Zikr is the Arabic term for remembrance of Allah, the Most Merciful. It is not restricted to the prayer and worship that we do on our prayer rugs five times a day; it is much more than that.
Zikr can be a sister adorned in her Hijab. Zikr can be a brother with his long beard and cap. Zikr can be remembering to say "Yarhamokullahi" (may Allah have mercy on you) when a fellow Muslim sneezes. Zikr can be kindness towards our family, friends and neighbors. Zikr can be the following of the Sunnah, the example, of Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him, because through him we learn the correct way to worship our Creator.
Religion, for followers of other faiths, consists of once a week attendance at temples and churches and the wearing of a religious symbol around their necks. Religion has the last priority in most people's lives. They are too busy partying, making money and having too much fun to stop and think about where their lives are going. It is no surprise that so many people revert to Islam, both non-Muslims and born Muslims. Most reverts claim they felt emptiness while worshiping in their old faiths. Islam replaced that void in their lives, Alhamdu lillah (thanks be to Allah).
Everything about our perfect Deen (religion). Islam, sets Muslims apart from all other faiths. Zikr is the best example for that.
No other religion perfectly incorporates every-minute aspects into life. Muslims start any and everything that they do with the words "Audhubillahi Minashaytaanirajeem, Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim"" (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil, in the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful).
Islam teaches us how to greet people, how to eat, how to sleep, how to leave one's home, how to dress, how to behave, even how to cut our nails, and these are all forms of worship because we are following the Sunnah. We know how to live our lives through the perfect example of our Prophet Mohammed, and Muslims strive to be like him, to follow in his footsteps, as there is no human worthy of higher praise than him.
The Hadith, or the Prophet's sayings and actions, have recorded his life and have been preserved till this very day so that we can learn from him.
The greatest form of Zikr though is the fear of Allah. A Hadith of the holy Prophet Mohammed states that a Muslim should think of death forty times everyday to remind him that he will be returning to Allah and his account will be taken.
Abstinence can be a form of Zikr as well, such as abstaining from pork, alcohol, drugs and illicit relations.
Stopping to admire the beauty of nature is a form of Zikr that most people do subconsciously. Allah does not impose on His creatures by asking them to pray to him all day long. Anyone who worships Allah at the prescribed times and remembers Allah before going to sleep, then the entire time he is sleeping he is performing Zikr. This is because he is sleeping with Allah's permission and with the purpose to acquire energy to worship Allah when he awakes.
Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri said, that the Messenger of Allah said, "Moses said: O Lord! Teach me something that I can remember You with and I can supplicate You with. Allah said: Say 'La ilaaha ill Allah', O Musa. He (Musa) said: All of your servants say this. He (swt) said: If the
seven Heavens and those who dwell in them other than Me and the seven Earths are put into one pan (of the scale) and 'La ilaaha ill Al.' is put into the other; 'La ilaaha ill Allah' would be heavier."
As it is obvious, Islam is not just a religion, but a complete way of life. Islam literally means "submission" and the word Muslim means "one who submits". It is our duty as Muslims to submit to no one but Allah. Every action we perform it is for Him because our purpose for being on this earth is to go through a test and to worship Allah.
Any form of remembering Allah or performing a righteous deed is a form of Zikr and Zikr brings us closer to Allah, which is the ultimate achievement of Muslims. If we are close to Him, we will not go astray.
If we strive to remember Him, He will help us, as this Hadith narrated by Anas in Sahih Bukhari describes: The Prophet said, "Allah says: 'I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.' "
"Muslim Prayer Beads" by Muhammad Rehan from Pakistan - Muslim prayer beads. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Muslim_Prayer_Beads.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Muslim_Prayer_Beads.jpg