Excerpts from the "Niches" Book
#5 The Niche of Remembrance (Dhikr)
Remember Me free of any limits (muṭlaq), for any remembrance that is limited (muqayyad) only yields what is limited by the limitations imposed upon it. The remembrance of the servant is through a process of bringing to mind, while My remembrance is with full presence, for you are witnessed and known to Me, while I am only known but not witnessed to you. Remembrance has only one condition, and that is doing so in abundance (“And remember Allah with much abundance”).
The unlimited remembrance is to remember Me purely by my Name “Allah ... Allah” with nothing else (no other Name), for anything else - such as in the negation of all other dieties of Lā Ilaha Illa Allah (there is no God but Allah), the glorification of Subḥān Allah (glory be to Allah), or exaltation with Allahu Akbar (Allah is the greatest) – is necessarily limited and would only produce whatever is delimited by its designation “Rememberance” only comes (in the Qurʾān) with the Name “Allah” specifically and is free from any limiting qualifications, as in “And remember ‘Allah’” and in “And the remembrance of ‘Allah’ is greater”, where He does not add in such and such a manner (as in the manner of praise or glorification), for whoever invokes “Allah Allah” it is as if he invokes all the types of remembrance in which Allah is remembered.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The Final Hour shall not come to pass until a time comes when no one is left upon the earth invoking ‘Allah, Allah.’” He (SAW) repeated the word twice marked with a sukūn ending in each case, indicating that these are distinct invocations without qualifications. If it were not for the fact that the human being’s invocation “Allah, Allah” has the power to preserve the very World in which this invocation is made, the loss of this invocation would not have been associated with the end of the cosmos, the physical world.
It is thus through the invocation of the elect among the servants of Allah that Allah preserves the order of this physical world and every house within which they reside, and if none of them were to remain alive, there would no longer be a valid reason for Allah to preserve this physical world, and it would thus fall apart and dissolve. As for the Most Exalted’s statement: “And the remembrance of ‘Allah’ is greater,” this as an indication that this Name “Allah,” which encompasses all other Divine Names, is greater than any Name by which He may be invoked, Glorified be He. This remembrance moves from a mere invocation with the tongue, to an invocation with the soul (janān), at which point the tongue’s remembrance on its own is a form of heedlessness, to an invocation with the Spirit (rūḥ), and finally to an invocation with the innermost Secret (sirr); “Whoever remembers Me within himself, I shall remember him within Myself.” Hence, the rememberer becomes the Remembered and disappears into the Divine Lights, becoming the Rememberer, the remembered and the remembrance. In reality, those in the process of invoking Him (on the tongue) are in a greater state of inattentiveness than those who forget to invoke Him because His mere invocation (on the tongue) is not the same as His actual Presence.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW), said: “The example of the one who remembers Allah and the one who does not is the example of the living and the dead.” So, the one who remembers Allah has a life that does not perish with the onset of death, for he does not die but merely passes on to another form of life that is of a higher rank than that of the martyr (shahīd) who passes on. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Shall I not point you to the greatest of your good deeds, the purest of them with your Master, the most rewarding of them for your spiritual ranks, and that are better for you than the donation of gold and money and than the meeting of your enemies when you strike each others’ necks?” They said, “Yes Oh Messenger of Allah!” He said, “The remembrance of ‘Allah’.” This is generally the case, except when the martyr is also among those who remember Allah, the Most Exalted, such that he becomes the locus of two lives, one of them attained through martyrdom and the more exalted one is through the remembrance of Allah.