Explanation of Prophetic Hadith: “Keep Your Tongue Moist With Remembrance of Allah” from Ibn Rajab’s Commentary on Nawawi’s 40 Hadith

Jami’ al-‘Ulum wa’l-Hikam – Hadith Fifty – by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

 

Abdullah ibn Busr said, “A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam have become too many for us, so [give us] a means of access to which we can cling which is comprehensive.’ He said, ‘Let not your tongue cease to be moist with the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.’” Imam Ahmad narrated it with this wording.

At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban, in his Sahih, narrated it in the same sense, and at-Tirmidhi said, “Good but unusual [in that there is a single narrator at some point in the chain of transmission].” All of them narrated it in the version of ‘Amr ibn Qays al-Kindi from ‘Abdullah ibn Busr.{{Ahmad in the Musnad (4:188), at-Tirmidhi (3435)}}

Ibn Hibban narrated in his Sahih, and others, the hadith of Mu’adh ibn Jabal that he he said, “The last thing upon which I parted from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace is that I said to him, ‘Which actions are better and closer to Allah?’ He answered, ‘That you die while your tongue is moist with the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.’”{{Ibn Hibban (918)}}

In this book we have previously seen in different places a great deal of mention of the excellences of remembrance, and here we will mention the merit in persisting in it and being constant in it, and in doing a great deal of it.

Allah, glorious is He, orders the mu’minun to remember Him a great deal and praises those who remember Him in that way. He says, exalted is He:

“You who have iman! remember Allah much, and glorify Him in the morning and the evening,”{{Surat al-Ahzab: 41}} and He says, exalted is He:

“and remember Allah much so that hopefully you will be successful,”{{Surat al-Jumu’ah: 10}} and He says, exalted is He:

“men and women who remember Allah much: Allah has prepared forgiveness for them and an immense reward,”{{Surat al-Ahzab: 35}} and He says, exalted is He:

“those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides.”{{Surat Al ‘Imran: 191}}

There is in Sahih Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed a mountain called Jumdan and said, “Travel! This is Jumdan, and the utterly devoted (mufarridun) have preceded.” They asked, “Who are the utterly devoted, Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “The men and women who remember Allah abundantly.”{{Muslim (2676)}}

Imam Ahmad narrated it and his wording has, “The utterly devoted have preceded.” They asked, “Who are the utterly devoted?” He answered, “The ones who are addicted to the remembrance of Allah.”{{Ahmad (2:323)}}

At-Tirmidhi narrated it, and according to him they said, “Messenger of Allah, who are the utterly devoted?” He answered, “Those who are addicted to the remembrance of Allah. The remembrance removes from them their heavy burdens and so they come light on the Day of Rising.”{{At-Tirmidhi (3596)}}

Musa ibn ‘Ubaydah narrated from Abu ‘Abdullah al-Qarradh that Mu’adh ibn Jabal said, “Once while we were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passing by the side of Jumdan he became alert and said, ‘Mu’adh! where are the forerunners (sabiqun)?’ I replied, ‘They have gone on, and some people remain behind.’ He said, ‘Mu’adh, the forerunners are those who are addicted to the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”{{At-Tabarani in al-Kabir (20:326)}} Ja’far al-Firyabi narrated it.

The reason for the mention of the forerunners in this hadith becomes clear from this thread (in the hadith just mentioned), because when the riders went on ahead and some remained behind, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, drew attention to the fact that the forerunners in reality are the ones who are constant in remembrance of Allah so much so that they are hardly able to separate from His remembrance. This is because addiction to some thing (istihtar) is to be devoted to it and passionately in love with it. This is according to the version of those who narrate it as “addicted” (mustahtirun), and one of them narrated it and in it he said, “the ones who lose their reason [yuhtarun] in remembrance of Allah.” Ibn Qutaybah explained hatr as a mistake in speech, as it is in the hadith, “Those who revile one another are two shaytans who accuse one another and deny one another by saying false things [yatahataran].”{{Ahmad (4:162), al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad (427)}}

He said, “What is meant by this hadith is someone whose life is lengthened and he becomes addicted to the remembrance of Allah and to His obedience.” He said, “What is meant by the utterly devoted (mufarridun) in this version is someone who secludes himself in his life away from the generation in which he lives. As for the first version, the meaning of the utterly devoted is those who are isolated from people by the remembrance of Allah, exalted is He.” That is what he said. It is possible – and more obvious – that the meaning of being singled out in both versions is that one is singled out by this action which is much remembrance of Allah and not being singled out physically, either from the generation or from mingling, and Allah knows best.

On this same meaning, there is the saying of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz on the night of ‘Arafah at ‘Arafah close to departure [to Muzdalifah], “The forerunner today is not someone who rode ahead with his camel, but the forerunner is whoever is forgiven.”

With this chain of transmission from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he said, “Whoever wishes to graze in the meadows of the Garden then let him do a great deal of remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”{{Ibn Abi Shaybah (10:302)}}

Imam Ahmad, an-Nasa’i, and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih narrated a hadith of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Seek to do a lot of the ‘right actions which are lasting.’{{See Surat al-Kahf: 45}}” Someone said, “What are they, Messenger of Allah?” He said:

“Allahu akbar – Allah is greater, Subhana’llah – Glory be to Allah, la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah and al-hamdu lillah – praise belongs to Allah, and la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah – there is no power and no strength but by Allah.”{{Ahmad (3:75), an-Nasa’i in al-Kubra and Ibn Hibban (840)}}

There is in the Musnad and in the Sahih of Ibn Hibban from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri also from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, “Do so much dhikr of Allah that they say, ‘[He is] mad.’”{{Ahmad (3:68, 71) and Ibn Hibban (817)}}

Abu Nu’aym narrated in al-Hilyah a marfu’ hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas, “Remember Allah with so much remembrance that the hypocrites will say, ‘You are doing it for show.’”{{Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (3:80-81)}}

Imam Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi narrated in a hadith of Abu Sa’id that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, “Which slaves have the best rank with Allah on the Day of Rising?” He said, “The ones who remember Allah a great deal.” Someone said, “Messenger of Allah, [better] than the one who goes on expeditions in the way of Allah?” He said, “Even if he struck with his sword among the kuffar and the idolaters until it was broken and covered with blood, those who remember Allah would be in a better rank than him.”{{Ahmad (3:75) and at-Tirmidhi (3376)}}

Imam Ahmad narrated a hadith of Sahl ibn Mu’adh [from his father] from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that a man asked him saying, “Which jihad is greater in reward, Messenger of Allah?” He answered, “The one of them who most remembers Allah.” He said, “Which of the fasting people is greater?” He said, “The one of them who most remembers Allah.” Then he mentioned to us the prayer, the zakah, the Hajj and sadaqah, about each of which the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The one of them who most remembers Allah.” So Abu Bakr said, “Abu Hafs, the people of remembrance [of Allah] have gone off with every good thing.” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Indeed.”{{Ahmad (3:438)}}

Ibn al-Mubarak and Ibn Abi’d-Dunya narrated it in other ways as a mursal hadith in the same sense.

There is in Sahih Muslim from ‘A’ishah that she said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to remember Allah at every moment.”{{Muslim (373)}}

Abu’d-Darda’ said, “Those whose tongues remain moist with the remembrance of Allah, each of them will enter the Garden laughing.” Someone said to him, “A man has freed one hundred souls.” He said, “A hundred souls from a man’s property is a great deal, but better than that is an iman to which one clings night and day, and that the tongue of each of you remains moist with the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”

Mu’adh said, “That I should remember Allah from early in the morning until the night is preferable to me than that I should be carried on fine horses in the way of Allah from early in the morning until the night.”{{Ibn Abi Shaybah (10:302)}}

Ibn Mas’ud said concerning His saying, exalted is He:

“have taqwa of Allah with the taqwa due to Him,”{{Surah Al ‘Imran: 102}} “That He is obeyed and not disobeyed, remembered and not forgotten, shown gratitude and not shown ingratitude.” Al-Hakim narrated it as a marfu’ hadith and declared it to be sound, but the well known position is that it is a mawquf statement.

Zayd ibn Aslam said, “Musa, peace be upon him, said, ‘My Lord, You have poured out many blessings upon me, so show me how to thank you a great deal.” He said, “Remember Me a great deal, for when you remember Me a great deal you have shown gratitude to Me a great deal. When you forget Me, you have been ungrateful to Me.”

Al-Hasan said, “The most beloved of the slaves of Allah to Allah are those who remember Him the most and whose hearts have the mosttaqwa.”

Ahmad ibn Abi’l-Hawari said, “Abu’l-Mukhariq narrated to me saying, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘I passed a man, on the night in which I was made to ascend (al-Isra’), who was concealed in the light of the Throne, and I said, “Who is this? An angel?” Someone said, “No.” I asked, “A prophet?” Someone said, “No.” I asked, “Who is he?” He said, “This is a man whose tongue was moist with the remembrance of Allah, and whose heart was attached to the mosques, and who never abused his parents.”’”{{Narrated by Ibn Abi’d-Dunya as mentioned by al-Mundhiri in at-Targhib wa’t-tarhib (2:395)}}

Ibn Mas’ud said, “Musa, peace be upon him, said, ‘Lord, which actions are the most beloved to You that I should do?’ He said, ‘That you remember Me and not forget Me.’”

Abu Ishaq said [narrating] from Mitham, “It has reached me that Musa, peace be upon him, said, ‘Lord, which of Your slaves are most beloved to You?’ He answered, ‘Those of them who most remember Me.’”

Ka’b said, “Whoever remembers Allah a great deal is free of hypocrisy.” And Mu’ammal narrated it from Hammad ibn Salamah from Suhayl ibn Salih from his father from Abu Hurayrah as a marfu’ hadith. {{At-Tabarani in al-Awsat as mentioned in Lisan al-mizan (5:195)}}

At-Tabarani narrated with his chain of transmission as a marfu’ hadith, “Whoever does not remember Allah a great deal is quit of iman,”{{At-Tabarani in as-Saghir (974)}} and what bears witness to this sense is that Allah, exalted is He, describes the hypocrites as only remembering Allah a little. So whoever remembers Allah a great deal has become distinctly clear from them in their description, and it is for this reason that Surat al-Munafiqun is concluded with the order to remember Allah, and that neither property nor children should distract the mu’min from that, and that whoever is distracted by them from the remembrance of Allah is one of the losers.

Ar-Rabi’ ibn Anas said, as [narrated by] one of his companions, “The sign of the love of Allah is that there is a great deal of remembrance of Him, because if you ever love a thing you remember it a great deal.”

Fath al-Mawsili said, “The lover of Allah does not neglect the remembrance of Allah for the blink of an eye.” Dhu’n-Nun said, “Whoever’s heart and tongue are occupied with remembrance, Allah casts into his heart the light of longing for Him.”

Ibrahim ibn al-Junayd said, “It used to be said, ‘One of the signs of love of Allah is being continuous in remembrance with the heart and the tongue. Rarely is a man passionate about remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic, without him benefitting from it the love of Allah.’” One of the right-acting first generations used to say in his intimate discourse [with Allah], “When the foolish people weary of their folly, your lover will never weary of intimate discourse with You and remembrance of You.”

Abu Ja’far al-Muhawwali said, “The heart of the close friend of Allah who loves Allah is never free of remembrance of his Lord, and is never weary of His service.” We have mentioned the saying of ‘A’ishah, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to remember Allah at every moment,” meaning when he stood, walked, sat and reclined, whether he was in the state of wudu’ or not.

Mis’ar said, “The fish in the sea would rest and be still, but Yusuf, peace be upon him, in the prison would not rest and be still from the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”

Abu Hurayrah had a thread in which there were one thousand knots and he would not sleep until he had glorified [Allah] on it.{{Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (1:383)}}

Khalid ibn Ma’dan used to glorify every day forty thousand times apart from what he used to recite of the Qur’an. When he died they put him on his couch to wash him, and he began to indicate with his finger, moving it in glorification.

Someone said to ‘Umayr ibn Hani’, “We do not see your tongue pausing. How much do you glorify every day?” He said, “One hundred thousand glorifications, unless the fingers make a mistake,” meaning that he used to count that with his fingers.

‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Abi Rawwad said, “There was a woman with us in Makkah who used to glorify every day twelve thousand glorifications. Then she died. When [her body] reached the graveyard, it was snatched from out of the men’s hands.”

Al-Hasan al-Basri used often to say if he was not discoursing or he had no work:

“Glorious is Allah the Vast.” Someone mentioned that to one of the fuqaha’ of Makkah and he said, “Your companion is a faqih; no one says it seven times but that a house is built for him in the Garden.”

Generally the speech of Ibn Sirin was:

“Glorious is Allah the Vast, glory be to Allah and in His praise.”

Al-Mughirah ibn Hakim as-San’ani used to descend to the sea when eyes were still [in sleep] and stand in the water remembering Allah with the creatures of the sea.”

One of them slept at Ibrahim ibn Adham’s. He said, “Whenever I woke up at night, I found him remembering Allah, and I became sorrowful.{{He felt sorrowful because he could not do the same. Ed.}} Then later I consoled myself with this ayah:

“That is the unbounded favour of Allah which He gives to whoever He wills.”{{Surat al-Ma’idah: 54}}

For the lover, the name of his beloved is not absent from his heart, and even if he was charged with the task of forgetting to remember Him he would not be able. If he was charged with restraining his tongue from His remembrance he could not be patient.

How could the lover forget the mention of a beloved,

whose name is written in his heart?

When the idolaters tortured Bilal in the hot desert because of his tawhid, he would say, “Ahad! Ahad! – One! One!” When they said to him, “Say, ‘Al-lat and al-‘uzza{{Two idols worshipped by the idolaters. Ed.}},’ he said, ‘I do not know it well.’”

What is desired of the heart is your forgetfulness

and the temperaments refuse the transmitter.

Whenever the ma’rifah (gnosis) is strong, the remembrance flows on the tongue of the rememberer without constraint, so much so that for one of them his tongue used to flow with, “Allah, Allah,” in his sleep. For that reason the people of the Garden are inspired to make glorification just as they are inspired to breathe, and “la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah,” for them becomes as cool water is for the people of the world. ath-Thawri used to recite:

It is not because I forget You that I do a great deal of Your dhikr

but because that is what runs on my tongue.

When the lover hears the name of his beloved from somone else it increases his agitation, and his disquiet is multiplied. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to Ibn Mas’ud, “Recite the Qur’an to me.” He asked, “Should I recite it to you when it was revealed to you?” He answered, “I love to hear it from someone other than me.” So he recited to him and his eyes overflowed with tears.{{Al-Bukhari (5050) and Muslim (800)}}

Ash-Shibli heard someone saying, “O Allah! O Generous Giver!” and he became agitated:

And a caller called when we were in Khayf of Mina

and he agitated the sadnesses of the heart and he does not know.

He called by the name Layla someone other than Her and it was as if

he made a bird that was in my breast fly off with Layla.

The pulse becomes disturbed at the mention of the beloved:

When the beloved is mentioned in the presence of his lover,

The intoxicated one reels and the emotions are stirred with yearning.

The remembrance of the lovers is different from the remembrance of the heedless:

“The mu’minun are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned.”{{Surat al-Anfal: 2}}

A liveliness comes to me from the remembrance of you,

just as the sparrow trembles whom the rain wets it.

One of the seven whom Allah shades in His shade on the day when there is no shade but His shade is, “A man who remembered Allah while alone and his eyes overflowed with tears.”

Abu’l-Jild said, “Allah, mighty is He and majestic, revealed to Musa, peace be upon him, ‘When you remember Me, then remember with your limbs trembling, and at My remembrance be humble and still. When you remember Me put your tongue behind your heart.’”

‘Ali described the Companions one day, saying, “When they remembered Allah, they would become in a state of violent commotion as do the trees on a day of strong winds, and their tears would flow on to their clothing.”

Zuhayr al-Babi, “Allah has slaves who remember Him and whose souls leave [their bodies] out of exaltation and longing; and there are people who remember Him and whose hearts tremble out of fear and awe so that even if they were burned with fire they would not experience the burning of the fire; and there are others who remember Him in the winter in all its coldness, and break out in a sweat for fear of Him, and people who remember Him and so their colours change permanently, and people who remember Him and their eyes dry from remaining awake throughout the night.”

Abu Yazid prayed Dhuhr, but when he meant to say the “Allahu akbar – Allah is greater” he was unable because of his honour for the name of Allah and violent fear siezed him so much that the clatter of his bones was heard.

When Abu Hafs an-Naysaburi remembered Allah, his state used to change so much that everyone who was with him could see it, and he used to say, “I do not think that a truthful person remembers Allah without neglectfulness and then remains alive except for the prophets, because they are aided by the strength of prophethood, and the elect of the close friends [of Allah] because of the strength of their close friendship.”

When she heard the name of the Beloved her joints

clattered because of the shock of what she remembers.

Abu Yazid stood one night until the morning exerting himself in trying to say, “la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah,” but unable to do so because of his great honour [for Him] and awe. When it was morning he came down and urinated blood.

I have never remembered you without forgetting you

with the forgetfulness of honouring but not the forgetfulness of neglect.

Since I remember who you are and how I

honoured the likes of you, it occurs to my mind.

Remembrance is the delight of the hearts of the gnostics. He says u:

“those who have iman and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah. Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace.”{{Surat ar-Ra’d: 28}}

Malik ibn Dinar said, “Pleasure seekers find no pleasure like the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.”

In some of the ancient books, Allah, mighty is He and majestic, says, “Assembly of the truthful, in Me rejoice, and with My remembrance find pleasure.” In another tradition which we mentioned before, “They return to remembrance just as eagles return to their nests.”

Ibn ‘Umar said, “The people of the Book informed me that this ummah loves remembrance just as the pigeon loves its nest, and that they are quicker in going to remembrance of Allah than are camels to go to the water on the day when they are thirsty.”

The hearts of the lovers are only tranquil with His remembrance, and the spirits of the people of longing are only still by seeing Him. Dhu’n-Nun said, “The world is only sweet with His remembrance, and the next life is only sweet with His pardon, and the Garden is only sweet with His vision.”

Always the souls of seekers

long for your traces.

Similarly, hearts by your remembrance

after fear find stillness.

They are shielded by your love, and who

falls in love with the beloved without being shielded?

By your lives! my masters

be generous regards joining you and grant it.

We have previously seen the hadith, “Remember Allah so much that they say, ‘[He is] mad!’” One of them said:

I have done a great deal of your remembrance

so much so that someone said, “[He is] melancholic [waswas]!”

Abu Muslim al-Khawlani used to do dhikr a great deal, and a man saw him and rejected his state. He said to his companions, “Is your friend mad?” Abu Muslim overheard him and he said, “No, my brother, but this is the remedy for madness.”

By the sanctity of love! I have no substitute for you,

and I have no goal in other than you, my masters.

I stipulated to some people whom I accompanied,

that my heart is for you not for them and they were contented.

From my talking about you they said, “He is sick!”

and so I said, “May that sickness never leave me.”

The lovers are averse to every occupation which keeps them busy from remembrance, for no thing is more beloved to them than isolation with their beloved.

‘Isa, peace be upon him, said, “Hawariyyun! speak to Allah a great deal, and speak to people little.” They asked, “How can we speak to Allah a great deal?” He said, “Isolate yourself in intimate discourse with Him. Isolate yourself in supplication to Him.”

One of the right-acting first generations used to pray one thousand rak’ahs every day until his legs were crippled. Then he used to pray one thousand rak’ahs sitting. When he prayed ‘Asr he would crouch drawing his legs close to his belly, face the qiblah and say, “I am amazed at how people can be intimate with other than You. Indeed, I am amazed at how people’s hearts can light up by the remembrance of other than You.”

One of them used to fast continually, and then when it came time for breaking his fast, he would say, “I sense my self emerging because of my being occupied in the remembrance of food.”

Someone asked Muhammad ibn an-Nadr, “Are you not lonely by yourself?” He answered, “How could I be lonely when He says, ‘I sit with whoever remembers Me’?”{{The saying “I sit with whoever remembers Me” has been mentioned by as-Sakhawi in al-Maqasid al-hasanah.}}

I concealed the name of the beloved from the slaves

and I renewed the tenderness of love in my heart.

Oh my longing for an empty land

so that I might call on the name of the one I love.

When the state of the lover and his gnosis become strong, no occupation keeps him too busy to remember with his heart and tongue. So he is among people in his body, but his heart is attached to the highest locus, as ‘Ali said î in describing them, “They accompany the world with bodies whose spirits are attached to the highest locus.” In this sense it was said:

My body is with me but the ruh is with you

so the body is in exile and the ruh is in its homeland.

Someone else said:

I have put you in the heart as the one I talk to

and I have permitted my body for whoever wishes to sit with me.

My body is an intimate companion for whoever sits with me

and the lover of my heart is my intimate in my heart.

This was the state of the messengers and the siddiqun. He says, exalted is He:

“You who have iman! when you meet a troop, stand firm and remember Allah abundantly.”{{Surat al-Anfal: 45.}}

There is in at-Tirmidhi as a marfu’ hadith, “Allah, mighty is He and majestic, says, ‘My slave, My true slave is the one who remembers Me while he meets his match [in battle].’”{{At-Tirmidhi (3580)}}

He says, exalted is He:

“When you have finished salah remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on your sides,”{{Surat an-Nisa’: 103}} meaning the prayer in the state of fear. For this reason He says:

“When you are safe again do salah in the normal way.”{{Surat an-Nisa’: 103}} He says, exalted is He, in mention of the prayer of Jumu’ah:

“Then when the salah is finished spread through the earth and seek Allah’s bounty and remember Allah much so that hopefully you will be successful.”{{Surat al-Jumu’ah: 10}} and so He commands that we combine seeking His bounty and much remembrance of Him.

For this reason it is narrated that it is better to remember Allah in the markets and the places of forgetfulness and neglect [of the worship of Allah] as is in the Musnad, at-Tirmidhi, and Sunan Ibn Majah from ‘Umar as a marfu’ hadith, “Whoever enters the market in which there is shouting and selling and he says:

‘There is no god but Allah alone without associate. His is the kingdom and His is the praise. He gives life and He gives death, and He is living, He does not die. In His hand is the good and He has power to do all things,’ then Allah will write for him one thousand thousand good actions and efface for him one thousand thousand wrong actions, and raise him up one thousand thousand degrees.”{{At-Tirmidhi (3428-9), Ibn Majah (2235), Ahmad (1:47), ad-Darimi (2:293) and al-Hakim (1:538)}}

In another hadith, “The one who remembers Allah among neglectful people is like someone who remains fighting while others flee. The one who remembers Allah among neglectful people is like a green tree in the middle of dry trees.”{{Ibn ‘Adi in al-Kamil (5:1745)}}

Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said, “As long as a man’s heart remembers Allah then he is in salah even if he is in the market, and if his lips move with it it is better.”

One of the right-acting first generations used to go intentionally to the market to remember Allah in it in the midst of the people of forgetfulness [of His remembrance].

Two men from among them met in the market and one of them said to his companion, “Come let us remember Allah among the neglectful people,” and they went apart in a place and remembered Allah. Then later they separated. Later one of them died and the other met him in his dream. So he said to him, “I was given to know that Allah forgave us the evening we met in the market.”

Section: on specific appointed dhikrs in the day and the night

It is well known that Allah, mighty is He and majestic, made it obligatory for the Muslims to remember Him five times every day and night by establishing the five prayers in their prescribed times, and He prescribed for them along with these five obligations that they should remember Him with other optional (nafilah) acts. And optional (nafilah) is extra, so that that should be over and above the five prayers. This is of two sorts:

First, that which is of the same sort as the prayer, and so He laid down that they should pray along with and before the five prayers or after them, or both before and after other Sunnah prayers which are over and above the obligatory prayers, so that if there is any shortcoming in the obligatory prayers He will heal their shortcomings with these optional prayers, but if there is not [any shortcoming] then the optional prayers will be over and above the obligatory.

The longest space of time between the times of prayer in which there is no obligatory prayer is that between the prayer of ‘Isha’ and that of Fajr, and then that between Fajr and the prayer of Dhuhr, and so He laid down between each of these two prayers [other] prayers which would be optional so that the time of forgetfulness of the remembrance [of Allah] should not be too long. He laid down for between the prayer of ‘Isha’ and Fajr the prayer of the Witr and the standing of the night [in tahajjud], and between the prayer of Fajr and Dhuhr the prayer of Duha.

Some of these prayers are more firmly established than others, and the most firmly established is the Witr – and so the people of knowledge differed as to whether or not it is a duty – and then the standing in prayer at night upon which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, persisted both when resident and travelling, and then the prayer of Duha, about which people differ. There are sound hadith about it being preferable to persist and urging that we practise it. There are also [sound hadith] urging prayer just after the declining of the sun [from the meridian].

As for remembrance with the tongue, it is laid down to be done at every moment, and it is emphasised at some moments.

Examples of times when it is emphasised to remember Allah are: immediately after the obligatory prayers, and that one remember Allah after each prayer of them one hundred times with a mixture of Subhana’llah – Glory be to Allah, al-hamdu lillah – praise belongs to Allah,Allahu akbar – Allah is greater, and la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah.

It is also desirable to remember Him after the two prayers after which there are no optional prayers [allowed], which are the Fajr and ‘Asr, and so it is laid down to remember Allah after the prayer of Fajr until the sun rises, and after ‘Asr until the sun sets. For this reason, Allah, exalted is He, commands His remembrance in these two times in many places in the Qur’an, such as in His saying:

“and glorify Him in the morning and the evening,”{{Surat al-Ahzab: 42}} and His saying:

“Remember the Name of your Lord in the morning and the evening,”{{Surat al-Insan: 25}} and His saying:

“glorify Him in the evening and after dawn,”{{Surah Al ‘Imran: 41}} and His saying:

“and gestured to them to glorify Allah in the morning and the evening,”{{Surah Maryam: 11}} and His saying:

“So glory be to Allah when you start the night and when you greet the day,”{{Surat ar-Rum: 17}} and His saying:

“Ask forgiveness for your wrong action and glorify your Lord with praise in the evening and the early morning,”{{Surat al-Ghafir: 55}} and His saying:

“Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening. Do not be one of the unaware,”{{Surat al-A’raf: 205}} and His saying:

“and glorify your Lord with praise before the rising of the sun and before its setting,”{{Surah Ta Ha: 130}} and His saying:

“and glorify your Lord with praise before the rising of the sun and before it sets.”{{Surah Qaf: 39}}

The best remembrance done at these two times are the prayers of Fajr and of ‘Asr which are the best prayers, about each of which it has been said that they are the midmost prayer, and that they are the two loved ones [lit: cool] which whoever safeguards them will enter the Garden. Next to them in the times of remembrance is the night; for this reason the glorification of the night and its salah are mentioned after the mention of these two times in the Qur’an.

[When mentioned] without any qualification remembrance includes salah, recitation of the Qur’an and learning and teaching it, useful knowledge, just as it includes glorification, praise, magnification and la ilaha illa’llah – There is no god but Allah. Among our companions there are those who regard recitation of Qur’an as being weightier than glorification and the like after Fajr and ‘Asr. Al-Awza’i was asked about that and he said, “Their guidance was remembrance of Allah, but if one recites then it is good.” The apparent meaning of this is that remembrance at this time is better than recitation, and Ishaq spoke similarly about glorification right after the obligatory prayers one hundred times, “It is better than recitation at that time.” The acts of remembrance and supplications which are transmitted from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, for morning and evening are very many.

It is also recommended to fill the time between the two night prayers [Maghrib and ‘Isha’] with prayer and remembrance, and we have seen previously the hadith of Anas that about that was revealed His saying, exalted is He:

“Their sides eschew their beds.”{{Surat as-Sajdah: 16}}

It is recommended to delay the prayer of ‘Isha’ until one third of the night as sound hadith show – and this is the madhhab of Imam Ahmad and others – so that one does this prayer in the best time for it which is the end of its time, and the person who waits for this prayer in congregation in this first third of the night occupies himself in prayer or remembrance waiting for the prayer in the mosque. Then later when he prays ‘Isha’ and he prays after it those established Sunnah prayers which follow it or he performs the Witr after that if he wishes to do the Witr before sleeping.

Then when he goes to his bed after that to sleep, then it is recommended for him only to sleep in purity [having done wudu’] and in remembrance, and to glorify, praise and say Allahu akbar – Allah is greater to the number of one hundred, as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught Fatimah and ‘Ali to do when they went to bed,{{Al-Bukhari (3113), Muslim (2727) and others}} and that he should do as much as he is able of the acts of remembrance transmitted from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to be done at sleep, and there are many types including recitation of Qur’an and remembrance of Allah, and then one should sleep in that state.

Then if one wakes up at night and turns about on one’s bed one should remember Allah each time one turns. There is in Sahih al-Bukharifrom ‘Ubadah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever wakes up at night and says:

‘There is no god but Allah alone without associate. His is the kingdom and His is the praise, and He is able to do all things. Glory be to Allah, praise belongs to Allah, there is no god but Allah and Allah is greater, and there is no power and no strength but by Allah,’ and then says:

‘Lord forgive me,’” – or he said, “and then he supplicates, he will be answered. Then if he has a high resolve, performs wudu’ and prays, his prayer will be accepted.”{{Al-Bukhari (1154)}}

There is in at-Tirmidhi from Abu Umamah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever goes to his bed in a state of purity remembering Allah until slumber overcomes him, if he turns over at some hour of the night and asks Allah for anything of the good of the world or the next life, He will give it to him.”{{At-Tirmidhi (3526)}}

Abu Dawud narrated it in the same sense in a hadith of Mu’adh,{{Abu Dawud (5042)}} and an-Nasa’i narrated it in a hadith of ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah.{{An-Nasa’i in ‘Amal al-yawm wa’l-laylah (807-9)}}

Imam Ahmad has in the version of ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah of this hadith, “…and the first of what he says when he wakes up is:

‘Glory be to You! there is no god but You, forgive me,’ then he will emerge out of his wrong actions as the snake emerges out of its skin [which it sheds].”{{Not found in the published version of Musnad Ahmad}}

It is firmly established that when he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, woke up from his sleep, he used to say:

“Praise belongs to Allah Who made me live after he made me die, and to Him is the raising to life.”{{Al-Bukhari (6312) and Muslim (2711)}}

Then when he stands up and does wudu’ and tahajjud, he does all of that according to what is transmitted from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and concludes his tahajjud by seeking forgiveness in the pre-dawn, as Allah praises those who seek forgiveness in the pre-dawn. Then when it is the dawn, he prays two rak’ahs of Fajr, and then prays the Fajr prayer, and is busy after the Fajr prayer with the remembrance which is transmitted until sunrise according to what we have already mentioned. Whoever’s condition is according to what we have mentioned, then his tongue does not cease to be moist with the remembrance of Allah, and he chooses remembrance as a constant companion in his waking moments until he sleeps in that condition, and then begins again with it when he wakes up, and that is one of the sure indications of sincere love, as one of them said:

The last thing is You at every slumber

and the first thing is You at the moment when I stir.

The first thing that a person does throughout the day and the night of those things which are of benefit in his din and in his world, then in all of that generally it is laid down that he should remember the name of Allah over it. Thus it is laid down that he should remember the name of Allah over his eating and drinking, his dressing, and his sexual intercourse with his wife, his entering his house and his going out of it, his entering the toilet and leaving it, his mounting his riding beast and he should mention the name of Allah over that which he slaughters both in his rites and elsewhere; he should praise Allah, exalted is He, when he sneezes, and when he sees people who are tried in their din or in their worldly life, when he meets brothers, and when they ask each other about how they are, and in the renewal of blessings that people love and in the repulsion of misfortunes that people dislike. More perfect than that is that he should praise Allah in happiness and hardship, distress and in comfortable circumstances, and that he should praise Allah in every state.

He should supplicate Allah, exalted is He, when he enters the market, when he hears the cock crowing at night, when he hears thunder, when it rains, when heavy gales blow, when he sees the new moon and when he sees the first fruits.

He should also remember Allah and supplicate him when something distressful happens, and when worldly hardships happen, when he goes out on a journey, and when he alights at stations on his journey and when he returns from a journey.

He ought to seek refuge with Allah when he becomes angry, and when he sees something he dislikes in his sleep, and when he hears the voices of dogs and donkeys at night.

He should supplicate Allah to choose what is good for him [with the istikharah] when he is deciding on that in which the choice (or good) is not obvious.

It is a duty to turn in tawbah to Allah and to seek forgiveness from all wrong actions, whether minor or major, as He says, exalted is He:

“those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions.”{{Surah Al ‘Imran: 135}} Whoever safeguards all of that, then his tongue will continuously be moist with the remembrance of Allah in all of his states.

Section

We have mentioned in the beginning of the book that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was sent with concise and comprehensive words. So he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was pleased by and admired concise and comprehensive [words of] remembrance and would choose them in preference to other types of remembrance, as is in Sahih Muslim from Ibn ‘Abbas from Juwayriyyah bint al-Harith that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, left her early when he went to pray the morning prayer and she was in her place of prayer. Then he returned after the first part of the morning and she was still seated. He said, “Have you remained continuously in the condition in which I left you?” She answered, “Yes.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “After [leaving] you, I said four phrases three times which if they were weighed against what you said this day, they would outweigh them:

‘Glorious is Allah and in His praise according to the number of His creations, the pleasure of His self, the weight of His throne, and the ink of His words.’”{{Muslim (2726)}}

An-Nasa’i narrated it and his wording is:

“Glorious is Allah, and praise belongs to Allah and there is no god but Allah and Allah is greater, according to the number of His creations, the pleasure of His self, the weight of His throne, and the ink of His words.”{{An-Nasa’i in ‘Amal al-yawm wa’l-laylah (161)}}

Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and an-Nasa’i narrated a hadith of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas that he went in along with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace to a woman in front of whom were date stones, or he said pebbles with which she was [counting her acts of] glorifying and he asked, “Shall I not inform you of that which is easier than this and better?

‘Glorious is Allah according to the number of what He created in the heaven. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what He created in the earth. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what is between them. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what He is to create [in the future] and Allah is greater the like of that, and praise belongs to Allah the like of that, and there is no power and no strength but by Allah the like of that.’”{{Abu Dawud (1500), at-Tirmidhi (3568), and an-Nasa’i in ‘Amal al-yawm wa’l-laylah}}

At-Tirmidhi narrated a hadith of Safiyyah that she said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace entered to visit me while in front of me there were four thousand date stones with which I was [counting as I] glorified Allah, and I said, ‘I glorify with these,’ and he asked, ‘Shall I not teach you something more than that with which you glorify?’ and I answered, ‘Teach me.’ He said, ‘Say:

“Glorious is Allah according to the number of His creations.”’”

An-Nasa’i, and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, narrated in a hadith of Abu Umamah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace passed by him while he was moving his lips, and he asked, “What are you saying, Abu Umamah?” He answered, “I am remembering my Lord.” He asked, “Shall I not inform you of more and better than your remembrance all night along with the day and all day along with the night? It is that you say:

‘Glorious is Allah according to the number of what He created. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of what He created. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what is on the earth and in the heaven. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of what is on the earth and in the heaven. Glorious is Allah according to the number of what His Book reckons. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of what His Book reckons. Glorious is Allah according to the number of every thing. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of every thing,’ and that you say:

‘Praise belongs to Allah’ the like of that.’”{{An-Nasa’i in ‘Amal al-yawm wa’l-laylah (166) and Ibn Hibban (830)}}

Al-Bazzar narrated the like of it in a hadith of Abu’d-Darda’.{{Al-Bazzar (3080)}}

Ibn Abi’d-Dunya narrated with his chain of transmission that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to Mu’adh, “Mu’adh, how many times do you remember your Lord every day? Do you remember Him ten thousand times every day?” He answered, “All of that I do.” He asked, “Shall I not show you some words which are easier for you than ten thousand and ten thousand, that you say:

‘There is no god but Allah according to the number of that which He reckons. There is no god but Allah according to the number of His words. There is no god but Allah according to the number of His creations. There is no god but Allah according to the weight of His throne. There is no god but Allah according to the volume of His heavens. There is no god but Allah according to the volume of His earth. There is no god but Allah to the amount of the like of that along with it, and Allah is greater to the amount of the like of that along with it, and praise belongs to Allah to the amount of the like of that along with it.’”

There is with his chain of transmission that Ibn Mas’ud mentioned to him a woman who glorified Allah with [the use of] a string in which were tied knots, and he said, “Shall I not direct you to that which is better for you than it?

‘Glorious is Allah according to the volume of land and sea. Glorious is Allah according to the volume of the heavens and the earth. Glorious is Allah according to the number of His creations, and according to the pleasure of His self,’ because then you have filled the land and the sea, the heaven and the earth.”

There is with his chain of transmission from al-Mu’tamir ibn Sulayman at-Taymi that he said, “My father used to narrate five hadith and then he would say, ‘Leisurely!

Glorious is Allah and praise belongs to Allah and there is no god but Allah and Allah is greater and there is no power and no strength but by Allah according to the number of what He has created and the number of what He will create, and according to the weight of what He created and the weight of what He will create, and according to the volume of what He created and the volume of what He will create, and according to the volume of His heavens and the volume of His earth, and the like of that and multiples of that, and according to the number of His creations, the weight of His throne, the furthest limit of His mercy, the ink of His words, the furthest reach of His good pleasure until He is pleased and when He is pleased, and according to the number of times His creation remembered Him in all that is now past, and according to the number of times they will remember Him in what remains, in every year, every month, every week, every day, every night, every single moment, and [according to the number of times His creation] inhaled and exhaled from endless time to forever, as long as there is the world and the next life, the utmost extreme of the time of that whose first is not cut off and whose last does not come to an end.’”

There is with his chain of transmission from al-Mu’tamir ibn Sulayman that he said, “I saw ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Khalid [in a dream] after his death and I asked, ‘What have you done?’ He said, ‘Good.’ I asked, ‘Do you hope for anything for the one who makes mistakes?’ He answered, ‘That he cling to the knowledge of the glorifications of Abu’l-Mu’tamir is the best thing.’”

Ibn Abi’d-Dunya said, “Muhammad ibn al-Husayn narrated to me, ‘One of the people of Basra narrated to me that Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd saw in that which the dreamer sees a man who had been struck down in the land of the Byzantines, and he asked, “What is the best that you have seen there [in the next life] of actions?” He answered, “I saw that the glorifications of Abu’l-Mu’tamir have a place with Allah.”’”

Similarly, concise comprehensive supplications used to please the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. There is in the Sunan of Abu Dawud that ‘A’ishah said, “Concise comprehensive supplications used to please the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and he would give up anything other than that.” {{Abu Dawud (1482)}}

Al-Firyabi and others narrated a hadith of ‘A’ishah also that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to her, “‘A’ishah, you should take to the concise comprehensive supplication:

‘O Allah, I ask You for all good now (or in this world) and in the future (or in the next world), that which I know and that which I do not know. I seek refuge with You from all evil now (or in this world) and in the future (or in the next world), that which I know and that which I do not know. O Allah, I ask You of that good which Muhammad, Your slave and Your prophet asked of You. I seek refuge with You from that evil from which Your slave and Your prophet sought refuge. O Allah, I ask You for the Garden and that which will draw me closer to it of word and deed. I seek refuge with You from the Fire and that which will draw me closer to it of word and deed. I ask You that whatever decrees You have decreed for me, that You make its outcome rightness of action.’” Imam Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban, in his Sahih, and al-Hakim narrated it, but none of them have mention of concise comprehensive supplication. Al-Hakim has the word “complete” supplications. Abu Bakr al-Athram narrated it and according to him the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to her, “What stops you from taking concise comprehensive words and their opening words?” {{Opening words are words that are clear and unlock deep meanings and interpretations as opposed to words that are shallow and complicated. Ed.}} and then he mentioned this supplication.{{Ahmad (6: 134, 146-7), al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad (639), Ibn Majah (3846), Ibn Hibban (869) and al-Hakim (1: 521-522)}}

At-Tirmidhi narrated the hadith of Abu Umamah in which he said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace supplicated with many supplications of which we memorised nothing, so we said, ‘Messenger of Allah, you have supplicated with many supplications of which we memorised nothing.’ He said, ‘Shall I not direct you to that which includes all of that? You should say:

“O Allah, we ask You for that good for which Your prophet Muhammad asked You, and we seek refuge with You from that evil from which Your prophet Muhammad sought refuge with You, and You are the One from Whom help is sought, and the fulfilment [of wishes and needs] is Your responsibility, and there is no power and no strength but by Allah.”’”{{At-Tirmidhi (3521)}}

At-Tabarani and others narrated a hadith of Umm Salamah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace used to say in a long supplication of his:

“O Allah, I ask You the matters which open up good and those which conclude it, and the concise comprehensive [good things], and its first and last, its outward and inward.”{{At-Tabarani in al-Kabir (23:717) and al-Hakim (1:520)}}

There is in the Musnad that Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas heard one of his sons supplicating saying, “O Allah, I ask You for the Garden and its bliss and its silk brocade,” and the like of this, “and I seek refuge with You from the Fire and its chains and manacles.” So he said, “You have asked Allah for much good, and you have sought refuge with Him from much evil, but I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace saying, ‘There will be people who will go beyond the limit in supplication,’ and he recited this ayah:

‘Call on your Lord humbly and secretly. He does not love those who overstep the limits.”{{Surat al-A’raf: 55}} Indeed, it is sufficient for you to say:

‘O Allah, I ask You for the Garden and what draws one nearer to it of word and deed, and I seek refuge with You from the Fire and what draws one nearer to it of word and deed.’”

There is in the two Sahih books from Ibn Mas’ud that he said, “We used to say in the prayer behind the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Peace be upon Allah, and peace be upon Jibril and Mika’il, and peace be upon so-and-so and so-and-so.’ So the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to us one day, ‘Allah is Peace, so when any of you sit in the prayer, then say:

“Greetings are for Allah and the prayers and the wholesome good things. Peace be upon you, O Prophet and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and upon the right-acting slaves of Allah,” for when one says it it reaches every right-acting slave of Allah in the heaven and on earth:

“I witness that there is no god but Allah and I witness that Muhammad is His slave and His messenger,” and then let him choose whatever petitions he wishes.’”{{Al-Bukhari (835) and Muslim (402)}}

There is in the Musnad from Ibn Mas’ud that he said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught the matters that opened up good and gathered it, or gatherers of good, its openers and its conclusions, and we didn’t know what we should say in our prayer until he taught us, and he said, ‘Say, “Greetings are for Allah…”’” and he mentioned the rest of it, and Allah knows best.

The end of the book, and praise belongs to Allah alone, and may Allah bless our master Muhammad and his family and companions and grant peace, and Allah is enough for us and the Best of Guardians.

Second hadith

October 14, 2006

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)