Thursday, July 15, 2010

Methods of Remembering Allah

Methods of Remembering Allah *By Khurram Murad

This series is a collection of inspirational advice in an attempt to set out the goal of the believer: Paradise, and the way to reach that ultimate goal. 
How can you remember Allah throughout the normal course of your day without withdrawing from the routine of your daily worldly life?

How can you ensure that your personal life, family life, professional life and other activities all continue in full swing, and yet, at the same time, ensure that your life as a whole - every moment of it - is permeated with remembrance of Allah?

Such an all-pervading remembrance can be an onerous task, but one you can accomplish - with some ease. Let me remind you of four states of consciousness that you must strive to develop by remembering certain things, absorbing them and reminding yourself of them often.

1- Say to yourself: I am in Allah's presence; He is watching me.

If ever you are alone, He is the second and that if you are two, He is the third. He is with you wherever you are. He is nearer to you than your jugular vein.

He is watching everything that you do and hearing everything that you say. He is ever present and His knowledge is all encompassing. Remind yourself of this as often as you can, and throughout the day - every time you begin a new task, and every time you speak.

Indeed, your aim should be to impress this on your heart in such a way that it ultimately becomes your very breath. When the Prophet was asked by a Companion about the best method of purifying himself, he replied: 'You should always remember that Allah is with you wherever you are.' (At-Tirmidhi)

2- Say to yourself. Everything I have has been given to me by Allah.

All that there is - surrounding you, on you and in you - comes from Allah alone. There is none that creates or gives anything but Allah. Therefore, reflect upon all the blessings that He has created you with and be thankful to Him.

In all the sayings that the Prophet has taught  us to remember Allah with, gratefulness to Allah is a constant theme. Many of these sayings are simple to learn, and indeed, it was the most simple of his sayings that he used most frequently.

When the Prophet rose in the morning, he would say Alhamdulillah (Thanks to Allah)

whenever he ate or drank he would say Alhamdulillah; and even when he relieved himself he would give thanks to Allah.

Learn as many of the sayings as you can, and throughout the day, as you witness all that Allah has blessed you with, punctuate your day with these sayings.

If ever you appear to be short of things to be thankful for, recall the hadith of the Prophet: 'There are 360 joints in the body and for each joint you must give a sadaqa (thanks or charity) each day.' ( Al-Bukhari)

You must give charity for each one of them because without anyone of them you will be incomplete and handicapped. You must do this on a daily basis for should anyone of them become damaged one day, you will similarly become incapacitated.

Additionally, you may remind yourself that, as we now know from our knowledge of human physiology, your heart beats 72 times a minute. Every time it beats, it does so with the permission of Allah.

The moment He withdraws that permission, the heart will stop beating and your life will certainly come to an end. If you feel that there is nothing else to thank Allah for, then thank Him for the life that He has given you - for, so long as there is life, there is hope.

3- Say to yourself: Nothing in this world can happen without His permission.

Everything lies in the hands of Allah. No harm can befall you and no benefit can reach you except as Allah ordains. God says in the Quran what means,

{If God should touch you with miifortune, none can remove it but He; and if He should touch you with good fortune, He has power over all things. He alone holds sway over His creatures; He is the All- Wise, the All-Aware.} (Al-An`am 6:17-18)

The Prophet Muhammad would supplicate to Allah after each Prayer:

O Allah, whatever You want to give me, no one can stop it from coming to me and whatever You want to prevent from coming to me, nobody can give to me. (Al-Bukhari)

Prayer after Prayer, you should recite these beautiful words.

And beyond that, remind yourself as much as you can and throughout the day, especially as you expect something to happen, or not to happen, that everything happens only as He commands, and by His permission.

4-  Say to yourself: I am going to return to Allah one day and that day could be today.

You do not know when you will leave this world. It may be that the coming morning is your last morning, or perhaps the coming evening is your last evening.

Indeed, it may be that this hour is your last hour, or even, that this moment is your last moment. Such an uncertainty does not, of course, justify a complete withdrawal from this life so as to prepare for the next in some monastic fashion.

It is important, however, that you are always conscious of this uncertainty, to the extent that it motivates you to spend every moment of your remaining life seriously, considering it as a gift from Allah and spending the resources He has blessed you with - time, ability and energy as He has advised. Then, and only then, will your life have achieved what is required of it, and your return will achieve what is required of it.

To help you attain this state of consciousness, recall and reflect upon the following Quranic verse as much as you can and throughout the day

{…Froom Allah we came and to Him we shall return.} (Al-Baqarah 2:156)

These are the four states of consciousness that can help us achieve a life completely devoted to the remembrance of Allah.

To try to reach these four states simultaneously, and with sincerity, can only purify you. To try in a determined fashion to reach these four states will lead you inevitably to Paradise.

* This article is excerpted from the author's book, In the Early Hours, first published by Islamic Foundation. It is republished here with kind permission.

Khurram Murad (1932-1996) studied civil engineering at the universities of Karachi, Pakistan and Minnesota, USA, and was actively involved in the Islamic movement and in the training of Islamic workers. Many of his books, both in English and in Urdu, are being published posthumously.

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