Quran (Surah 13: Verse 28)
Zikr, pronounced Dhi-kar, means remembrance. It is often associated with Allah to mean "Remembrance of Allah".
Essentially, the practice of dhikr is a form of prayer in which the sudi will express his or her remembrance of God either within or overtly; this may come in the form of recitation, lyrical chanting, or simply always remembering God in one’s heart.
A Sufi dhikr (zikr) is an opportunity to focus on the highest ideal of Allah (God) that one can conceptualise in the form of chanting or repeating His Names and Attributes in a rhythmic way. This has the effect of opening the heart to enable us to then feel, sense or experience God.
The Sufi says God is love, lover and beloved. In other words God is the object, God is the subject, and God is the love experienced between the two.
Dhikr is the means by which Stations yield their fruit, until the seeker reaches the Divine Presence. On the journey to the Divine Presence the seed of remembrance is planted in the heart and nourished with the water of praise and the food of glorification, until the tree of dhikr becomes deeply rooted and bears its fruit. It is the power of all journeying and the foundation of all success. It is the reviver from the sleep of heedlessness, the bridge to the One remembered
Among the orders of Muslims that practice dhikr, there are some who advocate silent, individual prayer, while others join together in an outward, group expression of their love for God
This practice of Dhikr is called Zikar-e-Qalbi (remembrance of Allah by Heartbeats). The basic idea in this practice is to visualize the Arabic name of God, Allah, as having been written on the disciple's heart.
There are some Sufi orders, such as the Naqshbandi, that perform dhikr in groups at a Haḍra (or presence). Haḍra is a communal gathering for dhikr and its associated liturgical rituals, prayers, and song recitals, whether private or public; in earlier orders, the "presence" referred to was that of God, but since the 18th century it has been considered the spiritual presence of Muhammad
Other verses include sura 33 (Al-Ahzab), ayah 41, "O ye who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often;", and sura 13 (Ar-Ra'd), ayah 28, "They are the ones whose hearts rejoice in remembering God. Absolutely, by remembering God, the hearts rejoice." There are also a number of hadiths that give emphasis to remembrance of God. Muhammad said that "the best [dhikr] is that of la elaha ella’llah, and the best supplicatory prayer is that of al-hamdo le’llah," which translate to "there is no god but God" and "praise to God" respectively
Detailed Description of Dhikr of the Heart
The way to do zikr Ism-e-zaat (remember the name of Allah in the heart) is to place one’s tongue against the pallet, and then to empty the mind of all thoughts and worries. One then puts one’s attention on the heart, which is located a couple of finger widths below the left nipple. And then, with the tongue of the heart, not vocally, and with no movement of the lips, one recites, ‘Allah, Allah…..’, keeping in mind the meaning of this, namely, ‘I am remembering Allah who is perfect in every manner and is free of any faults; and it is Him in whom we have Faith.’ One should always be engaged in this type of zikr so that the heart can be continually busy in this.
All the while the eyes must remain closed. Imagine that by the light of this Name of the Essence of Allah, the rust, darkness, evil thoughts and selfish insinuations are being removed and that, in gratitude for this, your heart in its own place is saying “Allah! Allah! Allah!” And that due to this cascade of light, your entire heart is becoming happy, blessed, illuminated, and in grace, because you are remembering your true object of desire and on your way to meet Him.
In this manner, every day without fail, on two occasions take time to spend twenty or thirty minutes in silent remembrance, using the beads to reckon to ten thousand. For a like amount of time meditate silently and await blessing.
For maximum benefit, it is necessary to learn this type of zikr from a Shaykh.