And do thou (O reader!) bring thy Lord to remembrance in thy very soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evenings, and be not thou of those who are unheedful.
Al-Quran (translation by Asad) 7:205
Side thought : The best way to grasp the message of the Quran is through the Arabic language itself. I've been shown how intricate the Arabic words are, how rich the language is. MasyaAllah. God help me.
So, today we spoke of the above ayat and the virtue of zikir (remembrance of Allah). The easy zikir being 'Subhanallah' and the essence of zikir is not in how long or complicated the verse you want to use for zikir is, but how it touches your heart and mind with remembrance. The best of zikir, to me, is reading the Quran (and the meanings, for people like me who don't fully understand Arabic.) Because there is a message in the Quran - it's like listening to what Allah has to say to us - paying attention to it.
Of course remembrance of Allah can be in many other ways too, such as reciting the names of Allah & extra solats, among others. But one of my favourite ways of zikir, is to observe nature - these natural things around us which Allah has created, the trees, the ocean, the birds, the bees, the ants - for us to observe, to learn and think. Subhanallah.
Then someone asked about zikir - 3 questions :
1) Can one have his own 'collection' of zikirs?
2) What are the ulama's opinions about the use of melody in zikirs?
3) What about zikir in own language?
Basically the answer provided was : yes, yes and if you can say it in Arabic, why not in Arabic? why in Malay e.g. 'Yang Maha Besar, Yang Maha Besar? It was added that the Salafi would of course disagree - because everything must have reference to the Quran or the Sunnah, if there is no reference, then it's bid'ah. But in the teacher's humble opinion, he thinks it should be ok.
I don't know if I'm a 'Salafi' I don't like labels. But in any case, I can understand where the Salafi may be coming from. Although I may not violently disagree with him, that it's ok for him to have his own 'collection' of zikir - ( wouldn't it be better if he just followed the Sunnah?) - but it's still ok. However, the answer cannot stop there. A person having his own collection, for whatever good reason, may be fine - he is sincere, perhaps he finds that he remembers Allah better, it moves his heart more this way etc
But once that gets passed on to a lot of other people, especially 3rd hand and above - that is where the problem may arise. Not long after, some people may believe this to be a part of a most recommended ibadah (more followed and revered than the sunnah itself) Even now, we can see many examples of doas and zikirs and rituals passed down or learned, that are already confusing people between what's mandatory, what's really just optional, or what is even non-existent in the religion.
And as for no. 2 and 3 - why don't we go back to the essence of remembering Allah. If a person sincerely finds that melody's help him remember with his heart..well, who am I to say. If a person really feels that he grasps the meaning and feel of 'Allah Maha Besar' better than Allahu Akbar - errm..well, ok. What we want to achieve is to remember in awe.
But again, as in the first case, if this gets passed on the 2nd and 3rd person onwards - people may lose track of the real reasons and place more importance on method over objectives - cause it was not emphasized enough.