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Targheeb and Tarheeb
  Al-Wasiyyat us-Sughraa (The Concise Legacy)
Author: Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
Article ID : TZK050004  [23431]  
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"Shall I not inform you of the best of your actions, the most pure in the sight of your Master, the one which raises your ranks highest, that which is better for you than giving gold and silver (in charity), and better for you than your meeting your enemies, so that you strike their necks and they strike yours?" The companions urged, "Of course, O Messenger of Allah! (Inform us!)" He replied, "It is the Remembrance of Allah."

The virtues of the Remembrance of Allah are confirmed by proofs of insight, narration and analysis from the Qur'aan and Eemaan.

Types of Dhikr

The basic method of Dhikr is that the slave makes a habit of putting into practice those adhkaar (phrases of dhikr) which have been taken from the teacher of goodness, the leader of the righteous, Muhammad (sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam), such as:

- those adhkaar which have a fixed timing, e.g. at the beginning and end of the day, when going to sleep and waking up, and after the compulsory Prayers;

- those adhkaar which are specified for certain actions, e.g. eating and drinking, putting on clothes, sexual intercourse, entering and exiting the Masjid and the toliet, or at the time of rain and thunder, etc.. As regards both these types of Dhikr, books have been written under the title of "Actions of the day and night."

There are also those adhkaar which are unrestricted, i.e. they are not confined to some special time or occasion; of these, the most excellent is Laa ilaaha illa-llaah (There is no true deity except Allah), but sometimes according to the situation, some phrases such as Subhaan Allah (Allah is Glorified), Al-hamdu li-llaah (All Praised be to Allah), Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) and Laa Hawla wa laa Quwwata illaa bi-llaah (There is no power or movement except by Allah) become more excellent.

Further, it should be known that everything that brings mankind closer to Allah, whether it is the saying of the tongue or contemplation of the heart, for example in acquiring knowledge, commanding good and forbidding evil, this is all part of the Dhikr of Allah. Hence, one who is occupied in seeking beneficial Knowledge after fulfilling the obligatory acts, or takes his place in a gathering where Fiqh (Understanding) - that which Allah and His Messenger have named Fiqh - is read and taught, this also an excellent Dhikr of Allah. When you consider this, you will thus realise that there is no major controversy among the early people of knowledge regarding the most excellent of actions after the obligatory duties.

Istikhaarah (asking Allah to decide on one's behalf)

In those matters where the slave is in doubt, he should seek Allah's guidance in deciding, for he who seeks help in decision from Allah will never be ashamed. He should do this often and also supplicate often, for that is the key to every benefit, and not be impatient saying, "I have asked but not been answered," and he should seek to find the best time to supplicate, for example the last part of the night, at the time of Adhaan, after the obligatory Prayers, at the time of rain, and others.

The Best Goal is Trust in Allah

As for the next part of the question, about the highest prize to aim for, the answer to this is that the best prize to have is Trust in Allah, reliance in Him of His sufficience, and keeping a good opinion of Him, the latter being that if anyone is anxious regarding their subsistence then he should turn to the shelter of Allah, as the Exalted said, from what is narrated by His Prophet, "O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you." In this regard there is also the hadeeth which Imaam Tirmidhi narrates from Anas RadiAllahu 'anhu, who said that the Messenger of Allah said, "Each of you should ask for his needs from Allah, even if the lace of your shoe breaks, because if Allah does not facilitate it, it will never be possible."

Allah Ta'aala says in His Book: ... But ask Allah for His bounty ...

He, Glorified, also says: And when the prayer is finished, then you may disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah.... Although this aayah is in the context of the congregational Friday Prayer, its meaning applies to all the prayers. This is why - and Allah knows best - the Prophet instructed the person entering the masjid to say, "Allahumma -ftah lee abwaaba rahmatik (O Allah open the doors of Your mercy for me)", and when leaving the masjid to say, "Allahumma innee as'aluka min fadlik (O Allah give me of Your Bounty)" ; also, the Friend of Allah (Ibraaheem) `alaihis-salaam had said, So seek sustenance from Allah, serve Him, and be grateful to him.

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