Dhikr: The Essence of Islam

Partial presentation from “at-Targhib wa at-Tarhib

by Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani

Translated by: Aisha Bewley

1. Encouragement to remember Allah often, secretly and openly, and to presevere in it; what is reported about someone who does not remember Allah often

1. Abu Huryara reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah Almighty says, ‘I am in My slave’s opinion of Me and I am with Him when He remembers Me. When he remembers Me in himself, I mention him in Myself. If he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in a better assembly than them.’ If he comes near Me by a handspan, I come near him a cubit. If he comes near Me by a cubit, I come near a fathom. When he comes to walking, I come to him running.”

(Muslim and al-Bukhari, Ahmad has at the end of it, Qatada said, “Allah is quicker to forgive.”)

2. ‘Abdullah ibn Busr reported a man said, “Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam are too much for me. Tell me something I can cling to.” He said, “Your tongue should remain moist with the remembrance of Allah.” (at-Tirmidhi)

3. Abu’d-Darda’ reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Shall I inform you of the best of your actions and the purest of your property and the highest of your degrees and what is better for you than spending gold and silver and better for you than encountering the enemy and striking their necks and their striking your necks?” They said, “Yes, indeed!” He said, “Remembrance of Allah Almighty.” Mu’adh ibn Jabal said, “There is nothing which saves from the punishment of Allah more than remembrance of Allah.” (Ahmad, Ibn Abi’d-Dunya, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

4. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Do a lot of remembrance of Allah until they say, ‘He is mad.'” (Ahmad, Abu Ya’la, and Ibn Hibban)

5. Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “If one man has some dirhams in his possession which he divides and another remembers Allah, the one who remembers Allah is better.” One variant has, “There is no sadaqa better than remembrance of Allah.” (at-Tabarani)

6. Umm Anas reported that she said, “Messenger of Allah, command me.” He said, “Avoid acts of disobedience: that is the best jihad. Do a lot of invoking Allah. You do not bring Allah anything he loves more than a lot of remembrance.” (at-Tabarani. In one variant, “Remember Allah a lot. It is the action which Allah loves most to reveive.” At-Tabarani notes that Umm Anas is not the mother of Anas ibn Malik.)

2. Encouraging attending gatherings of dhikr and meeting together to remember Allah

7. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah Almighty has angels who travel the highways and by-ways seeking out the people of dhikr. When they find people remembering Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, they call out to one another, ‘Come to what you hunger for!’ and they enfold them with their wings stretching up to the lowest heaven. Their Lord – who knows them better – asks them, ‘What are My slaves saying?’ They say, ‘They are glorifying You, proclaiming Your greatness, praising You and magnifying You.’ He says, ‘Have they seen Me?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, they have not seen You.’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see Me?’ [extra ‘He said’s deleted] They say, ‘If they were to see You, they would worship You even more intensely and magnify You even more intensely and glorify You even more intensely.’ He says, ‘What are they asking Me for?’They say, ‘They are asking You for the Garden.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, they have not seen it.'” He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would yearn for it even more strongly and seek it even more assiduously and would have an even greater desire for it.’ He says, ‘What are they seeking refuge from?’ ‘They are seeking refuge from the Fire.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would flee from it even harder and have an even greater fear of it.’ He says, ‘I testify to you that I have forgiven them.’ One of angels says, ‘Among them is so-and-so who is not one of them. He came to get something he needed.’ He says, ‘They are sitting and the one sitting with them will not be wretched.'” (al-Bukhari)

8. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar reported: “I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, what is the booty of the assemblies of dhikr?’ He replied, ‘The booty of the asemblies of dhikr is the Garden.'” (Ahmad)

9. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “When you come upon the meadows of the Garden, graze in them.” He was asked, “What are the meadows of the Garden?” “Circles of dhikr.” he replied. (at-Tirmidhi)

10. ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasa said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say about the right hand of the All-Merciful, ‘Both His hands are right hands. There are men who are not Prophets or martyrs the whiteness of whose faces overpowers the sight of those who look. The Prophets and martyrs envy their seat and proximity to Allah Almighty.’ He was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, who are they?’ He replied, ‘A mixture of isolated people from the tribes who meet to remember Allah and select the best words as someone who eats dates selects the best ones.'” (at-Tabarani)

3. Warning against sitting where Allah is not mentioned nor the prayer said on His Prophet

11. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet said, “Whenever people sit in a place where they do not mention Allah or bless their Prophet, loss descends on them. If He wishes, He will punish them. If He wishes, He will forgive them.” (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi)

4. Encouraging words which expiate the hubbub of the assembly