PERFORMING DHIKR OF ALLAH (SWT):THE HOLY QURAN
PERFORMING DHIKR OF ALLAH (SWT):
The term Dhikr literally means ‘to call back to memory’ or ‘to have something in conscious mind’. Therefore, when we are told to perform Dhikr of Allah (SWT), it actually implies that we have to be God-conscious or conscious of Allah (SWT) at all times. We must always strive to remember Him in all situations and conditions.
We have been instructed to perform Dhikr of Allah (SWT).
“O you who have faith! Remember Allah with frequent remembrance, and glorify Him morning and evening”. (33:41-42)
The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Verily my Lord has commanded to me that: My speech should only be His Dhikr (Remembrance); My silence should only be reflection; and My observation should only be for the sake of learning”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)
ADVANTAGES OF DHIKR:
Many benefits of Dhikr have been mentioned in the Holy Quran, Hadeeth and in the supplications taught by the infallible Imams (as). Some of them have been outlined below:
Allah (SWT) remembers him, who remembers Allah (SWT).
“Remember Me and I will remember you, and thank Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me”. (2:152)
The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Allah (SWT) says: ‘My servant! If you remember Me in privacy, I will also remember you in privacy; And if you remember Me in an assembly, I will also remember you in an assembly which is better and greater (than your assembly)’”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)
It brings tranquillity to the heart.
“…Look! The hearts find rest in Allah’s remembrance”. (13:28)
Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said, “The true goodness of heart is in its occupation in the remembrance of Allah”. (Ghurar al-Hikam)
It qualifies one for great rewards.
“…And the men who remember Allah greatly, and the women who remember (Allah greatly) –Allah holds in store for them forgiveness and a great reward”. (33:35)
Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said, “One who remembers Allah is among the successful ones”. (Ghurar al-Hikam)
It safeguards one from NIFAAQ ‘Hypocrisy’.
“The hypocrites indeed seek to deceive Allah, but it is He who outwits them. When they stand up for prayer, they stand up lazily, showing off to the people and not remembering Allah except little, wavering in between: neither with these nor with those. And whomever Allah leads astray, you will never find any way for him”. (4:142-143)
Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said, One who remembers Allah extensively is safe from hypocrisy”. (Ghurar al-Hikam)
It keeps Satan away from us.
Imam Zaynul-‘Aabideen (as) says in his supplication:
“O God! So defeat his (Satan) authority over us through Thy authority, such that Thou holdest him back from us through the frequency of our supplication to Thee and we leave his trickery and rise up among those preserved by Thee from sin!” (The Psalms of Islam: Dua’ no.25)
Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said, “Remembrance of Allah throws Satan away”. (Ghurar al-Hikam)
COMMONLY KNOWN DHIKR:
The most commonly known ways of performing Dhikr are as follows:
To say Prayers. This act is called the greatest Dhikr.
“Indeed I am Allah –there is no god except Me. So worship Me, and maintain the prayer for My remembrance”. (20:14)
“Recite what has been revealed to you of the book and maintain the prayer. Indeed the prayer prevents indecencies and wrongs, and the remembrance of Allah is surely greater. And Allah knows whatever (deeds) you do”. (29:45)
To Reflect, Glorify and Supplicate to Allah (SWT) – Dua’ and Tasbeeh.
“…And remember your Lord greatly, and glorify Him morning and evening”. (3:41)
“Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say) ‘Our Lord, You have not created this in vain! Immaculate are You! Save us from the punishment of the Fire”. (3:191)
QURAN IS ALSO THE ‘DHIKR’:
The Holy Quran is a kind of Dhikr itself. Infact, one of its names is Al-Dhikr and Allah (SWT) has used this name for the Holy Quran in numerous verses.
“Indeed We have sent down the DHIKR (Reminder), and indeed We will preserve it”. (15:9)
“…We have sent down the DHIKR (Reminder) to you so that you may clarify for the people that which has been sent down to them, so that they may reflect”. (16:44)
“Indeed those who defy the DHIKR (Reminder) when it comes to them (should know that) indeed it is an august book: falsehood cannot approach it, from before it nor from behind it, (gradually) sent down (revelation) from One all-wise, all-laudable”. (41:41-42)
DYNAMIC SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE:
The Holy Quran is the dynamic source of Knowledge.
Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said, “Know that it (Quran) contains knowledge of what is to come, stories of the past, cure for your ills and regulation for whatever faces you”. (Nahjul-Balaghah)
Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zaynul-‘Aabideen (as) has said, “The Quranic verses are treasures of knowledge. Every time a treasure is opened, you must see what lies in it”. (‘Uddah al-Da’ee)
TRUE SOURCE OF GUIDANCE:
“These are the verses of the Quran and a manifest Book, a guidance and good news for the faithful…” (27:2)
“These are the verses of the wise Book, a guidance and mercy for the virtuous.” (31:2-3)
The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Whenever the affairs become dubious as a dark night for you, resort to Quran, for it is an intercessor whose intercession is accepted and it is a witness that has been acknowledged. Whoever takes it as a guide, it will lead him to Paradise and anyone who turns his back to it, it will push him into Fire. It is the clearest guide towards the best ways. Whoever speaks by it shall be accepted; whoever judges by it shall have done justice; and whoever acts upon it shall be rewarded”. (‘Uddah al-Da’ee)
He (saww) also said, “If a person, whom Allah has given Quran, thinks that others have something better than it, then surely he has underestimated a great thing and overestimated a small thing”. (Al-Kaafi)
[Harith al-A’ war came to Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) and said, “O Master of the Faithful! When we are with you, we hear what strengthens our faith but when we leave you, we hear things that are different, which we do not understand it”. (It appears that some people were distorting the teachings of Islam)
Imam (as) asked, “Is this what they have done?”
Harith replied, “Yes”.
Thereupon, the Imam (as) said, “I heard the Holy Prophet (saww) saying: Jibrael came to me and said: ‘O Muhammad! There shall be temptations in your nation’. I asked: ‘What is the outlet from this?’ He (Jibrael) said: ‘The Book of Allah. There is in it the information before you, and the news of after you, and regulation for whatever faces you’”.]
The Holy Quran contains cure for all ailments, physical and spiritual.
“We sent down in the Quran that which is a cure and mercy for the faithful”. (17:82)
“Say: For those who have faith, it (Quran) is a guidance and healing; but as for those who are faithless, there is a deafness in their ears and it is lost to their sight”. (41:44)
The Holy Prophet (saww) has said,
“The healing of my Ummah lies in three things: A verse from the book of Allah, eating honey and Cupper lancet”. (Aamaali of Shaykh Sadooq)
A man came once complained about the pain in his chest. The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “Seek healing from the Quran for Allah says: ‘It is a healing for what is in the breasts’”. (‘Uddah al-Da’ee)
Talking about the greatness of Quran, Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (as) said,
“Then Allah sent to him the Book as a light whose flames cannot be extinguished, a lamp whose gleam does not die, a sea whose depth cannot be sounded, a way whose direction does not mislead, a ray whose light does not darken, a separator (good from evil) whose arguments do not weaken, a clarifier whose foundations cannot be dismantled, a cure which leaves no apprehension for disease…Allah has made it a quencher of the thirst of the learned, a bloom for the hearts of religious jurists, a highway for the ways of the righteous, a cure after which there is no ailment…” (Nahjul-Balaghah)
In another sermon, Imam Ali (as) also said regarding Quran:
“Seek cure from it (Quran) for all your ailments and seek its assistance in your distresses. For verily it contains cure for the biggest diseases namely: unbelief, hypocrisy, revolt and misguidance”.
The Holy Quran is the Book of Allah (SWT). In traditions, it is mentioned that one who wants to converse to Allah should supplicate (recite Dua’) and one who wants Allah (SWT) to converse to him, then he should recite Quran for it contains the words of Allah (SWT).
BENEFITS OF QURAN RECITATION
“Indeed those who recite the Book of Allah and maintain the prayer, and spend out of what We have provided them, secretly and openly, expecting a commerce that will never go bankrupt, that He may pay them their reward in full and enhance them out of His grace, indeed He is All-forgiving, All-appreciative”. (35:29)
The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “Verily these hearts rust just as iron rusts” Somebody asked, “Then what is its remedy?” The Holy Prophet (saww) replied, “Recitation of Quran”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)
Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said, “The vaccine of Imaan (faith) is the recitation of Quran”. (Ghurar al-Hikam)
It is also highly desired and recommended that a Muslim should strive to memorise the chapters and verses of the Holy Quran.
“No indeed! These (verses of Quran) are a reminder. So let anyone who wishes remember it. In honoured scriptures, exalted and purified, in the hands of the envoys (scribes), noble and pious”. (80:12-16)
Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (as) has said, “One who memorises Quran and acts upon it shall be with (its) envoys (or scribes) who are noble and pious”.
The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “One whom Allah has blessed with memorisation of His book (Quran) and such a person thinks that somebody else has been blessed more than him, then he is ungrateful for the greatest blessing”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)
He (saww) has also said, “One in whose breast (heart) there is nothing from Quran is like a house that has become a ruin”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)
The Holy Quran is the book of Allah (SWT). He (SWT) has sent it for the guidance of mankind. Therefore, it should not be considered as an ordinary book and treated in that manner.
In order to accord the Quran with highest degree of respect and to derive maximum benefits from it, Islam has laid down some etiquette that has to be observed while handling and using this divine book.
One who intends to open the Holy Quran and read from its verses should observe the following rules:
“This is indeed a noble Quran, in a guarded book. No one touches it except the pure ones. Gradually sent down from the Lord of the worlds”. (56:77-80)
There are different interpretations given by the commentators on the term ‘Mutahharoon’ (Pure ones). However, it also refers to those who are in state of purity whilst touching the Quran. The Scholars of Islam have emphasised that one should not touch the Holy Quran with any part of one’s body without ‘Wudhoo’ (Ablution).
The Late Ayatullah Seyyid Abul-Qasim al-Khui has stated in his Risalah:
It is unlawful to touch the writing of the Holy Quran with any part of one’s body without performing ablutions. However, there is no harm in touching, without performing ablutions, the translation of the Holy Quran in any language.
Further on, he also adds:
It is unlawful, on the basis of obligatory precaution, to touch without ablutions, the Name of Allah or His special attributes, in whichever language they may been written.
This clearly shows that touching the Arabic text of Quran without ablution is not permitted. However, one may touch the translation of the Quran in any other language without ablution BUT be careful about not touching the Name of Allah and His special attributes. The rulings of Ayatullah Seyyid Ali al-Seestani in this regard are also similar (refer Islamic Laws).
Cleaning of the mouth with Miswak (a small stick the tip of which is softened by chewing used for cleaning and polishing the teeth) before the recitation of Quran is also highly recommended.
The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “Clean the path of Quran”. Somebody asked, “What is the path of Quran?” The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “Your mouths”. When asked, “With what?” The Holy Prophet (saww) replied, “With Miswak”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)
We are discussing the rules that have to be observed whilst reciting the Holy Quran. The first rule is of ‘Taharah’ (Purity), as discussed in the last issue of FLZ. The second rule is of ‘Isti’adha & Basmala’.
Isti’adha means seeking refuge in Allah (SWT) from Shaytan (Satan) and Basmala means to begin in the Name of Allah (SWT).
“When you recite the Quran, seek the protection of Allah against the outcast Shaytan. Indeed he does not have authority over those who have faith and put their trust in their Lord ”. (16:98-99)
Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (as) has said, “Shut the doors of disobedience (to God) by seeking refuge (in Allah) and open the doors of obedience by beginning in the Name of Allah”. (Bihar al-Anwaar)
A person asked Imam as-Sadiq (as), “Should we seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytan at the opening of any chapter (of the Quran)?” Imam (as) replied, “Yes!” (Bihar al-Anwaar)
Refuge in Allah (SWT) can be sought by recitation of: A-‘OODHU BILLAHI MINASH-SHAYTANIR-RAJEEM (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytan).
After seeking refuge in Allah (SWT), the recitor of Quran should then begin the recitation in the Name of Allah by saying: BISMILLAHIR RAHMANIR RAHEEM (I begin in the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful).
BISMILLAH is part of every Surah (Chapter) of the Holy Quran except for the 9th Chapter known as Surah al-Tawbah. Some Muslims believe that it is not part of every Surah except for Al-Fatiha. According to the teachings of Ahlul-Bayt (as), BISMILLAH is part of every Surah except al-Tawbah, and there are some traditions in this regard. Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi in his commentary ‘Payaam-e-Quran’, has related the following two traditions:
Ibn Ammar asked Imam as-Sadiq (as) whether he should say BISMILLAH at the beginning of Surah al-Fatiha when he stood for prayers? The Imam (as) replied, “Yes!” Ibn Ammar then asked if he should also recite BISMILLAH when Surah al-Fatiha ended and before reciting the next Surah? Imam (as) once again replied, “Yes!”.
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