Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Polishing the Hearts - by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Polishing the Hearts

by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

      
Allah – the Most High – said:
“O you who believe! Remember Allah and remember Him a lot.” [Surah al-Ahzaab 33:4I].
“Those men and women who remember Allah a lot.” [Surah al-Ahzaab 33:35].
“So when you have finished the rights of your Pilgrimage, then remember Allah as you remember your fore-father, or with more intense remembrance.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:200].
These verses contain a command to remember Allah intensely and abundantly, since the worshipper is in dire need of [remembering Allah] 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 Allah will not be of any benefit to him. Rather, the harm entailed in being neglectful of the dhikr of Allah is far greater than any benefits that can be gained.

One of the ‘aarifeen (those who are knowledgeable about Allah) said: “If a person were to spend such and such number of years engaged [in the dhikr of Allah], then he turns away from it for just a moment, what he will lose is far greater than whatever he has already gained.”

Al-Bayhaqee relates from ‘Aisha radiAllahu ‘anhaa that the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “There is no time in which the son of Aadam does not remember Allaah in it, except that it will be a source of regret for him on the Day of Judgement” 2

Mu’aadh ibn jabal radiAllahu ‘anhu relates that the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam 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 Allah.” 3

Mu’aadh ibn Jabal also relates that Allah’s Messenger sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was asked: What action is the most beloved to Allah? So he replied: “That you continue to keep your tongue moist with the dhikr of Allah, until you die.” 4

POLISHING THE HEART with Dhikrullah

Abu Dardaa radiAllahu ‘anhu said: “For everything there is a polish and the polish for the heart is the dhikr of Allah”.

Al-Bayhaqee relates from Ibn ‘Umar radiAllahu ‘anhu that Allaah’s Messenger sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “For everything there is a polish, and the polish for the hearts is the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah. There is nothing more potent in saving a person from the punishment of Allah than the dhikr of Allah.” It was said: Not even Jihaad in the path of Allah. So he replied: “Not even if you were to continue striking with your sword until it breaks.”5

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:-
(i) neglecting remembering Allah, and
(ii) committing sins.



The polish for these two things is:-
(i) seeking Allah’s forgiveness and
(ii) dhikr.

CONFUSING TRUTH WITH FALSEHOOD

Whoever neglects [remembering Allah] 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. Allah – 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].” [Surah al-Kahf 18:28].

Reasons behind Disobedience -Imam Ibn Qayyim

Reasons behind Disobedience
-Imam Ibn Qayyim

The foundation of sins, the small of them and the great, is three:
  1. Shirk, associating partners with Allah (swt), which is the heart’s attachment to other than Allah (swt).
  2. Dhulm, oppression and injustice, which is from obeying the furious rage in the hearts.
  3. Fawahish, indecency and illicit acts, which is from the strong desires and lusts.
The height of Shirk is to worship others besides Allah (swt). The height of rage is killing. The height of lusts is fornicating. This is why Allah (swt) has combined these three in one ayah (verse),
25:68
“And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.” (Qur’an, 25:68)
These sins lead to each other. Associating partners with Allah (shirk) leads to oppression and injustice (dhulm) and immorality (fawahish), just as sincerity (ikhlas) and Oneness of Allah (tawheed) wipes them out. Allah (swt) says,
12:24
“…And thus [it was] that We should avert from him evil and immorality. Indeed, he was of Our chosen servants.” (Qur’an, 12:24)
‘Evil’ (in this ayah) refers to attachment to other than Allah (swt), and ‘immorality’ refers to fornication.
Likewise, oppression and injustice leads to associating partners with Allah and immorality. Associating partners with Allah is the most unjust of injustices just as worshiping Allah Alone is the most just of justice. So justice accompanies the Oneness of Allah and oppression accompanies associating partners with Allah.
As for justice accompanying tawheed, it is proved in the ayah:
3:18
“Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge – [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice.” (Qur’an, 3:18)
And as for oppression accompanying associating partners with Allah, it is proved in the ayah:
31:13
“…Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice.” (Qur’an, 31:13)
Likewise, immorality leads to associating partners with Allah (swt) and injustice, because when the intention (to commit immorality) is strong, it will lead to oppression and relying upon magic and Satan.
Allah (swt) has connected fornication and associating partners with Him in the ayah,
24:3
“The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist, and that has been made unlawful to the believers.” (Qur’an, 24:3)
These three deeds (associating partners with Allah, injustice and immorality) gravitate towards each other, and one necessitates the other. This is why whenever the heart is weakest in tawheed and greater in associating with Allah, it is at its most immoral state and it is attached to committing these deeds and their results.
The analogy of this is contained in the series of ayat,
42:36
“So whatever thing you have been given – it is but [for] enjoyment of the worldly life. But what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who have believed and upon their Lord rely.” (Qur’an, 42:36)
Allah (swt) tells us here that He has prepared something better than this worldly life for those who believe and rely upon Him – this is referring to tawheed. Then He says,
42:37
“And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive.” (Qur’an, 42:37).
These people avoid immoralities, which means they stay away from strong desires and lusts. Furthermore, they forgive even when they have a furious rage in their hearts. Allah (swt) connects tawheed to chastity and justice, which is the combination of all that is good.

-Taken from Imam Soheb Web's site

Monday, February 27, 2012

ZUHD- Minimising the material possessions

ZUHD
Allah Ta'ala states:
"... So that you do not grieve over what you have lost nor become proud over what you have."
Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
"The first virtue of this Ummat is Yaqeen (firm faith) and zuhd, and the first corruption of this Ummat is Bukhl (niggardliness) and amal (distant and remote hopes)." (Baihaqi) 
Nature of Zuhd
Zuhd is to refrain from an object of desire in the pursuit of a nobler objective, e.g. refraining from the desire of the world and pursuing the desire of the Aakhirat. This is Zuhd.
The basis of Zuhd is the Noor and ilm which Allah Ta'ala inspires into the heart of man. As a result, his breast expands and he realises with clarity that the world with all its belongings is more contemptible than the wing of a fly and that only Aakhirat is noble and everlasting. When this Noor is acquired, the -worthlessness of the world fully dawns upon man. The effect of Zuhd is the attainment of contentment upon the obtainal of the bare necessities of life. Thus the Zahid (the one who has Zuhd) is satisfied with the bare necessities in the same way as the traveller is satisfied with the necessities which he takes along on his sojourn.
 
Zuhd is not total abstention from pleasures. Reduction of pleasures is sufficient for the attribute of Zuhd. In other words. one should not be engrossed in pleasures. Constantly hankering after luxuries is negatory of Zuhd. On the contrary, obtainal of luxuries without undue effort and arrangement is the Ni'mat of Allah Ta'ala, for which shukr (gratefulness) has to be offered. Along with granting comfort to the nafs, effort too should be imposed on it.
In all truth, gold and silver and the world with all its possessions, in the sight of one whose gaze is focused on Allah, are of no value. Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam never preferred the world for himself nor for those close to him. Whatever creation possesses is the material of the world. It is essential to sever one's hope from all things. He who is successful in this objective, will attain tranquillity, because both heart and body find rest and peace in Zuhd.
The manner in which to acquire Zuhd is to meditate on the defects, harms and ephemeral nature of the world, as well as to reflect on the benefits and the everlasting nature of the Aakhirat.
-(taken from Shariah and Tariqat by Maulana Masihullah Khan RA)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Turn to Allah with Shukr (Gratefulness) for continuinty of His bounties

A man who is not turned towards Allah Ta'ala through the medium of His kindness
and bounties, will be dragged with the chains of trials to face Allah.

Those servants in whom nobility and lofty intelligence are inherent, do not become proud and arrogant as a result of the bounties of Allah they are awarded. They do not lose themselves in indolence, unmindfulness and worldly love. The bounties serve to increase their love for their True Benefactor. In consequence they become engrossed in obedience and worship.
Those who consider these bounties as the goal to pursue, do not direct their attention to Allah Ta'ala. Consequently they are caught up in many trials and hardships. These misfortunes act like chains by means of which these recalcitrant servants are forcibly drawn to Allah Ta'ala. In this way they are accepted by Allah Ta'ala. Thus, the trials and hardships are in reality a blessing for them.
He who does not express gratitude for Allah's bounties, has initiated the process of their elimination, and he who is grateful has arranged a solid protection for the bounties.
The one who is not grateful for the bounties of Allah Ta'ala is in reality pursuing the elimination of the bounties. Shukr (gratitude) envisages abandonment of transgression and adoption of obedience. Only The One Being should be acknowledged as the bestower of all bounties. Ingratitude leads to the disappearance of the ni'mat (bounties).
The one who is grateful for the bounties and recognises the True Bestower, is ensured of the perpetuation of the favours of Allah. In fact, the favours will be increased. In this regard, Allah Ta'ala states in the Qur'aan:
“If you are grateful, most certainly I shall increase (the bounties) for you. And, if you are ungrateful, then (know) that My punishment is severe.”
Occasionally darkness settles over you so that you understand and appreciate the bounties of your spiritual illumination.
The condition of the bandah here on earth is not always the same. Sometimes the noor of obedience settles on him while at times the darkness of the contamination of desires and unmindfulness settles in his heart. If only the illumination of anwaar had to settle on him, he would not have known its value. Also, the reality of noor is understood from its opposite, viz. darkness (zulmat). When there is no appreciation, the bandah will not express Shukr to his Master. For this reason sometimes the darkness of ghaflat and shahwat settles on the Saalik so that he values the noor of obedience.
He who has not recognised the worth of bounties while they exist (with him), will recognise it after elimination of the bounties.
There are innumerable ni'maat of Allah Ta'ala on man at every moment. He is engulfed by bounties. However, most people fail to appreciate the bounties and remain ungrateful. Some even complaint about Allah Ta'ala and always remain dissatisfied. Such people will only appreciate the value of bounties after they have been snatched away. (They imply complaint by displaying dissatisfaction and greed – Translator.)

-Taken from Ikmalus Shiyam commentary on Hikam of Ibn Ata'illah Iskandari R.A.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gaining The Attention of Allah

Gaining The Attention of Allah

Hazrat Shaykh Maulana Mohammed Nabeel Ahmed Khan Sahib
 
“One thing that a person should do is try to gain the focus and attention of Allah Ta’ala upon themselves. If they have that, then they have everything. If they don’t have that, they can have everything, but yet it amounts to nothing. To gain His attention, we should try to resemble Rasulullah (S) as much as possible. This should be the ultimate goal of a person. In doing so, there are a few things in which if a person does, the rest of the deen becomes easy for him:
1) Proper recitation of the Qur’an.
In order to develop a Ta’alluq with Allah Ta’ala, one needs to know what Allah Ta’ala is saying and to have Him speak to them. Qur’an is the speech of Allah, so one must make sure that they know how to recite it properly. This can be done by finding a person who knows and learning from them, even if they have to start from the very beginning. In the methodology that we follow, one of the main things is that everything has to be perfect, and the thing that deserves the most perfection is the Qur’an. It comes in a Hadith that “Allah Ta’ala likes that the Qur’an be recited in the manner that it was revealed.” By reciting it properly, we are firstly doing something that Allah Ta’ala likes, and secondly following a sunnah. It can become very easy to put this off, but ask yourself, are you too busy to take out time for the Book of Allah? Recitation of the Qur’an is the first step in developing a relationship with Allah. Apart from learning how to recite the Qur’an, a person should take out time to understand what is in the Qur’an. This should be done under the supervision of an appropriate scholar of Deen. A person must make sure that they have a proper relationship with the Qur’an, and that it should be appropriately recited and understood.
2) Keeping a full beard.
Once a person establishes a relationship with the word of Allah Ta’ala, Allah needs a reason to continue the conversation because He can also very easily take the tawfeeq away. One should resemble Rasulullah (S) as much as he can because the more they do that, the more they become beloved in Allah’s sight. One of the ways of doing this is to grow the beard a fist length from all sides. A person may say that they are not pious enough to grow a beard, but one should do it anyways. Beards are not meant for pious people, beards are meant for men. A male lion will always have a beard- it is a sign of manliness. For those men who don’t have one, they need to decide their gender or lack thereof. Nabi (S) said that “My Lord Allah commanded me to grow my beard and shorten my mustache.” A person without a beard is in a state of perpetual sin until he grows his beard out. For females, in order to get the same reward, they should develop an atmosphere in which people do have beards. Develop that attitude in which the environment becomes such that it changes the rules. With those men whom you are allowed to have a relationship with, slip it in here and there. Another way for them to practice this particular aspect of the sunnah is to apply the concept of hijab. Because a woman who covers herself properly tolerates many discomforts, the reward may be the same if not more.
3) Uncovering the ankles.
Males should keep their ankles uncovered from the top down. If one desires their ankles to be covered, they can cover them from the bottom up, eg: with socks. There are four punishments for three different people, the first of whom is the one who covers his ankles. Allah Ta’ala wont speak to them, look at them, or purify them and they will have a great punishment. Nabi (S) said “Whatever is covering the ankles will be in the fire.” If your feet are in jahannam, the rest of your body will also be there.
4) Guard the gaze.
The other things are things that affect us externally. But we also have things that effect us internally, we have pathways into our hearts. So the main thing a person should do is guard their gaze. This is such a delicate matter, that Allah Ta’ala didn’t even deem it appropriate to address it Himself. He addresses Rasulullah (S) to, “Tell the believing men that they should lower their gazes and guard their private parts.” as well as the believing women. If you guard your gaze, then you won’t be involved in the second part of the ayat which involves any haraam act with the private parts. If you don’t guard your gaze, then you will. The easy way to get away from it is to just learn to lower your gaze. If you can’t lower your gaze, then sit in the company of those who do and eventually it will rub off on you. A person must have the attitude that “Look, I need to do this. I dont care if I die, I’ll die,” in order to live their lives properly. Nabi (S) says “May Allah Ta’ala’s curse be on the one who looks and is looked at.” It doesn’t matter whether it is a girl or a guy, if you put yourself in that situation then it’s your fault. Allah Ta’ala then says that, “This is the purest for you” and then at the end, “Allah knows exactly what you do.” He knows exactly how one looks, how they walk, what the intention is, and where the mind is going, etc. There is no escaping Allah Ta’ala. Just stay away from it and you won’t have these issues. If a person learns to be content with whatever Allah has given them then they won’t worry about other things. But if all of a sudden a person is driving on the road and they see other nice cars and worry about what other people are driving, then what’s going to happen? They’re going to crash and burn.
5) Protecting the heart.
This is a very broad and general point, but nonetheless it is still important. It is that a person needs to make sure that there is nothing, but Allah Ta’ala in their heart. When you take out everything else from your heart, then Allah Ta’ala will come in. Allah Ta’ala’s ghayrah is unlimited, He won’t enter a heart when there are other things in it. However, any permissable type of love (for your mother, husband, wife, etc) is included in the love of Allah Ta’ala because you love those people because Allah Ta’ala tells you to. But at the end, a real believer, his love for Allah is more. You can love anything you want but more love should be for Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala won’t enter a heart that hasn’t been broken in. In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah says “I am with the broken hearted.” That means that a person will yearn for Allah to enter their heart so much that it actually hurts them. Allah Ta’ala enters the heart in that manner.
Every single thing that has been mentioned requires some level of exertion. Some require a lot, some require less, but nonetheless they all require some exertion. A person cannot gain any closeness to Allah Ta’ala without putting in some time and effort. Allah Ta’ala doesn’t come automatically without going through any difficulties. For example, look at the Prophets. Every Nabi went through problems because when Allah Ta’ala loves a person, then He sends problems their way. Rasulullah (S) said that “Whoever loves me, poverty will come to them like a flood.” Not just poverty, but difficulties as well. The people whom Allah Ta’ala loves the most are the Ambiyaa, and “The people who have had it the worst in terms of difficulties are the prophets, then those who resemebled the prophets, and those who resemble them.” We see people going through problems and difficulties, but understand there is also a type of enjoyment they feel while going through it that nobody else knows unless they have tasted it themselves. It is like one who enjoys spicy food. On the outside, one may be tearing up and feeling pain and onlookers may wonder why they are eating it. But the person eating, they know the enjoyment they are getting from it and they don’t want to stop. A person who for the sake of Allah does these things, then they don’t want to stop even though there are many opportunites in which they can.
The easiest way to get everything that was mentioned is to be in the company of those who are pious. If a person doesn’t have that then they haven’t even tasted a drop of the Ma’arifat of Allah Ta’ala. Those who have no touch with the Ahle-Taqwa, they haven’t even tasted a droplet of the Ma’arifat of Allah Ta’ala because if they don’t even know the creation of Allah then how are they supposed to know Allah Ta’ala Himself? Keep the company of the righteous and then you won’t have to worry about bad company. Those friends who do not want to see you become a better person are not really your friends, they are your enemies.
We only have one life to live, so make the most of it. This isn’t all of Deen, but if a person does these few hard things, then everything else will come easily. It is just that simple. If it was something that was impossible, then Allah Ta’ala wouldn’t have told us to do it in the first place.
Allah Ta’ala grant us all the tawfeeq to bring these things within our lives and to really become an embodiment of the sunnah Rasulullah (S). Ameen!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SEEK ONLY ALLAH'S PLEASURE IN WHATEVER YOU DO!

SEEK ONLY ALLAH'S PLEASURE IN WHATEVER YOU DO!
Your devotion to your own self and to your family is a reflection of your ignorance. I do not say that you leave your family and go to the mountains for meditation. But I only ask you to look after your children to attain Allah's pleasure, that is, do not love them to serve your ardent desires but do it to please Allah. Give respite to your desire and seek the Mercy and nearness of Allah. Your work should not be for your happiness or others but it should be to please Allah.

Because the glory of Allah in all situations is pure of infidelity. The deeds of sin are returned to the infidels and thrown at their faces, and the deeds of the faithful are accepted by Allah. Remember! Divine worship is a pure deed.

And Allah commands those who wish to attain His proximity, they should do noble deeds and should not associate any one with Allah in worship.

-Shaykh Syed Ahmed Rifai RA (Al Burhan al Muaiyad p 101).

Salaah of the spiritually awakened!- (Hikam Ibn Ata'illah)

"Namaaz-e-Haqeeqi (True Salaah) purifies the heart from the pollution of ghairullah (things other than Allah) and opens up the door of spiritual mysteries (asraar). Namaaz is the substratum
(mahl) for secret discussion and the abode of love and sincerity. During Namaaz
the fields of the heart expand for spiritual mysteries and the stars of celestial
light (Anwaar) dazzle therein."- Hikam Ibn Ata'illah 


Commentary-
The hearts of the chosen servants of Allah are perpetually absorbed in His remembrance. However, association with people and tending to natural needs produce a kind of ghaflat (carelessness) and a relationship with beings other than Allah. As a result, the hearts become contaminated. But when they engross themselves in Namaaz, their hearts are cleansed of the foreign pollution. The Divine Perception is then again restored to their hearts in accordance with their respective ranks.
When the foreign veils are removed from their hearts, thus eliminating the impediments, the doors of hidden Divine Mysteries and the secrets of Divine Knowledge open up on their hearts during Namaaz. Thus, their Namaaz becomes the substratum for communion with their Rabb. Their hearts becomes imbued with sincerity and love, leaving no room whatever for anything besides Allah.
Their hearts expand for the intake of Divine Mysteries. There remains then not the slightest vestige of fear or constriction in their hearts. For these illustrious servants, anwaar (celestial illumination) glitter like stars in their Namaaz. They perceive this illumination with the eyes of the heart.
Every Mu'min should strive to perform such Namaaz (as described above).
-Taken from Ikmalus-shiyam

Monday, February 20, 2012

The one common goal of all and the only way to achieve it!


I have tried to find one goal which everyone would agree to be excellent and worthy of being striven after. I have found one only: to be free from anxiety. When I reflected upon it, I realized that not only do all agree in valuing it and desiring it, but I also perceived that, despite their many different passions and aspirations and preoccupations and desires, they never make the slightest gesture unless it is designed to drive anxiety far away. One man loses his way, another comes close to going wrong, finally another is successful - but he is a rare man, and success is rare, [O, all-knowing God].
Dispelling anxiety is a goal upon which all nations agree from the time when the Almighty created the world until the day when this world will pass away and be followed by the Day of Judgment - and their actions are directed to this goal alone. In the case of every other objective there will always be some people who do not desire it.
For example, some people are not religious and do not take eternity into account.
There are some who by nature and inclination prefer obscurity to fame [the obscurity of satisfied passion].
There are some who have no interest in amassing a fortune, preferring abstinence to ownership; this was the case with many of the Prophets. God’s peace be upon them - and those who followed their example, ascetics and philosophers. There are some who by nature dislike sensual pleasures and scorn those who seek after them, such as those men we have just mentioned, and who prefer to lose a fortune rather than gain one. Some prefer ignorance to knowledge, in fact most of the people that you see in the street are like this. These are the objectives of people who have no other aim in life. Nobody in the whole world, from the time of its creation until its end, would deliberately choose anxiety, and would not desire to drive it far away.

When I had arrived at this great piece of wisdom, when I had discovered this amazing secret, when Allâh the Almighty had opened the eyes of my mind [spirit] to see this great pleasure, I began to search for the way which would truly enable me to dispel anxiety, that precious goal desired by every kind of person, whether ignorant or scholarly, good or evil. I found it in one place alone, in the action of turning towards God the Almighty and Powerful, in pious works performed with an eye to eternity.

 Thus the only reason that someone chases after riches is to dispel the anguish of poverty. The only reason that someone seeks fame is to dispel the anxiety of seeing someone else outdo him. The only reason that someone chases after pleasures is to dispel the anxiety of missing them. The only reason someone chases after knowledge is to dispel the anxiety of being ignorant about something.

People enjoy listening to other people’s conversation and gossip only because it dispels the anxiety of being alone and isolated. People eat, drink, make love, wear clothes, play games, build a shelter, mount a horse, go for a walk, only in order to avoid the reverse of all these actions and every other kind of anxiety.
In all the actions listed here, anyone who pauses to reflect will see that anxieties inevitably occur, such as problems which arise in the course of the action, the impossibility of performing the impossible, the fleeting nature of any achievements, and the inability to enjoy something because of some difficulty. There are also bad consequences which arise from every success: fear of one’s rival, attacks by the jealous, theft by covetous, loss to an enemy, not to mention criticism, sin and such things. On the other hand, I have found that actions performed with an eye on eternity are free from * every kind of * fault, free from every stain, and a true means of dispelling anxiety. I have found that the man who is striving for eternity may be sorely tested by bad fortune on his way but does not worry; on the contrary, he is glad, because the trial to which he is subjected gives rise to hope, which aids him in his endeavour and sets him the more firmly on the path towards his true desire. I have found that, when he finds his way blocked by an obstacle, he does not worry, because it is not his fault, and he did not choose the actions that he will have to answer for. I have seen such a man be glad, when others have wished evil upon him, and be glad when has undergone some trial, and be glad, always [living] in a permanent state of joy while others are permanently the opposite. You should therefore understand that there is only one objective to strive for, it is to dispel anxiety; and only one path leads to this, and that is the service of the Most High God. Everything else is misguided and absurd.

Do not use your energy except for a cause more noble than yourself. Such a cause cannot be found except in * Almighty * God Himself!

Taken from: Al-Akhlâq wa’l-Siyar By Ibn Hazm al-Andaloosee

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Leaving good deeds due to fear (doubt) of Riya

The catastrophies of Riya (show off) are great. One should exert much to save one's self from these calamities. But this should be remembered that this is also one of the ways of shaitan (satan) hijacking our niyyah and making us to leave the good deeds
(Aamal-e-Saliha) by putting an apprehension (waswasa) in our mind that we should not do a (particular) deed otherwise we will commit the (sin of) Riya. At this time one should reply the shaitan (while taking the note of this apprehension which shaitan has put in his mind) that the Riya takes place only when our aim is to show our deeds to Makhlooq so that they become pleased and when we enjoy this idea (that people are seeing our good deeds and they are becoming pleased with us). On the contrary, our condition is such that we consider this thing bad and want to get rid of it (whether it goes or not), then how is it Riya? After saying this, one should engage oneself with good deeds (Aamal-e-Saliha), one should not care even least about these apprehensions and evil suggestions (of shaitan). 
You will experience these apprehensions few times
but then shaitan will get tired and will run away shamefully. 
Maulana  Alhaafiz Imdad-Ullah (RA) used to say:"Riya does not remain always Riya, firstly it is Riya, then it becomes a habit, and from habit it becomes Ibaadat and Ikhlas. "
It means that we should not bother about the Riya which
gets committed without any purpose and should not leave the Aamal-e-Saliha because of this.
-Taken from Furu-ul-Iman by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Five things for true remembrance of Allah-Part-4

Star 5. Remembering the Aakhirah (Hereafter).

A believer does not fully remember Allah unless he remembers the (Aakhirah) Last Day and its joys and horror. The Last Day of each person starts with his death.
Allah's Messenger said:
[ نهيتكم عن زيارة القبور فزورها فإنها تذكرة]

[I forbade you from visiting graveyards, but visit them because visitation to graveyard is a reminder.]

Remember the instant your soul will depart from your body. Remember what kind of angels will come to remove your soul: the angels of torment, about whom Allah said:

 ولو ترى إذ الظلمون في غمرات الموت والملائكة باسطوا أيديهم أخرجوا أنفسكم اليوم تجزون عذاب الهون بما كنتم تقولون على الله غير الحق و كنتم عن آياته تستكبرون
            
6:93{And if you had seen when the unjust shall be in the agonies of death and the angels are stretching forth
their hands saying: Give up your souls; today shall you be recompensed with an ignominious chastisement because you spoke against Allah other than the truth and (because) you showed pride against His verses.}

Or the angels of Mercy, about whom Allah said:

{ إن الذين قالوا ربنا الله ثم استقموا تتنـزل عليهم الملائكة ألا تخافوا و لا تحزنوا و ابشروا بالجنة التي كنتم توعدون}

41:30 {As for those who say: Our Lord is Allah, and afterward are upright the angels descend upon them, saying: Fear not, nor grieve, and bear good tidings of the gardens which you were promised.}
Remember your soul's journey in the skies and contemplate if heaven's doors would open to your soul, or if it would be banned from entering heaven's door.
Remember the time when Munkar and Nakeer, two blue blackish angels, would question you in your grave. They would yell at you and sit you up in your grave and ask you, who is your Lord? What is your religion? And who is your prophet? Simple questions, but in the grave only the truthful will be able to answer.
Remember the squeeze of the grave and whether it would expand as far as one can see, or it would tighten until the ribs of its occupant break.
Remember if your deeds would appear to you in the image of a handsome, nicely dressed, sweet-smelling man, he would deliver to you glad tidings. But, if your deeds appear to you in the image of an hideous man whose clothing is ugly, and smell is foul, then he would deliver to you bad news.
Remember whether a window from paradise would open on your grave, so you would receive from it the fragrance and the breeze of Jannah. Or a window from hell would open on your grave, so you would receive from it the heat and wind of hell.
Remember whether you would every morning and evening see your seat in Jannah, or you would see every morning and evening your place in hell.
Remember whether you would say after you see your seat in Jannah , O Lord let the Hour come, or you would say, after you see your place in hell, O Lord do not let the Hour come.
Remember when the trumpet will be blown and the souls will be installed in the bodies and the people will be resurrected to stand before the Lord.
Remember when people will be grouped in one flat area and the sun will come near upon them. Remember whether you would be comfortable in the shade or you would be distressed in your sweat to your ankles, or to your knees, or to your waist, or to your mouth.
Remember when you will be exposed before Allah not a secret of yours will be hidden. And remember the reckoning, and whether you would receive an easy reckoning and turn to your family happily, or receive a difficult reckoning and invoke destruction.
Remember the scale and whether your scale will be heavy with good deeds so your living will be joyous, or your scale will be light due to deficiency in good deeds so your living will be in hell.
Remember when the records will be given, and whether you would receive your record in your right hand and say here I am, read my book, surly I knew that I should meet my reckoning, then you will be in blissful state in a high garden whereof the clusters are in easy reach,
or you would receive your record in your left hand then you would say I wish I did not receive my book, nor I knew my reckoning , I wish death was the end, my wealth has not availed me, my power has gone from me.
Remember whether you would drink from the Prophet's (SAWS) pool or you would be kept off of it.
Remember crossing the bridge over hell and the hooks that snatch people off the bridge according to their deeds. Remember your pace crossing the bridge, would it be like a blink of an eye, or like thunder, or wind, the speed of bird, or a horse, or in jogging speed, or walking speed, or crawling speed. Remember whether you would be saved, or the hooks will cut you, scratch you, than release you, or cut you, scratch you and than immerse you in fire.
Remember whether you would enter Jannah with the first group bright as the full moon, or with the second group shining like the bright star, or you enter Jannah without reckoning , or after easy reckoning, or after hard reckoning and burning in hell until blackened then you will be removed with those who have eemaan that weighs one golden coin.
or you will removed with those who have eemaan that weighs half golden coin.
Or you will be removed with those who have eemaan that weighs one seed of barley.
Or you will be removed with those who have eemaan that weighs one seed of oat.
Or you will be removed with those who have eemaan that weighs the smallest, smallest, smallest mustard seed.
Or you will be removed from hell with those about whom Allah says:
{By my honor, greatness and superiority I will remove from it whoever said there is no god but Allah.}
Then water from Jannah will be poured on those burnt people so they rejuvenate and then they will enter Jannah and those will be know as aljahannameyoon.
Or you may enter the great fire in which you would not live nor die every time the skin is cooked, they will be given a new skin to experience the pain again. Remember whether you would drink form the springs of Jannah, from the rivers of wine, milk, water, and pure honey, and eat from the fruit of Jannah and drink wine from golden and sliver cups, or you would drink from the flaming water in hell and eat from the zaqoom tree , a tree that grows from the bottom of hell, its crops as if they were the heads of devils, they will eat from it until they fill their bellies and afterward thereupon they have a drink of boiling water that boil like molten brass. It seethes in their bellies. This is the food of the sinners.
Remember will you be deprived for eternity from seeing your Lord, or you would be in Jannah near your Lord whence you see Him.
Imagine yourself in paradise enjoying all amenities, all the luxuries, all the blessings, all the pleasant things,
When you see you Lord, you will forget everything you may be experiencing at that moment, because the pleasure that is derived from the bliss of paradise amounts to nothing in comparison to the pleasure that is derived from seeing the “Face” of your Lord.
The utopia of happiness in Jannah is attained when the people of Jannah see their Lord with their eyes. Allah's Messenger said:

‏ إِذَا دَخَلَ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ الْجَنَّةَ - قَالَ - يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى تُرِيدُونَ شَيْئًا أَزِيدُكُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ أَلَمْ تُبَيِّضْ وُجُوهَنَا أَلَمْ تُدْخِلْنَا الْجَنَّةَ وَتُنَجِّنَا مِنَ النَّارِ - قَالَ - فَيَكْشِفُ الْحِجَابَ فَمَا أُعْطُوا شَيْئًا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّظَرِ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ عَزَّ وَجَلّ‏

[When the people of Jannah enter Jannah, Allah, the hallowed, the most high will say to them do you wish to have more of any thing? They will say you honored us and admitted us to Jannah and saved us from the fire. Then Allah removes the veil, nothing is more beloved to them than viewing their Lord.] Muslim

Only when we live with a heart that knows Allah and remembers Him accurately, we can lead our lives according to Allah's desire and not our personal whims and fancies. Living this way starts with accepting Prophet Muhammad SAWS as our role model.

لقد كان لكم في رسول الله اسوة حسنةلمن كان يرجوا الله و اليوم الأخر و ذكر الله كثيرا

33:21 {Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent example for him who hopes in Allah and the last day and remembers Allah much.}

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five things for true remembrance of Allah-Part-3

Star 4. Remembering the Torment and Wrath.

In order to fully remember Allah., we must remember His torment and wrath. It is not befitting of a believer to live his life thinking that Allah's statements of punishment do not apply to him. Allah characterizes believers that they fear him. They do not fear Him because he is an intimidating God. They fear Him because they know He is Just and they are deserving of His punishment. In actuality they fear His torment but not Him personally. Scholars said when believers enter Jannah their love to Allah increases because they see Him and their fear ends because they receive total security. A believer does not fully remember Allah unless he remembers His statements of punishment and retribution. Allah wants us to know that He is severe in punishment.
{و اتقوا الله واعلموا أن الله شديد العقاب}

2:196 {protect yourselves from Allah and know that Allah is Severe in punishment.}
اعلموا أن الله شديد العقاب} الأنفال

8:25 {know that Allah is severe in punishment.}

اعلموا أن الله غفور رحيم و اعلموا أن الله شديد العقاب} المائدة

5:98 {Know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And Know that Allah is severe in punishment.}

إن ربك سريع العقاب و إنه لغفور رحيم} الأنعام 165
6: 165 {Your lord is quick in punishment and He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

نبئ عبادي أني أنا الغفور الرحيم و أن عذابي هو العذاب الأليم} الحجر

15: 49-50 {Inform my slaves that I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And my torment is indeed the most painful torment.}
Believers who know the magnitude of Allah punishment stay way from disobeying Allah

{قل إني أخاف إن عصيت ربي عذاب يوم عظيم}

6:15 {Say: I fear the torment of a great day, if my Lord I disobey.}
This statement reflects how the mind-set of a believer should be. Whenever evil desires within a believer instigate him/her to do something sinful, or wherever the glitter of life entices a believer to a sinful practice, this Quranic truth should pop up to his mind’s screen.
Many people program their minds that when they are about to do something sinful to send the following message to their mind screen:
Do not worry, be happy, go ahead, because your God is Forgiving and Merciful.

This is not the correct message at this time.
The correct message is the one that stops the sinful practice, not the one that encourages the sinful practice. Thus, a believer does not fully remember Allah unless he remembers His punishment.

Five things for true remembrance of Allah- Part-2

Star 2. Remembering Allah’s Statements of orders and prohibition.

In order to remember Allah, we must remember Allah's statements of commands and prohibition.
In proportion to how much a believer lives up to Allah's commandments, he would be able to fight off temptation.
Allah wants you to be happy, satisfied, and content.
When you carry out Allah's commands you capitalize on the opportunity to be the best you can be.
Happiness is the result of carrying out Allah’s commands.
Satisfaction is the product of carrying out Allah's commands.
A tasteful life is the reward of carrying out Allah's commands.
The more a person implements Allah's commands in his life, the more satisfying and tasteful his life will be. The less a person implements Allah's commands in his life, the less satisfying and tasteful his life will be. As an aid to devotion, a person must know that Allah’s commands bring good to him in this life and the Hereafter; and Allah’s prohibition safeguards him from harmful matters, theologies, and practices.
Allah, the Merciful One, did not prohibit things as a measure of punishment or deprivation but rather as a measure of protection from harm, and a shield from evil that safeguards us from destruction.
Star 3. Remembering Allah’s Bounties and Blessings.
In order to remember Allah, we must remember His bounties. He said

{ياأيها الناس اذكروا نعمت الله عليكم}

35:3 {O man kind remember Allah's bounties on you.}

Remembering Allah's bounties means to remember that Allah is the giver of all bounties. This mind set gives a believer an opportunity to be successful.
Allah said:

{ فذكروا آلآء الله لعلكم تفلحون}

7:69 {Thus remember Allah's bounties upon you that you may be successful.}

Allah told us in the Quran that remembering Him brings success.
{ واذكروا الله كثيراً لعلكم تفلحون}


62:10 {Remember Allah much that you may be successful.}
Remembering Allah's bounties blows on the heart like a fresh summer breeze that awakens and kindles Allah's love in the heart of the one who is bounty-conscious.

Five things for true remembrance of Allah- Part-1

TO TRULY REMEMBER ALLAH, WE MUST REMEMBER FIVE MATTERS:
(Taken from Abu Nour's article)
One must remember all those five in order to be a five star believer

1. Remembering Allah's names and attributes. 

 In order to remember Allah, we must remember His names and attributes which entails collecting them, call Allah by them, praise Allah by them and modeling our selves after them.
a-Collecting Allah's names
Allah said:

قل ادعو الله أو ادعوا الرحمن إياً ما تدعوا فله الأسماء الحسنى

17:110{Say: Call upon Allah or call upon Him, the Most Beneficent (Allah), by whatever name you invoke Him, for Him belong the most beautiful names.}

Allah's Messenger said:
[ إن لله تسعة وتسعين اسماً مائة إلا واحدا من أحصاها دخل الجنة]

[Ninety nine names, hundred but one, belongs to Allah. Whoever collects them enters Jannah.]

In another statement, he said

[من حفظها دخل الجنة]

[Whoever preserves, memorizes, them enter Jannah]


Collecting Allah's names depends upon doing four things:

• memorize them.

• understand their meanings.

• comprehend their implications on your conduct.

• monitor your behavior based on your belief in them.

b- Praying through Allah's names

Allah says:

{ولله الأسماء الحسنى فدعوه بها}

7:180 {The Beautiful Names (the Perfect Names) are Allah's, so call Him by them.}

A person who invokes Allah should choose from His names the one that matches his request. If one wants guidance, he should use the name Alhaadee (the Guide). Likewise, if one wants forgiveness, he should use the name Alghafoor (the Forgiver)

c- Praising Allah with His names

For each name there is a unique way to praise Allah. The guided person is the one who Allah shows how to praise Him through all of His Names.

d- Modeling one’s character
Which means a person models himself after Allah's attributes. When it comes to believing in Allah's Names and attributes, a believer must clear his creed from any thoughts that Allah's attributes resemble the attributes of the created order. A great deal of theological mistakes results from assuming that the conditions, limits, and bounds of our finite feeble existence apply to Allah. Allah's nature is exclusive to Him. No one shares with Him His nature or resembles Him. In order to safeguard us from anthropomorphism, interpretation of divine attributes in terms of human characteristics, Allah said:
42:11{Nothing resembles Him.}

With this conviction being strongly fastened to our understandings, I say a person who remembers Allah should try to implement the likes of Allah's attributes in himself. When a person successfully installs the like of Allah’s attributes in himself, this attribute will draw him nearer than ever to His Lord, and make him the object of the Divine love.
That does not mean a person can resemble Allah in His attributes because they are exclusive to Him. However, one ought to try and cultivate the likes of Allah's attributes in him.
Allah is Merciful and loves the merciful.
Allah is knowledgeable and loves those who are knowledgeable.
Allah is Just and loves the just.
Allah is Beautiful and loves those who beautify themselves by obeying His Commands.
Allah is The Forgiver and loves those who forgive.
And, Allah is generous and loves the generous.
The point is that Allah loves His attributes, thus the most beloved to Him among His slaves are those who inculcate in themselves the attributes that He loves.
And the most disliked among His slaves are those characterized with the attributes that do not fit them or that Allah dislikes.
Some of Allah's attributes are suitable for humans to have the likes of them, and some are not. The attributes that are not consistent with our status as slaves of Allah, are not suitable for us such as Pride and Majesty. The presence of these attributes in humans is oppression.

العزة إزاري و الكبرياء ردائي وفي روايه و العظمة ردائي فمن نازعني واحد منها احرقته بالنار      أحمد

[Glory is my lower garment and pride is my upper garment, in another narration, majesty is my upper garment who every tries to acquire one of them I burn him in the fire.]
However, the attributes of Mercy, Kindness, and Generosity are consistent with our status as slaves of the Greatest. Thus having such attributes qualify us to receive Allah's love.
In order to remember Allah, we must remember His names and attributes which entails collecting them, call Allah by them, praise Allah by them and modeling our selves after them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The spiritually perfect Salaah (prayer)- (Imam Ghazali)

States Conducive to Perfecting The Life in Prayer (Inner Dimensions of Salaah)
These qualities can be expressed in many ways, but they are well summed up in six words, namely: awareness; understanding; reverence; awe; hope; shame.

Awareness

By conscious awareness we mean that state in which one’s mind and feelings are in no way distracted from what one is doing and saying. Perception is united with action and speech. Thoughts do not wander. When the mind remains attentive to what one is doing, when one is wholeheartedly involved, and when nothings makes one heedless, that is when one has achieved conscious awareness.

Understanding

Understanding the meaning of one’s words is something that goes beyond awareness, for one may be conscious of making an utterance, yet not be aware of the meaning of that utterance. What we mean by understanding, therefore, is an awareness that also includes comprehension of the meaning of one’s utterance. People differ in this respect, not sharing a common understanding of the Koran and the glorifications.
How many subtleties of meaning we have come to understand in the course of ritual prayer! Things that had never occurred to us before.
It is in this context that prayer becomes a deterrent to indecency and mischief, for the understanding it brings is a positive obstacle to vice.

Reverence

As for reverence, this is something beyond both awareness and understanding. A man may address his servant in full awareness of his speech, and understanding the meaning of his words, yet without reverence, for reverence is an additional element.

Awe

As for awe, it is over and above reverence. In fact, it represents a kind of fear that grows out of the latter. Without experiencing fear, one will not stand in awe. There is an ordinary fear of things we find repugnant, like scorpions or bad temper, but this is not called awe. What we call awe is the kind of fear we have of a mighty king. Awe is the kind of fear induced by a sense of majesty.

Hope

As for hope, this is unquestionably something else again. There are many who revere some king or other, and who are in awe of him or afraid of his power, yet do not hope to be rewarded by him. In our prayers, however, we must hope for the reward of Allah, High Exalted; just as we fear His punishment for our faults.

Shame

As for shame, it is something additional to all the rest, for it is based on the realization of one’s deficiencies and the apprehension of sin. It is quite possible to conceive of reverence, fear and hope, without this element of shame.

(From Imam Ghazali's Ihya ul uloom)

Effect of Azaan on the Heart

"When you hear the call to prayer given by the Muezzin, let yourself perceive the terror of the Summons on the Day of Resurrection. Prepare yourself inwardly and outwardly to respond, and to do so promptly. Those who are prompt in answering this call are the ones who will be summoned gently on the Day of the Great Review. So review your hearts now; if you find it full of joy and happiness, eager to respond with alacrity, you can expect the Summons to bring you good news and salvation on the Day of Judgment. That is why the Prophet SAWS used to say: “Comfort us, Bilal! For Bilal was the Muezzin and prayer was the joy and comfort of the Messenger."
-Imam Ghazali in Ihya ul Uloom

73 Benefits of Zikr- Imam Ibn Qayyim (RA)


73 Benefits of Zikr- Imam Ibn Qayyim (RA)

        



Hafiz Ibn Qayyim (RA), a well-known Muhadith (A scholar of traditions), has written an authentic book, 'Al-Waabilus Sayyib', on the virtues of Zikr, which are more than one hundred and he has listed seventy nine of these, which are briefly given below in the same order. Some of these include multiple benefits, in that case their actual number exceeds more than one hundred:
1) Zikr keeps away the Shaitân and weakens his strength.
2) It is the cause of Almighty Allah Ta’ala’s pleasure.
3) It relieves the mind from anxieties and worries.
4) It produces joy and happiness in the heart.
5) It strengthens the body and mind.
6) It brightens the face and heart.
7) It attracts one’s sustenance.
8) It invests the Zâkirs with awe and sweetness so that the beholder is filled with awe and pleasure at his sight.
9) It induces love for Allah Ta’ala, which in fact is the spirit of Islam and the pivot of Deen (religion), and the source of success and salvation in the Hereafter. He who seeks access to the love of Almighty Allah Ta’ala should do Zikr profusely. Just as reading and repetition is the door of knowledge, so Zikr of Allah Ta’ala is the gateway of His love.
10) Zikr involves Muraqabah (transcendental meditation) through which one reaches the stage of Ihsân, wherein a person worships Almighty Allah Ta’ala as if he is actually seeing Him. (The attainment of this stage of Ihsân is the ultimate objective of the Sufis).
11) It helps in realization of Allah Ta’ala so that by and by a stage is reached when he comes to regard Almighty Allah Ta’ala as his sole Cherisher, Guardian and Master, and he turns unto Him, in all afflictions.
12) It is the key to the nearness of Almighty Allah Ta’ala. More abundant the Zikr, more one will get nearer to Allah Ta’ala, and greater the indifference to Zikr, greater will be the distance from Him.
13) It opens the doors of realization (Ma’arifat) of Allah Ta’ala.
14) It makes one to realize the greatness and grandeur of Almighty Allah Ta’ala, and strengthens the consciousness of His omni-presence.
15) Zikr of Allah Ta’ala causes one’s mention in the court of Allah Ta’ala, as is mentioned in the Holy Book (Al-Qur’ân):
فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَاتَكْفُرُونِ
" Remember me, and I will remember you.” (2:152)
And as stated in the Hadith:
“Whosoever remembers Me in his heart. I remember him in My heart”. (Bukhâri & Muslim Sharief)
It has already been explained under other verses and Ahâdith that, even if there were no other good points in Zikr, except those mentioned above, this alone would have established its superiority over others. Nevertheless, there are many more virtues and benefits of Zikr.
16) It gives life to the heart. Hafiz Ibn Taimiyah (RA) says that Zikr is so much necessary for the heart as water for the fish. Imagine the condition of a fish out of water.
17) It is food for the heart and soul; to deprive them of Zikr is like depriving the body of its food.
18) It cleanses the heart of its rust. It has been mentioned in the Hadith; everything rusts according to its nature; and the heart rusts with worldly desires and indifference; to purify it, Zikr is necessary.
19) It safeguards against pitfalls and lapses.
20) The heart of neglectful person is tormented by a feeling of remoteness from Allah Ta’ala, and nothing other than Zikr can rid off the heart from this feeling.
21) The words of Zikr keep circulating round the Arsh of Almighty, as stated in a Hadith.
22) If one remembers Allah Ta’ala in happiness, Almighty Allah Ta’ala remembers him in his afflictions.
23) It is a means of deliverance from Allah Ta’ala’s punishment.
24) It causes Allah Ta’ala’s peace and mercy to descend, while angels surround the person engaged in Zikr.
25) It saves one’s tongue from indulging in backbiting, loose talk, lies, and abuses. It is a common experience that a man whose tongue remains engaged in Zikr does not commit these absurdities. On the other hand, a tongue that is not busy in Zikr, falls an easy prey to all kinds of useless talk.
26) The gatherings of Zikr are the gatherings of angels, and gatherings without Zikr are gatherings of Satan. A person is free to have a choice between the two, and verily a man, by instinct, is drawn towards what suits to his temperament.
27) By virtue of Zikr, the Zâkir is blessed and also the person sitting by him. Similarly, the indolent person is accursed for his indolence and also the person sitting by him.
28) Zikr will save one from despair on the Day of Judgement. This is confirmed by one of the Ahâdith which says that the gathering devoid of Allah Ta’ala’s Zikr will cause sorrow and losses on that Day.
29) If Zikr is accompanied by tears and loneliness, the Zâkir will be blessed under the shadow of Allah Ta’ala's Throne on the Day of Judgement when hearts will jump to lips due to agony of intolerable heat of that Day.
30) Those who remain busy in Zikr are better rewarded by Allah Ta’ala than those who remain busy in Dua (prayer) and supplication. According to one Hadith, Almighty Allah Ta’ala says that "I will reward one better who is engrossed in Zikr than the one who is busy in making Dua”.
31) In spite of the fact that Zikr is the easiest form of worship (the movement of the tongue being easier than the movement of any other part of the body), All the same it is the most virtuous form.
32) Allah Ta’ala’s Zikr helps the plants of Paradise to grow.
33) Of all the actions, the reward and forgiveness promised for Zikr is the highest. According to a Hadith, if on any day a person repeats the following words one hundred times:
لا اله إلا وحده لا شريك له له الملك و له الحمد و هو على كل شىء قدير
"There is none worthy of worship except Allah Ta’ala, the One. There is no partner with Him; His is the kingdom, and for Him is all praise, and He is All-powerful to do everything."
He is rewarded as much as for freeing ten slaves, and in addition one hundred virtues are written in his account and one hundred sins are forgiven. He remains protected against the devil throughout the day, and none is considered as having acted better than him except one who has recited the same words more often than he did. Similarly, there are many other Ahâdith proclaiming the superiority of Zikr over all other good deeds.
34) Due to incessant Zikr one does not forget his own soul. Forgetting one’s soul leads to failure in both the worlds, because forgetting the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala leads to neglecting one’s own soul and all its best interests. Allah Ta’ala says in His book:
 وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنْسَاهُمْ أَنْفُسَهُمْ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“And be not ye as those who forgot Allah Ta’ala and therefore He caused them to forget their souls. Such are the evil-doers”.(59:19)
Thus, when one forgets his own soul, he becomes careless and forgets his real interests, which leads to his ruin in the same way as a garden or field is invariably ruined when its owner fails to look after it. To remain protected from this ruin, one should keep his tongue always busy in Zikr to such an extent that it (zikr) becomes indispensable for him in such a way as water is for thirsty, food for hungry or a house and clothes for the needy. As a matter of fact, one should be more mindful towards Zikr than any of these material necessities which are a small loss if lost as compared with the spiritual death.
35) Zikr is the source of one’s spiritual elevation whether one is engaged in it while in bed or in the market, in good health or in sickness, or even when one is enjoying most of the pleasures of life. Nothing but Zikr can take a man to such spiritual heights whereby his heart is so illuminated with the radiance of Zikr that even while asleep he is more wakeful than a neglectful person who is awake all the night.
36) The Noor (radiance) of Zikr remains with a person in his life as well as in his grave. It will guide him on the Sirât in the Hereafter. Almighty Allah Ta’ala says in the Quran:
أَوَمَنْ كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَنْ مَثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِنْهَا كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“Can he who was dead and whom We gave life, and a light whereby he can walk among men, be like him who is in utter darkness whence he cannot emerge?” (6:122)
The one mentioned first is the faithful, who believes in Allah Ta’ala and shines with the light of His love, Zikr, and cognizance, while the second one is devoid of all these virtues. In reality this radiance is a great blessing and leads to perfect success. That is why Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to beg in prolonged prayers for it to circulate in every part of his body. As mentioned in Ahâdith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) prayed that Almighty Allah Ta’ala may bless his flesh, bones, muscles, hair skin, eyes and ears with Noor, and that he may be surrounded with Noor on all sides; he even prayed that he may be blessed with Noor from top to bottom, and that his whole person may be transmitted into Noor. One’s deeds will shine according to the Noor in oneself so much that the good deeds of some people (while going to heaven) will shine like the Sun. Similar Noor will be found in their faces on the Day of Judgement.
37) Zikr is the basic principle of Tasawuf (Sufism) and is invoked in all the schools of Sufism. A person who gets conversant with Zikr enters the gateway of Almighty Allah Ta’ala, from Whom he will get whatever he wishes, for Allah Ta’ala’s treasures are unlimited.
38) There is not a single corner in the heart of a man which cannot be filled but with Zikr. When Zikr controls the heart, not only does it fill up this corner but also leads the Zâkir to that kind of contentment which any amount of wealth would fail to produce. Such a person gets respect among people, which his family or party fails to bring about. He earns such a control over people that a sovereign would never dream of. On the other hand, disgrace descends over an indolent in spite of all his wealth and riches, party, strength and powers.
39) Zikr transforms distraction into concentration, remoteness into nearness. This means that one gets relieved of troubles, worries and fears, and is blessed with peace of mind. His mistakes and sins are forgiven, and the devils who are after him are dispersed away. It makes him to remember that the Hereafter is not far away, and the worldly life has little attraction for him.
40) Zikr does not allow one’s heart to suffer from forgetfulness, which leads to ignoring one's ultimate interest.
41) Zikr is just like a tree whose fruit is realization of Almighty Allah Ta’ala. More a person engages himself in the Zikr, stronger shall grow the root of this tree and more abundant will it bear the fruits.
42) Zikr of Almighty Allah Ta’ala promotes nearness to Him and thereby one earns His constant patronage. It is mentioned in the Quran.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ مُحْسِنُونَ
“For Allah Ta’ala is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good” (16:128)
It is stated in one Hadith:
ان مع عبدي ما ذكرني
“I am with my slave who remembers Me”. (Bukhâri Sharief)
According to another Hadith, Allah Ta’ala says,
“Those who remember Me are My men, and I do not deprive them of My mercy. When they repent, I Am their friend, but when they do not repent. I Am their physician. I put them to worries to condone their sins."
The nearness to Allah Ta’ala that is developed due to excessive Zikr has no parallel. No words and no writing can describe this nearness. Its taste is known only to those who are blessed with it. (May Almighty Allah Ta’ala also bless me with the same).
43) Zikr of Allah Ta’ala is as meritorious as it is to liberate slaves, to spend in charity, and to perform Jihâd in the path of Allah Ta’ala.
 (Many virtues of this kind have already been described and more will further be narrated in this book).
44) Zikr is the fundamental form of thanksgiving to Almighty Allah Ta’ala. One who does not perform Zikr cannot thank Him. It is stated in Hadith that Hadhrat Musa (AS) had asked Allah Ta’ala,
"O My Lord! You have done me countless favours, teach me the manner in which I should thank you befittingly."
Allah Ta’ala says:
 "The more you perform Zikr, the more thanks you offer."
According to another Hadith, Hadhrat Musa u is reported to have said,
 "O, Lord! how can I offer thanks worthy of Your greatness."
Allah Ta’ala replied:
  "Let your tongue be always engaged in Zikr."
45) According to Allah Ta’ala, the best of the pious people are those who always remain busy in Zikr, because piety leads to paradise, and Zikr to the nearness to Allah Ta’ala.
46) There is a sort of hardness in the human heart which does not get softened by anything except Zikr.
47) In fact, Zikr is a remedy for all the ills of heart.
48) Zikr of Allah Ta’ala is the root of His love, and neglecting Zikr is the root of His enmity.
49) Nothing is more effective than Zikr in attracting Allah Ta’ala’s blessings and in warding off His chastisement.
50) Almighty Allah Ta’ala grants His grace to those who perform Zikr, and the angels pray for them.
51) One who wants to remain in the gardens of Paradise, even in this life, should sit in gathering of Zikr, because these are like the gardens of Paradise.
52) Gatherings of Zikr are also the gatherings of angels.
53) In the presence of angels, Almighty Allah Ta’ala praises those who perform Zikr.
54) One who is constant in performing Zikr will enter Paradise in high spirits.
55) All good deeds are attained because of Zikr.
56) A good deed becomes superior to others of its kind because of Zikr. Of the fasts, the one with more Zikr is the best; Of the Hajj, one with excessive Zikr is more virtuous. Similar is the case with other good deeds like Jihâd etc.
57) Zikr is a substitute of Nafl Salâh and other non-obligatory devotions. It is related in one Hadith that the poor people once complained to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) of the higher reward available to the rich because of their wealth.
They said, “These rich men offer prayers and fast just as we do, but they excel us by performing Umrah and Hajj, and by taking part in Jihâd on account of their wealth."
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: “Should I tell you something, so that none except one who practices it can excel you." He then advised them to recite:
سبحان الله - الحمد لله - الله اكبر
 after every Salâh. (Bukhâri Sharief)
By this, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has indicated the importance of Zikr to be the substitute for various kinds of worship, like Umrah, Hajj, Jihâd etc.
58) Zikr is very helpful to all other forms of worship. Excessive Zikr creates love for various forms of worship and one starts taking delight in performing them and never feels bored or burdened.
59) Zikr is a solution to all the difficulties, and a good remedy for all kinds of misery. It lightens every burden, and relieves every affliction
60) Zikr dispels every fear of the heart It has a special hand in inducing peace of mind and for relieving the heart of its fear. To free the heart of its fears and mind of its perplexity is one of the specific qualities of Zikr. Therefore greater the amount of Zikr , greater is the freedom from fear.
61) By virtue of Zikr, one is blessed with the Divine help in all his doings. That is why sometimes a man achieves such distinctions which are beyond his capacity and he attains what evidently seems beyond his reach. Once Hadhrat Fatimah (RA) complained to Rasulullah's (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) of excessive fatigue due to grinding of wheat and other domestic drudgery. She requested that a 'domestic help' may be arranged for her. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) advised her to recite 'Subhân Allah Ta’ala’ and 'Alhamdu Lillah’ each thirty three times and 'Allah Ta’alau Akbar’ thirty four times. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) further said to her: "The recitation of these Kalimas is better for you than a servant”. (Abu Dawood Sharief)
62) Those who are working for Hereafter are in a race, wherein the Zâkirs shall remain ahead of all on account of the Zikr. Umar Maula Ghufra (RA) says that ‘on the Day of Judgement when people will be rewarded for their good deeds many will repent why they neglected Zikr when it was the easiest of all the good deeds and highest in reward. In a Hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is quoted to have said:
“The Mufarrideen have surpassed all”.
He was asked:
“Who were the Mufarrideen?”
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied:
“Those who toil hard for Zikr because it lightens their burdens”. (Muslim Sharief)
63) Those who perform Zikr are deemed truthful by Almighty Allah Ta’ala and those who are testified as such by Almighty Allah Ta’ala will not be raised with the liars on the Day of Judgement. It is quoted on the authority of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that when a man utters:
لا اله إلا الله و الله اكبر
Allah Ta’ala proclaims:
“My slave has spoken the truth, and nobody is worthy of Worship except 1, and I am the Greatest of all."
64) While being engaged in Zikr the angels remain busy in constructing houses in Paradise for the performers. When Zikr is stopped, the angels also stop construction of the houses. When asked why a particular construction was stopped by the angels, they reply, “The construction had to be stopped because funds for that were stopped. The fact is confirmed by a Hadith, which reads when a man recites seven times:
سبحان الله و بحمده سبحان الله العظيم
A tower is raised for him in the Paradise.
65) Zikr provides protection against the Hell fire. If, due to any misdeed a Zâkir deserves the Hell, his Zikr acts as defense against the Hell. The more his Zikr is, the stronger will be this defense.
66) The angels pray for the forgiveness of Zâkireen (those who are engaged in Zikr). It is related on the authority of Hadhrat Amr bin Aas (RA) that when a person says:
الحمد لله رب العالمين سبحان الله و بحمده
the angels pray to Almighty Allah Ta’ala for his forgiveness.
67) Any place whether a mountain or plain on which Zikr is recited, feels proud of it. According to a Hadith, one mountain asks another if any Zâkir has crossed over it during the day, if the reply is in the affirmative, it feels happy.
68) Zikr guarantees immunity from hypocrisy, for Almighty Allah Ta’ala has described the hypocrite as:
لا يذكرون الله إلا قليلا
They do not remember Allah Ta’ala except very rarely. It is also related on the authority of Ka’b Ahbâr (RA) that he who performs frequent Zikr of Allah Ta’ala is free from hypocrisy.
69) Compared with other good deeds, Zikr carries a special taste which is not found in any other action. Even if there were no other virtues of Zikr, this fine taste alone would have been a sufficient reward to justify it. Maalik bin Deenâr (RA) has said that nothing surpasses the taste of Zikr, which is the best and finest.
70) The faces of those who perform Zikr remain illume in this life, and will carry a special radiance in the Hereafter.
71) One who is frequently engaged in Zikr while sitting, standing, walking or in any other position, will find this earth testifying his act on the Day of Judgement. The day when the earth will throw out all that it knows. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked his companions if they had any knowledge about what will that news. They expressed their ignorance. Then Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Whatever deed is done good or bad, by any man or woman on the face of the earth, it (the earth) will narrate everything with date, time and place”. Hence, one who performs Zikr at whatever place he is will find number of witnesses in his favour.
72) As long as the tongue is busy in Zikr, it is saved from indulging in lies, backbiting or any other kind of evil talk. The tongue will engage itself in useless talk if it is not in Zikr. Same is the case with the heart; if it is devoid of the love for Almighty Allah Ta’ala, it will get filled with the love of worldly things.
73) The devils are outright enemies of man and always create trouble for him and keep him surrounded. The miserable condition of one who remains surrounded by enemies can well be imagined; especially when the enemies are vindictive and everyone of them wants to surpass the other in troubling him. Nothing except Zikr can protect him against these enemies. Many forms of Dua (prayer) are mentioned in the Ahâdith, so that, if any of these is recited by a person, then Satan dare not come near him. If the same is recited at the time of going to bed, one remains safe from Satan throughout the night.
Hafiz Ibn Qayyim (RA) has also mentioned many such Duas (prayers). In addition to these he has also mentioned in detail under six headings relative merits of Zikr as also some of the virtues, which are specific to Zikr alone. Then he has also given seventy five chapters of specific Duas (prayers), which are suited to specific times and occasions. For those blessed with determination to act, the virtues of Zikr detailed above are more than enough, and for those who are disinclined to act, thousands of such virtues would be of little avail.

(Taken from 'Instrument for Understanding Qur'an' by Dr Rafiq Ahmed)