Dhikr: The Essence of Islam

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

12. Rafi' ibn Khadij reported that when his Companions met with him, at the end of it when the Messenger of Allah wanted to get up, he said, "Glory be to You, O Allah, and by Your praise. I testify that there is no god but Allah. I ask forgiveness of You and repent to You. I have acted badly and have wronged myself, so forgive me. Only You forgive wrong actions." They said, "Messenger of Allah, are these words which you originated?" "Yes," he replied, "Jibra'il came to me and said, "O Muhammad, they are the expiations of the gathering." (an-Nasa'i)

13. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As said that he said, "There are certain words which someone can say in a gathering devoted to good or a gathering of dhikr by which Allah will seal the gathering as the page is sealed with a seal. They are: 'Glory be to You, O Allah, and with Your praise. There is no god but You. I ask You for forgiveness and turn to You.'" (Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban)

5. Encouraging saying "la ilaha illa'llah" and its excellence

14. Abu Hurayra said, "I asked, 'Messenger of Allah, who will be the person happiest with your intercession on the Day of Rising?' The Messenger of Allah replied, 'I think that none would ask about this before you since I know your eagerness for hadith [learning]. The person happiest with my intercession on the Day of Rising will be the one who says: "There is no god but Allah" sincerely from his heart.'" (al-Bukhari)

15. Jabir reported that the Prophet said, "The best dhikr is 'La ilaha illa'llah,' and the best supplication is 'al-hamdu lillah'." (an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)

16. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Do a lot of the shahada, testifying that there is no god but Allah before there comes a barrier between you and it." (Abu Ya'la)

17. He reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Renew your faith." He was asked, "Messenger of Allah, how do we renew our faith?" He replied, "Say often: 'There is no god but Allah.'" (Ahmad and at-Tabarani)

18. 'Amr said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say, "I know some words which, if a person says it truly from his heart and dies on that, he will be unlawful to the Fire: 'There is no god but Allah'." (al-Hakim)

Encouraging saying "There is no god but Allah alone with no partner"

19. Abu Ayyub reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Anyone who says, 'There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and His is the praise. He has power over everything' ten times, it is as if he had set free four slaves of the descendants of Isma'il." (Agreed upon)

20. Ya'qub ibn 'Asim reported that two of the Companions of the Prophet heard the Prophet say, "No one at all says "There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. The kingdom and praise belong to Him and He has power over everything" sincerely with his soul, affirming it with his heart, articulating it with his tongue but that Allah splits open the heaven so that He can look at the one on the earth who says it, and it is a right of the slave at whom Allah looks that He grant him his request." (an-Nasa'i)

6. Encouraging glorification, takbir, the shahada, and praise in its various forms

21. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Two words are light on the tongue, heavy in the balance, beloved to the Merciful: 'Glory be to Allah and by His praise. Glory be to Allah, the Immense.'" (Agreed upon)

22. Abu Umama reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Whoever dreads to endure the night, or is miserly about spending money, or is too cowardly to fight the enemy should say often: 'Glory be to Allah and with His praise.' It is more beloved to Allah than a mountain of gold spent in the Way of Allah." (at-Tabarani)

23. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Anyone who says, 'Glory be to Allah and with His praise' a hundred times a day will have his sins fall away, even if they are like the froth of the sea." (Muslim and at-Tirmidhi)

24. Mus'ab ibn Sa'd (ibn Abi Waqqas) said that his father said, "We were with the Messenger of Allah when he asked, 'Are any of you able to earn a thousand good deeds every day?' One of those who was sitting there asked him, 'How can someone earn a thousand good deeds?' He said, 'Glorifying a hundred times is written as a thousand good deeds or a thousand errors fall away from him.'" (Muslim and an-Nasa'i)

25. Samura ibn Jundub reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "The dearest of words to Allah are four: 'Glory be to Allah; Praise be to Allah; There is no god but Allah; and Allah is greater.' It does not matter whichever of them you say first."(Muslim and an-Nasa'i, He added, "They are part of the Qur'an.".)

26. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet passed by him when he was planting a seedling and he asked, "Abu Hurayra, what is that which you are planting?" He said, "Seedlings." He said, "Shall I not direct you to a seedling better than this? 'Glory be to Allah. Praise be to Allah. Allah is greater, and there is no god but Allah.' Each word of them will plant a tree for you in the Garden." (Ibn Majah)

27. Umm Hani' said, "The Messenger of Allah passed by me one day and I said, 'Messenger of Allah, I am old and weak, so command me something I can do sitting.' He said, 'Say "Glory be to Allah" a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred slaves of the descendants of Isma'il you set free. Say "Praise be to Allah" a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred horses saddled and bridled and ridden in the Way of Allah. Say "Allah is greater" a hundred times: it is equal to a hundred camels garlanded and facing qibla. Say "There is no god but Allah" a hundred times. (I think he said) It fills up what is between heaven and earth. On that day no one will have a better action presented that which will be presented for you unless he brings the like of what you bring.'" (Ahmad, at-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi)

28. Abu Dharr reported that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah *said, "Messenger of Allah, the wealthy have appropriated the rewards. They pray as we pray and they fast as we fast, but they give sadaqa since they have more wealth."He said, "Did not Allah give you that which you can give as sadaqa? Every glorification is sadaqa. Every takbir is sadaqa. Every praise is sadaqa. Every 'la ilaha illa'llah' is sadaqa. Commanding the right is sadaqa. Forbidding the wrong is sadaqa." (Muslim and Ibn Majah)

29. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Take your protection."They asked, "Messenger of Allah, from an enemy present?" He replied, "No, but your protection against the Fire. Say: 'Glory be to Allah. There is no god but Allah, and Allah is greater.' They will come on the Day of Rising in front and behind you. They are lasting righteous ones." (an-Nasa'i and al-Bayhaqi. At-Tabarani has it in al-Awsat and adds, "There is no strength or power except by Allah.")

30. 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "Anyone who is tight-fisted about giving money, fears the struggle against the enemy and is wearied by the night should often say, "There is no god but Allah. Allah is greater. Praise be to Allah and glory be to Allah.'" (At-Tabarani)

31. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Any words which do not with praise are mutilated." (Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah)

7. Encouraging saying, "Glory be to Allah," "Praise be to Allah", "There is no god but Allah" and "Allah is greater" in mosques

32. Umm al-Mu'minin Juwayriyya bint al-Harith reported that the Prophet left her and then he returned after the sun was well risen and she was still sitting there. He said, "You are still in the state you were when I left you?" She said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "I said four words three times after I left you. If they were to be weighed against everything you have recited today they would outweigh it: 'Glory be to Allah and by His praise in number as great as His creation and His own pleasure, the weight of His Throne and the ink of His words.'"(Muslim and the Four)

33. 'A'isha bint SaŒd ibn Abi Waqqas related from her father that, together with the Messenger of Allah, he visited a woman and in front of her were some date-stones - or pebbles - which she was using to glorify Allah. He said, 'Shall I inform you what is easier for you than this - or better?' He said, 'Glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created in the heaven and glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created in the earth and glory be to Allah by the number of things in between them and glory be to Allah by the number of things He has created. Then say, "Allah is greater" in the same way and "Praise be to Allah" in the same way, and "There is no god but Allah" in the same way and "There is no power nor strength except by Allah" in the same way.'" (Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi)

8. Encouraging saying "There is no power nor strength except by Allah"

34. Abu Musa said that the Prophet said, "Say: 'There is no power nor strength except by Allah.' It is one of the treasures of the Garden." (Agreed upon, and in the transmission of an-Nasa'i: "Whoever says 'There is no strength nor power except by Allah', it is the cure for ninety-nine illnesses, the least of which is worry.")

9. Encouraging the dhikrs which are said in the morning and the evening

35. Mu'adh ibn ŒAbdullah ibn Khubayb reported that his father said, "We went out on a very dark and rainy night looking for the Messenger of Allah to lead us in the prayer. We found him and he said, 'Speak.' I did not say anything,.' Then he said, 'Say,' and I did not say anything. Then he said, 'Say,' and I said, 'Messenger of Allah, what shall I say?' He said, 'Recite, "Say: He is God, One," and the suras of seeking refuge in the evening and the morning three times, it will be enough to protect you in respect of everything.'" (Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and an-Nasa'i)

36. Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Prophet said, "The best way to ask forgiveness is to say, 'O Allah, You are my Lord. There is no god but You. You created me and I am Your slave. I comply with Your covenant and Your promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with you from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me. Only You can forgive sins.' Anyone who says it during the night having confidence in it and dies before morning will enter the Garden. Anyone who says this during the day having confidence in it and dies on that day before evening will enter the Garden. "

(Al-Bukhari, an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmidhi who has: "No one says it in the evening and then the decree comes to him before morning but that the Garden is mandatory for him. He does not say it in the morning and then the decree comes to him before evening but that the Garden is mandatory for him.")

37. Abu Hurayra said, "A man came to the Prophet and said, 'Messenger of Allah, what agony I suffered last night from a scorpion which stung me yesterday!' He said, 'If you had said in the evening, "I seek refuge with the perfect words of Allah from the evil of what He has created," it would not have harmed you."(Muslim and the four;)

38. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "On the Day of Rising no one will bring anything better than someone who says in the morning and evening, 'Glory be to Allah and by His praise' a hundred times except someone who says the same as he says or more."

(Muslim, the people of the three Sunans, and Ibn Abi'd-Dunya. In Abu Dawud, "Glory be to Allah the Immense." Al-Hakim said "Anyone who says in the morning 'Glory be to Allah and by His praise,' a hundred times, and a hundred times in the evening, his sins will be forgiven even if they more than the forth of the sea.")

39. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah said,"Anyone who says, 'There is no god but Allah alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and His is the praise, and He has power over everything' a hundred times a day has the same reward as if he had freed ten slaves, and a hundred good deeds are written for him and a hundred bad deeds are effaced from him and he has protection from Shaytan on that day until evening. No one will do anything better than he does except a man who does it more than he did." (Agreed upon)

40. Aban ibn 'Uthman said that he heard 'Uthman ibn 'Affan say that the Messenger of Allah said, "No slave of Allah says in the morning every day and the evening every night, 'In the name of Allah by whose name nothing in the earth or the heaven can be harmed. He is the Hearing, the Knowing,' three times without that ensuring that nothing will harm him." Aban suffered from a stroke which left him semi-paralysed on one side. He was asked about it and said, "I did not say it that day so that Allah could carry out His decree." (The four)

41. Abu'd-Darda' said, "If anyone says in the morning and evening, 'Allah is enough for me. There is no god but Him. I have relied on Him and He is the Lord of the Immense Throne' seven times, Allah will spare him what worries him (whether he is truthful or lying)." (Abu Dawud)

42. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "If anyone says in the morning or the evening, 'O Allah, I testify to You and I testify to the bearers of Your throne, Your angels and all Your creation that You are Allah and there is no god but You and Muhammad is Your slave and Messenger,' Allah will free a quarter of him from the fire. If anyone says it twice, Allah will free half of him from the Fire. If anyone says it three times, Allah will free three-quarters of him from the Fire. If anyone says it four times, Allah will free all of him from the Fire.'"

43. Al-Mundhir, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah, said when he was in North Africa, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say, 'If anyone says in the morning "I am pleased with with Allah as a Lord, Islam with a deen and Muhammad as a Prophet" I am the leader who will take his hand to admit him to the Garden."'" (at-Tabarani)

44. 'Abdullah ibn Ghannam al-Bayadi reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "If anyone says in the morning, 'O Allah, whatever blessing comes to me or any of Your creation in the morning is from You alone with no partner; praise is Yours and thanks is to You' has fulfilled the thankfulness due for the day. If he says the like of that in the evening, he has fulfilled the thankfulness due for the night. " (Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i)

45. Ibn 'Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah did not omit these words in the evening and morning: 'O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in this world and the Next. O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in my deen and this world, my family and my property. O Allah, veil my defects and protect me from what I fear. O Allah, preserve me in front of me and behind me, to my right and to my left, and above me. I seek refuge with Your might from unexpected harm from under me." (Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)

46. Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said to Fatima, "What will prevent you from listening to my advice to you? You should say in the morning and evening: 'O Living, O Self-Sustaining, I seek help by Your mercy. Put all my affairs in order for me. Do not entrust me to myself for the blink of an eye.'" (an-Nasa'i)

47. Al-Hasan stated that Samura ibn Jundub said, "Shall I inform you of a hadith which I heard from the Messenger of Allah several times, and from Abu Bakr several times and from 'Umar several times?" "Yes," was the reply. He said, "If anyone says in the morning and the evening, 'O Allah, You created me and You guide me; You give me food and drink; You make me die and give me life,' he will not ask for anything but that He will give it to him." He said, "I met 'Abdullah ibn Salam and said, 'Shall I inform you of a hadith which I heard from the Messenger of Allah several times, and from Abu Bakr several times and from 'Umar several times?' He said, 'Yes,' and recounted this hadith. He said, 'By my mother and father, the Messenger of Allah said those words. Allah Almighty gave them to Musa, peace be upon him and he used to pray with them seven times every day, and he never asked Allah for something but that Allah gave it to him." (At-Tabarani)

48. Abu'd-Darda' reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Anyone who says the prayer on me ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening will obtain my intercession on the Day of Rising,"

(At-Tabarani with two isnads, one of which is excellent)

49. Zayd ibn Thabit reported that the Messenger of Allah taught him a supplication and commanded him to promise to do it and that his family should do it every day. He said: "He should say in the morning, 'O Allah, at Your service. Good is in Your hand and from You to You. O Allah, whatever word I say, oath I make or vow I make, You will is before it, What You wish will be and what you do not wish will not be. There is no power or strength except by You. You have power over everything. O Allah, whatever prayer I pray is for the on whom I pray and whatever curse I make is against the one I curse. You are my Protector in this world and the Next. Make me die a Muslim and join me to the righteous. O Allah, I ask you for pleasure with the Decree, pleasant life after death, the pleasure of looking at Your face, and yearning to meet You without harmful distress or misleading sedition. I seek refuge with You, O Allah, lest I wrong or be wronged, or transgress or be transgressed against, or acquire a wrong action or a sin which is not forgiven, O Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, O Master of Majesty and Generosity, I entrust to You in this life and I call on You to testify. Allah is enough of a witness. I testify that there is no god but You alone with no partner. Yours is the kingdom and praise is Yours. You have power over everything. I testify that Muhammad is Your slave and Messenger. I testify that Your promise is true, meeting Your is true, the Garden is true, the Fire is true and the Hour is true. It is coming without doubt. You will raise whoever is in the graves. If You entrust me to myself, You entrust me to weakness, disgrace, sin and error. I can only trust in Your mercy, so forgive me all my sins. None but You forgive sins. Turn to me. You are the Ever-Turning, All-Merciful.'" (Ahmad and at-Tabarani)

Courtesy of the Aisha Bewley Webpage.



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