Whatever you do should be done with the intention of obedience to Him, and this includes abstention from what is forbidden. Your indulgence in what is allowed should be with the intention of seeking His reward. -And if you have two different choices always go for the one which is nearer to God and farther from the temptation to being misled. If you are caught off guard and are drawn away from the path of God, but realize what you have done later, you always have the chance to repent and ask for forgiveness. “Verily, they who are conscious of God bethink themselves (of Him) whenever any dark suggestion from Satan touches them – whereupon, lo! they begin to see things clearly”(Qur’an;7:201). The best way of remembering God is coordinating and integrating the way you speak with the way you feel. Anything you say coming from a mind preoccupied with something else unrelated to the matter at hand, holds no real meaning. For example, a street vendor wanting to sell his wares may repeat, “God is generous'” to attract people’s attention to what he is selling, rather than because he is really remembering God. Similarly we cannot take someone seriously who is drinking alcohol, or singing crude songs while talking about God. The best forms of Dhikr are those words uttered when we recite the Holy Qur’an, while kneeling and prostrating in prayer or as suggested by our Prophet (peace be upon him). These days, congregations of Dhikr are performed in a way that is regarded unfavorably in Islam. Dhikr performed through dance or other movements and making rather strange sounds are also not allowed, unless such dancing is performed by someone in a state of divine ecstasy.
The Condition of Fear and Hope:
One form of remembering God is to ‘fear’ Him – to be in awe of Him – and to be aware of how we can suffer if we forget Him, and to hope for His pardon. Let us examine those two concepts in detail. We must always bear in mind that God settles an account quickly and we soon feel great discomfort when we lose our way and forget Him. A real awareness of this ‘punishment’ makes us eager to please Him, as we realise that this makes us feel much more comfortable and at ease. While this realization induces fear in us, recognition of His readiness to forgive reminds us of His great compassion and generosity and consequently inspires us with hope. A God-fearing heart will always receive His mercy: “Verily, none but people who deny the truth can ever lose hope of God’s life-giving mercy”(Qur’an;12:87). A person who lives in an illusion of hopes without being aware of God’s power may feel that he is protected from what is in store for him. God says about such people: “But none feels secure from God’s deep devising save people who are already lost”(Qur’an;7:99). As mentioned earlier there is no similarity between the Creator and the created. This means that the fear you have for the Creator is not the same as the fear you have for His Creatures. For example you would be terrified if a lion confronted you, showing its teeth, and you were unarmed and unable to protect yourself. But fear of God is completely different. You might be able to ward off the lion’s attack but you cannot ward off what is willed by God. Here is another example. You may be caught in a violent flood and panic that it will sweep you away. But that fear is not like the fear of God Who has caused the flood and Who, if He so desires, has the power to stop it or cause it to flow again. It may be possible to escape from the flood, whereas there is no escape from the suffering of God’s punishment when it occurs. Fear of illness, hardships, loss of your near and dear ones, ‘financial loss, etc., cannot equal the fear of God the Omnipotent and Omniscient. If He wills He may cause you great hardship. And if He wills He may spare you. But no creature can cure you of any illness which your Creator has inflicted on you. A Muslim must therefore be aware of the importance of both ‘hope’ and ‘fear’. This can be demonstrated very simply in our prayer, when we utter the phrase, “God the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”, followed by “Lord of the Day, of Judgement”. Unfortunately most Muslims these days put more importance on hope and pardon, than on fear and punishment. However, this does not mean that a devout Muslim should grow complacent simply because he performs all the duties God has ordained and abstains from what is forbidden. He should continue exerting himself and aspire for a privileged position in the next life, and not be like the student who just manages to scrape through his exams without getting a high grade.
- Manifestation of Faith