In a world filled with the dynamism of both splendour and difficulties, dhikr has the power to keep us grounded and content. Dhikr has a very simple meaning which is the remembrance of Allah, yet the act holds great significance and has the potential to reshape our very existence.
In Islam, there are certain phrases such as subhanAllah, alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, astaghfirullah and even prayers which are read upon the Prophet ﷺ. Whilst these phrases take a few seconds to utter, the benefit it brings is countless.
The reality of dhikr in our modern day and age is that it has become a fleeting affair which is only confined to places of worship or special days. What’s more, for many of us, the concept of dhikr is slowly yet precariously slipping away from our daily lives, which is why understanding what these sacred phrases mean is an ideal way to reintroduce the concept back into our lives.
To revive our love for dhikr and truly understand the value of what it means, let’s explore the significance and beauty of some of the key phrases and words.
With us being the creation of Allah, we ought to constantly be in a state of marvelling at Allah and the world He has created. The simple words of SubhanAllah and similar words are as the Prophet ﷺ mentioned, “very light (easy) for the tongue (to say), but very heavy in weight in the balance.” [Sahih Bukhari]
But it’s not just us that utter these sacred words. Allah glorifies Himself in the Quran and the angels obediently chant these words. We as humans are constantly in a state of amazement when we see the creation of Allah, which is when the phrase SubhanAllah becomes relevant.
The Prophet ﷺ described the phrase SubhanAllah as dearer to him than “all that the sun rises upon.” [Sahih Muslim]
This is why, uttering these simple yet meaningful phrases whilst we live and breathe is one of the greatest blessings Allah has bestowed us with. Did you know that by repeating SubhanAllah one hundred times a day, Allah promises to remove a thousand shortcomings and sins from our register or add a thousand blessings upon us?
As the phrase is usually said when one is amazed or whilst one is marvelling, it is ideal and recommended to utter SubhanAllah when one witnesses something beautiful such as breathtaking mountains, lush greenery or a striking sunrise. But let it not just be reserved for major marvelling moments. It could even be uttered when something small yet significant happens which one finds astounding.
Islam has simple equations for us all. In the Quran, Allah tells us an easy recipe for receiving more of any blessing you have, and that is, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you.” [Qur’an, 14:7]
That’s all there is to it! Being thankful!
Gratitude and thankfulness are expressed both internally and externally. One of the best ways to express your thanks for the blessing you have is by uttering the words Alhamdulillah. By doing just that and by internalising the very concept of gratitude, Allah promises that He will bless us with more.
Say Alhamdulillah when you receive a blessing. Say Alhamdulillah when you notice something great in your life. Enumerate your existing blessings and say Alhamdulillah. Whenever you say Alhamdulillah, it only adds value to that very thing you are grateful for. Even when you experience hardship, say Alhamdulillah as it will help you realise the good in your life by giving you the ability to see things for what they truly are, and not through the vision of sadness, sorrow or anger.
What can be greater in dhikr than saying God is the Greatest? Proclaiming this phrase should tell us that Allah and His existence are greater than everything in our temporary lives. All that which will decay and wither away one day is only temporary, yet Allah will remain. Repeating these words of Allahu Akbar allows us to internalise the very concept of how there is something greater than fleeting matters such as our problems, worries, the world and everything in it.
Saying Allahu Akbar also helps a Muslim to keep himself grounded in times of great success and when one hits rock bottom. We say Allahu Akbar when we face difficulties to remind ourselves that solutions and strength come from Allah alone. And we also say Allahu Akbar when we go through great moments of success to remind ourselves that Allah is the ultimate One that blessed us with this.
Takbeer should therefore be on our tongues more often than any other dhikr as our lives constantly experience the change of good and bad.
The Prophet ﷺ once said, “It is a heavy thing for my heart if I do not seek Allah’s forgiveness a hundred times a day.” [Sahih Muslim]
It does make you wonder, if the Prophet ﷺ felt the need to say seek Allah’s forgiveness a hundred times a day, then what of us?
The need for istighfar was of utmost importance to the Prophet ﷺ and this only tells us how important it should be in our lives. As humans, we are constantly in the habit of forgetting, making mistakes and carrying the burden of things we’ve done wrong. The words Astaghfirullah and Iistighfar in general give us the ability to return to Allah and invite divine mercy.
But it doesn’t just stop there. By repenting and doing istighfar, Allah will increase you in blessings as He says, “Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed…He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” [Qur’an 71:10–12]
Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad
Oh Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad!
Whilst we’re in a constant flow of greeting one another, how much do we stop and think about sending peace and blessings upon our beloved Prophet ﷺ? The Prophet ﷺ done so much for us and one of the best ways to reciprocate is by sending durood upon him.
Every time we utter the words of durood, the angels hear us out and carry our greetings, peace and blessings to the Prophet ﷺ. Say Allahumma salli’ ala Muhammad once now and you have become closer to him than you were a second ago. What’s more, by sending durood upon the Prophet ﷺ, ten sins are forgiven, ten deeds are registered for you and you have been raised ten ranks in the sight of Allah.
With sending salawat being such an easy thing to do, let it become a daily habit, especially on Fridays which is the best day to send peace and blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ.
Main Image Credit: Imad Alassiry [Unsplash]
Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.
Juber's favourite Quote...
"The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]