Dhikr, meaning remembrance, that is, remembrance of God, is one of the basic teachings of Islam. The opposite state, that of forgetfulness of God, is unpardonable negligence.
Dhikr is a reality of nature. At every moment man experience those things, which are directly related with God. He sees the sun, the moon, the rivers, the mountains, the air and the water. All of these are God’s creations. It is but natural that all the creations that come before man should be reminders of the Creator. Right from the earth to the heavens, all things are manifestation of God’s Beauty and Perfection. With their whole existence they serve as harbingers of God’s Being.
Similarly in the world, as man leads his life, day and night, his attention is drawn at all times to God. Being influenced by God’s creation, his heart and mind produce divine feelings. Dhikr is nothing but the verbal expression of these feelings.
Throughout his life man experiences his attachment to God again and again, and when he ponders over his existence, his heart is filled with rejoicing that God created him in the most noble image and lavished upon him all the best qualities. These feelings well up in his heart in many ways. This is also a form of dhikr.
Man undergoes many kinds of ups and downs in his daily life; he has pleasant as well as unpleasant experiences of all kinds. As he goes through these experiences he repeatedly turns to God and remembers Him in different words, again and again.
Similarly, during his daily obeisance he repeats many prayers. These words of prayer are derived sometimes from the Qur’an and sometimes from the hadith. These words coming spontaneously to his lips are the stuff of dhikr, the remembrance of God.