“Remember Me and I will remember you”.
(Remember Me. I will remember you)
Sa’id‚ ibn al-Musayyib‚ said that it means remember Me by obedience and I will remember you with reward. It is said that you remember Me by supplication and glorification, etc. The commentators have said many things, especially the Sufis when they explain this subject by using expressions with specific meanings while there is no proof that it is specific. In general, this ayah‚ clarifies the nobility of dhikr and it is explained by the words of the Messenger of Allah as related from his Lord; “I am in My slave’s opinion of Me and I am with Him when He remembers Me. When he remembers Me in himself, I remember him in Myself. If he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in a better assembly than his. There are three types of remembrance;
- remembrance with the heart
- remembrance with the tongue
- remembrance with both of them.
Know that remembrance is the best of all actions. Certain ahadith relate its excellence over other actions like the prayer. That is because of what it contains of the meaning of remembrance and presence with Allah.
There are three aspects of the proof of the excellence of remembrance. The first lies in the texts which relate its excellence over other actions.
The Messenger of Allah said, “Shall I tell you what is the best of actions, the purest of them with your King, and the highest of them in degree, and which is better for you than meeting the enemy and smiting their necks when they smite yours?” They said, “Yes, Messenger of Allah!” He said, “Remembrance of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah was asked which was the best action and he replied, “Remembrance of Allah; dhikr in the way of Allah, even if the one doing jihad were to strike the unbelievers with his sword until his sword breaks and is stained with blood, the one doing dhikr, would still be better than him.”
The second aspect is that when Allah commanded dhikr‚ or praised it, He made it a precondition that there be a lot of it. He says, “Remember Allah often” and “those who remember Allah often”. But that is not a precondition in other actions. Dhikr has a virtue and it has a special quality which nothing else has – that is presence in the sublime presence, and arrival to proximity which is referred to in Hadith as “sitting” and “witness”. Allah says, “I sit with the one who remembers Me.” He says, “I am in My slave’s opinion of Me and I am with him when He remembers Me.”
Know that there are various types of dhikr such as, “There is no god except Allah,” “Glory be to Allah,” “Allah is Greater,” “Praise belongs to Allah,” “There is no strength nor power except by Allah,” “Allah is enough for us,” every one of the names of Allah, the prayer on the Prophet, “I ask forgiveness of Allah,” etc. Each dhikr‚ has its own fruit and special quality.
The fruit of “There is no god except Allah” is tawhid i.e. special tawhid as every believer obtains general tawhid.
The fruit of “Allah is Greater” is esteem and exaltation.
Praise by the names is Ihsan and mercy – like the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Generous, the Forgiving, etc. Its fruits are three stations: thankfulness, strong hope and love. One can only love the one who does good.
The fruits of “There is no strength nor power except by Allah” and “Allah is enough for us” are reliance on Allah and entrusting matters to Him.
The fruits of such names of acquaintance and perception like the Knowing, the Hearing, the Seeing, the Near, etc. is watchfulness (muraqabah).
As for the prayer on the Prophet, its fruit is intense love for Allah and being careful about following the Sunnah.
The fruit of asking forgiveness is Taqwa and maintaining the condition of repentance (Tawbah).
The fruit of dhikr which includes all the names and attributes is in the dhikr of the single name, “Allah”. This is the limit and the end is to it.
When people intend to do dhikr‚ they have two stations. The common people intend to obtain rewards, and the elite intend to draw near and obtain presence. There is a great distance between the two stations, between someone who takes his reward while he is behind a veil and someone who draws near so that he will be one of the elite lovers.