Meaning of Dhikr

Shaikh Saalih Aalush Shaikh explained the meaning of “dhikr” (remembrance) thusly:


ما معنى ذكر الله ؟ هل هو التسبيح والتهليل والتحميد فقط ؟ الجواب : لا ، فذكر الله عامٌّ في كل ما يذكرك بالله ، كما جاء في صفة أولياء الله أنهم إذا رُؤوا ذُكِر الله . يعني إذا رأيتهم ذكرت الله بالقول ، ذكرت الله بالعمل ، ذكرت الله بالعلم ، هذه صفة الصادقين إذا رؤوا ذُكر الله ، ليس في رؤيتهم ذكر للدنيا ، إنما هو ذكر لله – جل وعلا – فذكر الله يعم أنواع العبادات ، كل العبادات القولية والعملية ، عبادات القلوب أو عبادات اللسان والجوارح كلها ذكر لله – جل وعلا – ، تلاوة القرآن ذكر لله – جل وعلا – قال تعالى ( إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ ) (الحجر:9) وقال ( وَإِنَّهُ لَذِكْرٌ لَكَ وَلِقَوْمِكَ وَسَوْفَ تُسْأَلونَ ) (الزخرف:44) على أحد وجهي التفسير . كل نوع من أنواع العبادة ذِكْرٌ ، إذًا اذكر الله بجميع أنواع العبادات


What is the meaning of dhikr of Allah (God)?  Is it saying “Subhaan Allah1”, “Laa ilaaha illallah2”, and “Alhamdulillah3” only?  The answer is no.  Dhikr of Allah is general for everything that makes you remember Allah, as comes in the description of the Awliyaa of Allah  – that when they are seen, Allah is remembered. Meaning – when you see them, you remember Allah in speech, action, and knowledge.  This is a description of the truthful – when they are seen, Allah is remembered.  There is not remembrance  of the worldly life  from seeing them.  There is only remembrance of Allah – Exalted and Lofty is He.

So dhikr of Allah generally includes all types of worship.  All types of worship from speech, actions, actions of the heart, the tongue, and the limbs- all of that is dhikr of Allah – Exalted and Lofty is He.  Reciting the Quran is dhikr of Allah – Exalted and Lofty is He.  He, The Most High, said (translated): ‘Indeed We have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and indeed We will preserve it’4 (15:9) and He said (translated): ‘And indeed it is a dhikr (reminder) for you and for your people and you will be questioned (about it).’ 43:44




1God is Perfect and Free from all deficiencies and defects

2None deserves to be worshiped except for God alone

3God alone deserves all the praise and thanks

4This is a proof the Quran has been unchanged in 1400 years since its revelation and that it will continue to remain unchanged as Allah (God) has Himself promised to preserve it.  The preservation of the previous Books (the Tawrah revealed to Moses, the Injeel revealed to Jesus son of Mary, etc) was entrusted to men, and they failed in that, see these verses: 5:44, 2:75,79


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