One’s heart should always be filled with the remembrance of Allah. Forgetfulness and negligence are the main weaknesses of human beings. The only remedy is that the believer should develop God-consciousness and be constantly aware that Almighty Allah watches him. All acts of worship aim at drawing man closer to Allah. The Qur’an says, (Establish prayers for My remembrance) (Ta-Ha 20:14).
The Friday sermon, too, constitutes the commands and remembrance of Allah (Al-Jumuah 62:10). But we must be clear that the remembrance of Allah is not restricted to certain acts of formal worship. The point is that one should always remember Him: (Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting, and lying on their sides) (Aal-Imran 3:191). (Ta-Ha 20:14).
Thabit Al-Banani (may Allah have mercy on him) once exclaimed, “I know when my Lord remembers me.” Upon hearing this, those present trembled in fear and asked him how he knew this. In response he recited from verse 152 of Surat Al-Baqarah, (Remember Me. I will remember you.)
It is recorded in the hadith:
I come up to the expectations of My servant. I am with him when he remembers Me. When he makes mention of Me in his heart, I make mention of him to Myself. When he mentions Me in a gathering, I mention him in a better gathering (of the angels). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is the height of felicity for a human being that Allah remembers him and mentions him in the blessed gathering of the angels.
We have taken note of the important and blessed nature of the remembrance of Allah. By the same token, one’s neglect of it is fatal, bringing disgrace upon oneself. Those who forget Allah are forgotten by Him (At-Tawbah 9:67). Allah then lets them wander in the web of their own self (Al-Hashr 59:19). One’s disregard for Allah culminates in the ruin of the self.
Everything in the universe remembers Allah
It is worthy to note that everything in the universe is preoccupied with remembering and glorifying Allah. This point is explicitly made in the first verse of Surat Al-Hadid (surah 57) and in many other places in the Qur’an. As one is engaged in remembering, praising and glorifying Allah, one becomes at one with the entire universe and the gate for all goodness and success is opened.
The remembrance of Allah should permeate one’s life in every respect. It should not be restricted to reciting certain formulas in private at an appointed hour. Prayers, zakah, fasting, and Hajj are the practical manifestations of remembering Allah. Moreover, the remembrance of Allah is not confined to utterance and speech—one’s whole mind and process of thinking should be constantly imbued with it, as the Qur’an teaches,
(They reflect deeply about the creation of the heavens and earth, saying: “Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose. Glory to You. Preserve us from the torment of the Fire.”) (Aal ‘Imran 3:191)
The remembrance of Allah that is most rewarding involves our thoughts and prompts us to think about our answerability in the Hereafter. This, in turn, motivates the measures needed to protect ourselves against Hellfire.
Besides acts of worship, study of the Qur’an is another effective means for remembering Allah. Allah speaks of the Qur’an itself as remembrance (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:50 and Al-Hijr 15:9). It is further said,
(And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember; then is there anyone who will receive admonition?) (Al-Qamar 54:17)
One should recite the Qur’an with utmost devotion and reflect over its contents.
Modes of remembering Allah
Other modes of remembering Allah are reciting the supplications recorded on the Prophet’s authority. These constantly remind one at every stage of life that one should turn wholly to Allah and maintain a close relationship with Him. These supplications should not be merely uttered, they should be reflected in one’s thoughts and actions. The Qur’an says,
(O you who believe! When you meet an enemy force, take a firm stand against them and remember Allah much so that you may be successful.) (Al-Anfal 8:45)
The point here is that constant remembrance of Allah facilitates one’s engagement in jihad. The Qur’an further states,
(O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah, for whosoever does that, then they are the losers. And spend in charity of that with which We have provided you before death comes to one of you.) (Al-Munafiqun 63:9-10)
In this context, the remembrance of Allah consists of spending in His cause. One of the benefits of remembering Allah is that man is always mindful that he will die, and so spends generously for the sake of pleasing Allah.
The objective of all the prescribed duties of worship is to train us to prepare against and to remedy human weaknesses. We can attain the goal of self-purification by fulfilling these duties properly. Forgetfulness is a major weakness of man; the effective remedy for it is prayer.
Man is liable to be swayed by the glitter of worldly life; he is drawn to amass wealth and may develop a strong love for it; the remedy for this is zakah and spending for the pleasure of Allah in His cause. Similarly, man is vulnerable to the base desires of the self. He is gratified by eating, drinking, living to excess in luxury, and indulging his lower appetites; the remedy lies in fasting, which trains and disciplines these appetites and desires. Hajj, too, cures man of these weaknesses because its rituals effectively prefigure the proceedings of the Day of Judgment.
By Abdur-Rashid Siddiqui