Hafiz Ibn Qayyim (RA), a well-known Muhadith (A scholar of traditions), has written an authentic book, 'Al-Waabilus Sayyib', on the virtues of Zikr, which are more than one hundred and he has listed seventy nine of these, which are briefly given below in the same order. Some of these include multiple benefits, in that case their actual number exceeds more than one hundred:
1) Zikr keeps away the Shaitân and weakens his strength.
2) It is the cause of Almighty Allah Ta’ala’s pleasure.
3) It relieves the mind from anxieties and worries.
4) It produces joy and happiness in the heart.
5) It strengthens the body and mind.
6) It brightens the face and heart.
7) It attracts one’s sustenance.
8) It invests the Zâkirs with awe and sweetness so that the beholder is filled with awe and pleasure at his sight.
9) It induces love for Allah Ta’ala, which in fact is the spirit of Islam and the pivot of Deen (religion), and the source of success and salvation in the Hereafter. He who seeks access to the love of Almighty Allah Ta’ala should do Zikr profusely. Just as reading and repetition is the door of knowledge, so Zikr of Allah Ta’ala is the gateway of His love.
10) Zikr involves Muraqabah (transcendental meditation) through which one reaches the stage of Ihsân, wherein a person worships Almighty Allah Ta’ala as if he is actually seeing Him. (The attainment of this stage of Ihsân is the ultimate objective of the Sufis).
11) It helps in realization of Allah Ta’ala so that by and by a stage is reached when he comes to regard Almighty Allah Ta’ala as his sole Cherisher, Guardian and Master, and he turns unto Him, in all afflictions.
12) It is the key to the nearness of Almighty Allah Ta’ala. More abundant the Zikr, more one will get nearer to Allah Ta’ala, and greater the indifference to Zikr, greater will be the distance from Him.
13) It opens the doors of realization (Ma’arifat) of Allah Ta’ala.
14) It makes one to realize the greatness and grandeur of Almighty Allah Ta’ala, and strengthens the consciousness of His omni-presence.
15) Zikr of Allah Ta’ala causes one’s mention in the court of Allah Ta’ala, as is mentioned in the Holy Book (Al-Qur’ân):
فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ
" Remember me, and I will remember you.” (2:152)
And as stated in the Hadith:
“Whosoever remembers Me in his heart. I remember him in My heart”. (Bukhâri & Muslim Sharief)
It has already been explained under other verses and Ahâdith that, even if there were no other good points in Zikr, except those 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 (RA) says that Zikr is so much 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 soul; to deprive them of Zikr is like depriving the body of its food.
18) It cleanses the heart of its rust. It has been mentioned in the Hadith; everything rusts according to its nature; and the heart rusts with worldly desires and indifference; to purify it, Zikr is necessary.
19) It safeguards against pitfalls and lapses.
20) The heart of neglectful person is tormented by a feeling of remoteness from Allah Ta’ala, and nothing other than Zikr can rid off the heart from this feeling.
21) The words of Zikr keep circulating round the Arsh of Almighty, as stated in a Hadith.
22) If one remembers Allah Ta’ala in happiness, Almighty Allah Ta’ala remembers him in his afflictions.
23) It is a means of deliverance from Allah Ta’ala’s punishment.
24) It causes Allah Ta’ala’s peace and mercy to descend, while angels surround the person engaged in Zikr.
25) It saves one’s 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 absurdities. On the other hand, a tongue that is not busy in Zikr, falls an easy prey to all kinds of useless talk.
26) The gatherings of Zikr are the gatherings of angels, and gatherings without Zikr are gatherings of Satan. A person is free to have a choice between the two, and verily a man, by instinct, is drawn towards what suits to his temperament.
27) By virtue of Zikr, the Zâkir is blessed and also the person sitting by him. Similarly, the indolent person is accursed for his indolence and 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 Ahâdith which says that the gathering devoid of Allah Ta’ala’s Zikr will cause sorrow and losses on that Day.
29) If Zikr is accompanied by tears and loneliness, the Zâkir will be blessed under the shadow of Allah Ta’ala'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 Ta’ala than those who remain busy in Dua (prayer) and supplication. According to one Hadith, Almighty Allah Ta’ala says that "I will reward one better who is engrossed in Zikr than the one who is busy in making Dua”.
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), All the same it is the most virtuous form.
32) Allah Ta’ala’s Zikr helps the plants of
Paradise to grow.
33) Of all the actions, the reward and forgiveness promised for Zikr is the highest. According to a Hadith, if on any day a person repeats the following words one hundred times:
لا اله إلا وحده لا شريك له له الملك و له الحمد و هو على كل شىء قدير
"There is none worthy of worship except Allah Ta’ala, 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 much as for freeing ten slaves, and in addition one hundred virtues are written in his account and one hundred sins are forgiven. He remains protected against the devil throughout the day, and none is considered as having acted better than him except one who has recited the same words more often than he did. Similarly, there are many other Ahâdith proclaiming the superiority of Zikr over all other good deeds.
34) Due to incessant Zikr one does not forget his own soul. Forgetting one’s soul leads to failure in both the worlds, because forgetting the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala leads to neglecting one’s own soul and all its best interests. Allah Ta’ala says in His book:
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنْسَاهُمْ أَنْفُسَهُمْ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“And be not ye as those who forgot Allah Ta’ala and therefore He caused them to forget their souls. Such are the evil-doers”.(59:19)
Thus, when one forgets his own soul, he becomes careless and forgets his real interests, which leads to his ruin in the same way as a garden or field is invariably ruined when its owner fails to look after it. To remain protected from this ruin, one should keep his tongue always busy in Zikr to such an extent that it (zikr) becomes indispensable for him in such a way as water is for thirsty, food for hungry or a house and clothes for the needy. As a matter of fact, one should be more mindful towards Zikr than any of these material necessities which are a small loss if lost as compared with the spiritual death.
35) Zikr is the source of one’s spiritual elevation whether one is engaged in it while in bed or in the market, in good health or in sickness, or even when one is enjoying 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 radiance of Zikr that even while asleep he is more wakeful than a neglectful person who is awake all the night.
36) The Noor (radiance) of Zikr remains with a person in his life as well as in his grave. It will guide him on the Sirât in the Hereafter. Almighty Allah Ta’ala says in the Quran:
أَوَمَنْ كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَنْ مَثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِنْهَا كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“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?” (6:122)
The one mentioned first is the faithful, who believes in Allah Ta’ala 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 (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to beg in prolonged prayers for it to circulate in every part of his body. As mentioned in Ahâdith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) prayed that Almighty Allah Ta’ala 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 transmitted into Noor. One’s deeds will shine according to the Noor in oneself so much that the good deeds of some people (while going to heaven) will shine like the Sun. Similar Noor will be found in their faces on the Day of Judgement.
37) Zikr is the basic principle of Tasawuf (Sufism) and is invoked in all the schools of Sufism. A person who gets conversant with Zikr enters the gateway of Almighty Allah Ta’ala, from Whom he will get whatever he wishes, for Allah Ta’ala’s treasures are unlimited.
38) There is not a single corner in the heart of a man which cannot be filled but with Zikr. When Zikr controls the heart, not only does it fill up this corner but also leads the Zâkir to that kind of contentment which any amount of wealth would fail to produce. Such a person gets respect among people, which his family or party fails to bring about. He earns such a control over people that a sovereign would never dream of. On the other hand, disgrace descends over an indolent in spite of all his wealth and riches, party, strength and powers.
39) Zikr transforms distraction into concentration, remoteness into nearness. This means that one gets relieved of 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 ignoring one's ultimate interest.
41) Zikr is just like a tree whose fruit is realization of Almighty Allah Ta’ala. More a person engages himself in the Zikr, stronger shall grow the root of this tree and more abundant will it bear the fruits.
42) Zikr of Almighty Allah Ta’ala promotes nearness to Him and thereby one earns His constant patronage. It is mentioned in the Quran.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ مُحْسِنُونَ
“For Allah Ta’ala is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good” (16:128)
It is stated in one Hadith:
ان مع عبدي ما ذكرني
“I am with my slave who remembers Me”. (Bukhâri Sharief)
According to another Hadith, Allah Ta’ala says,
“Those who remember 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 physician. I put them to worries to condone their sins."
The nearness to Allah Ta’ala that is developed due to excessive 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 Ta’ala also bless me with the same).
43) Zikr of Allah Ta’ala is as meritorious as it is to liberate slaves, to spend in charity, and to perform Jihâd in the path of Allah Ta’ala.
(Many virtues of this kind have already been described and more will further be narrated in this book).
44) Zikr is the fundamental form of thanksgiving to Almighty Allah Ta’ala. One who does not perform Zikr cannot thank Him. It is stated in Hadith that Hadhrat Musa (AS) had asked Allah Ta’ala,
"O My Lord! You have done me countless favours, teach me the manner in which I should thank you befittingly."
Allah Ta’ala says:
"The more you perform Zikr, the more thanks you offer."
According to another Hadith, Hadhrat Musa u is reported to have said,
"O, Lord! how can I offer thanks worthy of Your greatness."
Allah Ta’ala replied:
"Let your tongue be always engaged in Zikr."
45) According to Allah Ta’ala, 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 Ta’ala.
46) There is a sort of hardness in the human heart which does not get softened by anything except Zikr.
47) In fact, Zikr is a remedy for all the ills of heart.
48) Zikr of Allah Ta’ala 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 Ta’ala’s blessings and in warding off His chastisement.
50) Almighty Allah Ta’ala grants His grace to those who perform 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 gathering of Zikr, because these are like the gardens of
52) Gatherings of Zikr are also the gatherings of angels.
53) In the presence of angels, Almighty Allah Ta’ala praises those who perform Zikr.
54) One who is constant in performing Zikr will enter
Paradise in high spirits.
55) All good deeds are attained 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 the Hajj, one with excessive Zikr is more virtuous. Similar is the case with other good deeds like Jihâd etc.
57) Zikr is a substitute of Nafl Salâh and other non-obligatory devotions. It is related in one Hadith that the poor people once complained to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) of the higher reward available to the rich because of their wealth.
They said, “These rich men offer prayers and fast just as we do, but they excel us by performing Umrah and Hajj, and by taking part in Jihâd on account of their wealth."
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: “Should I tell you something, so that none except one who practices it can excel you." He then advised them to recite:
سبحان الله - الحمد لله - الله اكبر
after every Salâh. (Bukhâri Sharief)
By this, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has indicated the importance of Zikr to be the substitute for various kinds of worship, like Umrah, Hajj, Jihâd etc.
58) Zikr is very helpful to all other forms of worship. Excessive Zikr creates love for various forms of worship and one starts taking delight in performing them and never feels bored or burdened.
59) Zikr is a solution to all the difficulties, and a good remedy for all kinds of misery. 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 fears and mind of its perplexity is one of the specific qualities of Zikr. Therefore greater the amount of Zikr , greater is the freedom from fear.
61) By virtue of Zikr, one is blessed with the Divine help in all his doings. That is why sometimes a man achieves such distinctions which are beyond his capacity and he attains what evidently seems beyond his reach. Once Hadhrat Fatimah (RA) complained to Rasulullah's (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) of excessive fatigue due to grinding of wheat and other domestic drudgery. She requested that a 'domestic help' may be arranged for her. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) advised her to recite 'Subhân Allah Ta’ala’ and 'Alhamdu Lillah’ each thirty three times and 'Allah Ta’alau Akbar’ thirty four times. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) further said to her: "The recitation of these Kalimas is better for you than a servant”. (Abu Dawood Sharief)
62) Those who are working for Hereafter are in a race, wherein the Zâkirs shall remain ahead of all on account of the Zikr. Umar Maula Ghufra (RA) says that ‘on the Day of Judgement when people will be rewarded for their good deeds many will repent why they neglected Zikr when it was the easiest of all the good deeds and highest in reward. In a Hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is quoted to have said:
“The Mufarrideen have surpassed all”.
He was asked:
“Who were the Mufarrideen?”
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied:
“Those who toil hard for Zikr because it lightens their burdens”. (Muslim Sharief)
63) Those who perform Zikr are deemed truthful by Almighty Allah Ta’ala and those who are testified as such by Almighty Allah Ta’ala will not be raised with the liars on the Day of Judgement. It is quoted on the authority of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that when a man utters:
لا اله إلا الله و الله اكبر
Allah Ta’ala proclaims:
“My slave has spoken the truth, and nobody is worthy of Worship except 1, and I am the Greatest of all."
64) While being engaged in Zikr the angels remain busy in constructing houses in
Paradise for the performers. When Zikr is stopped, the angels also stop construction of the houses. When asked why a particular construction was stopped by the angels, they reply, “The construction had to be stopped because funds for that were stopped. The fact is confirmed by a Hadith, which reads when a man recites seven times:
سبحان الله و بحمده سبحان الله العظيم
A tower is raised for him in the
65) Zikr provides protection against the Hell fire. If, due to any misdeed a Zâkir deserves the Hell, his Zikr acts as defense against the Hell. The more his Zikr is, the stronger will be this defense.
66) The angels pray for the forgiveness of Zâkireen (those who are engaged in Zikr). It is related on the authority of Hadhrat Amr bin Aas (RA) that when a person says:
الحمد لله رب العالمين سبحان الله و بحمده
the angels pray to Almighty Allah Ta’ala for his forgiveness.
67) Any place whether a mountain or plain on which Zikr is recited, feels proud of it. According to a Hadith, one mountain asks another if any Zâkir has crossed over it during the day, if the reply is in the affirmative, it feels happy.
68) Zikr guarantees immunity from hypocrisy, for Almighty Allah Ta’ala has described the hypocrite as:
لا يذكرون الله إلا قليلا
They do not remember Allah Ta’ala except very rarely. It is also related on the authority of Ka’b Ahbâr (RA) that he who performs frequent Zikr of Allah Ta’ala is free from hypocrisy.
69) Compared with other good deeds, Zikr carries a special taste which is not found in any other action. Even if there were no other virtues of Zikr, this fine taste alone would have been a sufficient reward to justify it. Maalik bin Deenâr (RA) has said that nothing surpasses the taste of Zikr, which is the best and finest.
70) The faces of those who perform Zikr remain illume in this life, and will carry a special radiance in the Hereafter.
71) One who is frequently engaged in Zikr while sitting, standing, walking or in any other position, will find this earth testifying his act on the Day of Judgement. The day when the earth will throw out all that it knows. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked his companions if they had any knowledge about what will that news. They expressed their ignorance. Then Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Whatever deed is done good or bad, by any man or woman on the face of the earth, it (the earth) will narrate everything with date, time and place”. Hence, one who performs Zikr at whatever place he is will find number of witnesses in his favour.
72) As long as the tongue is busy in Zikr, it is saved from indulging in lies, backbiting or any other kind of evil talk. The tongue will engage itself in useless talk if it is not in Zikr. Same is the case with the heart; if it is devoid of the love for Almighty Allah Ta’ala, it will get filled with the love of worldly things.
73) The devils are outright enemies of man and always 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 Dua (prayer) are mentioned in the Ahâdith, so that, if any of these is recited by a person, then Satan dare not come near him. If the same is recited at the time of going to bed, one remains safe from Satan throughout the night.
Hafiz Ibn Qayyim (RA) has also mentioned many such Duas (prayers). In addition to these he has also mentioned in detail under six headings relative merits of Zikr as also some of the virtues, which are specific to Zikr alone. Then he has also given seventy five chapters of specific Duas (prayers), which are suited to specific times and occasions. 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.
(Taken from 'Instrument for Understanding Qur'an' by Dr Rafiq Ahmed)