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The Powerful Advice Prophet John Gave to the Believers

In this episode, we’re going to actually talk about the advice of Prophet John (peace be upon him) about how a person can guard the remembrance of Allah.

So, this is the long hadith where the Prophet mentions Prophet Yahya (John), as John stands up in Jerusalem and starts to give a speech and Jesus (peace be upon him) standing next to him.

So imagine the scene!

And the Prophet said everyone comes out to listen to Yahya, and they fill their balconies… John calls out to them with the commandments: the commandments of prayer, the commandments of fasting, the commandments of charity… all of these different Commandments.

Remembrance of Allah

John says amongst the commandments:

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“Allah commands you to remember Him. For indeed the parable of one who remembers Allah is like a man who’s been chased down by his enemy. And as he’s cornered by his enemy, he finds this fortress that cannot be penetrated, and he jumps behind that fortress and which he protects himself from them until his enemy flees away from him out of despair.”

So imagine a person running away from his enemy and then he gets behind the fortress and his enemy tries to find ways to get around that fortress and he finds it impossible until he despairs and runs away.

He says:

“This is like a person when he remembers Allah, he does not protect himself from Satan on except by the remembrance of Allah.”

And this is why dhikr (remembrance) is called Hisn-ul Muslim (fortress of the Muslim). Because the Prophet said:

Your remembrance of Allah is a fortress for you from Satan.

If you are constantly in a state of remembrance, then Satan cannot penetrate your faith in any way.

Read: A Life of Remembrance

And a lot of times, people think that, “I have to be an environment where remembrance takes place so that I can remember Allah”, but the fact of the matter is that the Prophet prescribed dhikr for places that Satan is likely to get you.

One of the most rewarding times to remember Allah is when you’re entering into the marketplace because Satan can get you in those spaces.

So doing the dua, the supplication, as you enter into the marketplace. When you’re doing remembrance of Allah in a gathering, where people are likely to backbite or gossip basically Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim says:

“The remembrance of Allah is most important in the places and times where Satan is most likely to get your faith.”

Think about that, what is your most likely sin? What is your most likely action to distance you from Allah? And how much do you remember Allah in those moments?

And that’s why we go back to Umar, the Prophet said:

Satan takes another Road from Umar.

Read: 4 Steps to Boost Dhikr

Satan cannot even be on the same street as Umar because Umar is always in the zone and he is always in the remembrance of Allah, and that the Prophet saw that garment of faith is there, he’s always protecting himself.

Allah mentions Al waswas al khannas, He describes Satan as the one who frequently whispers and the one who sinks away.

Al Hassan al Basri says:

“When you become heedless, Satan whispers; and when you remember Allah Satan sinks away and flees away from you.”

Think about the fortress and how you’re protecting your iman. And think about when you remember Allah and establish a regimen of the remembrance of Allah in the places and times where Satan usually gets you.

If that’s your workplace, you need to remember Allah in the workplace, if it’s the marketplace, you need to remember Allah there, if it’s in gatherings, you need to remember Allah there, if it’s in the privacy of your home when you’re behind a computer screen, you need to have a regimen of dhikr, something that reminds you to remember Allah in those moments… and to start verbalizing that dhikr from the heart so that Satan cannot penetrate and start leading you away from faith.

About Omar Suleiman
Imam Omar Suleiman is the President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith alliance for peace and justice.