Why Dhikr is Important in Islam
Even though dhikr refers to committing to memory, recalling, remembering, or learning by heart anything that has to do with Almighty Allah (SWT), it can also be a reference to other things like the Holy Quran, glory, prayer, honor, or even integrity. In a nutshell, dhikr is the remembrance of Allah (SWT). As a Muslim, your faith is not complete without dhikr. It is so important that it is mentioned in the Quran and hadiths several times and here is an example:
My servant continues to draw near to Me with optional works so that I will love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. [Bukhari]
As a Muslim, your efforts to perfect your faith do not end with just fasting and prayers. You also need to make conscious moves to have Allah (SWT) in your mind at all times and there are good reasons for this. By having your Creator in mind at all times, you are going to stand a higher chance of remaining obedient to the divine rules and stipulations. Those who do not remember the Creator from time to time only give Shaytan the chance to dominate their mind and thoughts.
Human beings tend to forget from time to time and there is nothing wrong with that because that is the nature that our Creator has endowed us with. But we should not be so carried away with the temporary and fleeting pleasures of this world. We must never forget that as Muslims, our main goal on this planet is the worship of our Creator. Those who are wise and intelligent know that nothing is more rewarding and pleasant before our Creator than dhikr. Dhikr is so important that this is what Almighty Allah (SWT) said about it:
O you who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do so often, and glorify Him morning and evening. [Al-Ahzab 33.41]
And men who remember Allah much and women who remember, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward. [Al-Ahzab 33.35]
Some periods are considered to be optimal for dhikr. These include the moments after the completion of obligatory prayers and before you retire to bed at night. Take time out during these moments and remember the grace of Almighty Allah (SWT) in your life. The good thing about dhikr is that there is no limit to the extent you can go.
Whenever it comes to the remembrance of our Lord, you are free to do what you can cope with. If you can do dhikr by reciting the 99 names of Allah (SWT) for two hours or you can read the Quran for hours on end, the Creator will accept your efforts as acts of ibadah (worship). May Almighty Allah (SWT) ease our affairs and give us the best of the Hereafter, aameen.