It is human nature that when we desire something or are in need of something, we constantly think about it. When we are hungry, we tend to think about food. When we are thirsty, we tend to think about how we can quench our thirst. When we are in love we are always thinking of the beloved. This is human nature. Allah created us this way. Similarly, one who truly loves Allah, the one who understands how much he is in need of Allah will constantly think about Allah. That is why one of the signs of imaan is to constantly think of Allah, to always be mindful of Allah. The importance of constant dhikr cannot be emphasized enough, particularly if we desire to be on the receiving end of Allah’s Grace and Mercy.
Dhikr, in Islam, is remembering Allah in the heart and mentioning Him by the tongue.
It is an all-embracing term that, in addition to including the ritual acts of worship, covers an array of activities of the tongue and heart. It involves being mindful of Allah which entails thinking about Him and making mention of Him at all times and in every area of our lives. This is the worship that has no special time, but is performed constantly so that it permanently links man’s life with Allah and His service.
What do we say when we leave or enter the house? What do we say when we enter or leave the mosque? What do we say in the morning and in the evening and after the five daily prayers? We may know some of these adhkar, but let us memorize the ones that we don’t know and make it a habit to follow the teachings of the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Significance in the Quran & Sunnah
Dhikr is central to our deen and Allah and His Prophet have praised the blessings of dhikr in numerous verses and ahadith.
1. Allah praises the believers who perform dhikr.
Allah, the Exalted, says in the Quran:
“…and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.”(Quran 33:35)
2. Allah tells us that a sign of the believer is that he is always engaged in dhikr.
Allah, the Exalted, says in the Quran:
“Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides…” (Quran 3:191)
“O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance. And exalt Him morning and afternoon.” (Quran 33:41)
3. The difference between the one who engages in dhikr and the one who does not.
This difference was explained by Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him:
“The example of the one who is mindful of his Lord in comparison to the one who is not, is similar to the living and the dead.”
If one’s heart is ‘alive’, it will become apparent through their devotion to dhikr, as this is a sign of true life, but if one is negligent of this, their heart is ‘dead’. Perhaps that is why the classical scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “The importance of dhikr and its relation to one’s heart is similar to the importance of water to a fish; just as fish cannot live without water, your heart cannot live without dhikr.”
4. Dhikr protects you from your worst enemies.
Your enemies in this world are your desires and Shaytan. The Prophet in a beautiful hadith gives an example of the strength of dhikr; he said: “Allah commanded Yahya ibn Zakariyyah (peace be upon him) to tell the Children of Israel to do five things, including the following: I command you to remember Allah, for this is like a man who is being pursued by the enemy, then he comes to a strong fortress and saves himself from them. Similarly, a man cannot save himself from the Shaytan except by means of dhikr.” When you are mindful of Allah, Allah will protect you from your enemies.
5. Dhikr removes the ‘rust’ from your heart.
‘Rust’ is a metaphor used to describe a mood of heedless and oblivious behavior, whereby one is enthralled with the worldly life and has forgotten the life to come.
Allah, the Exalted, says in the Quran:
“No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning.” (Quran 83:14)
Hearts becomes ‘rusty’. The Prophet was asked, what is the way to remove this ‘rust’? He said that one of the ways to remove this rust is through the dhikr of Allah. The dhikr of Allah makes the rust of this wordily life (dunya) go away. It makes you more spiritual and more conscious of Allah.
6. Dhikr trivializes the problems of this world.
Dhikr is a source of refuge from the problems of this world. We all have some sort of problems in our life - financial, family, social, ethnic, and racial. Although these problems may hurt us and make us sad, one of the ways to minimize this hurt and pain is to be constantly engaged in dhikr. The more you are mindful of Allah, the more you realize that these finite problems are trivial. Dhikr of Allah trivializes worldly problems. That is why Allah says,
“…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” (Quran 13:28)
7. Dhikr opens up a channel of communication, a dialogue between you and Allah.
The one who constantly engages in dhikr has an open door, a direct channel through which he is always communicating with Allah. When you don’t have dhikr, you don’t have this relationship.
Below is a short list of some adhkar that you can incorporate in your day.
1. Reciting Quran: the best dhikr
You will be rewarded 10 rewards for every letter individual letter you recite. This incentive should set reading the Quran as a top your priority in life.
2. Subhan Allahi wa bi-hamdihi (Far removed is Allah from every imperfection and may He be Praised)
1. When this is said 100 times every morning and evening, the merit of this is so great that no one will have done better than this individual, except someone who said the same or more.
2. A tree will be planted in Paradise (for the sayer) each time they say this.
3. Whoever says this 100 times a day, his sins will be forgiven even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.
4. Saying it 100 times will earn one 100 good deeds or 1000 sins will be struck off from their record.
3. Alhamdulillah (All praise and thanks are for Allah)
1. These words are the best supplication.
2. They fill the Scale of good deeds.
3. The reward of these words will fill the space between earth and the heaven.
4. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (There is no might or power except from Allah)
These words are a treasure of Paradise.
5. Subhan Allah (How Perfect is Allah!) [33 times], Alhamdulillah (All praise and thanks are for Allah) [33 times], Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) [34 times]
It should be recited after the formal prayers and before one goes to bed/sleep.
We know that this dhikr is said after each formal prayer, but when Fatima the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessing of Allah be upon him, came to her father requesting a servant to help with the household chores, the Prophet taught her this dhikr instead of giving her a servant. He said that repeating it would give better results than having a servant.
6. Astagh-fi-rullah (I seek Allah’s forgiveness)
1. “Allah will provide you with children and wealth.” (Quran 72:10-12)
2. “Allah will add to your strength.” (Quran 11:52)
3. “Allah will grant good provisions for a specified term.” (Quran 11:3)
4. It is cure for a heart that becomes busy with thoughts. (based on a hadith in Sahih Muslim)
7. Subhan Allah, wa alhamdulillah, wa la ilaha illa Allah, wa Allahu Akbar (Far removed is Allah from every imperfection, all praise and thanks are for Allah, there is no true deity but Allah, Allah is the Greatest)
1. These words were dearer to Prophet Muhammad than everything the sun rose upon.
2. Saying these words is like giving charity for every joint.
8. Subhan Allah, wa alhamdulillah, wa la ilaha illa Allah, wa Allahu akbar, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (Far removed is Allah from every imperfection, all praise and thanks are for Allah, there is no true deity but Allah, Allah is the Greatest, there is no might or power except from Allah)
1. These words are sufficient to repeat for a person who cannot learn anything of the Quran.
2. The above are “good deeds which endure”
3. Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) told Prophet Muhammad that Paradise is of pure land, its water is sweet, and its expanse is vast, spacious and the above words are its plants. 
9. La ilaha illa Allah, Allahu akbar, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (There is no true deity but Allah, Allah is the Greatest, there is no might or power except from Allah)
No one says these words except that his sins are forgiven even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.
10. Subhan Allah wa bi-hamdihi, Subhan Allah al-Adheem (Far removed is Allah from every imperfection, and Praise, Glory be to Allah, the Supreme)
The Prophet said: “Two words which are easy on the tongue, hefty in the Scale, and are beloved to the Most Merciful…”