This Ramadan, one of my personal goals was to build more dhikr, remembrance of Allah, into my daily routines. As a working and homeschooling mom, who was also coming back to fasting for the first time after years off due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, I knew I needed a realistic deeds strategy this year. Aside from the fast, I needed to put my efforts into something that was practically small and manageable but could still have a big spiritual impact, inshaAllah, God willing.
A man once admitted to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, that he felt overwhelmed by the laws of Islam and asked him for something easy that he could do. Upon hearing this, the Prophet replied:
“Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah.”
While the physical act of remembering Allah is small, it is also an act that brings with it substantial rewards, including purity and calm to the hearts, a deeper relationship with Allah, and specific benefits for our life in the Hereafter, inshaAllah.
Dhikr is a balm for the heart.
One of the primary benefits of dhikr is the peace and comfort that it can bring to the hearts.
Allah, the Most High, tells us in the Quran:
“... Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.”
(Surah Ar-Rad, 13:28)
That comfort and tranquility we feel when making dhikr is because the mindful act of remembering Allah and reflecting on who He is helps to release us of our burdens and stress. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught:
“Those in solitude have raced ahead, who are absorbed in the remembrance of Allah. Remembrance has lifted their burdens and they will come on the Day of Resurrection weightless.”
(Sunan At Tirmidhi)
While remembering Allah helps our hearts feel calm and comfortable, it simultaneously helps to heal our hearts, removing the sins and hardness that can accumulate over time. Ibn Al-Qayyim said, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
“The heart is tarnished by two matters: negligence and sin. And it is polished by two matters: seeking forgiveness and the remembrance of Allah.”
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, taught us that:
“No people sit together to remember Allah, the Almighty, and stand to leave until a heavenly caller says to them: Stand and your sins are forgiven by Allah! Your bad deeds have been replaced with good deeds!”
(Sahih, al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr)
Dhikr helps us to grow closer to Allah.
Remembering Allah regularly also helps us to build a more intimate relationship with Him. In a beautiful hadith qudsi (or saying that was revealed to the Prophet directly from Allah), we are taught that when we remember Allah, the Most High, He remembers us in return. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him said:
“Allah Almighty said: O son of Adam, if you remember Me in solitude, I will remember you in solitude. If you remember Me in a gathering, I will remember you in a gathering greater than the one in which you remembered Me.”
In another hadith, it’s narrated that our words of remembrance are actually lifted to the heavens and buzz around Allah’s throne like bees, announcing who we are and what we said of Him (Sahih Ibn Majah).
But not only does Allah, the Most High, remember us when we remember Him, He tells us that He is with us, subhanAllah, all Glory is for Allah. In another hadith qudsi, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Allah Almighty says: I am with My servant while he remembers Me and his two lips are moving for My sake.”
(Sahih Ibn Majah)
In fact, the more that we strive to remember Allah, and the more we strive to be close to Him, the more Allah is with us and the nearer He comes to us, mashaAllah, by Allah’s will. In another hadith qudsi from Sahih Bukhari, Allah, the Most Loving, tells us:
“I am as My servant expects of Me and I am with him as he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I will remember him in Myself. If he mentions Me in a gathering, I will mention him in a greater gathering. When he draws near Me by the span of his hand, I draw near him by the length of a cubit. When he draws near Me by the length of a cubit, I draw near him by the length of a fathom. When he comes to Me walking, I come to him running.”
Imagine how it feels to remember and reflect upon the most beloved person to you. Now imagine knowing that same person is remembering you and wanting to be close to you as well. Imagine you and this person drawing closer and closer together because of your mutual love and remembrance for one another. Is this not the beautiful kind of relationship we want to have with our Creator? And Allah tells us that we can have it by remembering Him, Alhamdulilah, all praise and thanks are for Allah.
Dhikr brings great reward in the Hereafter.
As if soothing our broken hearts and being close to us in this life wasn’t enough, Allah, the Most Merciful, also grants those who remember Him ample rewards in the next life for every dhikr they perform for His sake.
Some remembrances are specific and they have specific rewards, like the trees that get planted for us in Jannah when we say “SubhanAllah.” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Whoever declares the glory of Allah and His praise will have a palm tree planted for him in Paradise.”
Want more plants planted for you in Jannah? Reciting “la hawla wa laa quwatta illa billah” can help. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“Increase your plantings in Paradise, for its water is sweet and its soil is clean. Its plantings are to say: there is no movement or might but in Allah.”
(Hasan, al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr)
Reciting Surah Al-Ikhlas, Chapter 112 of the Quran can build you an entire home in Jannah. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught:
“Whoever recites the entire chapter, ‘He is Allah, the One’ ten times, Allah will build a palace for him in Paradise.”
Allah, The All Mighty, also promises to also erase our sins when we glorify Him.
“He who says, ‘Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdih‘ (Glory and praise be to Allah) one hundred times every day, his sins will be obliterated even if they are equal to the extent of the foam of the sea.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Some rewards for dhikr are not designated by specific words or format but are left open and available for those who remember Allah in general. One of the companions once asked the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, what the rewards were for gathering to remember Allah. His reply was:
“The spoils of the gatherings of remembrance is Paradise.”
He, peace and blessing be upon him, also taught us that dhikr can protect us from the punishment of Allah. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“The son of Adam does not act with a deed better to save him from the punishment of Allah than with the remembrance of Allah.”
Five Daily Dhikr You Can Start Now
Though it’s a small and simple act, making dhikr, or remembering Allah, was known as “the best of deeds” by the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.
Abu Darda reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Shall I not tell you of the best of your deeds, which is the purest to your King, which raises you among your ranks, which is better for you than spending gold and money in charity, and which is better for you than meeting your enemy and striking the necks of each other?” They said, “Of course!” The Prophet said, “It is the remembrance of Allah Almighty.”
So if you want to start making more dhikr this Ramadan, here are five daily remembrances, or adhkar, that you can start with, inshaAllah:
1. Recite the four “beloveds” regularly.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The most beloved words to Allah are four: glory be to Allah [subhanAllah], praise be to Allah [Alhamdulilah], there is no god but Allah [la ilaha il Allah], and Allah is the greatest [Allahu Akbar]. There is no harm in starting with any of them.”
2. Say “SubhanAllah” 100 times.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said; “Is one of you unable to earn one thousand good deeds each day? Let him glorify Allah one hundred times. Thus, it will be recorded for him as one thousand good deeds, or one thousand bad deeds will be erased.”
3. Recite Ayatul Kursi, The Verse of the Throne, after salah.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever recites the ‘Verse of the Throne’ after every prescribed prayer, there will be nothing standing between him and entry into Paradise but his death.”
4. Recite a surah of Quran before you sleep.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “No Muslim retires to his bed, reciting a chapter from the Book of Allah, but that Allah entrusts him to the care of an angel. Nothing will approach to harm him until he awakens, whenever he awakens.”
5. Recite this day or night to make Jannah obligatory for yourself.
Abu Sa’id, may Allah have mercy on him, said that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever says: ‘Radeetu billahi rabban, Wa bil-Islaami deenan, Wa bi-Muhammadin rasoolan’ Jannah becomes obligatory for him (to enter).” Translated into English, it means: I am content that Allah is my Lord, and Islam is my way of life, and Muhammad is my messenger, peace and blessings be upon him.”
To learn more about the benefits of dhikr, and to learn more specific remembrances and their rewards, watch Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim’s video series, Small Deeds - Massive Rewards.
Melissa Barreto is a home-educating mother of five children and the Co-Founder of Wildflower Homeschool Collective, a homeschool organization based in Northern New Jersey.