“Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day are signs for the people of intelligence. They are those who remember Allah while standing, sitting and while lying on their sides, and they meditate on the creation of the heavens and the earth.” (Qur’aan)
“I have not created Jinn and Man, but that they worship Me
(i.e. remember Me at every moment in every walk of life.)”
“Whoever diverts (his attention) from My Thikr, verily for him there is a constricted (difficult and distressed) life, and We shall resurrect him blind on the Day of Qiyaamah.”
“Destruction for those whose hearts have hardened as a result of abstaining from Thikrullaah.” (Qur’aan)
“And whoever refrains from Thikrullah, We appoint for him a shaitaan
who becomes his constant companion.”
“Verily in Thikrullah do hearts find rest.” (Qur’aan)
“They (the true Believers) are such men who are not diverted from Thikrullaah
by trade and commerce.”
“Verily, the Thikr of Allah is the greatest.” (Qur’aan)
“Then their bodies and their hearts mellow towards Thikrullaah.” (Qur’aan)
“What! Has the time not arrived for the people of Imaan for their hearts incline with fear to Thikrullaah?” (Qur’aan)
“O People of Imaan! Do not let your wealth and your children divert you from the Thikr of Allah.”(Qur’aan)
“O People of Imaan! Make the Thikr of Allah in abundance.” (Qur’aan)
RASULULLAH (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) SAID:
“Your tongue should remain ever fresh with the Thikr of Allah.”
“Everything has a polish. The polish of the hearts is Thikrullaah.”
A Sahaabi asked: ‘O Rasulullah! What is the best deed?’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “That you depart from this world with your tongue moist with Thikrullaah.”
Allah Ta’ala has created Insaan solely for His Remembrance. A human being bereft of Thikrullah is worse than the dumb animals. Every act of the Mu’min, including his mundane acts, are adorned with some form of Thikr to remind him of Allah Ta’ala. Man’s sleep, waking up, washing, dressing, eating, working, walking, and every single act of his entire life is regulated by Thikrullaah of some kind. From the cradle to the grave, his life is in the glare of Thikrullah.
The Mu’min enters this earthly abode with Thikrullah infused in him, and he departs from this world with Thikr on his tongue. The era in between birth and death, is one lengthy duration of Thikrullaah, that is, if he understands that he is a Mu’min. Hence, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Every person who is obedient to Allah is a Thaakir.”
In this Hadith we are informed that the Mu’min is a perpetual Thaakir. His every minute is engaged in some form of Thikr, be it verbal Thikr, Thikr of the heart or practical Thikr of the body. Apart from the Thikr of the tongue and the heart or the mind, is the Thikr of the body. Just as it is expected that the tongue and heart of the Mu’min remain in a state of perpetual Thikr, so too is it imperative for the body as a whole, to be constantly engaged in Thikrullaah.
Verbal Thikr, is Thikr of only one limb, namely, the tongue. Thikr of the tongue is supposed to influence the whole body so that it acts in harmony with the demand of verbal Thikrullaah. That demand is obedience to Allah Ta’ala in every aspect, in the minutest detail as demonstrated and commanded by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Thus, when an evil attracts and lures a Mu’min, he/she turns and walks away. This act of shunning the evil is the effect of Thikrullaah. Remembering that Allah’s displeasure will be courted by indulgence in the evil, the Mu’min’s entire body responds to this Thikr and walks away from the evil. If it was not for his remembrance of Allah Ta’ala, never would he have mustered up the courage to restrain the animal instincts of the nafs.
The unbeliever is bereft of every vestige of Thikrullah, hence there is no restraint on the eyes, the ears, the tongue, the limbs of the body and the mind. Whatever the bestial nafs commands, the unbeliever is ever ready to give expression to such demands.
The complete and total submission to Allah Ta’ala which the Shariah demands is possible only if constant and perpetual Thikr has been inculcated in the Mu’min. It is only a vivid perception of Allah Ta’ala and the transcendental realties which can deter a person from evil, transgression and disobedience. To achieve this goal, Allah Ta’ala has designed our mundane life in a manner which fosters and ingrains constant remembrance of Allah Ta’ala.
The prescriptions of Thikr are numerous and are offered in the Qur’aan and Ahaadith. It is imperative for the Mu’min’s success and salvation in both worlds that he becomes an embodiment of Thikrullaah. The most important medium for inculcating enduring and permanent remembrance of Allah Ta’ala is the tongue. Constancy of verbal Thikr ingrains the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala in the heart. When both the tongue and heart harmoniously engage in Thikrullah, Insaan becomes the epitome of virtue. His every breath then is transformed into Thikr. Thikrullah becomes his life’s breathing, just as Tasbeeh is the life-sustainer of the Malaaikah.
The Khaanqahs were the places where the Mu’mineen in the past acquired the capacity for permanent Thikr – for constant and perpetual Thikr of the tongue and heart. One vital requisite for the development of the enduring state of Thikr of the tongue and heart is Islaah (reformation) of the nafs. This was in former days perfected in the Khaanqah.
The Athkaar and Ashghaal practices of the Khaanqah were designed by the noble Mashaaikh to morally purify the Searcher of Allah and to inculcate in him the state of constant and perpetual Thikr by means of which he may gain Divine Proximity and the special Nisbat (Bond) which every Mu’min is supposed to have with his Creator.
The Athkaar and Ashghaal were short-cut routes for this attainment. Hence, the Mashaaikh instructed their mureedeen in these practices as a means, not as a goal (Maqsad). The khaanqah practices were never designed as acts of ibaadat nor was the intention that they should replace the Masnoon acts of ibaadat – Nafl Salaat, Nafl Saum, Tilaawat and verbal Thikr in abundance and with constancy – Thikr as taught by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Unfortunately, the Khaanqah system has died. There are no longer true khaanqahs. The ‘khaanqahs’ of this era have become transformed into venues of bid’ah, nazamsinging, poetry, feasting and merrymaking. The so-called mashaaikh of the age themselves are in a quandary. They have no true understanding of the meaning of a khaanqah. Islaah of the Nafs has been entirely overshadowed despite this being the primary function of the khaanqah.
In the absence of true Khaanqahs, the need is to revert to the actual athkaar formulae shown by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). These are such forms of Thikr which are acquired directly from the Shaikhul Mashaaikh – the Shaikh of all Shaikhs – namely, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). For practising these athkaar, there is no need for any other sheikh. These are such forms of Thikr which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has imposed on every member of the Ummah.
THE SPIRITUAL PROGRAMME
Some Masnoon forms of Thikr and Shaghl will now be explained, Insha’Allah.
(1) For enhancing the quality of Thikrullaah, Tahaarat is an essential requirement. Therefore, the Seeker of Allah Ta’ala should endeavour to be perpetually with wudhu. When wudhu breaks, apply pressure on the nafs and renew the wudhu so that you constantly remain under the special Rahmat of Allah Ta’ala. When both the body and the heart are pure – purified of all physical impurities and spiritual impurities (sin and futility), then the special Anwaar (rays of noor) which perpetually cascade from the Arsh of Allah Ta’ala will find a ready receptacle in your heart wherein to settle.
(2) Memorize all the short Masnoon Duas which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has instructed to be recited for every act. The Dua for eating, sleeping, dressing, leaving the home, entering the home, and the myriad of other short Masnoon Duas which encompass our entire life’s activities, both mundane and spiritual, should be memorized. Until such time that you have not memorized all the Duas, recite Bismillaah when beginning any and every act.
(3) Punctually and regularly perform Tahyatul Wudhu, Ishraaq Salaat, Dhuhaa (Chaasht) Salaat, Awwaabeen and Tahajjud Salaat. Occasionally perform Taubah Salaat.
(4) Make Sadqah an integral part of your daily life. Give as you can afford even if it is one slice of bread. Never abandon Sadqah because you cannot afford to give a large sum of money. Allah Ta’ala looks at the niyyat, not at the amount.
(5) Without fail engage in Tilaawat of the Qur’aan Majeed daily. Fix your own quota of Tilaawat, and gradually increase it. Allah Ta’ala gives greater taufeeq when His bandah struggles along.
(6) Occasionally perform Salaatut Tasbeeh.
(7) Recite Istighfaar – any form of Istighfaar – at least 100 times daily.
(8) After Fajr Salaat recite Surah Yaaseen; after Zuhr, Surah Al-Fatah; after Asr, Surah Naba’; after Maghrib, Surah Waaqiah, and after Isha’, Surah Mulk.
(9) After every Salaat, recite Aayatul Kursi and Tasbeeh Faatimi.
(10) Every night, devote a few minutes to solitude and meditate on the day’s deeds and misdeeds, and on Maut and Qabr. Prescribe your own time duration for this shaghl. Even five minutes of daily meditation will prove vastly beneficial.
(11) Keep the tongue constantly engaged in Thikrullaah – any form of Thikr – Laa-ilaha illallaah, Allahu Allaah, Subhaanallaah, Allaahu Akbar, or any of the Asmaaul Husna. It is essential that the tongue remains perpetually engaged in Thikrullah whether walking, sitting, lying down, working and in every walk of life. This is the perpetual Thikr which is Waajib, and which is commanded by the Qur’aan and Hadith.
(12) If you have time available and you desire to practise more Thikr and Shaghl, then understand that the best and spiritually most efficacious forms of Thikr and shaghl are Nafl Salaat, Tilaawat, Istighfaar and Durood Shareef. No one, especially in this corrupt era of spiritual bankruptcy when true Mashaaikh of Tareeqat are no longer available, requires any Thikr or shaghl formula other than Nafl Salaat and Tilaawat of the Qur’aan Shareef. There are no superior athkaar and ashghaal to these Masnoon acts of ibaadat which were the primary acts of Thikr and shaghl of the Sahaabah.
ABSTENTION FROM SIN
This Act of the spiritual programme cannot be exaggerated as much as one may endeavour. Abstention from sin and futility has priority over Nafl acts of ibaadat. Sin and even futile acts which may initially be lawful are extremely harmful for moral reformation and spiritual advancement. The spiritual efficacy and benefits of athkaar and ashghaal are laid to waste by sin and futility. It is therefore imperative to exercise extreme caution in this regard.
Control of the eyes and tongue, reduction in association with people, abstention from over-eating and extreme care in the type of food you ingest are all vital for the acquisition of Roohaaniyat (spiritual fibre) and Divine Proximity.
A person who is careless of the food he consumes will never progress up the spiritual ladder. He will simply retrogress incremently into moral and spiritual corruption. Haraam and Mushtabah food are fatal spiritual poisons.
OBSERVANCE OF THE SUNNAH
The completion and perfection of the spiritual programme depend on meticulous observance of the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to the best of one’s ability. In every aspect of your daily life, implement the Sunnah whether these are of the Mustahab or Aadaab category. All Sunnats regardless of how ‘insignificant’ they may appear to our spiritually corroded hearts and minds, bring much noor into our lives.
This concise moral and spiritual programme comprising of only Masnoon ingredients is adequate for the spiritual needs of everyone in this age. May Allah Ta’ala grant us all the taufeeq of Istiqaamat (steadfastness) on Siraatul Mustaqeem and may He grant us a beautiful Maut with the tongue fresh with Thikr right until the very last moment when the Rooh makes its exit from this ephemeral worldly abode. Aameen! Ya Rabbal Alameen.
There are numerous forms of Thikr prescribed by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). All forms of Masnoon Thikr are highly beneficial and efficacious. Any of these forms may be adopted and practised. You could devise your own Thikr programme by selecting from the variety of Athkaar some of which are reproduced hereunder:
(1) Recite 41 times.
yaa Hayyu yaa Qayyoom laa ilaaha illaa anta as-aluka an-tuHyee Qalbee binoori maghfiratik
(2) Recite 500 times after Zuhr.
(3) After Asr recite 100 times.
laa ilaaha illaa anta subHaanaka innee kuntu minaZZaalimeen
4) After Maghrib recite as much as you wish.
(5) After Isha’, recite the following Istighfaar 70 times or 100 times
subHaanallaahi wabiHamdihee subHaanallaahil-AZeem astaghfirullaahal-AZeemalladhee laa ilaaha illaa huwal-Hayyul-Qayyoom wa atoobu ilayh
(6) In all states, while walking, sitting, lying down, working, etc. constantly recite
laa ilaaha illallaah
(7) Every morning and evening, recite Surah Ikhlaas, Falaq and Naas, each one thrice.
(8) Recite the last Ruku’ of Surah Baqarah every night.
(9) Recite as much as you wish.
yaa zaljalaali wal-ikraam
(10) Recite as much as you wish.
(11) Recite as much as you wish.
laa ilaaha illallaahu waHdahu laa shareeka lahu lahul-mulku wa lahul-Hamdu yuHyee wa yumeetu wa huwa Alaa kulli shay-in Qadeer
(12) Recite as much as you wish.
laa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar wa laa Hawla wa laa Quwwata illaa billaahil-Aliyyil-AZeem
(13) Recite as much as you wish.
subHaanallaahi wa biHamdihee
(14) Recite as much as you wish.
subHaanallaahi wabiHamdihee subHaanallaahil-AZeem
(15) Recite as much as you wish.
subHaanallaahi wabiHamdihee subHaanallaahil-AZeem astaghfirullaahal-AZeema wa atoobu ilayh
(16) Recite as much as you wish.
subHaanallaahi wal-Hamdulillaahi wa laa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar
(17) Recite as much as you wish.
subHaanallaahi wal-Hamdulillaahi wa laa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar wa laa Hawla wa laa Quwwata illaa billaahil-Aliyyil-AZeem
(18) Durood Shareef should be recited daily as much as one wishes. It takes only six minutes to recite Durood Shareef 100 times.
Everyone should prescribe for himself/herself a programme of Thikr consisting of Nafl Salaat, Tilaawat, Istighfaar, Tasbeeh, Tahleel and Dua. Remember that the Best and most rewarding method of Thikr is the Silent Thikr. Besides keeping the tongue engaged in constant Thikrullaah in all walks of life, it is also necessary to sit in solitude for some time daily for Thikrullaah. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that on the Day of Qiyaamah among those who will be granted sanctuary in the Shade of the Arsh will be such people who engaged in Thikrullaah, silently, in solitude and tears flowed down their cheeks.