'O God, carry us in the ships of Thy deliverance, give us to enjoy the pleasure of whispered prayer to Thee, make us drink at the pools of Thy love, let us taste the sweetness of Thy affection and nearness, allow us to struggle in Thee, preoccupy us with obeying Thee, and purify our intentions in devoting works to Thee, for we exist through Thee and belong to Thee, and we have no one to mediate with Thee but Thee!' Imam Sajjad ('A); Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya

Monday, 30 August 2010

Dhikr, intention and awareness

William Chittick

Given the centrality of God’s remembrance in the Qur'an and Hadith, there can be no question that dhikr was basic to Islamic practice throughout the early centuries. As the jurists gradually codified the Sharia, however, they could not impose dhikr on the community. Even though the Qur'an repeatedly commands people to remember God, by nature dhikr is connected much more to intention and awareness than to the outward activity that is ruled by the Sharia.
The root of being a Muslim is 'laa ilaha illallah - No god but God,’ words that are identical with remembrance. Hence, the spirit of the daily prayer and the other ritual practices, such as fasting and pilgrimage, is ''the renewal of God’s remembrance in the heart.''
Turning to God – remembrance – awakens awareness of God in the heart and actualizes the divine image latent in the soul. Ultimate felicity is nothing but the remembrance of the wellspring of our own true nature, and that is God Himself; or, it is the realization of genuine human character traits, which are the traces of God’s names.
“Every breath taken in replenishes life, and once let go it gives joy to the soul. So each breath counts as two blessings, and each blessing requires thanksgiving.” It is the silent
and persevering remembrance of God in gratitude for each breath or each heartbeat, always within the context of the Sunnah, that takes the seeker to the ultimate goal.

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