1. Acceptance of the Faith is an act. Remembrance of Allah-swt is present in it, hence it is Zikr(Remembrance).
2. Acquisition of knowledge about the Deen is an excellent act and it contains the Remembrance of Allah, hence it is Zikr (Remembrance) .
3.(a). Every action whether it is a Farz (Obligatory), Wajib (Necessary), Sunnah, or Mubah (proper/permissible), includes the Remembrance of Allah, and is therefore Zikr (Remembrance) . This covers everything from worship to worldly affairs, and is known as Zikr-e Amli (Practical Zikr). It also includes Zikr-e Lisani (Oral Zikr), as recitation during Salah(Prayer) and Tasbihaat(Recitals) are Zikr-e Lisani. Similarly, studying and teaching Deen, Tableegh (preaching) are all included in Zikr, because Remembrance of Allah-swt is present in all of them. (b). The next form is Zikr-e Lisani; Tasbihaat, Darood Sharif and Recitation of the Quran are all included in Zikr-e Lisani.
(c). Further, the third form is Zikr-e Qalbi(Remembrance of Heart). Qalb(Heart) is a subtle body placed within the lump of flesh about which the Holy Prophet-saws reportedly said, „There is a lump of flesh in the body; if that is healthy the whole body is healthy, and if that is sick the whole body is sick. Know that it is the heart (Qalb)‟, (or as said by the Messenger-saws of Allah-swt). Divine Injunctions about this (Zikr-e Qalbi) are also present, so much so that the author of Tafseer-e Mazhari has written that acquisition of Zikr-e Qalbi(Remembrance of Heart) is mandatory for every Muslim man and woman, and he has presented just two references of Divine Commands: 1) The command of Allah-swt, when dispatching Hazrat Musa-as and Hazrat Haroon-as to Fir„aun (Pharaoh): And slacken not in keeping Me in Remembrance. (Ta Ha: 42)…meaning My Zikr (Remembrance) should not become secondary in your attention. Now, every cell of a Prophet‟s body is not only a Zakir (engaged in Allah-swt‟s constant Zikr) in itself, but it is a Zakir-maker, as anything that touches him also becomes a Zakir. Therefore, it is not possible for a Prophet‟s greatness to be ever unmindful of Zikr. However, to invite Firaun(pharoah), a cruel despotic ruler and a self-proclaimed god, possessor of pomp and splendor, and grandeur and might, to accept the Unity of Allah-swt – that too, from a position of want and poverty; this task could only be undertaken by a Prophet of Allah-swt . It was emphasized (by Allah Kareem) that even in that situation, the primary attention should be focused towards His Zikr (Remembrance) , and the conversation with Fir„aun be consigned a secondary status. This state can be none other than Zikr-e Qalbi.
2) The other reference is found in Surah Muzzammil(Chapter of Quran): the Holy Prophet-saws is addressed: Remember the Name of your Rabb and devote yourself to Him wholeheartedly. (Al Muzzammil: 8) That is, keep on doing the Zikr (Remembrance) of your Rabb‟s Name, keep repeating „Allah Allah Allah‟ to such an extent that there remains no other awareness except that of Allah-swt. Here, the Command to recite the Quran has already been given separately. Therefore, this reference is only to the Zikr (Remembrance) of the Personal Name and to Zikr-e Qalbi. Yes, it is with Allah-swt, to grant the capacity to understand this.
According to the Quran, all of entire creation bears witness to Allah’s Magnificence. Each element and every particle of this universe is a masterpiece of creation and a marvellous manifestation of Allah’s Greatness. His Glory expresses itself generously and overtly in the multifarious nature of creation. The earth and the heavens, along with their peculiar characteristics, and the creation they sustain, under regular systems and patterns set since the Beginning, contain innumerable signs pointing towards Allah’s Greatness. Why then, despite this explicit expression, does the majority of mankind fail to envision His Greatness, feels no attraction towards Him, as well as disregards His authority?
Allah has answered this question Himself, in that it requires a certain level of vision and wisdom to see, understand and correctly interpret these signs; this vision, perception and wisdom is produced by Allah’s Zikr(Remembrance). The brain is a material creation, so therefore it can only perceive and address something tangible. It can discover the properties of various objects and blend them to make something new, i.e., mixing colours to create a rainbow, mixing different ingredients, even in a specific ratio, to prepare delicious foods. It can arrange bricks and mortar to make beautiful homes, or assemble various parts and invent machines. The brain can discover the needs and realise the comforts of its own body, as well as suggest the means to do so. It can also diagnose diseases of its body and even of itself and recommend their cures. In short, it can address everything that is associated with matter. But it cannot perceive anything beyond the Realm of Creation like the Divine Being, Divine Attributes, or other sublime realities. If the intellect could perceive them, it would be possible for every human being to realise Divine Greatness and there would be no further reason or requirement to depute Prophets.
A human being can attain to any level of material progress and excellence but he can never comprehend the sublime truths of the Transcendent World, such as the Hereafter, Angels, Reward or Retribution. Nor can he answer the most basic questions embedded in his subconscious about his own origin and destination. Where do billions of these people come from and wither do they perish after death? The human intellect simply has no answer! These fundamental issues were discussed only by Prophets who provided their logical and satisfactory answers, easily understood and accepted by the human intellect. Religion most naturally and effectively satiates the whole range of intellectual scrutiny; therefore, Islam is the most natural and logical of religions. But by itself the human intellect cannot discern religion’s sublime wisdom and reason without Prophetic blessings, which unveil Transcendental truths to be perceived and accepted by the intellect. Only Prophetic lights can establish the human-Lord relationship through His constant Zikr (Remembrance) .
It is not possible to fully comprehend the blessings and beneficence of the holy Prophet‑saw. A glimpse of his greatness is reflected in the fact that his company instantly infused Allah’s Zikr(Remembrance) in each cell of a believer’s body. Every drop of blood, every limb and the entire skin of a believer’s body was charged with Allah’s Zikr(Remembrance) . The Quran describes the condition of his-sawCompanions, “So that their flesh and their hearts soften at Allah’s remembrance,” – 39:23. It means that each cell of their bodies, from their outermost skins to the core of their hearts, started remembering Allah. Indeed, it is Allah’s Zikr(Remembrance) that bestows the vision to observe His greatness in every creation. Just by looking at a product you can appreciate the wisdom and ingenuity of the designers of cars, watches, houses and other machines; similarly, the lights and blessings of Allah’s constant Zikr (Remembrance) enlighten the human heart to observe Divine Glory in each straw and particle, the changing of the seasons, the movement of celestial bodies, the rise and fall of nations and all of the events of the world portray different shades of Divine Greatness before mankind. To observe the Creator in creation, however, one should be necessarily blessed with Prophetic beneficence gained through Allah’s constant Zikr (Remembrance) .
According to the Quran, the miraculous properties of the earth, the sky shading-over without support, the innumerable species of creatures residing within, the alternation of day and night and the unfailing, vast, miraculous universal system, all point towards the greatness of their Creator; but only for the one blessed with wisdom, “Those who constantly remember Allah, standing, sitting or reclining.” A human being will always be in one of these postures. This Divine verse implies that they are always engaged in Allah’s Zikr(Remembrance) under all conditions, at all times. Religious scholars have thus concluded that the alluded to verse doesn’t refer to oral Zikr(Remembrance) because the tongue cannot do Allah’s Zikr(Remembrance) all of the time; it has to translate many other human requirements, besides doing Zikr(Remembrance) . Even if somebody doesn’t speak a word except Allah’s Zikr (Remembrance) , his tongue will certainly remain quiet during his sleep. The only organ that can permanently perform Allah’s Zikr (Remembrance) is the human heart and only Zikr-e Qalbi (Zikr by the heart) can fulfil the condition of constant Zikr (Remembrance) . Once the heart learns Allah’s Zikr(Remembrance) , it never stops at any time, under any circumstances. During the time of the holy Prophet-saw, a moment of his company was enough to acquire this blessing. His Companions similarly blessed the Taba’in and they in turn passed these blessings to the Tab’a Taba’in. The mere company of these exalted souls was sufficient to transfer this blessing or Barakah to their visitors. No further effort was required to achieve this excellence. However, after this glorious era, the strength of the teacher and absorption of the seeker both decreased. It therefore became necessary, as determined by the Mashaikh (spiritual teachers) that the teacher and the student must sit together. The teacher should perform Zikr(Remembrance) on his Lataif(Spiritual Organs) and focus the Divine lights attending him, towards the seeker. This process is known as Tawajjuh (spiritual attention). The holy Prophet-saw didn’t require giving special, conscious attention to any one. The sun doesn’t have to make any effort to deliver its light, a person has only to come out to receive it. Similarly, the holy Prophet-saw didn’t have to make any particular effort to give spiritual attention, the seeker had only to come to him to receive Prophetic Barakah(Spiritual Blessings). This spiritual power was retained by the Companions, the Taba’in and the Tab’a Taba’in, whereupon ended the period of automatic transfer of these blessings. Now a seeker had to strive hard to acquire them. The teacher and the seeker both engaged themselves in Zikr(Remembrance) , the former gave spiritual attention and the latter tried to absorb the Barakah in his heart.
The Mashaikh(Spiritual Teachers) adopted different methods of Zikr(Remembrance) . The method adopted by our Order is called ‘Pas Anfas’ or ‘The Guarded Breath’. Each ingress should carry the word ‘Allah’ to the core of heart and every egress should bring the word ‘Hu’ out to strike the heart or the desired Latifah(Spiritual Organ). That would create a rhythm of Allah Hu in every breath. You should however, not try to make these words with the sound of your breath, because the Zikr (Remembrance) is not done with the breath. Do take a careful note that we do breathe vigorously, but only perform Zikr (Remembrance) with the heart. Zikr (Remembrance) is always done with the heart and never with the breath – breathing is one of the means. Now you may ask, ‘If we do Zikr(Remembrance) with the heart, then why do we breathe vigorously?’ The reason is simple, the absorption of Divine lights in the blood is directly related to the body’s temperature – cold bodies do not absorb these lights. Someone can give spiritual attention to a dead person and illuminate each cell of his body, but as soon as their attention is withdrawn, all of the lights would be instantly gone – because the body has lost its heat. Similarly is the case of a living person, the heat already present in the body is not sufficient to accept and absorb these lights. If you breathe normally during Zikr (Remembrance) , you would require considerable time, probably years, to absorb the lights and illuminate your Lataif(Spiritual Organs). That too, if you engage in constant Zikr (Remembrance) and your teacher possesses adequate spiritual power. “The fountain must contain sufficient water to saturate the flowerbed. “
The Owaisiah Order has the closest and most direct connection with the holy Prophet‑saw and enables the seeker to access and absorb unlimited Barakah(Spiritual Blessings). Therefore the Mashaikh (spiritual teachers) of this Order have prescribed that the seeker should breathe rapidly and vigorously to generate sufficient heat in the blood to illuminate, not one but all of the Lataif(Spiritual Organs) in a single Zikr (Remembrance) session. It is not possible to hear Allah Hu in the sound of the breath. We breathe freely and spiritually perceive that each breath is carrying the word Allah inside and bringing the word Hu out. The vigorous breathing, coupled with body movement and mental concentration, generates ideal conditions for the heart’s Zikr (Remembrance) . Unless these three factors combine rhythmically, one doesn’t fully benefit from Zikr (Remembrance) . The absurd criticism of ignorant people about our method of Zikr(Remembrance) does not merit any consideration because such critics do not possess the basic knowledge and comprehension. It requires a thorough knowledge of a subject to fully comprehend its details and to generate meaningful criticism.
I am addressing those who are blessed by Allah’s grace and emphasise that Zikr (Remembrance) is not done with the breath but by the heart. The breath is drawn in vigorously to generate heat in the blood and complete attention is to be focused on Zikr (Remembrance) – that is important. Otherwise you would be physically engaged in Zikr (Remembrance) but mentally wandering elsewhere. The rhythm of body movement and along with mental concentration both combine with the heat generated by vigorous breathing to absorb the Barakah(Spiritual Blessings) of the Shaikh(Spiritual Teacher) in each cell of the body. For that reason, all distracting acts are prohibited during Zikr (Remembrance) . If someone loses concentration or starts coughing or speaking or reciting Quranic verses or poetry during Zikr (Remembrance) , the flow of Divine lights is immediately interrupted, therefore, it is extremely important to perform Zikr (Remembrance) attentively and silently. One’s entire attention should be focused on the breath taking the word Allah inside and bringing the word Hu out.
I was amazed to hear someone explain the method as, “Raise the word Allah from your heart up to the heavens and strike Hu down on your heart” – this is absolutely wrong! Our Zikr (Remembrance) method is very simple, every ingress takes the word Allah inside and every egress brings out Hu to strike the Latifah(Spiritual Organ) under Zikr (Remembrance) , while vigorous and fast breathing generates heat in the body. At times, one feels disturbed by the heat and coughs or speaks to lessen its effect, while such acts and distractions no doubt reduce the heat, they also decrease the absorption of Divine lights. Heat is necessary to weld pieces of metals like iron and gold or melt them for fusion. Similarly, a certain degree of body heat is required to absorb Allah’s lights that actually belong to the Ruh (the Spirit), the body serves only as its abode. Unless the body absorbs these lights, the Ruh cannot be illuminated and conversely, a radiant Ruh lights up the body. It just cannot happen that one of them is bright and the other is dark. They are so intimately united that they always undergo similar experiences. Whenever any member of the Order engages in Zikr (Remembrance) in any corner of the world, he instantly starts receiving the spiritual attention (Tawajjuh) of the Mashaikh. Now, it shall be up to him to absorb that Tawajjuh in his Lataif(Spiritual Organ). The more he coordinates his breath, body movement and mental concentration, the greater shall be his absorption and the more he absorbs the greater would be the flow of lights towards him.
That, in brief, is our method of Zikr(Remembrance) . Those who hold the Robe of Permission (Sahib-e Majaz) and others who conduct Zikr (Remembrance) sessions need most to understand the whole process properly. I have heard them explain different methods based on their own understanding and interpretation. Those who are present should listen carefully and convey to others that we do Zikr (Remembrance) with the heart and not with the breath; we breathe quickly to generate heat in the blood to absorb Divine Lights. The mind also joins the process by modulating ‘Allah Hu’ on every breath, so if the mind is inattentive the capacity of absorption decreases and the desired result is not achieved. It should be understood that reward and inner feelings are two different entities. A person who offers Salah according to its prescribed form at its proper time, even under compulsion and with total absence of mind and heart, will still deserve some Divine reward for fulfilling a religious obligation. But it is an entirely different experience to receive and absorb Divine lights related to this sublime worship. If anyone wants to feel and enjoy the Divine Presence in each moment of his Salah, he shall certainly need to devote greater attention and effort. Similarly, we don’t only expect a reward for Allah’s Zikr (Remembrance) , we also desire a Divine Communion and the Light of His Countenance. We aspire to realise the Divine Presence as stated by the holy Prophet-saw, “Worship Allah as if you see Him.” We want to experience and eternalise the observation of the Divine Beatitude. The person, who doesn’t want it, naturally doesn’t have to put in any extra effort.
Allah has not ordained any particular method of Zikr (Remembrance) , “Those who remember Allah, standing sitting and reclining “ – 3:191. There shall only be one restriction. Any form of Zikr (Remembrance) which prejudices any religious injunction or causes any distraction or disturbance for others is not allowed. Except those particularly prohibited by the holy Prophet-saw, all other methods are permitted; nobody has the right to object to any of these. The Mashaikh(Spiritual Teachers) of various Orders adopted different methods considering their relative usefulness in the light of their experiences. It is not proper to criticise any method that remains within the prescribed limits of Shari‘ah. We have no right to criticise others and similarly, nobody has the right to criticise us. It is necessary to criticise and stop anyone who crosses the religious limits under the pretext of Zikr (Remembrance) but it is highly improper to object for the sake of objection. We are not obliged to satisfy such critics, nobody has the time and energy to tell and teach someone who doesn’t want to know and learn.
Avoid such frivolity and devote your full attention to Zikr (Remembrance) by your heart. Concentration, breathing and body movement should be rhythmically combined. Allah should accompany each in-coming breath to the depths of the heart and Hu should strike the Latifah(Spiritual Organ) under Zikr (Remembrance) with each out-going breath, that is a simple way to explain our method of Zikr (Remembrance) . Don’t lose your attention or go to sleep during Zikr (Remembrance) , that also precludes beneficence and interrupts the flow of Barakah(Spiritual Blessing). Do the Zikr (Remembrance) attentively, vigorously; with speed and force, greater absorption would attract far greater blessings.
With complete concentration and attention, breathing should be so managed that the Personal Name ‘Allah’ should descend into the depths of the heart (Qalb) with every breath going in and the word ‘Hoo’ should strike the Qalb(Heart) with every breath coming out. When doing the second Latifah(Spiritual Organ), the Personal Name Allah should descend into the depths of the Qalb(Heart) with every breath going in and the word ‘Hoo’ should strike the second Latifah (Spiritual Organ) with every breath coming out. Similarly, when doing the third, fourth and the fifth Latifah(Spiritual Organ) , the Personal Name Allah should descend into the depths of the Qalb(Heart) with every breath going in and the word ‘Hoo’ should strike the Latifah (Spiritual Organ) under Zikr(Remembrance) with every breath coming out. The Method of doing Zikr(Remembrance) on the Sixth Latifah (Spiritual Organ) The Personal Name Allah should descend into the depths of the Qalb(Heart) with every breath going in and a flare of ‘Hoo’ should come out of the forehead with every breath coming out. The Method of doing Zikr(Remembrance) on the Seventh Latifah (Spiritual Organ) The Personal Name Allah should descend into the depths of the Qalb(Heart) with every breath going in and a flare of ‘Hoo’ should come out of every cell and pore of the body with every breath coming out. After doing Zikr(Remembrance) on the seventh Latifah (Spiritual Organ) , the first Latifah (Spiritual Organ) is done again, whose method had been given in the beginning. During Zikr(Remembrance) the breathing should be rapid and forceful, accompanied by the movement of the body, which starts automatically with rapid breathing. It should be borne in mind that no breath is left without Zikr(Remembrance). Attention should be focused on the Qalb(Heart) and the continuity in Zikr (Remembrance) should not break.
Our method is called Pas Anfas, which, in Persian, means guarding every breath. Zikr(Remembrance) is performed with the heart using breath as the medium. Sit down facing the Qiblah (direction of Mecca; in case the direction is not known then any direction is alright), fully attentive towards Allah and close your eyes. Recite the Ta’awwuz and Tasmiah and start the Zikr(Remembrance). When you breathe in, imagine that the word Allah penetrates the depths of your heart and when you breathe out, the word ‘Hu’ strikes the heart or the Latifah(Spiritual Organ) on which the Zikr(Remembrance) is being performed. (The beginners may only do Zikr[Remembrance] on the Qalb[Heart]). Do Zikr(Remembrance) on each Latifah(Spiritual Organ) for suitable duration. When all seven Lata’if(Spiritual Organs) have been covered, return to the Qalb(Heart). After doing Zikr(Remembrance) on it for some more time, start the meditation. The body should now be relaxed and the mind set at ease. Concentrate on the Qalb(Heart) and imagine that the word ‘Allah’ rises from Qalb(Heart) and the word ‘Hu’ rises upwards to Allah’s Sublime Throne. This is the first meditation; it is known as Rabita (contact), it illuminates the Path for the Ruh(Soul) and facilitates its flight toward Allah’s nearness in subsequent meditations.
Remember that no worthwhile progress can be made without the Tawajjuh (spiritual attention) of a Shaikh(Spiritual Teacher), because the Barakah(Spiritual Blessings) that initiate a seeker along the Sufi path are transmitted only through him. The Companions got this blessing from the holy Prophet-SAWS and transmitted it to the Taba’in, who in turn passed it on to the Taba Taba’in. The Aulia (men of God) acquired this wealth of Barakah(Spiritual Blessings) from them, and it has similarly been transferred through the generations. Allah willing, this process will continue forever, and every believer, regardless of race, caste or gender can acquire these Barakah(Spiritual Blessings). Sound beliefs and sincerity are the only prerequisites for this acquisition. Constant Zikr(Remembrance) reforms the heart and initiates the journey from vice to virtue, from anxiety to contentment and from a lost life to Falah – success in this world and the Hereafter.
Allah ordains every soul in the Quran to Perform Zikr(Remembrance). This not only means reciting the Quran and Tasbeeh(recitals) but also Zikr-e Qalb(Remembrance of Heart). It is only through Zikr-e Qalbi(Remembrance of Heart) that Prophetic Lights reach the depths of human soul and purify it from all vice and evil. Zikr(Remembrance of Divine) infuses a realization of constant Divine Presence and a seeker feels great improvement in the level of sincerity and love towards Allah and the holy Prophet-SAWS. Such levels of sincerity, love and feelings of Divine Presence can never be obtained without Zikr(Remembrance).
It would be a mistake to believe that Zikr(Remembrance) may be a requirement only for the very pious and virtuous people. Zikr(Remembrance) provides the Prophetic blessings which are in effect the life line of every human soul. It transforms even the most corrupted humans into virtuous souls by bringing out the best in them.
The fact is that Zikr(Remembrance) is the only way to achieve true contentment and satisfaction in life. The holy Quran has pointed to this eternal fact that it is only through Zikr Allah(Rmembrance of Divine) that hearts can find satisfaction. Such satisfaction and peace are the ultimate requirements of every person, regardless of religion, race and ethnicity. Practicing Zikr(Remembrance) regularly removes all traces of anxiety and restlessness, and guides the human soul to eternal bliss and peace.