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THE DHIKR OF ALLĀH: AN ENDURING LEGACY OF
IMĀM ‘ABDALLĀH BIN ‘ALAWĪ AL-HADDĀD
Rady Allāhu ‘Anhu
The Dhikr of Allāh
Imām ‘Abdallāh bin ‘Alawī al-Haddād, Rady Allāhu ‘Anhu (1044-1132 H), popularly known as Mawlānā al-Haddād, left a three-fold legacy.
1. Dhikr (also sometimes spelt as zikr, remembrance of Allāh)
He sustained, nurtured and passed on to the next generation the age-old Muslim tradition of doing dhikr (remembrance) of Allāh, The Glorified and The Exalted. Thus he became Qutb u’l Ghawth (the Pillar of spiritual succour). He lived an exemplary life of a dhākir, one in constant remembrance of Allāh Subhānahū wa Ta‘ālā, and produced many dhākirīn (those who remember Allāh) from among his murīdīn (spiritual disciples).
2. Nasīha (Religious Advice)
He wrote ten classics of Muslim spirituality to teach, propagate and spread Islām. So, he is Qutb u’l Irshād (the Pillar of Religious Guidance).
3. Qasāid (Religious Poems)
He composed more than a hundred qasāid which convey the total teaching of Islām. So, he became Ghawth u’l ‘ibād wa’l bilād (the spiritual succour for peoples and nations).
This article deals with the first of his legacies: the dhikr of Allāh, Subhānahū wa Ta‘ālā.
Allāh Subhānahū wa Ta‘ālā says in the Holy Qur’ān Karīm:
Fadhkurūnī Adhkurkum wa’shkurūlī wa lā takfurūn
Therefore, do my dhikr (remember me), I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and be not ungrateful to Me. (2:152)
Recitation of Qur’ān Karīm, Asmā u’l Husnā (the Most Beautiful Names of Allāh), du‘ā (supplication to Allāh), kalimāt (declarations of belief), tasbīhāt (glorification of Allāh) is all dhikr of Allāh, while salawāt ala’r Rasūl, invoking blessings on the Holy Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafā Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam is dhikr al-Habīb (the dhikr of the Beloved of Allāh). The Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam received many of these ad‘iya (plural of du‘ā: supplication), kalimāt and tasbīhāt as revelation in the form of verses of the Qur’ān. Examples of these are:
Du‘ā (Supplication to Allāh)
Rabbanā ātinā fiddunyā hasanatan wa fi’l ākhirati hasanatan wa qinā ‘adhāban nār
O our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of the Fire (of Hell) (2:201)
Kalima (Declaration of faith)
Lā ilāha Illallāh Muhammad u’r Rasūlullāh
None is worthy of worship but Allāh
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh (47:19, 48:29)
Tasbīh (Glorification of Allāh)
Lā ilāha illā Anta Subhānaka innī kuntu min az-zālimīn
None is worthy of worship but You (O Allah!). Glory be to You. Surely, I am one of the wrongdoers. (21:87)
We can see very clearly that all this dhikr conveys the ‘aqīda (faith and conviction of a Muslim). So the daily life of a Muslim is based on ‘aqīda as well as the regular pronouncement of that ‘aqīda in the form of dhikr.
Besides the dhikr in the Qur’ān Karīm, the Beloved Prophet Muhammad Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam overflowed with even more dhikr as he opened out his heart to Allāh, imploring, supplicating, invoking, glorifying, praising, and lauding Him. These adhkār (plural of dhikr) are found in his blessed Hadīth Sharīf (Noble Sayings). We learn from the Hadīth Sharīf, for example, that Rasūlullāh Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam taught his beloved daughter Sayyidatinā Fātima Rady Allāhu ‘Anhā to recite the tasbīh Subhānallāh (33 times), al-Hamdu Lillāh (33 times), and Allāhu Akbar (34 times). Thus, it is Sunnah (the Prophetic tradition) to specify the number of times each tasbīh is to be recited.
According to Qutb u’l Irshād Mawlānā al-Haddād, to do any voluntary good deed on a regular basis is called wird. Thus, if you give one loaf of bread in charity everyday, that is your wird. If you fast every Monday and Thursday on a regular basis, that is your wird. The tasbīh that Rasūlullāh Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam suggested to Sayyidatinā Fātima Rady Allāhu ‘Anhā thus became her wird. It is recited after Salāt al-Fard (obligatory Prayer) everyday by all Muslims all over the world. Thus it has become the wird of all the Muslims. The plural of wird is awrād. The recitation of adhkār and awrād is thus a noble Sunnah of the Blessed Prophet Muhammad Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam and much spiritual reward and benefit is to be derived from its recitation.
Since the time of Prophet Muhammad Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, the mashāyikh (spiritual masters) have been compiling his adhkār and awrād. For example, Imām al-Ghazālī compiled it in Ad-Da‘awāt u’l Mustajāba (Supplications that are answered by Allāh), being Book 9 of the Ihyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn (The Revival of Religious Sciences). Imām an-Nawawī compiled al-Adhkār (Supplications to Allāh for All Occasions). From all the compilations existing up to his time that were available to him, Mawlānā al-Haddād also compiled his own selection of adhkār and awrād, with reference to the Qur’ān and the Hadīth (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). For example, he composed the Rātib al-Shahīr (popularly known after him as Rātib al-Haddād) to be recited after Salāt al-‘Ishā, the Wird u’l Latīf to be recited after Salāt al-Fajr, the Hizb u’l Fath and the Hizb u’n Nasr also to be recited after Salāt al-Fajr, and so on. Then, after he passed away, other ‘ulamā (learned Muslim scholars) came, who put together all these adhkār and awrād as classical compendiums of Muslim spirituality.