Zikr or Dhikr (singular of Azkaar), according to the book Fiqh-Us-Sunnah by Sheik Sayyed As Sabeeq, mentions that,
“All words of praise and glory to Allah, extolling His Perfect Attributes of Power and Majesty, Beauty and Sublimeness, whether one utters them by tongue or says them silently in one’s heart, are known as Zikr or remembrance of Allah.“
Ibn Al-Qayyim states that dhikr encompasses
“any and every particular moment when you are thinking, saying or doing things which Allah likes”.
Hence, if your conversation is filled with the words of God, this is dhikr. And if all your actions are in accordance with His will, this is dhikr. Indeed Allah commends that we remember Him while standing, sitting and even while reclining. This is only possible if dhikr embraces every single aspect of life.
Dhikr of Allah is the most excellent act of Allah’s servants and is stressed over a hundred times in the Holy Qur’an. It is the most praiseworthy work to earn Allah’s pleasure, the most effective weapon to overcome the enemy, and the most deserving of deeds in reward. It is the flag of Islam, the polish of hearts, the essence of the science of faith, the immunisation against hypocrisy, the head of worship, and the key of all success.There are no restrictions on the modality, frequency, or timing of dhikr whatsoever. The restrictions on modality pertain to certain specific obligatory acts which are not the issue here, such as Salat. The Shari`a is clear and everyone knows what they have to do. Indeed, the Prophet said that the People of Paradise will only regret one thing: not having made enough dhikr in the world! Are not those who are making up reasons to discourage others from making dhikr afraid of Allah in this tremendous matter?
Allah says in His holy Book:
“O Believers, make abundant mention of ALLAH!” (33:41)
And He mentions of His servants
“Those who remember their Lord standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides” (3:191),
in other words at all times of the day and night. He said (3:190-191):
“The creation of heaven and earth and the changes of night and day are signs for people who have wisdom: — consider who is described as having wisdom — Those who remember (and recite and call) Allah standing up, sitting, and lying on their sides.”
`A’isha said, as narrated by Muslim, that the Prophet mentioned/remembered Allah at all times of the day and night.
The Prophet said:
“If your hearts were always in the state that they are in during dhikr, the angels would come to see you to the point that they would greet you in the middle of the road.” Muslim narrated it.
Imam Nawawi in his Sharh sahih muslim commented on this hadith saying:
“This kind of sight is shown to someone who persists in meditation (muraqaba), reflection (fikr), and anticipation (iqbal) of the next world.”
Mu`adh ibn Jabal said that the Prophet also said:
“The People of Paradise will not regret except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by and in which they made no remembrance of Allah.” Narrated by Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:392 #512-513) and by Tabarani. Haythami in Majma` al-zawa’id(10:74) said that its narrators are all trustworthy (thiqat), while Suyuti declared it hasan in his Jami` al-saghir (#7701).
Allah placed His remembrance above prayer in value by making prayer the means and remembrance the goal. He said:
“Lo! Worship guards one from lewdness and iniquity, but verily, remembrance of Allah is greater/more important.” (29:45)
“He is successful who purifies himself, and remembers the name of his Lord, and so prays.” (87:14-15)
“So establish prayer for My remembrance.” (20:14)
Ibn Hajar in his Fath al-bari (1989 ed. 11:251) relates Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-`Arabi’s explanation that
there is no good deed except with dhikr as a precondition for its validity, and whoever does not remember Allah in his heart at the time of his sadaqa or fasting, for example, then his deed is incomplete: therefore dhikr is the best of deeds because of this.
Dhikr is, therefore, something of tremendous importance. Abu Hurayra said that the Prophet said, Peace be upon him:
“The earth and everything in it is cursed, except for dhikr and what attends dhikr, and a teacher (of dhikr) and a student (of dhikr).” Narrated by Tirmidhi who said it is hasan, Ibn Majah who said the same, Bayhaqi, and others. Suyuti cites it in al-Jami` al-saghir from al-Bazzar’s similar narration from Ibn Mas`ud and he declared it sahih. Tabarani also narrated it in al-Awsat from Abu al-Darda’.
By the words “the world and everything in it” is meant here all that claims status or existence apart from Allah instead of in Him. In fact, all creation does dhikr because Allah said that all creation does praise to Him constantly, and tasbih is a kind of dhikr. Allah said of the Prophet Yunus, when the whale swallowed him:
“Had he not been one of My glorifiers (musabbihin), he would have remained inside the whale’s stomach until Judgment Day.” (37:143-144)
The one who engages in dhikr has the highest rank of all before Allah. The people who call on Allah without distraction have been mentioned in Qur’an, as well as the effect that calling has on their heart:
“In houses which Allah has allowed to be raised to honor and for His Name to be remembered in them; He is glorified there day and night by men whom neither trade nor sale can divert from the remembrance of Allah” (24:36-37).
“Those who believe, and their hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: By remembering Allah, truly satisfaction comes to the heart” (13:28).