Answered by Ustadh Sharif Rosen
Question: Assalam alaykum
A hadith says that the only thing people will regret in heaven is that they didnt do more dhikr. I am in my late 20s and wish to engage in lots of dhikr now. Will I still regret the time I spent not doing dhikr in the afterlife?
Answer: as-Salamu ‘alaykum.
Jazakum Allah khayran for your question.
The hadith you have inquired about is as follows,
لَيْسَ يَتَحَسَّرُ أَهْلُ الجَنَّةِ عَلَى شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ عَلَى سَاعَةٍ مَرَّتْ بِهِمْ لَمْ يَذْكُرُوا الله عز وجل فيها
“The people of Janna will have no regret over anything save for a moment that passed them by in which they did not make the remembrance of Allah Mighty and Majestic.”
It is related in the collection of Imam al-Suyuti, Allah have mercy on him. Though this hadith does not appear to have reached the higher echelons in strength of authenticity, which, as a rule, entails it cannot form the basis for a founding principle in either law or theology, the ‘ulema have not refrained from commenting on its meaning and directing us to the benefits that can be derived from the teaching it contains.
Imam al-Munawi, for example, stated that the regret that the people of Janna may feel with respect to their moments not spent in dhikr pertains to their state during their standing on the Day of Judgement, in other words, before their entry into Janna (Fayd al-Qadir Sharh al-Jami’ al-Saghir). This is quite reasonable as all the believers will be people of Janna, insha Allah, so referring to them as such before they reach their eternal abode is correct. We understand this by way of many verses and ahadith, among them the statement of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, “Whoever says, ‘There is no god but Allah’ will enter Paradise” [Tabarani, Ibn Hibban, Hakim].
An imperative in making dhikr — or any act of merit — is redirecting our focus upon Allah alone. Thus, we make Allah’s remembrance for His sake, and not for ourselves or a station to be aspired for. If we realign our intention towards the purity of love and surrender that Allah deserves, Allah will never disappoint us.
And Allah knows best.
[Ustadh] Sharif Rosen
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Sharif Rosen is the Muslim Chaplain at Williams College (in the Northeastern United States). His formative Islamic studies in Amman, Jordan for five years, and ongoing, have been at the hands of scholars connected through unbroken transmission to the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings.