Aug 29, 2014

Dhikr in Social Gatherings: Part One – Initiating Dhikr

By Anum Ali


Halaqas, khutbahs, and lectures are purposeful gatherings dedicated to religious learning and the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah subhana wa ta’aala and the Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam. While there are great merits for arranging such purposeful gatherings of knowledge, it is also essential to incorporate dhikr in family and friends’ routine and special gatherings as well. Gatherings are mostly arranged for the purpose of leisure or to commemorate a special event such as a wedding, birthday, or graduation. Friends and family also come together at funerals, the passing away of a loved one or an acquaintance. A large majority of events pertain to pursuits of the material world. And amidst celebrations or remorse, the remembrance of the Creator and His Prophet are cast into oblivion.

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam said:

“No group gather in a sitting in which they do not remember Allah, nor sent Salat upon their Prophet, except it will be a source of remorse for them. If He wills, He will punish them, and if He wills, He will forgive them” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 3380). 

Dhikr helps spread knowledge to others and to discipline the moral conduct of gatherings. 

Dhikr for Mercy and Tranquility

The obvious benefit of dhikr cannot be disregarded that it helps the attendees to gain countless blessings from Allah subhana wa ta’aala. It was narrated that Abu Hurairah and Abu Sa’eed bore witness that the Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasallam said: 

“No people sit in a gathering remembering Allah subhana wa ta’aala, but the angels surround them, mercy covers them, tranquility descends upon them and Allah subhana wa ta’aala remembers them before those who are with Him.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 3791).

Our daily lives are full of trials and clamor of routine obligations and challenges. Dhikr even at a personal or family level can help provide calmness and tranquility because these are a promise from Allah subhana wa ta’aala. A gathering in which Allah subhana wa ta’aala is remembered and salaam and blessing are sent upon the Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam brings a gift of peace and tranquility for the attendees. 

Knowledge - The Blessed Benefit of Dhikr

In addition to the promised peace and tranquility, knowledge is another significant gift that can be acquired through dhikr.

Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam said, 

“From among the portents of the Hour are (the following): (1) Religious knowledge will be taken away (by death of religious learned men), (2) (Religious) ignorance will prevail, (3) Drinking alcoholic drinks (will be very common), (4) There will be prevalence of open illegal sexual intercourse.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 80].

One does not have to think too hard to spot the most basic signs of religious ignorance. They are right there in our families and in our peer circles. Dhikr is the most simple, but the most powerful mechanism that can help to counter this deterioration. By choosing the most common of topics, some very powerful changes can be made in people’s lives. When dhikr is part of a social gathering, its topics should be selected such that the social context becomes its practical example. For instance, revisiting the Qur’an and Sunnah teachings pertaining to marital relations at someone’s wedding.

The best source of knowledge is that which comes from a learned person such as a Shaikh, an Imam, or a scholar. But since dhikr can be arranged at smaller social levels as well, a student of knowledge in the family or a volunteer who can research Islamic discussion topics can also address the gathering.

Dhikr often becomes a form of inspiration; in addition to a source of knowledge for the listeners. The speaker can aim to set an example for the people he or she is addressing in the gathering because he or she enjoys the opportunity to carry forward the legacy of Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam and the Word of Allah subhana wa ta’aala. 

Initiating Dhikr

The Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam is known to be the best conductor of dhikr, and he took special care of selecting the best time and the best manner of speaking. Anas bin Malik has narrated that the Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam said: 

“Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam)” [Sahih al-Bukhari 69]. 

So, the idea is to make dhikr interesting.

It takes a strong, well-planned initiative to incorporate dhikr in family and social gatherings. We live in morally distressed times when friends and family folk may be disconnected from Allah subhana wa ta’aala and our Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam. At the same time, they may not be willing to lend their interest to religious discussions. It is essential to find the right opportunity to initiate dhikr.

The head of the family, an elder family member, or even a younger one can take the initiative. It is not necessary that the initiator of dhikr should be a student of knowledge; however, he or she already is if they are willing to trigger it. Considering the timing of dhikr and during which activity in the gathering dhikr can begin.

For example, guests can be given a welcoming address and a few words can be spoken on a topic of interest. If, for instance, it is someone’s graduation party, the host can say a few words on the importance of education in Islam and the effective use of the Prophet Muhammad’s salAllahu alaihi wasallam teachings. Of course, this implies some research on part of the speaker. In western countries, speeches and toasts are common at parties. We can initiate the same but we raise a Halal Toast!

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please leave comments in the section below!


Jazakumullah khair for this informative article.

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