Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Dhikr
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي جعل ذكر الله أكبر، يشتغل به العبد في أي وقت يشاء كان مساءً أو عند السحر، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدٌى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع
الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
قال الله عز وجل في كتابه العزيز: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرً
Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, ‘O you believe, do a lot of dhikr of Allah.’ The word dhikr has the dual meaning of remembering and mentioning. So the reality of dhikr is making mention of Allah in order to remember Him. The reality of remembering is recalling to mind something known before, so remembering Allah implies that we once knew Him but have forgotten and that is indeed the case. For every human being in his natural state knows Allah - knowledge of Him, as we have mentioned before, is imprinted into our very nature, our fitra. There is not one person on this planet who did not start out as a believer. There is not person who did reply 'balaa' when Allah asked mankind, “a lastu bi-rabbikum, ‘Am I not your Lord?’, there is not one who did not affirm Allah as his Lord. But, as we have mentioned before mankind was created weak and created forgetful. Indeed the word for man, insaan is said to derive from the Arabic word nisyaan meaning forgetfulness. So, every one of us is bound to forget - it is a plight that affects us all. It is not by the act of forgetting that one human being is set apart from another, but rather by what he does when he does forget. Does he compound his forgetfulness, forgetting that he has forgotten and setting up his whims and appetites in the place of his Lord, like those about whom Allah says:
وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ
the translation of which is, “And do not obey someone whose heart We have made neglectful of Our remembrance, and who follows his own whims and desires.”
Or does he take that momentary lapse into forgetfulness as the impetus to increase his remembrance of Allah so as not to forget again. Does he take that forgetfulness itself as a reminder and heed his Lord’s Words:
وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ
the translation of which is, ‘Do dhikr of your Lord when you forget.’ Does he reaffirm his humanity? For that is what dhikr does - it enables you to be whole and human again and not go through life with the nagging and uneasy feeling that something is missing. Allah says,
أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
the translation of which is, “It is only through dhikr of Allah that hearts can find tranquility.” Without it, life can hold no true satisfaction - there will always be a void that must be filled, but no amount of dunya will ever fill it, only dhikr. That is the value of dhikr Allah.
And this dhikr can be done at any time and in any state. Unlike all other acts of worship, there are no preconditions one must fulfil, no times in which it is forbidden and no states in which one must not do it - you can do dhikr when you are in a state of janaba or menstruating at any time of the day or night in any place, you can do it when you are in motion and when you are still, you can do it standing, sitting or lying down. Allah says:
يُسَبِّحُونَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ لَا يَفْتُرُونَ
the translation of which is, “They glorify Him throughout the night and day, without ever flagging” And He says:
الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِهِمْ
the translation of which is, “those who do dhikr of Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides.” Aisha narrated that the Messenger of Allah used to do dhikr in all his times - every moment of his life was spent doing dhikr - when he was walking, when he was eating, when he was alone, when he was gathered together with other people. There was no place or circumstance in which it was forbidden for him to do dhikr and no place or circumstance in which he refrained from it.
On the subject of doing dhikr in a group, Anas has narrated that the Prophet said,
“إذا مررتم برياضِ الجنةِ فارتعوا.” قالوا: “وما رياض الجنة؟” قال: “حِلَق الذكر.”
“If you pass by the meadows of the Garden, graze upon them.” The Companions asked, “What are the meadows of the Garden?” The Prophet replied, “The circles of dhikr.”
Anas also narrated that the Prophet said,
“إن لله تعالى سيارة من الملائكة يطلبون حِلَقَ الذكر، فإذا أتوا عليهم حفوا بهم.”
“Allah has a company of angels whom he sends out to search for circles of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them.“
And Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet said,
يقول الله: أنا عند ظن العبد بي وأنا معه إذا ذكرني، فإن ذكرني في نفسه ذكرته في نفسي، وإن ذكرني في ملإ ذكرته في ملإ خير منهم.
“Allah says, ‘I am according to My slave’s opinion of Me. And I am with him when He remembers Me. When he remembers Me to himself, I remember him to Myself. And when he remembers Me to a group, I remember him to an even better group.’” Thus, gathering together for the purpose of the dhikr of Allah is not just permissible, but recommended. And the best way of remembering Allah in such a gathering is out loud and in unison. It is narrated that ‘Umar:
كان يكبّر في قبّته بمنىً فيسمعه أهل المسجد فيكبّرون ويكبّر أهل الأسواق حتى ترتجَّ منىً تكبيراً
“Umar used to say the takbir in his dome at Mina (i.e. during the days of the Hajj Eid), and the people who were in the mosque would hear him and say the takbir as would the people in the markets so that the whole of Mina would reverberate and shake with their takbirs.” This phenomenon is seen the world over on the days of the Eid, and during the Eid when people’s voices are raised in saying ‘allahumma labayk” on the Hajj. This emphasis on doing it out loud is further strengthened by a hadith narrated by Zayd ibn Aslam that Ibn al-Adru’ said,
انطلقت مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ليلة، فمر برجل في المسجد يرفع صوته. قلت: “يا رسول الله عسى أن يكون هذا مرائيا؟” قال: “لا، ولكنه أوّاه.”
“When I went out with the Prophet one night, he passed by a man in the mosque who was raising his voice (i.e. in dhikr or recitation). So I said to the Messenger of Allah, ‘Could it be that this man is showing off?’ He replied, ‘No, rather he is soft-hearted.’” Remembering Allah out loud and in groups is an example of at-ta’aawun ala-l-birr - helping each other to perform acts of goodness, and that is an emphasised part of the deen.
As for the practice of reciting qasaa’id, such as the burda of Imam al-Busayri or the diwans of the great men of Allah, some people try to claim it is forbidden, quoting the Quranic aya:
وَالشُّعَرَاءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ الْغَاوُونَ
the translation of which is, “And as for poets, it is the misled who follow them.” And quoting the hadith of the Prophet,
لأن يمتلىء جوف أحدكم قيحاً خير له من أن يمتلىء شعراً
“It would be better for you for your interior to be filled with pus than to be filled with poetry.” They say, based on this, that poetry is blameworthy and has no place in the remembrance of Allah. Such a statement is blatantly untrue and represents a misunderstanding of the aya and the hadith, for the hadith specifically refers to those who have become totally engrossed in a form of poetry that distracts them and takes them away from the remembrance of Allah, while the aya goes on to exclude the people who believe and do a lot of dhikr , for Allah says:
إِلاَّ ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّالِحَاتِ وَذَكَرُواْ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيراً
For, the truth about poetry is that it is much like any other form of speech, as is made clear by the Prophet in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayra,
حَسنُ الشعر كحسَن الكلام وقبيحه كقبيح الكلا
“The best of poetry is like the best of speech while the worst of poetry is like the worst of speech.” And the best form of speech is that which is used to mention Allah and to praise Him or to praise His Messenger. This is amply demonstrated in the Sunna, for the Prophet Himself used to recite poetry and and smile and praise his Companions when they did so. And there is even examples of it being done in a group, such as when the Ansar sung the qasidah ‘Tala’u al-badr ‘alayna’ when the Prophet arrived in Madina, and being done in the mosque. Indeed, the Prophet even instructed Hassan ibn Thabit to mount the mimbar to recite the verses he had composed in praise of the Prophet, saying about him:
“الله يؤيد حسان بروح القدس ما نافح أو فاخر عن رسول الله”
“Allah aids Hassan by means of the Ruh al-Qudus as long as he is defending and boasting about the Messenger of Allah .” And what better way could there be of remembering Allah and praising His Prophet than with the words of those who loved them.
The form of dhikr these people criticise the most is the hadra - accompanying one’s dhikr with movements. But again, aside from not being expressly forbidden anywhere, this has its basis in the Sunna. For it is narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad from Anas ibn Malik that a group of Ethiopian Muslims danced before the Prophet singing, ‘Muhammad is a right-acting slave’ and the Prophet did not stop them. And it is narrated by Ibn Kathir in al-bidaya wa-n-nihaya that Ali ibn abi Talib said about the Companions of the Messenger of Allah that when they did dhikr of Allah,
مادوا كما يميد الشجر في يوم الريح
“They swayed to and fro like a tree sways to and fro on a windy day.’
So rejoice in the gatherings of the lovers of Allah and compete with one another in remembrance of Him. Remember Him in all your states and all your times until your tongues run wet with the dhikr of Allah and your hearts achieve full tranquility.
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيمالحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال النبي صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: مثل الذي يذكر ربه والذي لا يذكره مثل الحي والميت
The Prophet said, “The likeness of one who does dhikr of Allah and one who does not do dhikr of Allah is that of someone who is alive and someone who is dead.” Dhikr is what keeps the heart alive - it is its food and nourishment. Without it, the heart shrivels up and dies. So make sure your heart is kept well stocked with dhikr, and beware of leaving it or of thinking badly of its people. Any bad opinion of the remembrance of Allah is a bad opinion of Allah and takes you away from Him and into the arms of Shaytan. Allah says
وَمَنْ يَعْشُ عَنْ ذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَنِ نُقَيِّضْ لَهُ شَيْطَانًا فَهُوَ لَهُ قَرِينٌ
the translation of which is, “If someone shuts his eyes to the remembrance of the All Merciful, We assign him a shaytan who becomes his bosom friend.”
Whereas, if you keep constant in it and fill your moments with dhikr, nothing but blessing awaits, for its benefits are many, numbered by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya at more than one hundred. These include the Love and Pleasure of Allah, a heart free of worry and concern and full of joy and happiness, an illuminated face, an increase in provision, a strengthening of the body, an awe-inspiring aspect, direct inner knowledge of the Creator, forgiveness of one’s wrong actions, the constant company of angels and many many others. It is the best use of your time and the people of dhikr are the best people to keep company with. Do not waste a single moment, for the Prophet has said,
ليس يتحسر أهل الجنة على شيء إلا على ساعة مرت بهم لم يذكروا الله عز وجل فيها
“The people of the Garden will not feel any sorrow greater than that they feel for the hours that passed them by in the dunya during which they did not do dhikr of Allah.”
We ask Allah to place us among the ranks of the dhaakirin Allah kathiran wa-dh-dhaakirat - the men and women who remember Allah a lot, and make us sincere in our dhikr. We ask Allah to make the coming gatherings of dhikr times of unparalleled openings and increase, and allow everyone who attends to reap the benefits and rewards. We ask Him to make us of those who feel no sorrow on the Day of Qiyama.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ.
وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ (3) وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تجْعَلِ الدُّنْيَا أَكْبَرَ هَمِّنَا وَلَا مَبْلَغَ عِلْمِنَا وَلَا تُسَلِّطْ عَلَيْنَا بِذُنُوبِنَا مَن لاَّ يَخَافُكَ وَلَا يَرْحَمُنَا
اللَّهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ لَنَا دِينَنَا الذِي هُوَ عِصْمَةُ أَمْرِنَا وَأَصْلِحْ لَنَا دُنْيَانَا التِي فِيهَا مَعَاشُنَا وَأَصْلِحْ لَنَا آخِرَتُنَا التِي إِلَيْهَا مَعَادُنَا وَاجْعَلِ الحَيَاةَ زِيَادَةً لَنَا فِي كُلِّ خَيْرٍ وَاجْعَلِ المَوْتَ رَاحَةً لَنَا مِن كُلِّ شَرٍّ
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.