* The Sufis have a practice of repeating the divine name of Allah (which generally means God). The actual sounding is efficacious, because this is a sounding that opens the heart (that is, if one does it from the heart and not the head). So one significant effect is the opening of the heart in love, and this can also be understood as one great purpose of the practice. Additionally, the purpose of this practice is to open the heart/mind to the Divine Presence, and to experience the Divine Presence. The sounding of Allah is efficacious to this opening and experience, partly because of the sound itself and partly because of the attitude and intention of divine invocation.
Some would say that Muhammad must have rediscovered the real secret name or sound of God, though this name was already in use at the time in Arabia as the highest power of the Divine. As an added note, the secret sound of Shiva was Ah. So there is an efficacy in the sound itself. But if one simply repeats this practice with no heart and sincerity, its positive effect is dubious. The efficacious significance of any practice really depends on how one is doing it, the quality of the attitude and intention. For instance, the sound may well be effective, like a tool, but the attitude and intention is even more important. Thus, one could gain the same results from just opening the heart; though this sounding practice will surely help.
Now the practice of sounding Allah has other potential significances as well, besides the opening quality, and these additional purposes depend also on our attitude and intention. For example, one added purpose is getting connected to the highest Source and becoming connected to Divine Love and Guidance. The practice of repeating Allah can of course help in this purpose, but only if our attitude and intention is directed to this purpose. Otherwise, the practice is superfluous and ineffective. So the real necessary essence of the practice, in this respect, is to open one’s connection to Divine Love and Guidance. If we do this, then we are essentially doing the practice, whether we sound the name or not. Though the actual sounding can be advantageous to the practice.
Another potential quality in this practice is surrender, the surrender of oneself to the loving, guiding power of Allah. This would also involve an intention to be a pure servant, instrument, or representative of Allah. So the essence of the practice necessarily involves a certain kind of attitude and intention, which is the real essence of importance. As with all of these qualities of practice, the important goal is attaining a certain connection and relationship with the Divine Source; whereby the attitude and intention in the practice is the essential factor.
Another purpose of sounding Allah is to bring one closer to Allah. Sound the name of Allah with an intention or wish to come closer to Allah, like coming closer to the Beloved. Come closer to Allah until you finally feel in union with Allah. As it is said, “As you take one step towards Me, I take ten towards you.” So as one sounds Allah, with sincerity and hope, one comes closer to Allah and feels Allah coming closer to oneself, until finally there is conscious union. This is the way to divine proximity and union.
Allah is the totality of all divine qualities. Yet the highest quality of Allah is love. Love is the best description of God’s Essence. Love brings people together. Love unifies and builds harmony. Love also heals. Love heals us spiritually and psychologically. All mental and emotional illness derives from a lack of love, or a lack of feeling loved. But love also heals us physically; because when love is realized mentally and felt emotionally, the physical body heals in accordance with this. So allow in Divine Love and be filled with Divine Love. For love is the healing and transforming power of Divine Being. Feel the power of this Divine Love flow through, and let go into this Love. For this is the Source of our real sustenance. This is the spiritual water that we all need. Drink from the Source. Drink freely and fill up. As from the Qur'an, “Call on Me and I will respond.” Allah provides what we truly need. But Allah does not force us to drink. This is our own responsibility, and no one else can do it for us. It is up to us make the call to Allah, to ask and let God in. And it is up to us to drink the water of love.
zikr of Allah. 4 stations of the practice.
1 the asking/desire or opening for Presence, or for connection/closeness
2 Then the seeing, recognition.
3 Then the acceptance and surrender and commitment
4 And then becoming, realizing This is I. I am This.
Another practice of the Sufis is the sounding of Hu. Talk about the Hu as divine Essence, before qualification, before knowledge. And the practice of emptying.
A final potential quality in this practice is Realization, the actual experience of Divine Being, Allah, and our conscious self-union with Allah. This first requires our opening to Allah, our opening to Love and Guidance, our experience of the Divine Presence, and then our surrender into this Presence of Allah.
The experience of divine realization has two primary qualities (or essences). One is Love and the other is Light. In the divine realization there is an unbounded openness of love, which embraces and encompasses all of life, such that there is no felt space in the whole universe without the undercurrent of Love. The realization is that all is Love, within oneself and in all of existence. Within everywhere is this undercurrent of love essence, and one is now immersed in this Love Essence.
Also in the divine realization there is an unbounded purity of Light, which is the essential Consciousness of God-Being. Light really is Consciousness. The outer reality of light, which is physical light, such as that which is streaming from the sun and stars, is the manifestation of God-Consciousness as essential physical energy. But the inner reality of light, as in our subjective self experience, once the soul has been awakened from dormant sleep, is essentially the Light of Divine Consciousness, or the reflection of That. The inner consciousness of light is simply consciousness reflecting itself.
A sincere sounding and invocation of Allah can also be effective in connecting to and bringing into oneself a Divine Quality. We have already mentioned the invocation and bringing into oneself the Divine Qualities of Love and Guidance. One can also invoke other needed qualities. For example, one can invoke and receive the needed vital energy to accomplish a task. Consider the example and analogy of riding a bicycle uphill. We all experience times of trudging uphill, whether we ride bikes or not, and at such times we need extra energy. Sometimes we get into low energy states, or lazy or depressed states, and we need energy help. So one can receive this needed energy from Allah, the Universal Source of all energy. Simply sound the name of Allah with sincerity and the invocative wish to be filled with extra vital energy, and be openly receptive to this energy.
Another Divine Quality that we can receive from Allah is peace. Consider the example and analogy of being in a room full of chaotic fighting kids. Sometimes life can get like this; in fact, sometimes our mind can get like this. It would be great to find the secret of becoming a peace-maker or how to help bring chaotic struggles into peaceful harmony. But before we can possibly solve problems of chaos and disharmony in our environment, we need to have a firm sense of self peace. Everyone who has experienced deep peace in oneself knows the joy of this, and everyone who lacks peace in oneself naturally longs for such peace. So one can invoke and receive deep peace from Allah, by sounding the name of Allah with sincerity and having an invocative wish to be filled with the divine quality of peace. For Allah is the generous source of all peace. In truth, Allah is peaceful Being Itself. If Allah is in peace, and if we are truly in Allah, then we are potentially in the One Peaceful Being. We just need to realize it. So peace is accessible for everyone. We simply have to open to this peacefulness and receive it. Or it may feel like one is relaxing and settling into the quality of peace. Deep within everyone there is a divine lake of peaceful calm water, and here one can always relax in peace. One can even walk through chaos and outer tension, but still remain in peace.