The heart of a believing servant should remain affixed to the Zikr (Remembrance) and praise of his Patron and Benefactor via mention of His sublime names and majestic attributes in all circumstances. Repenting and seeking forgiveness for sins and shortcomings are actions that the heart should always be engaged in. One’s heart experiences pleasure and intimacy through recitation of the Quraan and feels its ease and tranquility in conversing with Al-Raḥmaan (the Most Merciful).
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ [الرعد: 28]
“The ones who believe and their hearts are peaceful with the remembrance of Allah. Listen, the hearts find peace only in the remembrance of Allah” (Ar-Ra’d 13:28)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) depicts those of Imaan (Faith) by saying:
أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا يَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ [الزمر: 9]
“Is it not better to be one of those who are humble, adoring Him – even in the hours of the night, and standing, keeping in mind the life to come and hoping for his Lord’s grace? Say: ‘Are those who know (that that the ‘Self’ can evolve) equal to those who know not?’”(Az-Zumar 39:9)
He also says:
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ oالَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ [آل عمران: 190-191]
“Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for the people of wisdom who remember Allah standing and sitting, and (lying) on their sides, and ponder on the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say): ‘Our Lord! You have not created all this in vain. We proclaim Your purity. So, save us from the punishment of Fire”(Aale-‘Imraan 3:190-191)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) commands His Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) to stay engrossed with His remembrance and seeking His forgiveness:
فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنْبِكَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ بِالْعَشِيِّ وَالْإِبْكَارِ [غافر: 55]
“So, be patient — surely the promise of Allah is true – and seek forgiveness for your sins, and proclaim the purity and praise of your Lord in the afternoon and at dawn.”(Ghaafir 40:55)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) in turn would say:‘O people! Turn to your Lord in repentance; indeed I turn to Him in repentance one hundred times in a day.’(Muslim)
He said:‘By Allah! I seek forgiveness and repent to Allah, more than seventy times a day.’(Bukhari)
He also said:‘Verily my heart becomes preoccupied, and verily I seek Allah’s forgiveness a hundred times a day.’(Muslim)
Remaining in a loyal state of remembrance and seeking forgiveness is a manifest representation of being in need of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa); the slave exhorts efforts in expressing his poverty, need and powerlessness. His heart is filled with abjectness and lowliness and he raises his hands in all humility and turns back to his Deity. He remembers his Lord at all times, whether resident or travelling, entering or exiting, eating or drinking, awake or retiring, even when approaching one’s spouse. The requirement for Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s help and grace is never-ending. The servant is never heedless for the length of an hour or less to seeking His assistance and turning to Him.
The implication of this is that one should not to be self-reliant, comfortable with one’s own ability and might, or sure about one’s wealth, status and health. For this reason the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) supplicated:
اللَّهُمَّ لَا تَكِلْهُمْ إِلَيَّ فَأَضْعُفَ عَنْهُمْ، وَلَا تَكِلْهُمْ إِلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ فَيَعْجِزُوا عَنْهَا، وَلَا تَكِلْهُمْ إِلَى النَّاسِ فَيَسْتَأْثِرُوا عَلَيْهِمْ.
“O Allah! Do not put them under my care for I would be too weak (to care for them); do not place them under their own care for they would be incapable of that, and do not put them in the care of people for they would prefer what is best for their own selves before considering them.”(Abu Daawood)
The Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) is related as saying:
دَعَوَاتُ الْمَكْرُوبِ اللَّهُمَّ رَحْمَتَكَ أَرْجُو فَلاَ تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ.
“The supplication of one who is distressed: ‘O Allah! It is Your mercy that I hope for, so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except You’.” (Abu Daawood)
Hadhrat Anas relates that the Prophet (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) taught this supplication to his daughter, Hadhrat Faaṭimah:
يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ، أَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ، وَلَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ.
“…….. say on the onset of every morning and evening: ‘O Ḥayy (Ever Living)! O Qayyoom (Self-Subsisting and Supporter of all)! By Your mercy I seek assistance, rectify for me all of my affairs and do not leave me to myself, even for the blink of an eye’.” (An-Nasaaee fi As-Sunan al-Kubraa)
A consideration of the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)’s supplication and remembrance uncovers wonders in this regard. In Sayyid al-Istighfaar (Principal Supplication for Forgiveness) as declared by the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) himself, the most supreme meanings of servitude are brought to light just as the most sublime senses of abjection and humility are made manifest:
للَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ، خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ، وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ، أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ، أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَىَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي، فَاغْفِرْ لِي، فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ
‘O Allah! You are my Lord, none has the right to be worshipped except You, You created me and I am Your servant and I abide to Your covenant and promise as best I can, I take refuge in You from the evil of which I committed. I acknowledge Your favor upon me and I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me, for verily none can forgive sin except You.’ (Bukhari)
Ponder the supplication of the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) and his subservience before Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) when rising from sleep to perform Salaat ut Tahajjud (Night Prayers) and implore and converse with his Lord:
اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ قَيِّمُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ، لَكَ مُلْكُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ نُورُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ الْحَقُّ، وَوَعْدُكَ الْحَقُّ، وَلِقَاؤُكَ حَقٌّ، وَقَوْلُكَ حَقٌّ، وَالْجَنَّةُ حَقٌّ، وَالنَّارُ حَقٌّ، وَالنَّبِيُّونَ حَقٌّ، وَمُحَمَّدٌ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَقٌّ، وَالسَّاعَةُ حَقٌّ، اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ، وَبِكَ آمَنْتُ وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ، وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْتُ، وَبِكَ خَاصَمْتُ، وَإِلَيْكَ حَاكَمْتُ، فَاغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ، وَمَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَمَا أَعْلَنْتُ، أَنْتَ الْمُقَدِّمُ وَأَنْتَ الْمُؤَخِّرُ، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ.
“O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You; You are the King of the Heavens and the Earth; And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth And Jannah (Paradise) is true And Fire (Jahannum i.e. Hell) is true And all the Prophets are true; And Muhammad, SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam, is true, And the Time (Day of Qiyaamah i.e. Resurrection) is true. O Allah! I surrender (my will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You, And with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers) And I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you.” (Bukhari)
Praising and thanking Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Most High, and extolling Him in a manner befitting whilst recognizing one’s flaws and frailty infuses the heart with light and grants it tranquility and happiness. Ibn al-Qayyim’s words are quite exceptional in this regard:‘There is within the heart a void and poverty that cannot ever be filled but by the Zikr of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). If remembrance becomes the temperament of the heart in that it remembers Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) instinctively and the tongue follows suit, this will for sure be the remembrance that fills that void and replaces that poverty with prosperity; such a person would be rich without wealth, powerful without kinsfolk, and venerable without reign. Being neglectful of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s remembrance results in the opposite; he will remain poor with the great amount of wealth he possesses, feeble with any authority he commands, and paltry with the many kinsfolk he has.’(Al-Waabil al-Sayyib by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya)