Salam Dear Reader,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
The question about dhikr is indeed an important one since the act of dhikr (remembrance of Allah through supplications) is highly recommended and quite essential to develop as a habit by every believer.
Truly one of the easiest acts of worship that simultaneously has insurmountable amount of rewards and benefits in this world and the next is the remembrance of Allah (SWT).
Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
“Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (Quran 29:45)
Allah being the All-Knowing of the seen and unseen mentioned that the state of His remembrance is a greater act… than anything the person may be doing.
The point is that life is distracting; it distracts us from remembering the greater meaning, and remembering our Creator, the Source of life. So dhikr reflects a constant connection and loving bond with Him. Even if life’s busyness distracted us, we shall not forget the purpose of life, which is to know, love, worship and connect with our Creator.
In the hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said:
“Should I not inform you of the best of your deed, and the purest of them with your Master, and the highest of them in your ranks, and what is better for you than spending gold and silver, and better for you than meeting your enemy and striking their necks, and they strike your necks?” They said: “Of course.” He said, “The remembrance of Allah [Most High].” [Then] Mu’adh bin Jabal [may Allah be pleased with him] said: “There is nothing that brings more salvation from the punishment of Allah than the remembrance of Allah.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi]
There are many adhkar (supplications of remembrance) mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. They take minutes to utter, while their reward is quite generous.
1- The Prophet said:
“Al-hamdu lillah (all praise and gratitude belong to Allah) fills the scales, and subhan-Allah (how far is Allah from every imperfection) and Al-hamdulillah (all praise and gratitude belong to Allah) fill that which is between heaven and earth.” [Muslim].
2- The Prophet (peace and blessing upon him) also said:
“Whoever says a hundred times, ‘Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi ‘ (How perfect Allah is and I praise Him), his sins will be forgiven though they may be as much as the foam of the sea.” (Agreed upon)
So reciting words that take few minutes would actually lead to washing away sins as great as the foam of the sea.
They don’t have to be recited consecutively, if one made it a point to utter the adhkar whenever free, in traffic, in line to purchase something, in the elevator, while cooking….etc., one will then find that he/she have surpassed even the prescribed number, earned enormous rewards and remained in remembrance of Allah.
And Allah (SWT) says:
“Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah: Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Quran: 13: 28)
3- Additionally, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said:
“The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is: “O Allah! You are my Rabb (Lord) . There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favors that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon”.
He added. “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
(Transliteration: Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa anta, Anta Khalaqtani wa ana `Abduka, wa ana ‘ala ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’tu, A`udhu bika min Sharri ma sana’tu, abu’u Laka bini’matika ‘alaiya, wa abu’u laka bidhanbi faghfir lee fa innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta.)
1- You may purchase or download a booklet of adhkar (like Husnul Muslim/The Fortress of the Muslim). Recite from it whenever free throughout the day. In a week or so, you’ll find that you’ve already memorized those adhkar and can recite them on your own freely throughout the day.
2- In Ramadan, make sure to start the habit of reciting the morning and evening adhkar. Their reward is enormous in protecting the person, providing peace and tranquility and keeping one connected with Allah Almighty. Read about the rewards of the morning and evening adhkar for further encouragement.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.