The Meaning and Scope of Dhikr
PROF G R MALIK
In Islam dhikr signifies a continuous contact with the Absolute Reality, Allah (SWT) – a contact which involves the whole being of man – body, mind and especially the soul. It has been inseparably interwoven into the very fabric of life. It is not, as in some ascetic cults, confined to a set of litanies (although litanies too have a place in the comprehensive scheme of dhikr) but forms an integral part of a believer’s life. Allah is confined neither to a reserved hour or day nor to a reserved place of worship but is placed at the very centre of life. Genuine believers and men of understanding are evaluated in the Quran in terms of this all-embracing dhikr:
Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on their sides (3:191)Formal ways of dhikr like salah have been duly prescribed but dhikr is not confined to them. The Quran says:
When you have performed the act of worship (salah), remember Allah standing, sitting and reclining. (4:103)
And when the prayer (salah) is performed then disperse in the land and seek of Allah’s bounty and remember Allah much. (62:10)
Indeed the whole life of a believer, his day and night, is integrally tied up with dhikr. When he wakes up he praises God for having revived him after death and when he goes to bed he says:
O Allah in Thy name do I die and rise again.
In between waking up and going to bed each and every situation – wearing and taking off one’s clothes, boarding and getting off a vehicle, eating drinking, sneezing, receiving a good or bad news, beginning a work and ending it – everything under the sun – involves the remembrance of Allah. This is comprehensive and constant dhikr (dhikr al-da’im).
Dhikr has been assigned this pivotal place in Islam because without it, man cannot fulfil his human destiny. In other words he cannot realize the immense possibilities of his soul without it. The all-important Quranic verses in this connection occur in Surah al-R‘ad:
Say (O Prophet) Allah leaves to stray whom He wills and guides to Himself one who turns towards Him such as those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah; indeed in the remembrance of Allah alone do hearts find rest. (13:27-28)
This satisfaction of the heart and soul which enables a believer to realise the potentialities latent in him is described by Rumi and Iqbal metaphorically as the soul in a state of ecstatic dance (raqs-i ja’n). In Javid Nameh Iqbal advises the youth:
Hifz-i j’anh’a zikr-u-fikr-e be-hisaab
Hifz-i tanh’a zabt-i nafs ander shabab.
Protection of souls: unending dhikr and thinking.
Protection of bodies: controlling the carnal self in the prime of youth.
Dhikr brings the soul into dance and when the soul dances, it causes an upheaval not only in the individual self but in the whole of the world:
‘Ilm-u-hukm az raqs-i j’an aayed bedast
Hum zameen hum aasman aayed bedest
Soul’s dance invests a man with knowledge as well as spiritual Authority,
It gives into his control the earth as well as the sky.
This is the meaning and scope of dhikr in Islam:
Ya ‘wusat-e aflaak mai takbeer-i musalsal
Ya khaak ke aaghosh mai tasbeeh-u munajaat
Woh mazhab-e mardan-i khud-aagah-u khuda-mast
Yeh mazhab-e mulla-u nabatat-u jamadat
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 29 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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