His Remembrance Of Allah And Meditation

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What is remembrance of allah? What is medition in islam?

“Is not the time ripe for the hearts of those who believe to submit to Allah’s reminder and to the truth which is revealed” (al-Ḥadīd 57; 16)

In many places of the Qur’an, Allah the Most Glorious reminds us to remember Him in order to attain eternal salvation:

“O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance, and glorify Him morning and evening.” (al-Ahzāb 33; 41-42) Allah wants us to remember Him while we are sitting, lying, in short, all the time.

“Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: …” (Al-i Imran 3; 191)

Allah the Almighty cherishes remembrance of Him so much that He asks from us that our property, our children, our trade and transactions should not hold us from remembrance:

“O you who believe! Let not your wealth nor do your children distract you from remembrance of Allah. Those who do so, they are the losers.” (al-Munafiqūn 63; 9)

On the one hand Allah the Almighty warns those who neglect remembrance of Him, on the other hand He praises those who continue remembering Him as follows:

“Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyeballs will be overturned.” (al-Nūr 24; 37)

People remember Allah in three ways:

With their tongue, or by saying His beautiful names, by thanking for everything He bestowed, by reading the Qur’an and praying,

With their hearts, or by thinking about the signs which show His existence and getting rid of the doubts, by trying to understand the secrets of the universe, and by accepting the wisdom behind the commands and prohibitions of Allah and by obeying it,

And with their body, or by using every limb in their body properly and in accordance with the orders of Allah the Almighty.

Allah the Almighty shows His mercy to His thankful and remembering servant; He will increase His blessings upon this servant, accepts his/her prayers, and saves him/her from his/her problems.

This is why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) paid so much attention to remembrance of Allah. His heart was busy with the remembrance of Allah day and night, and his tongue was busy with thanking Him. When he wanted to eat or drink something, he would first say Allah’s name; when he finished, he would thank Him; when he went to bed or woke up, he would remember Him. When he sit and stood up, he would say praises for Allah; when he put on a new dress, he would thank Allah for it. When we examine his prayers, praises, and remembrances of Allah for different occasions and times, we see that our Prophet (pbuh) loved Allah and was always in pious reverence before the Glory and Majesty of Allah. From this perspective, it is possible to say that the truth of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) is hidden in his supplications. Aisha (r.a.) says that:

“The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) would remember Allah at all moments.” (Muslim, Hayḍ, 117)

Remembrance of Allah was so significant for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that all the ornaments of the world meant nothing for him. In fact the Prophet (pbuh) said:

“World and everything in it are worthless. Only remembrance of Allah, the scholar who teaches things that make people closer to Allah, and the student who would like to learn (such knowledge) are the exception.” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 14)

This is why Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) preferred to be with the people of remembrance over everything else. He stated this as follows:

“That I sit in the company of the people who remember Allah the Exalted from morning prayer till the sun rises is dearer to me than that I emancipate four slaves from the children of Ishmael. And again that I sit with the people who remember Allah from afternoon prayer till the sun sets is dearer to me than that I emancipate four slaves.” (Abū Dawūd, ‘Ilm, 13)

In order to gain more spiritual rewards in this short worldly life, we should turn towards the deeds which will bring more rewards in less time. This is why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) regarded prayers and remembrances of Allah, which are short in appearance but great in meaning, very important.

Juwairiya (r.a.) reported that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) came out from her apartment in the morning as she was busy in observing her dawn prayer in her place of worship. He came back in the forenoon and she was still sitting there. He said to her:

“Have you been in the same seat and saying remembrances of Allah since I left you?” She said:

“Yes, I have.” Thereupon Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said:

“I recited four words three times after I left you and if these are to be weighed against what you have recited since morning these would outweigh them and these words are:

“Hallowed be Allah and all praises are due to Him in as much as the number of His creation and in as much as the amount which pleases Him and in as much as the weight of His Throne and in as much as endless number of His words.” (Muslim, Dhikr 79)

Allah the Almighty, who loves His servants, taught them literally light but meaningfully heavy remembrances in order to take them to the highest stations of Paradise, because Allah’s blessings to His servants are endless. Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Is one amongst you powerless to get one thousand virtues every day?” Amongst those who had been sitting there, one asked:

“How one amongst us can get one thousand virtues every day?” The Prophet (pbuh) said:

“For those who say: “subhanallah – Hallowed be Allah” one hundred times one thousand virtues are recorded or one thousand vices are forgiven.” (Muslim, Dhikr 37)

In order to attain the spiritual perfection and achieve good manners, believers should always contemplate about Allah and be aware of that He sees them everywhere and all the time. Those who maintain this consciousness continuously would not only stay away from the sins but also try to do good and righteous deeds. Allah the Almighty loves them and makes all His creation to love them in the heavens and the earth. In fact Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) as saying that:

“Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, thus stated: I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his remembrance, and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space covered by two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.” (Bukharī, Tawhid, 15; Muslim, Dhikr, 2)

If a servant remembers Allah and contemplates about His blessings, Allah the Almighty would take the obstacles off his/her path and grant him/her spiritual manifestations. If the servant remembers Allah in an assembly and tries to convey the message of Islam in this way, Allah the Almighty make the residents of heavens love and pray for that servant. Thus the blessings will pour down upon the servant. And then the residents of earth will love him/her. This is such a great blessing that human beings cannot properly appreciate it.

In this respect Bishr-i Khafi, a friend of Allah, is a good example. He was seen in a dream after his death. When he was asked “what kind of judgment Allah has given about you,” he replied:

“Allah has forgiven me and made half of Paradise permitted for me. Then He told me:

“O Bishr! If you were to prostrate on burning coil, you would not have properly showed your gratitude for the love which I placed in my servants’ hearts towards you.” (Kushayri, p. 406)

The Prophet (pbuh) paid so much attention to the remembrance of Allah that he was attaching all of the merits of the worship to remembrance of Allah. The following narration is an exemplary on in this respect. A companion came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh):

“Which fighter in the path of Allah is rewarded more?” The Prophet (pbuh) replied:

“The one who remembers Allah the most” The man asked again:

“Which one’s fast is more rewarding?”

“The one which was performed by someone who remembers Allah the most” Then the man repeated similar questions about performers of prayers, payers of alms, givers of charity and pilgrims. The Prophet (pbuh) replied all of these questions as:

“The one which was performed by someone who remembers Allah the most” Upon this Abu Bakr (r.a.) told Umar (r.a.):

“O Abu Hafs! Those who remember Allah have taken all rewards.” When the Prophet (pbuh) heard this, he turned to them and said:

“Yes, this is true.” (Ibn Hanbal, III, 438; Haythami, X, 74)

Since remembrance of Allah polishes and cleanses the heart, deeds of those who have such cleansed hearts are different than those who do not have them. Jalal al-Din Rumi (q.s.) expresses the value of those with polished hearts as follows:

“Such is the custom of kings: you will have heard of this, if you remember. The heroes and brave soldiers stand on their left hand, because the heart (the seat of courage) is fixed on the left side (of the body). On the right hand are the chancellor and the secretaries, because the science of writing and book-keeping belongs (in practice) to this hand. They give the Súfís the place in front of their countenance, for they (the Súfís) are a mirror for the soul, and better than a mirror, (Since) they have polished their breasts (hearts) in commemoration (of Allah) and meditation, that the heart’s mirror may receive the virgin (original) image. Whoever is born beautiful from the loins of Creation, a mirror must be placed before him. The beauteous face is in love with the mirror: it (such a face) is a polisher of the soul and (a kindler) of the fear of Allah in (men’s) hearts.” (Mathnawī, 1, verses: 3150-56)

The Prophet (pbuh) wanted his companions to engraft the remembrance of Allah in their hearts and remember Allah everywhere and all the time. Muadh (r.a.) narrates that:

“One day I came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and asked him to give me an advice. He said:

“Fear from Allah as much as you can do. Remember Allah every rock or every tree next to which you sit. And repent secretly for every sin you committed secretly; and repent openly for every sin you committed openly.” (Haythami, X, 74)

The difference between those who remember their Lord and those who are defeated by their heedlessness and forgot Allah is like the difference between dead and alive. (Bukhari, Daawat, 66) The difference between a house in which Allah is remembered and a house in which Allah’s name is not mentioned and no act of worship is performed is also like the difference between living and dead. (Muslim, Musafirun, 211)

The Prophet (pbuh) states that those who forget that Allah sees them will be greatly disappointed. Not just those who forget completely remembrance of Allah but also those believers who often remember Allah but be heedless sometimes will be in great regret and pain in the Hereafter. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) says about such believers, who enter Paradise:

“People of Paradise will regret and long for nothing but for the moments they spent without remembrance of Allah in this world.” (Haythami, X, 73-74)

This is why the Prophet (pbuh) encouraged his followers to prepare for the Hereafter and thus warned them not to regret later. Ubayy b. Ka’b (r.a.) narrates that the Prophet (pbuh) would wake up after two thirds of the night passed and say:

“O people! Remember Allah! Remember Allah! The first Sur (trumpet) of the Judgment Day will be blown! Then the second one will come. Death will come with all its harshness. Death will come with all its harshness…” (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 23)

Of course contemplating and remembering Allah all the time is not something which can be achieved automatically. In order to attain this good quality one should endeavor and ask help from Allah the Almighty. Muadh b. Jabal (r.a.) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:

“O Muadh, verily I love you (for the sake of Allah).” I replied:

“O Messenger of Allah, I swear by Allah that I love you, too.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then said:

I advise you to say these words after every prayer:

“O Allah, help me to remember you and to thank you and to better perform my worship to You.’“ (Nasaī, Sahw, 60; Abū Dawūd, Witr, 26)

Those who would like to attain the attribute of being in continuous state of remembrance and meditation should both beseech Allah to be blessed by it and strive to attain it. This quality can be achieved more safely and easily through the practices guided by Sufi masters.

Remembrance and meditation ensure purification and development of the self, clearance of the sins, and increase in goodness; because inclining towards Allah the Almighty and holding tight to His mercy wipes the sins off and strengthen the spirituality. Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an:

“… Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!” (al-Ra’d 13; 28)

Hajah Yusuf Hamadani (q.s.) makes the following statement, which is also a fine commentary for the above-mentioned verse:

“Those who find consolation in religion and be happy with the remembrance of Allah will have no hostility with those who reside in seven heavens and the earth. They will have a tranquil place in this world of deficiencies, uselessness, deception, and delusions; such that their bird of intention will fly in the heavens of divinity.” (Rutbat al-Hayat, p. 58-59)

Those who remember Allah will also be protected from the harms of Devil, for Divine mercy and the prayers of angels will enfold them. Yahya (John the Baptist) (pbuh) says that:

“…and Allah the Almighty also orders you to remember Him much. The man who remembers Allah is similar to a man who is followed by an enemy. Just like this man can protect himself from the enemy by entering into a castle, a servant can protect himself/herself against the Devil only by remembrance of Allah…” (Tirmidhi, Adab, 78)

The real benefit of remembrance will be seen in the Hereafter, because Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) stated in one of his saying that “son of Adam have not performed any other deed which protects him from punishment of Allah more than the remembrance of Allah.” (Muwatta, Qur’an, 24) In another prophetic tradition, it is expressed that Allah the Almighty will address on the Day of Judgment saying:

“Take the person who remembered Me and feared from Me for a moment in his life out of the Hell-fire.” (Tirmidhi, Jahannam, 9)

Most importantly people achieve Divine love and knowledge through remembrance and meditation. As a result of this Allah the Almighty loves and befriends them. In fact Allah the Almighty expresses in the following sacred tradition:

“…Among My servants those who remember Me are My friends and the ones that I love most among My creation are those who remember Me. In return for their remembrance, I, too, remember them.” (Ibn Hanbal, III, 430)

However prasing the names of Allah should be performed by a conscious heart. It is obvious that a senseless praising, which is done by a heedless heart, will provide little benefit. Rumi (q.s.) explains this as follows:

“Our King (Allah) has given permission, (saying), “Commemorate Allah”: He saw us in the fire and gave us light. He has said, “Although I far transcend your commemoration (of Me), (and although) the pictorial ideas (of human speech) are not suitable to Me, Yet he that is intoxicated with (pictorial) imagination and fancy will never apprehend My essence without (the help of) similitude.” Bodily commemoration is an imperfect fancy: the Kingly attributes are remote from those (forms of speech).” (Mathnawī, II, verses: 1715-1718)

A heart reaches peacefulness through continuous remembrance of Allah and then attains the state of muraqabah (meditation). Muraqabah means to have the awareness of that “Allah the Almighty watches over and knows both the outer appearance and the inward qualities of the servants.” In order to attain such awareness one needs to practice through remembrance and contemplation. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said that:

“Obey (observe) Allah so that you may find Him before you.” (Ibn Hanbal, I, 293)

Yusuf Hamadani (q.s.) depicts how a heart can be accustomed for remembrance and meditation through the following nice example: “Heart and remembrance of Allah is like a tree and water; while heart and meditation is like a tree and its fruit. Both expecting the tree to grow and get green without watering it and expecting it to give fruits without waiting for it to bloom are mistakes. It would never give fruits. It should be watered; weeds and other harmful plants around it should be cleaned; and then the heat of the sun must be waited. When all these come together, then the tree becomes fresh and lively and adorns with green leaves. After the tree adorns with such qualities, we can expect fruits from it. And this is the time to expect fruits from it.” (Rutbat al-Hayat, p. 71)

Muraqabah, which is used as a method of Sufi training, has been developed from the same objective. A believer contemplates over the attributes of Allah the Almighty, such as All-Knowing, Omnipotence, Mercy, and All-Encompassing. For instance he/she reads a verse from the Qur’an like the following ones:

“Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the eternally Besought of all! (All creation needs Him, but He needs nothing) He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none comparable unto Him.” (al-Ikhlās 112; 1-4)

“…And He is with you wheresoever you may be…” (al-Ḥadīd 57; 4)

“…and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (Qāf 50; 16)

“…a people whom He will love as they will love Him …” (al-Maidah 5; 54)

Then he/she thinks about the meanings of these verses without making any comparisons of Allah with the creation. He/she just tries to think Allah the Almighty with these attributes. When his/her imagination gets weakened, he reads the verse and thinks about it again. As long as he/she continues this, his/her feeling of ihsan increases and he/she gets closer to knowing Allah.

In order to get the best benefit from muraqabah, contemplation, and remembrance one needs to observe its requirements closely, and to choose the most peaceful time when his/her heart will not be busy with states like hunger, sleepiness, or anger.

Source: An Excellent Exemplar, Osman Nuri Topbaş,  Erkam Publications

The Human Reality

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