What pulls us in the direction of evil? What causes us to commit sins? Usually, it is the charm and glamour of this world that makes us forget Allah (SWT) and his commandments. We forget that we are servants of One God and that He is fully aware of our actions and deeds, and that we will be held accountable one day before Him. We become heedless to the call of our Creator, and go astray.
Dikr, remembrance of Allah (SWT) is the solution because it reinforces our conscious alignment with the reality that Allah (SWT) is our Creator and that our position in the natural order is that of the created, and that we are dependent upon Allah's Mercy for our very existence. Ibn Taimiyaa once wrote, "Remembrance of Allah is to the heart what water is to fish. What happens to a fish when it is taken out of water?"
Remembrance of Allah drives away shaytan, suppressing him and breaking him; it is pleasing to our Rabb, dispels worry and melancholy from the heart, adorns it with delight and joy, fills the heart and face with light, and cloaks the one who remembers Allah with dignity, gentleness and freshness. It instills love for Allah, fear of Him, and relating all matters to Him. It also enhances Allah's remembrance of His servant, for as Allah says:
"Remember Me and I will remember you."
We may wonder, how much should we remember Allah? Al-Qur’an responds in Surah Al-Jummah, verse 10:
"Remember Allah SWT much perhaps you may achieve success."
Further, in Surah al-Dahr, verse 25, Allah SWT says, "Remember the Name of your Lord at morning and in the evening and part of the night."
There are many other verses besides these in which it has been enjoined to keep remembering Allah always and in every condition because it is the very remembrance of Allah which keeps the affairs of man in proper shape and sustains him on the right path. Whenever he becomes heedless of His remembrance, corporeal urges and instigation of evil forces overpower him. Its inevitable consequence is that straying from the right path he will go beyond limits in the affairs of his life.
How to perform Dikr?
Today, Muslims have employed many different methods to perform Dikr. But we must be careful because some of them are simply bidah (innovation). Our Prophet (pbuh) taught us how to perform Dikr and we must rely on those teaching only to achieve this.
"Indeed we have made this Quran easy
for understanding and remembering (Dikr).
Is there any then that will take it to heart?"
Al-Qur’an is the best means for bringing the servant nearer to his Lord. From regular recitation of Allah’s message with understanding, you will receive a radiant light to illumine the deeper reaches of your soul. Sincere study will generate profound emotions, a warmth to melt your heart and bring tears running down your cheeks. To read the Qur’an is nothing less than to live the Qur’an willingly, sincerely, devotedly, and totally. The outcome of your entire life depends on how you heed the call given by Allah. Every single verse of Qur’an will invite you to choose and commit to Allah.
It is imperative on us to establish such study of Al-Qur’an at individual and collective levels. We must study the Message of Allah at our homes and establish Quranic study circles in our Islamic centers.
The whole process of Salah from wadu to prayer itself reminds us about our Creator. We start it by proclaiming that Allah is Great. Allahu Akbar. The various recitals through out the Salah remind us of our commitments to our Rabb. We seek His guidance and ask Him again and again to enable us to avoid His wrath and follow His Chosen Path.
We read out from the Qur’an and express witness to the truth of the Prophet and also refresh our belief in the Day of Judgment and stimulate in our memory the fact that we have to appear before Allah SWT and give an account of our entire life. "O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere." (Al-Qur’an, 2:153)
Supplications extracted from Al-Qur’an and Sunnah are an effective tool of remembrance. We have been given specific duas for specific occasions. Supplications for events from start to the end of the day have been given to us. What to say when we get up? Enter or exit bathroom? Start or finish eating? What to supplicate before starting a journey or transaction? How to ask Allah (SWT) for help in the times of need? What words to use to thank Allah (SWT)? Duas for smaller actions such as sneezing have been specified as well.
We should memorize these authentic duas and recite them appropriately. This practice will insha Allah develop a special relationship between our Creator and us.
Observing Allah’s Signs:
"Undoubtedly in the creation of heavens and the earth and in the alternate appearance of night and day are numerous tokens (of His Sovereignty) for those who are men of understanding and considering Allah"
Throughout the Quran, we are encouraged to observer our surroundings which are full of the signs of Allah. Every single one of them can facilitate our goal to remember Allah SWT much. It is incumbent on us that we reflect on the events in our daily live to strengthen our bond with our Lord.
In short, Dikr is a continuous process. In fact, Allah (SWT) tells us in Surah al-Imran, verse 191, "Those who remember God when they are standing and when they are sitting and when they are lying."
So with the help of above mentioned methods, we should be able to develop the habits of remembering Allah (SWT) constantly following the ways prescribed by Allah (SWT) and demonstrated by the Prophet (pbuh).
The constant remembrance will nourish and reform our hearts and minds. This practice will increase our faith to discover and grasp the message of our Rabb. Resulting in engraving faith on our hearts. But we must understand that Dikr is a vehicle. Not the destination!