Taken from ‘Faza’il-E-A’maal’ by Shaikhul hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kaandhlawi, revised translation of Tablighi Nisaab (Zam Zam Publishers)
Hafiz Ibn Qayyim (Rahmatullah alaih), a well-known muhaddith, has written an authentic book, named ‘al-Waabilus Sayyib’, on the virtues of Zikr. He has stated therin that the virtues of zikr are more than one hundred and he has listed seventy nine of these, whihch are riefly given below in the same order. Some of these include multiple benefits, and for this reason their atual number is more than one hundred:
1) Zikr keeps away the Satan and weakens his strength.
2) It is the cause of Almighty Allah’s pleasure.
3) It relieves the mind of anxieties and worries.
4) It produces joy and happiness in the heart.
5) It strengthens the body and the mind.
6) It brightens the face and the heart.
7) It attracts one’s sustenance.
8) It invests the zaakirs with awe and sweetness so that the seeing eye is filled with awe and pleasure at his sight.
9) It induces love for Allah, which in fact is the spirit of Islaam and the pivot of deen, and the source of success and salvation in the hereafter. He who seeks access to the love of Almighty Allah should do zikr profusely. Just as reading and repetition is the door of knowledge, so zikr of Allah is the gateway to His love.
10) Zikr involves muraaqabah (deep meditation), through which one reaches the stage of ihsaan, wherein a person worships Almighty Allah is if he is actually seeing Him. (The attainment of this stage of Ihsaan is the ultimate objective of the Sufis.)
11) It helps realization of Allah so that by and by a stage is reached when he comes to regard Almighty Allah as his sole Cherisher, Guardian and Master, and he turns unto Him, in all afflications.
12) It is the key to nearness to Almighty Allah; the greater the zikr, the greater the nearness to Allah, and greater the indifference to zikr, the greater the distance from Him.
13) It opens the door of Ma’rifat (realization) of Allah.
14) It makes one realize the greatness and grandeur of Almighty Allah and strengthens the consciousness of his omnipresence.
15) Zikr of Allah causes one’s mention in the Court of Allah, as said in the Holy Book: “Remember me, and I will remember you” and as stated in a hadith “Whosoever remembers me in his heart, I remember him in My heart. ”
It has already been explained under other verses and ahaadith that, even if there were no other good points in zikr, except that mentioned above, this alone would have established its superiority over others. Nevertheless, there are many more virtues and benefits of zikr.
16) It gives life to the heart, Hafiz ibn Taimiyah (Rahmatullah alaih) says that zikr is as necessary for the heart as water for the fish. Imagine the condition of a fish out of water.
17) It is food for the heart and the soul; depriving them of zikr is like depriving the body of its food.
18) It cleanses the heart of its rust. It has been mentioned in an earlier hadith; everything rusts according to its nature; and the heart rusts with wordly desires and indifference, to purify it zikr is necessary.
19) It safeguards against pitfalls and lapses.
20) The heart of a neglectful person is tormented by feeling of remoteness from Allah, and nothing other than zikr can rid the heart of this feeling.
21) The words of zikr keep on moving round the Arsh of Almighty Allah, as stated in a hadith.
22) If one remembers Allah in happiness, Almighty Allah remembers him in his afflictions.
23) It is a means to deliverance from Allah’s punishment.
24) It causes Allah’s peace and mercy to descend, while angels surround the person engaged in zikr.
25) It saves the tongue from indulging in backbiting, loose talk, lies and abuses. it is a common experience that a man whose tongue remains engaged in zikr does not commit these absurdidties. On the other hand, the tongue that is not used in zikr, falls an easy prey to all kinds of useless talk.
26) The gatherings of zikr are gathering of angels, and gatherings without zikr ar e gatherings of satan. A person is free to have a choice between the two, and verily man, by instinct, is drawn towards what is akin to his temperament.
27) By virtue of zikr, the zaakir is blessed, as also the person sitting by him. Similarly the indolent person is accursed for his indolence, as also the person sitting by him.
28) Zikr will save one from despair on the Day of Judgement. This is confirmed by one of the ahaadith which says that the gathering devoid of Allah’s zikr will cause sorrow and losses on that day.
29) If zikr is shared by tears and repentance in loneliness the zaakir will be blessed under the shadow of Allah’s throne on the Day of Judgement, when hearts will jump to lips due to agony of intolerable heat of that day.
30) Those who remain busy in zikr are better rewarded by Allah than those who remain busy in Du’aa and supplication. According to one hadith, Almighty Allah says that I will give better reward to one who is abstained by his engagements in zikr from making du’aa than all those who find time for making du’aa.
31) In spite of the fact that zikr is the easiest form of worship (the movement of the tongue being easier than the movement of any other part of the body), yet it is the most virtuous form.
32) Allah’s zikr helps the plants of Paradise to grow.
33) Of all actions the reward and forgiveness promised for zikr is the highest. According to one hadith if on any day a person repeats on hundred times the Kalimah: ‘La illaha illallah wahdahu la sharika la lahu almulku wa lahu al hamd wa huwa ala kulli shayin qadir’ (There is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One. There is no partner with Him; His is the kingdom, and for Him is all praise, and He is All-powerful to do everything)
he is rewarded as for freeing ten slaves, and in addition one hundred virtues are written to his account and one hundred sins are forgiven. He remains protected agains tthe devil throughout the day, and none is considered as having acted better than him except one who has recited these words more often than him. Similarly, there are many other aahadith proclaiming the superiority of zikr over all other good deeds.
34) Due to incessant zikr one is able not to forget one’s soul. Forgetting one’s soul leads to failure in both the worlds, because forgetting the remembrance of Allah leads to neglecting one’s soul and all its best interests. Allah says in His book: “And be not ye as those who forgot Allah and therefore He caused them to forget their souls. Such are the evil-doers”
Thus, when one forgets one’s soul he becomes careless and forgets his real interests which leads to his ruin just as a garden or field is invariably ruined when its owner fails to look after it. Protection against this ruin can only be provided by keeping one’s tongue always busy in zikr, so that zikr should become indispensable as water is at extreme thirst, or food at the time of hunger, or the house and cloths for protection against extreme heat and cold. As a matter of fact, one should be more mindful of zikr than any of these material necessities, which at the most can result in physical death, which is small loss as compared with the spiritual death.
35) Zikr is the source of one’s spiritual elevation whether done in bed or in the dmarket, whether in good health or in sickness, or even when one is making most of the pleasures of life. Nothing but zikr can take a man to such spiritual heights, whereby his heart is so illuminated with the light of zikr that even asleep he is more wakeful than the neglectful person who is awake all through the night.
36) The noor (radiance) of zikr remains with a person in his life as well as in his grave. It will go in front of him on the Siraat in the hereafter. Almighty Allah says in the Quran: “Can he who was dead and whom We gave life, and a light whereby he can walk among men, be like him who is in utter darkness whence he cannot emerge.”
The one mentioned first is the faithful, who believes in Allah and shines with the light of His love, zikr, and cognizance, while the second one is devoid of all these virtues. In reality this radiance is a great blessing and leads to perfect success. That is why Rasulullah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) used to beg for it in prolonged prayers, and prayed for noor for every part of his body. As mentioned in many aahadith Rasulullah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) prayed that Almighty Allah may bless his flesh, bones, muscles, hair skin, eyes and ears with noor, and that he may be surrounded with noor on all sides; he even prayed that he may be blessed with noor from top to bottom, and that his whole person may be made into noor. One’s deeds will shine according to the noor in oneself, so much so that good deeds of some poeple (while going up to heaven) will shine like the sun. Similar nooor will be found in their faces on the Day of Judgement.
37) Zikr is the basic principle of Tasawwuf (Sufism) and is invoked in all the schools of sufism. A person who gets conversant with zikr enters the gateway to Almighty Allah, and the one who enters this gateway is sure to reach Almighty Allah, from Whom he will get whatever he wants, for Allah’s treasures are unlimited.
38) There is not a corner in the heart of a man, which can not be filled but with zikr. When zikr controls the heart, not only does it fill up this corner, but also does it lead the zaakir to contentment which wealth would fail to produce and to respect among people, which the family or party would fail to bring about, and to such control over people as sovereign would never dream of. On the other hand, the indolent comes to disgrace, in spite of all his wealth and riches, party, strength and powers.
39) Zikr transform dispersion into concentration, and concentration into dispersion; and remoteness into nearness and nearness into remoteness. This means that one is relieved of one’s troubles, worries and fears, and is blessed with peace of mind. His mistakes and sins are forgiven and the devils who are after him are dispersed away. It makes him to remember that the Hereafter is not far away, and the worldly life has little attraction for him.
40) Zikr does not allow one’s heart to suffer from forgetfulness, which leads to ignore one’s ultimate interest.
41) Zikr is just like a tree, the fruit of which is realization of Almighty Allah. The more zikr is done, the stronger shall grow the roof of this tree; and stronger the root of this tree, the mroe abundant the fruit it will bear,.
42) Zikr of Almighty Allah promotes nearness to Him and thereby earns His constant patronage. it is given in the Quran: “No dobut Allah is with those who Fear Him”
It is stated in one hadith
“I am with my slave who remembers Me.”
According to another hadith, Allah says, “Those who remembe me are My men, and I do not deprive them of My Mercy. When they repent, I am their friend, but when they do not repent I am their phsyician. I put them to wories to condone their sins.” Nearness to Almighty Allah resulting from zikr has no parallel. No words and no writing can describe this nearness. Its taste is known only to those who are blessed with it. (May Almighty Allah also bless me with the same).
43) Zikr of Allah is as meritorious as liberating slaves, and spedning charity, and jihaad in the path of Allah. (Many virtues of this kind have already been described and mroe will further be narrated in this book).
44) Zikr is the fundamental form of thanksgiving to Almighty Allah. One who does not do zikr cannot thank him. It is stated in hadith that Hadhrat Moosa (alayhis salam) had asked Almighty Allah: “O My Lord! You have done me countless favours, teach me the manner in which I should thank you befittingly.” Almighty Allah said, “The more zikr you do, the mroe thanks you offer.” According to another hadith, Hadhrat Moosa (alayhis salam) is reported to have said, “O, Lord! How can I offer thanks worthy of Your greatness.” Almighty Allah replied, “Let your tongue always remain engaged in zikr.”
45) According to Almighty Allah, the best of the pious people are those who always remain busy in zikr, because piety leads to paradise, and zikr to the nearness to Allah.
46) There is a sort of hardness in the human heart, which is not softened by anything except zikr.
47) In fact, zikr is a remedy for all ills of the heart.
48) Zikr of Allah is the root of His love, and neglecting zikr is the root of His enmity.
49) Nothing is more effective than zikr in attracting Allah’s blessings and in warding off His chastisement.
50) Almighty Allah grants His grace to those who do zikr, and the angels pray for them.
51) One who wants to remain in the gardens of Paradise, even in this life, should sit in the gatherings of zikr, because these are likened to the gardens of paradise.
52) Gatherings of zikr are also the gatherings of angels.
53) In the presence of the angels, Almighty Allah praises those who do zikr.
54) One who is constant in doing zikr will enter Paradise in high spirits.
55) All good deeds have been ordained because of zikr.
56) A good deed becomes superior to others of its kind because of zikr. Of the fasts, the one with more zikr is the best; Of hajj one, with excessive zikr is more virtuous. Similar is the case with other good deeds like jihaad etc;
57) Zikr is a substitute of nafl salaat and other nonobligatory devotions. It is related in one hadith that the poor people once complained to Rasulullah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) of the higher reward available to the rich because of their wealth. They said, “These rich men offer prayres and fast, just as we do, but they excel us by performing Umrah and Hajj, and taking part in Jihaad on account of their wealth.” Rasulullah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) replied, “Should I tell you something, so that none except one who practices it can excel you.” He then advivced them to recite after everyh salaat: ‘Subhanallah, Alhamdulilah, Allaahu akbar’
By this Rasulullah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) had indicated the importance of zikr, to be the substitute for various kinds of worship, like Umrah, Hajj, jihaad, etc.
58) Zikr is very helpful to all other forms of worship. Excessive zikr creates love for various forms of worship, so that one starts taking delight in their performance and never feels bored or burdened while offering them.
59) Zikr is a solution to all difficulties, and remedy for all handicaps. It lightens every burden, and relieves every affliction.
60) Zikr dispels every fear of the heart. It has a special hand in inducing peace of mind and for relieving the heart of its fear. To free the heart of its fear and mind of its perlexity is one of the specific qualities of zikr. The greater, therefore, the amount of zikr, the greater freedom from fear.
61) By zikr one is blessed with divine help that associates in all one’s doings. That is why some time man’s achievements surpass his powers, and he attains what was seemingly beyond his reach. This is perhaps the reason why Rasulullah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) advised his daughter Hadhrat Fatimah, (Radhiallahu anha) to recite Subhanallah, alhamdulilah thirty three times each and Allahu akbar thirty four times before going to bed at night, when she approached him for a helper, complaining that she was over worked by the labour of grinding wheat and doing other house-hold jobs. The Prophet (salalahu alayhi wa salam) further saidk, “The recitation of these kalimahs is beter for you than a servant.”
62) Those who are working for the life Hereafter are in a race, wherin the zakirs shall remain ahead of all on account of their zikr. On the day of judgement, says Umar Maula Ghurfa (rahmatullah alaih), when peolpe will be rewarded for their good deeds, many shall repent why they neglected zikr when it was easiest of all good deeds and the highest in reward. In a hadith Rasulullah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) is quoted to have said, “Te mufarrideen have surpassed all.” He was asked, “Who were the mufarrideen?” The Prophet (salalahu alayhi wa salam) replied, “Those who toil hard for zikr because it lightens their burdens.”
63) Those who do zikr are held truthful by Almighty Allah, and those who are testified as such by Almighty Allah cannot be raised among the liars on the Day of Judgement. It iis quoted on the authority of Prophet (salalahu alayhi wa salam) that when a man utters La illaha illallah wallahu akbar Allah proclaims, “My Slave has spoken the truth, and nobody is worthy of worship except I, and I am the greatest of all.’
64) Zikr causes house to be built in paradise by the angels. When zikr is stopped, the angels also stop construction of houses. When asked why a particular construction was stopped by the angels they reply, “The construction had to be stop because funds for that were stopped the fact is confirmed by a hadith, Which says that when a man recites Subhanallah wa bihamdihi Subhanallah al-adheem seven times, a tower is raised for him in paradise.
65) Zikr provides protection against hell. If, due to any misdeed a zaakir deserves hell, his zikr acts as a defense between him and the hell, the more his zikr, the stronger willb e this defence.
66) The angels pray for the forgiveness of those who do zikr. It is related on authority of Hadhrat Amr bin Aas (radhiallahu anhu) that when man says ‘Alhamdulilah rabalaymeen, Subhanallah wa bihamdihi’ the angels pray to Almighty Allah for his forgiveness.
67) The mountain or plain on which zikr is recited feels proud of it. According to a hadith, one mountain asks another if any zaakir has crossed over it during the day. If the reply is in the affirmative, it feels happy.
68) Zikr gaurantees ummunity from hypocrisy, for Almighty Allah has described the hypocrite as “They do not remember Allah except very rarely.” IOt is also related on authority of Ka’b Ahbaar(radhiallahu anhu) that he who makes frequent zikr of Allah is free from hypocrisy.
69) Compared with other good deeds, zikr carries a special taste, which is not to be found in any other action. Even if there were no virtue to zikr, this fine taste alone would have been a sufficient reward to justify it. Maalik bin Deenaar (Rahmatullah alaih) has said that nothing suprpasses the taste of Zikr, which is the best and finest.
70) The faces of those who do zikr remain bright in this life, and will carry a special radiance in the Hereafter.
71) One who is frequently engaged in zikr, whether he is in or out of his house, whether he is stationary or traveling, he will find, on the Day of Judgement, a large number of witnesses in his favour. Almighty Allah has described the Day of judgement as “The day when the earth will tell all that it knows.” Rasulullah (salalahu alayhi wa salam) asked his companions if they knew what those news would be . They expressed their ignorance. Then Rasulullah (salalhau alayhi wa salam ) said, “Whatever deed is done, good or bad, by any man or woman on the face of Earth, the Earth will describe it all, with date, time and place.” Hence, one who does zikr at many places will find many witnesses in his favour.
72) As long as the otngue is busy in zikr, it cannot indulge in lies, backbiting or any other kind of evil talk. The tongue will engage itself in useless talk if it is not in zikr, because it cannot remain quiet. So is the case with the heartl if it is devoid of love for Almighty Allah, it will be filled with the love of wordly things.
73) The devils are outright enemies of man and laways create trouble for him and keep him surrounded. The miserable condition of one who remains surrounded by enemies can well be imagined, especially when the enemies are vindictive and everyone of them wants to surpass the other in troubling him. Nothing except zikr can protect him against these enemies. Many forms of Du’aa are mentioned in the ahaadith, so that, if any of these is recited by a perosn, then satan dar e not come near him. If the same is recited at the time of going to bed, one remains safe from the satan throughout the night. Hafiz ibn Qayyim (rahmatullahi alaih) has also mentioned many such du’aas.
In addition to these, the author has also mentioned in detail under six headings the relative merits of zikr as also some of its virtues, which are specific to zikr alone. Then he has also given seventy five chapters on special du’aas, which are suited to specific times and occasions. For the sake of brevity, these have been excluded from this book. For those blessed with determination to act, the virtues of zikr detailed above are more than enough, and for those who are disinclined to act, thousands of such virtues would be of little avail.
Wa ma taufeeqi ila billahi alayhi tawakkaltu wa ilayhi uneeb
Whatever good I have done is through the grace of Almighty Allah; I, therefore, depend on Him and turn to Him.