Recitation, Prayer and Dhikr

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ ۖ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ

Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. (al Ankabut: 45)

The first command in this ayah is to recite the Qur’an. This Qur’an has been revealed so that it is recited – reciting it in our salah and outside of it. Part of this recitation is also to study the Qur’an, to reflect on it and to act upon its teachings.

After reciting the Qur’an, Allah then tells us to establish the prayer. Just the way the Qur’an connects you to Allah, the prayer builds on this connection. And establishing the prayer prevents a person from fahsha and munkar. Fahsha refers to crimes or sins that are of an indecent nature, that are clearly wrong and thought evil of by the intelligence and the Shari’ah. And Munkar refers to all those deeds that are detestable and disliked!

So the prayer stops a person from these wrong actions, because the prayer has a profound impact on a person’s character. It brings about humility, it leads to the recgonition of our Lord and it develops Taqwa. And Taqwa is that consciousness and awareness of Allah that helps a person stay away from all sorts of wrong and evil actions!

And after salah, we are told about the Dhikr of Allah. Dhikr is what brings us Allah’s mercy. It is a protection against shaytan and from different types of dangers. It is a source of strength and comfort. So any time you feel weak, anxious, restless or scared – start doing dhikr. اَلَا بِذِکْرِ اللہِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوۡبُ

If dhikr is made easy for a person, it it flows easily and naturally of the tongue, then such a person should consider himself fortunate and blessed. Because the greatest misfortune is to be far from Allah’s remembrance.

Aisha (ra) said, “Messenger of Allah (saw) used to remember Allah at all times.” [Muslim]

Abud-Darda (ra) reported, “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘Shall I not tell you of the best of your deeds, which is the purest to your Lord, which raises you among your ranks, which is better for you than spending gold and money in charity, and which is better for you than meeting your enemy and striking the necks of each other?’ They said, ‘Of course!’ The Prophet said, ‘It is the remembrance of Allah the Exalted’ [At-Tirmidhi].

Mu’adh bin Jabal (ra) said, “There is nothing that brings more salvation from the punishment of Allah than the remembrance of Allah.” [Tirmidhi]

So from this ayah we learn to engage in reciting the Qur’an. Then to get up and pray and after that to keep our tongues moist with the remembrance of Allah. This is the sequence. If you do this, then your grief will not overcome you.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِنِّيْ عَلَى ذِكْرِكَ وَشُكْرِكَ وَحُسْنِ عِبَادَتِكَ

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