Invocation of the Personal name of Allah

The esoteric self (Batin) of a person enclosed in physical body is a living being. It demands attention just like physical body. Just as proper food is necessary to provide energy to physical body, this esoteric self (Batin) also needs nourishment which gives it peace, energy and strength. In the Holy Qur'an Allah says:

Meaning: No doubt the peace of heart and soul is in invocation (Zikr) of the Personal Name of Allah ( )". (Al-Ra'ad-28) It means mans' heart and soul find peace in invocation (Zikr) of the Personal Name of Allah because this is the source of its nourishment and strength. Soul of the person who neglects it, does not find spiritual sustenance, as Allah Says:

Meaning: And whoever turns away from my Zikr, his (spiritual) sustenance will be cut short and I will raise him blind on the day of Resurrection (as well). (Ta-Ha-124) The word (earning) in this verse refers to the subsistence of the soul, not to the material wealth because Allah has given enough material wealth to non Muslims who never invoke Allah's name.
Man suffers loss in this world and the hereafter because of his negligence towards invocation (Zikr) of Allah's name; because without Zikr his soul will not get the strength to tear the veils of ethereal personalities of self (Nafs) in order to obtain Allah's Vision (Deedar) and Gnosis (Marifat). In the Holy Qur'an Allah says:

Meaning: O' Believers! Let not your wealth and your children make you neglectful of Zikr of Allah, and whoever does so, it is those who are the losers (Al-Munafiqun-9) All the creatures of Allah are invoking His different attributive names. The Holy Qur'an says:

Meaning: The seven heavens and the earth and all that exists in them persistently extol the Glory of Allah and there is not a single object (in the entire universe) but it glorifies Him with His praise. But you can't identify their glorification. (Bani-Israel-44) Man has been granted the invocation of the Personal Name of Allah (Zikr-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat) because this is the most powerful name of Allah which possesses powers of all His attributive names. This name is so powerful that if it is placed on one side of a scale and the whole universe, heaven and the hell on the other, then the side heavier is that of the Personal Name of Allah ( ). Invocation of the Personal Name of Allah (Zikr-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat) empowers soul with the enlightened sight prerequisite for the Vision (Deedar) of Allah. Soul gets so empowered that it can tear all the veils of material body and life itself to attain the Union (Visal), the Vision (Deedar) and Gnosis (Marifat) of Allah before physical death.
Since invocation of Allah's Personal Name (Zikr-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat) is the basis to attain Gnosis (Marifat) of Allah,the destination of man's creation, that is why the first order and revelation from Allah to Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam was to invoke Allah's name:

Meaning: O' Beloved (Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam) read with the name of Allah who has created everything. (Al-Alaq-1) Allah ordered the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam and his followers to invoke His Personal Name (Zikr-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat) before making all the physical prayers an obligation for them so that their soul obtains enlightened sight to attain Gnosis (Marifat) of Allah which is the basis and essence of all prayers. When this foundation of religion was strengthened, only then physical prayers were made an obligation.
Surah Muzamil, Surah Al-Ala, Surah Waqiah, Surah Al-Airaf, Surah Kahaf, Surah Taha, were revealed in Makkah before obligatory prayers were ordered. In all of them Allah has ordered the Muslims to invoke Allah's Personal Name (Zikr-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat) and has also described the proper way of invocation (Zikr).

Meaning: So [O' Esteemed Beloved Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam] glorify Allah with (invocation of) his Personal Name ( ), most magnificent, with persistence. (Al-Haqa'a-52, Al-Waqia-74, 96)

Meaning: Glorify the Personal Name of your Allah, the most high. (Al-A'la-1)

Meaning: And continue invoking the Personal Name of your Allah (), devoted to Him alone (in your heart and soul) broken away from everyone else. (Surah Muzamil-8)

Meaning: And establish prayers for the sake of my invocation. (Surah Taha-14)

Then He describes the proper and desired way of invocation.

Meaning: And invoke Allah's Personal Name ( ) with your breath, submissively and secretly and in low tones, morning and evening and be not among the neglectfuls. (Al-Airaf-205)

Meaning: Invoke your Allah's Personal Name () most submissively and secretly, surely He does not like the transgressors. (Al-Airaf-55) To invoke secretly means to invoke without voice i.e. through breathing. Allah ordered to invoke Allah's Name with breath because breath is related to soul .As soon as soul enters body, it starts breathing and when it leaves, it stops. So invocation (Zikr) through breathing is a source of strength for the soul just as eating from mouth is a source to provide energy to the whole body. The Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said that:

Meaning: Every person has counted breaths, every breath which leaves the body without invoking Allah's name is lifeless . That means the breath which comes out with Allah's Personal Name is full of life for soul.
Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said; "The person who invokes Allah's name is alive (spiritually) and who doesn't is dead" (Bukhari – Muslim).
Soul of the person, who invokes Allah's Personal Name, is alive and dead for those who don't. Now a days majority of the Muslims don't find it necessary to invoke Allah's name and feel that mere physical prayers are more than enough to develop their relationship with Allah, and those who do, invoke it loudly only with voice not with heart and soul. Some people claim that they invoke Allah's name with heart but for them heart means the cardiac muscle placed in the left side of chest. They hold their breath and recite Allah's Name loudly and try to shake this cardiac muscle. When this physical heart starts reciting " ", they think that their soul has become alive. This cardiac muscle is just an organ like other organs of the body, meant to pump blood in the body. After the physical death, this heart will also decay, like the other body parts, in the grave. Soul is not material; its strength lies in invocation (Zikr) of Allah's Name secretly and continuously as Allah says:

Meaning: So (O' Muslims) when you have finished your prayers invoke Personal Name of Allah () (in all postures) standing, sitting and lying on your sides. (Al-Nisa-103). In this verse "lying on your sides" refers to 'sleeping' and while sleeping only through breathing one can invoke.
People, who consider their physical heart as their soul and invoke Allah's Name connecting their heart beat with breath and do this practice only in fixed timings and not continuously, can neither possess spiritual life nor can they reach near Allah and recognize Him.
Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says about such people:
  • How ignorant are those who have no knowledge about soul and their intrinsic being. They concentrate upon their muscular organ 'heart' while invocation and assume that this is the invocation of their soul. Sometimes, they connect their heart beat with their breath and name it 'sacrificial invocation' and sometimes, they imagine this physical heart as their soul during meditation and consider it "invocation of illuminous presence," and they name this "The Sultani Zikr of the soul". All these people are wrong. All these considerations are just satanic illusions. (Qaleed-e-Tauheed- Kalan)
  • Your heart is just a physical organ beating in the left side of your chest (it is not the soul) this muscular heart is possessed even by non Muslims''. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
  • I am really amazed by those ignorant and foolish people who loudly invoke " " day and night but do not recognize real self of Allah. Their heart remains full of vicious desires so at last they are retracted.

To invoke by physical heart is the prayer of the physical body just like the other physical prayers and has no connection with spiritual life. It is the soul which reaches and recognizes Allah, not the physical body. The invocation (Zikr) by physical heart can provide no energy or power to the soul as soul is superior to this material body, although exaltation of soul can improve and rectify the physical deeds. So, as invocation (Zikr) by physical heart neither brings a person close to Allah nor helps in Recognition (Pehchan) of Allah, it is completely useless. The invocation of Allah's Personal Name ( ) through breathing (Pass-Infass) is the real and truly fruitful Zikr which empowers the soul.