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After performing fards and wâjibs and abstaining from harâms and mushtabihât, the dhikr is the most effective supererogatory (nâfila) ’ibâdât. One should always perform the dhikr of Allâhu ta’âlâ. A hadîth sharîf says, ‘What the people of Paradise regret most is the time spent without the dhikr of Allâhu ta’âlâ in the world.’ Allâhu ta’âlâ cannot be approached by performing supererogatory ’ibâdât and reciting the Qur’ân al-karîm before fanâ’ an-nafs is attained. No progress can be made with them unless the bâtin is purified. The bâtin can be purified by the dhikr of Allah. The Hadîth ash-sharîf declares, ‘The best dhikr is Lâ ilâha illa ’llâh.’ Therefore, one should always repeat this kalimat at-tawhîd in one’s free time. And in his remaining spare time, one should meet and attend the suhba of the people who always think of the next world and are sâlih. If one cannot find pious company, one should not make friends with renegades, bid’a-followers or fâsiqs (those who commit harâms), but read books written by the sâlih. One should not converse with those who are ignorant of Islam, those who have set their hearts on the world and who are lâ-madhhabî. Conversation with such people is detrimental to one’s bâtin (heart, soul). Attending the suhba of awliyâ’ is more useful than the dhikr and other supererogatory ’ibâdât. As-Sahâbat al-kirâm (radî-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anhum) used to say, ‘Would you stay with me for sometime so that I may refresh my îmân,’ when they saw one another. Jalâl ad-dîn Rûmî (rahmat-Allâhi ’alaih) said:

‘Little time spent in the presence of awliyâ’

Is more helpful than a century with taqwâ!