Remembering Allaah

Eemaan in Allaah is a condition where a person is so convinced of His Existence, Oneness, Uniqueness and Infiniteness that one’s heart and soul make one’s tongue proudly declare Shahaadah: There is no god, lord, authority, power, protector, sustainer, helper, provider or ruler except Allaah. When understood and believed properly, Eemaan obligates a believer to always remember Allaah. Remembering Allaah SWT quite frequently throughout the day is the first and foremost indication of the sincerity of faith. It signifies that both the heart (emotions) and mind (intellect) of a person have really accepted Allaah SWT as the Lord and Master. Although this remembrance should be a natural result of a true faith, Allaah SWT mercifully guides the believers in this direction by commanding that they should develop a habit of consciously remembering Him frequently and abundantly:
O believers! Remember Allaah through frequent remembrance and glorify Him day and night. Al-Ahzaab 33:41-42

One may think that this is mechanical repetition of some words of praise for Allaah, but it is not. This frequent remembrance can be described as being pre-occupied, obsessed or infatuated with thoughts about Allaah. This is alluded to in the Hadeeth when the Prophet said,
Frequent the remembrance of Allaah so much that people call you crazy. Reported in Musnad Ahmad from Aboo Saeed Khudri

When a person is pre-occupied or obsessed with something, he constantly thinks of that thing even while doing something else. It remains in his conscious mind all the time. It commands his attention day in and day out. It influences his imagination, vision, thoughts, preferences, choices, actions, emotions, likes and dislikes – everything.

Likewise, a true believer’s mind is pre-occupied with consciousness of Allaah. He remembers him throughout the day. Allaah’s remembrance pervades his thoughts, emotions, aspirations, dreams and plans. It determines his choices, actions, decisions, likes and dislikes. It is the default operation of his mind. When not performing other actions, it automatically defaults back to the remembrance of Allaah. It is the last thing on his mind when going to bed and the first thing that comes up in his mind as soon as he wakes up. Allaah is in his conscious mind every step he takes and every move he makes. He remembers Allaah getting up as well as sitting down, entering a place or exiting one, before eating or drinking and after consuming it, riding a transport or disembarking, starting to travel or deciding to stay, starting to talk or finishing a meeting. The remembrance of Allaah is an inseparable companion of everything a believer does.

This remembrance is not merely a mental state but it expresses itself in words as well. That is what we see typified in the life of our Prophet SAAWS. The Ahaadeeth describe all those beautiful words that used to emanate from our Prophet’s lips upon every move he made. We can excel in remembering Allaah at all occasions by learning those gems of Allaah’s remembrance that reflected the Prophet’s feelings, by understanding the sentiments they represented and then by using them to express our own inner feelings. It is from his Sunnah that we learn what frequent remembrance and glorification means and how to do it. There is a lovely way he has shown us to remember Allaah for every action a human being can take. His way of remembrance also indicates that the real meaning of remembrance is being totally absorbed in thinking about Allaah, feeling His presence and then vocalizing those feelings in words. He would not even open his mouth to address people without first praising and thanking Allaah and He would not end his talk but with His praise and thanksgiving. It is a matter of feeling Allaah’s presence with oneself and acknowledging His sublimity and Glory.

Depending on the situation and the action, this remembrance may take different form of expression. It may be a Duaa – invoking help and support for the action being undertaken, seeking guidance in that respect or supplicating for protection from or for avoidance of bad things, decisions or consequences. It may be an expression of Shukr -- gratitude for and appreciation of His countless favours and bounties that one may realize during reflection. It may be Tasbeeh – acknowledgement of His immense Glory, Greatness and Holiness. Or, it may be a combination of any or all of these expressions.

The main vehicle of expressing gratitude and appreciation is by praising Him with Al-Hamdulillaah (All praise and gratitude is for Allaah). For general glorification, the sentiments can be simply expressed through utterance of Subhaanallaah (Glorified and sublime is Allaah), Allaahu-Akbar (Allaah is the Greatest), and/or Subhaanallaahi wa bihamdihee subhaanallaahil azheem (Glorified is Allaah and for Him is all the praise and gratitude, glorified is Allaah, the exalted). Often, the best remembrance is negating every other entity or thing that takes people’s attention away from Allaah and reaffirming one’s allegiance to Him by consciously reciting Laa ilaaha illallaah (There is no god, lord, authority, power, protector, sustainer, helper, provider or ruler except Allaah.). Recitation of Qur-aan and reflecting upon its meaning and message to learn how Allaah wants us to live is another excellent way of remembering Allaah.

This remembrance that starts from the heart and expresses itself in appropriate words, then, also reflects itself in the attitude of a believer and in his actions and behaviour. The attitude that the remembrance of Allaah creates is called Taqwa, which makes a person very concerned, cautious and careful to make the right kind of choices and decisions. In actions, it puts a believer on the path of continuous improvement towards excellence in his interactions, dealings and all affairs of life. It takes a believer to a stage where his behaviour is completely in tune with the guidance of Allaah – a stage of completion of faith:
When someone’s likes, dislikes, giving and withholding become solely for the sake of Allaah, he has perfected his faith. Reported by Bukhari from Aboo Umaamah.

This is the kind of remembrance that brings tranquility to heart. This remembrance is not an option. It is the first duty that a Muslim has to fulfil. It is a corollary of Shahaadah – the first pillar of Islam. Shahaadah is not merely uttering Kalimah, but witnessing the reality of Allaah’s existence and His Majesty through preoccupation with His remembrance and consciousness of His presence. It is so crucial that the Prophet said:
A person who remembers Allaah is ‘living’, while the person who does not remember Him is ‘dead’. Reported by both Bukhari and Muslim

The second pillar of Islam — Salaah — is also an embodiment of Allaah’s remembrance. It consists of all forms of remembrance we have talked about: Shukr, Duaa, Tasbeeh, Tahleel and Qur-aan. One of its main goal is:
Establish Salaah for my remembrance. Taa-Haa 20:14

Hence: O believers! Remember Allaah through frequent remembrance and Glorify Him day and night.

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