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Dhikr (also Zikr, Zekr, Zikir, Jikir, and variants; Arabic: ذِكْر, romanized: ḏikr [ðɪkr]):470 are devotional acts, primarily in Sufi Islam, in which short phrases or prayers are repeatedly recited silently within the mind or aloud. It can be counted on a set of prayer beads (Misbaha مِسْبَحَة) or through fingers of the hand. A person who recites the Dhikr is called a ḏākir ([ˈðaːkɪr] ذاكر). Tasbih (تسبيح) is a form of dhikr that involves the repetitive utterances of short sentences glorifying God. The content of the prayers includes the names of God, or a duʿāʾ (prayer of supplication) taken from the hadith or the Quran.
There are several verses in the Quran that emphasize the importance of remembering the will of God by saying phrases such as "God willing," "God knows best," and "If it is your will.' This is the basis for dhikr. Sura 18 (Al-Kahf), ayah 24 states a person who forgets to say, "God Willing," should immediately remember God by saying, "May my Lord guide me to do better next time." Other verses include sura 33 (Al-Ahzab), ayah 41, "O ye who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often," and sura 13 (Ar-Ra'd), ayah 28, "They are the ones whose hearts rejoice in remembering God. Absolutely, by remembering God, the hearts rejoice." Muhammad said, 'The best [dhikr] is La ilaha illa’llah ("there is no God but God"), and the best supplicatory prayer is Al-hamdu li’llah ("praise be to God").
To Sufis, dhikr is seen as a way to gain spiritual enlightenment and achieve union (visal) or annihilation (fana) in God. All Muslim sects endorse individual rosaries as a method of meditation, the goal of which is to obtain a feeling of peace, separation from worldly values (dunya), and, in general, strengthen Iman (faith).
There are several phrases that are usually read when remembering Allah. Here are a few:
Some of these can be said together.e.g-
Reciting the Quran sincerely is also considered a kind of Dhikr.
"Shall I tell you about the best of deeds, the most pure in the Sight of your Lord, about the one that is of the highest order and is far better for you than spending gold and silver, even better for you than meeting your enemies in the battlefield where you strike at their necks and they at yours?" The companions replied, "Yes, O Messenger ﷺ of Allah!" He replied, "Remembrance of Allah ﷻ".— at-Tirmidhi
"People will not sit in an assembly in which they remember Allah ﷻ without the angels surrounding them, mercy covering them, and Allah ﷻ Mentioning them among those who are with Him"— narrated by Abu Hurairah, Sahih Muslim
“There is nothing that is a greater cause of salvation from the punishment of Allah than the remembrance of Allah"— Narrated by Mu’adh ibn Jabal
, Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Book of Supplications
Hadhrat Mu`adh ibn Jabal said that the Prophet ﷺ also said: "The People of Paradise will not regret except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by and in which they made no remembrance of Allah ﷻ."— Narrated by Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-iman
It is mentioned in hadith that where people are oblivious to dhikir, remembrance of Allah is like being steadfast in jihad when others are running away (Targhib, p. 193, vol. 3 ref. Bazar and Tibrani).
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Followers of Sufism often engage in ritualized dhikr ceremonies, the details of which sometimes vary between Sufi orders or tariqah. Each order, or lineage within an order, has one or more forms for group dhikr, the liturgy of which may include recitation, singing, music, dance, costumes, incense, muraqaba (meditation), ecstasy, and trance. Though the extent, usage and acceptability of many of these elements vary from order to order - with many condemning the usage of instruments (considered unlawful by most scholars) and intentional loss of control. In addition, costumes are quite uncommon and is almost exclusively unique to the Mevlavi order in Turkey - which is an official cultural "heritage" of the secular Turkish state. In Sufism, group dhikr does not necessarily entail all of these forms.
The most common forms of Sufi group dhikr consist in the recital of particular litanies (e.g. Hizb al-Bahr of the Shadhilis), a composition of Quranic phrases and Prophetic supplications (e.g. Wird al-Latif of the Ba `Alawis), or a liturgical repetition of various formula and prayers (e.g. al-Wadhifa of the Tijanis ). All of these forms are referred to as a "hizb" (pl. "ahzab") or a "wird" (pl. "awrad"). This terminological usage is important as some critics often mistakenly believe that the word hizb only refers to a portion of the Quran. In addition, many recite extended prayers upon Muhammad (known as durood) of which the Dala'il al-Khayrat is perhaps the most popular. Though common to almost all Sufi orders, some (such as the Naqsbandis) prefer to perform their dhikr silently - even in group settings. In addition, most gatherings are held on Thursday or Sunday nights as part of the institutional practices of the tariqah (since Thursday is the night marks the entrance of the Muslim "holy" day of Friday and Sundays are a convenient congregational time in most contemporary societies) - though people who don't live near their official zawiya gather whenever is convenient for the most people.
Another type of group dhikr ceremony that is most commonly performed in Arabic countries is called the haḍra (lit. presence). The haḍra is a communal gathering for dhikr and its associated liturgical rituals, prayers, and song recitals, performing both in private or public. Though the haḍra is popular (in part because of the controversy surrounding it), it is mostly practiced in North Africa, the Middle-East and Turkey. In Turkey this ceremony is called "Zikr-i Kiyam" (Standing dhikr) and "imara" in Algeria and Morocco. In places like Syria where Sufis are a visible part of the fabric and psyche of society, each order typically has their private gathering on one day and will participate in a public haḍra at a central location to which both the affiliated and unaffiliated alike are invited as an expression of unity. Similar public ceremonies occur in Turkey, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco.
For those who perform it, the haḍra marks the climax of the Sufi's gathering regardless of any teaching or formal structure - it often follows a formal teaching session as a way of internalizing the lessons. Musically, the structure of the haḍra includes several secular Arab genres (each of which expresses a different emotion) and can last for hours. It is directed by the sheikh of the tariqa or one of his representatives; monitoring the intensity, depth and duration of the phases of the haḍra, the sheikh aims to draw the circle into deep awareness of God and away from the participants own individuatedness. The dhikr ceremonies may have a ritually determined length or may last as long as the Sheikh deems his murids require. The haḍra section consists of the ostinato-like repetition of the name of God over which the soloist performs a richly ornamented song. In many haḍras, this repetition proceeds from the chest and has the effect of a percussion instrument, with the participants bending forward while exhaling and stand straight while inhaling so that both the movement and sound contribute to the overall rhythm. The climax is usually reached through cries of "Allah! Allah!" or "hu hu" (which is either the pronoun "he" or the last vowel on the word "Allah" depending on the method) while the participants are moving up and down. Universally, the haḍra is almost always followed by Quranic recital in the tarteel style - which according to al-Junayd al-Baghdadi, was a prophetic instruction received through a dream.
More common than the haḍra is the sama` (lit. audition), a type of group ceremony that consist mostly of the audition of spiritual poetry and Quranic recitation in an emotionally charged manner; and thus is not dhikr is the technical sense the word implies. However, the same debate over certain matters of decorum apply as exists with the haḍra. Even though group dhikr is popular and makes up the spiritual life of most Sufi adherents, other more private forms of dhikr are performed more routinely - usually consisting of the order's wird (daily litany) - which adherents usually recite privately, even if gathered together. So although group dhikr is seen as a hallmark of Sufism, the Sufis themselves practice the same private forms of worship that other Muslims practice, though usually more frequently and methodically; group dhikr is a less frequent occurrence and is not the end-all-and-be-all of Sufism, as some Sufi orders do not even perform it.
Known also as Tasbih, these are usually Misbaha (prayer beads) upon a string, 99 or 100 in number, which correspond to the names of God in Islam and other recitations. The beads are used to keep track of the number of recitations that make up the dhikr.
When the dhikr involves the repetition of particular phrases a specific number of times, the beads are used to keep track so that the person performing dhikr can turn all of their focus on what is actually being said - as it can become difficult to concentrate simultaneously on the number and phrasing when one is doing so a substantial number of times.
In the United States, Muslim inmates are allowed to utilize prayer beads for therapeutic effects. In Alameen v. Coughlin, 892 F. Supp. 440 (E.D.N.Y 1995), Imam Hamzah S. Alameen, a/k/a Gilbert Henry, and Robert Golden brought suit against Thomas A. Coughlin III, etc., et alia (Head of the Department of Corrections) in the State of New York pursuant to 28 USC @ 1983. The plaintiffs argued that prisoners have a First Amendment Constitutional right to pursue Islamic healing therapy called KASM (قاسَمَهُ | qaasama | taking an oath ) which uses prayer beads. The rosary of oaths, which Alameen developed, was used to successfully rehabilitate inmates suffering from co-occurring mental health challenges and substance abuse issues during the 1990s. All people, including Muslims and Catholics, were allowed to use prayer beads inside prisons, lest their freedom of religion be violated when the prison administration forbade their possession as contraband in the penal system. The practice of carrying prayer beads became controversial when gang-members began carrying specific colors of prayer beads to identify themselves.
A "dhakir" (Arabic/Persian: ذاکر) or "Zaker" (literally "mentioner"' a speaker who refers to something briefly/incidentally), or reminder, is considered a maddah who reminds the remembering of Allah (and His Dhikr) for people, and he himself should also be reciter of dhikhr; namely, not only he ought to be a recital --of dhikr-- but also he should put the audience in the situation of dhikr reminding (of Allah and likewise Ahlul-Bayt). Idiomatically the term means "praiser of God" or "professional narrator of the tragedies of Karbala (and Ahlul-Bayt)". To some extent, it can mean Maddah/panegyrist too.
The root of the word "Dhakir" (ذاکر) is "Dhikr" (ذکر) which means remembering/praising; and the word "Dhakiri" (ذاکری) is the act which is done by Dhakir, i.e. mentioning the dhikr (of Allah, Ahlul-Bayt, etc.) by observing its specific principles/manners.