We all know the benefits of making dhikr, remembrance of Allah. It is the habit of many Muslims to say “alhamdulillah” (praise be to Allah), subhanAllah (glory be to Allah), and other phrases that come to us from the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah. Making dhikr is a way of remembering Allah, thanking Him, asking forgiveness from Him, glorifying Him, and showing that we are submissive to His will. It can be a beautiful spiritual practice. But for some, it has devolved into a soulless, mindless repetition of arcane words.
As with any act of worship in Islam, there are two parts. We must have the proper niyyah, intention, and we must do the action in the correct way according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. Even the informal dhikr has rules. Shouldn’t do it in the bathroom, or while eating lunch, or while you’re supposed to be doing something else – like listening to the Jumuah khutbah. We should also be mindful of what dhikr is. It is a type of communicating with Allah, so it’s very important that when we do it, we give it our full attention.
Remember how your mom would always tell you not to mumble? “I can’t understand what you’re saying. Speak up and enunciate.” If we want to truly benefit from the words we are saying, we should pronounce them so they are understood. How many times have you done this, or heard someone near you doing this:
By the time you get to the last in your string of words, what comes out of your mouth has very little resemblance to the word “alhamdulillah”. You end up sounding like this guy:
So, let me advise you as I advise myself. I’m a rushed and harried person, but I always strive to be aware during my dhikr, to speak slowly and enunciate. Even when you take the time to pronounce every syllable, it doesn’t take long to do. And if you do it with an awareness of the One you are addressing, He will certainly reward you for your sincerity and concentration. And Allah knows best.