The Meaning of the Remembrance of Allah (Dhikru'llah)
The Arabic word for remembrance is dhikr. Remembrance is of several types or levels. There is the remembrance of physical things, which are in front of us, and there is the remembrance of one's desires, anxieties, and so on. Along the spiritual path, remembrance relates to that which is in one's innate nature. It is the remembrance of the Essence of Allah the Almighty, of the Source of all manifestations and attributes. That source is within everybody. On the Sufi path, one is required to dis-remember everything else that is discernible, everything that is other than Allah, in order to return to the original remembrance. The Arabic word for remembrance of Allah is dhikru'llah.
So the original remembrance of Allah is already in every heart, whether one is aware of it or not. Through the guidance of a spiritual master, the seeker is led beyond, to a level where there is no remembrance of anything that is mentionable. Then that which has always been there, encompassing everything, is eventually experienced and witnessed. The purpose of Sufi practices is to be spontaneously aware of the absolute or central reality as well as remaining aware of the physical and material limitations of the phenomenal world which surrounds us. One is an inner awareness beyond the senses and the other is an outer awareness which is based on senses.
By Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri from the book “The Thoughtful Guide to Sufism”