There are five pillars of Islam namely: Shahadah, Salah, Fasting, Zakat and Hajj.
There are fixed times, certain limitations or specific circumstances for performing these different forms of worship of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) fixed the length of obligatory prayers. Obligatory fasting is only in the month of Ramadhan. Zakat is payable once a year. Haj is once in a lifetime if a person qualifies for it. Quran does not require us to be excessive in these forms of worship. However for the remembrance of Allah (SWT) there is no time, no place and no restriction placed upon it. It can be done sitting, standing or lying down. It can be done with or without ablution. It can be done at home or during a journey. It can be done when we are ill or healthy. It can be done during day or night. It should be done extensively. Allah (SWT) says in Quran Al-Ahzab # 41
O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance.
One of the characteristics of a believer is that he engages himself extensively in the remembrance of Allah (SWT). Al-Ahzab # 35
Verily, the Muslims men and women, the believers men and women, men and women who are obedient (to Allah), men and women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds), men and women who are patient, men and women who are humble, men and women who give Sadaqat (i.e. Zakat, and alms), men and women who observe fast, men and women who guard their chastity and men and women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise)
Allah (SWT) says that even in the battlefield when you are facing the enemies engage yourself in extensive remembrance of Allah (SWT) in order to be successful. Al-Anfal # 45
O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember the Name of Allah much (both with tongue and mind), so that you may be successful.
One villager said to Prophet Mohammad (SAS), “There are many obligatory as well as voluntary things to do in Islam. Please advise me about something which is simple and easy to do so that I can adhere to it.” Mohammad (SAS) said, “keep your tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah (SWT).” (Musnad Ahmad)
Abu Sayeed Khudri (RU) narrated that Mohammad (SAS) said, “Engage yourself in remembrance of Allah (SWT) so much so that you appear to be crazy about it.” (Musnad Ahmad)
Recitation of Quran is an excellent form of remembrance of Allah (SWT). Az-Zumar # 23
Allah has sent down the Best Statement, a Book (this Quran), its parts resembling each other (in goodness and truth) (and) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah. He Guides therewith whom He wills; and whomever Allah leaves to go astray, for him there is no guide.
Those who turn themselves away from remembrance of Allah (SWT) will be big losers.
Al-Zukhruf # 36-38
And whosoever turns away blindly from the remembrance of the Most Gracious (Allah) (i.e. this Quran and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Satan to be a companion to him. And verily, they (Satans / devils) hinder them from the Path (of Allah), but they think that they are guided aright! Till, when (such a one) comes to Us, he says to Satan, “Would that between me and you were the distance of the two easts (or the east and west)” a worst (type of) companion (indeed)!
Similarly in Al-Maidah # 91
Shaitan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As-Salat (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?
And in Al-Munafiqun # 9
O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers.
These are believers who have firm faith; none of the worldly attractions can divert them from the remembrance of Allah (SWT).
An-Nur # 37
Men whom neither trade nor sale (business) diverts from the Remembrance of Allah (with heart and tongue), nor from performing As-Salat, nor from giving the Zakat. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection).
Narrated by Abu Al-Darda (RU), Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said to his companions, “Should I tell you something which is superior to all your deeds, which is readily accepted by Allah (SWT), and raises your status with Allah (SWT)?” He added, “ It is better than your giving away all your gold and silver in the path of Allah (SWT), which is also better than your engaging in fights with the foes of Allah (SWT), when you kill them and they try to kill you.” The companions said, “Please advise us about it.” Mohammad (SAS) said, “Remembrance of Allah (SWT).”
There is a Hadith-e-Qudsi where Allah (SWT) says, “Whosoever remembers Me in his heart, I remember him in My heart. Whosoever remembers Me in a group, I remember him in a group (i.e. angels) which is far superior to his group.”
If we engage ourselves in the remembrance of Allah (SWT) consistently, the results are very fascinating. For example, Ali (RU) narrated that Fatima (RUA) had very visible marks on the palms of her hands by grinding the food grain for daily use. That was the time when some prisoners of wars were brought to Prophet Mohammad (SAS). Fatima (RUA) went to Mohammad (SAS) to request him for one of these prisoners as her servant. She did not find her father at home so she left a message about it with Aisha (RUA). Aisha (RUA) conveyed the request of Fatima (RUA) to Prophet Mohammad (SAS) on return to his home. On hearing this, Mohammad (SAS) came to our home the same night. We both were lying down and I tried to get up on his arrival. Mohammad (SAS) said, “Stay as you are”. He sat between Fatima and me. I could feel the coolness of his feet on my body. Mohammad (SAS) said, “ Let me tell you something better than asking for a servant. When you lie down on your bed, recite the following: Subha Nallah thirty three times, Al-Hamdo-Lillah thirty three times, Allah-ho-Akbar thirty four times. This is indeed better for you than a servant.” (Bukhari)
Imam Tamiya said that whosoever would recite these words at his bedtime will never feel lazy or tired.
This Hadith teaches us to be patient in facing the hardships of life just like Mohammad (SAS) advised his own daughter.
There is another similar hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (RU). A poor muslim came to Prophet Mohammad (SAS) and said, “We pray and similarly our rich brothers pray. We fast and they fast too. They perform Hajj and Umrah and give a lot in charity which the poor can’t do. Hence they are always ahead of us in doing good deeds.” This was a serious concern of poor Muslims since they wished to compete with their rich brothers in submission to Allah (SWT). Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said to them, “Do you want to know something which will make you equal to your rich brothers and nobody will be able to excel you. You can achieve this by reciting (Subha Nallah) thirty three times, (AL-Hamdo-Lillah) thirty three times and (Allah-ho-Akbar) thirty four times after offering each salat. (Bukhari)
Only the remembrance of Allah (SWT) soothes and satisfies the hearts. Ar-Rad # 28
Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah: verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.
We pray to Allah (SWT) to enable us remember Him in the best possible way. Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said to Maaz bin Jabbal (RU) to make the following supplication after every Salat.
“O Allah (SWT) enable me to remember You, thank You and worship You in the best possible way.”
Which is that best-possible-way of remembrance of Allah (SWT) ? Allah (SWT) specifies it in Quran, Al-Araf # 205
And remember your Lord within yourself, humbly and with fear and without loudness in words in the mornings, and in the afternoons and
be not of those who are neglectful.
May Allah (SWT) keep our tongues wet with His remembrance. (Ameen).