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Dhikr (Arabic: "Remembrance [of God]", "pronouncement", "invocation") (Arabic: ذکر‎, plural اذكار adhakār, Bosnian: zikr) is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity.



Muslims agree that the practice of dhikr has sanction in both the Qur'an and sunnah, however its method is disputed with some scholars considering certain forms, such as congregational dhikr, as blameworthy innovations while others hold it to be praiseworthy.

Dhikr beads

Known also as Tasbih, these are usually beads upon a string, 99 or 100 in number, which correspond to the Names of God in the Qur'an and other recitations. The beads are used to keep track of the number of recitations that make up the dhikr.

Muslim inmates in the United States are allowed to utilize dhikr beads for therapeutic effects.[1] This was a result of a successful action brought pursuant to 28 USC @ 1983 (by Imam Hamzah S. Alameen in the State of New York against Thomas A. Coughlin III, the Department of Corrections) arguing that prisoners have a First Amendment Constitutional right to use dhikr beads.

Some Islamic scholars argue that using the beads are forbidden, however. Many claim that the usage of the fingers to count is better as that is what was practiced by Muhammad.[2]

Sufi view

Followers of Sufism engage in ritualized dhikr ceremonies, the details of which are the primary difference between Sufi orders or tariqah.[3] Each order or lineage within an order has one or more forms for group dhikr, the liturgy of which may include recitation, singing, instrumental music, dance, costumes, incense, meditation, ecstasy, and trance. [4] Dhikr in a group is not limited to these rules but most often done on Thursday and/or Sunday nights as part of the institutional practice of most orders.

A group dhikr ceremony in Arabic countries is usually called the hadrah. In Turkey the group ceremony is called Zikr-i Kiyam. The hadrah marks the climax of the Sufi's gathering regardless of any teaching or formal structure. Musically this structure includes several secular Arab genres and can last for hours.[5]

The hadrah section consists of the ostinato-like repetition of the name of God over which the soloist performs a richly ornamented song. Often the climax is reached through cries of "Allah! Allah!" or "hu hu", with the participants bending forward while exhaling and stand straight while inhaling.

Dhikr hadrah articulation, upward beams indicating inhalation and downward beams indicating exhalation [5]

The hadrah is directed by a shaykh of the tariqa or one of his representatives; monitoring the intensity, depth and duration of the phases of the hadrah, the shaykh aims to draw the circle into deep awareness of God. Dhikr ceremonies may have a ritually determined length or may last as long as the shaykh deems his murids require.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Worship and Jurisprudence: "At-Tasbih with Beads (Al-Misbahah)", FatwaIslam.Com.
  3. ^ Friedlander, p. 20.
  4. ^ Touma, p.162.
  5. ^ a b Touma, p.165.


  • Friedlander, Ira (1975). The Whirling Dervishes. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0025415409.  
  • Touma, Habib Hassan (1996). The Music of the Arabs, trans. Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-88-8.

Further reading

  • Algar, Hamid, trans. The Path of God's Bondsmen: From Origin to Return. North Haledon, NJ: Islamic Publication International, 1980.
  • Annemarie. "Mystical Dimensions of Islam". Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina P, 1975.
  • Gardet, L. “DHikr.” Encyclopedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill,2009. Brill Online.
  • Privratsky, Bruce, Muslim Turkistan, p. 104.

External links


Simple English

The Arabic word Dhikr means remembrance. Another word is Dhikrullah (remembrance of God).

Dhikr is a kind of worship to God. It is often performed by the Sufis in congregation, and each Sufi-order has its special kind of Dhikr. However all muslims must do dhikr.There are many benfits of doing Dhikr.Such as the fact it is a polisher of the heart, a way of gaining closeness to Allah, one can even gain trees in Paradise for it.


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