith Allah, the Almighty, says:
‘’I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length, And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’’ (Muslim)
Again who’s saying this? Allah Subhanahu Wata’la, the Lord of the worlds, is saying this to us. Lets analyse the gravity of this hadith using a fact.
Did you also know that your nose can remember 50,000 different scents from memory. So, if you are blindfolded and if someone keeps a mango piece near your nose you can guess its a mango. In the same way you can smell and tell the difference between a jasmine flower and a rose flower. Similarly, the nose can identify 50,000 different scents. Who is responsible for creating this amazing nose we use everyday? This same creator is conveying to you that if you come to Him walking; He will come to you running. Subhanallah, Subhanallah.
We are so ungrateful. We are such wrongdoers. We listen to such hadith with awe and then simply forget about it. Are we even worthy of such beautiful and Merciful words from our Creator?
We should be resolute in making zikr part of our daily life because the Prophet (SAWS) has said: “The similitude of one who remembers his Rubb and on who does not remember Him, is like that of the living and the dead.’’ (Sahih Bukhari)
Zikr transforms distraction into concentration, remoteness into nearness and brings tranquillity at times of troubles, worries and fears. Ones mistakes and sins are forgiven through it and the Shaitan is dispersed away. One realises reality of this life, remembers that the Hereafter is not far away and the worldly life has little attraction for him.
Let us endeavor, to nourish our souls with zikr, so that our souls can grow in the path of Allah and by this means we can attain Allah Subhanahu Wata’alas pleaure and Mercy. Ameen