There are three types of Zikr: Practical, Verbal and Silent.
Practical Zikr, also known as “Zikr-e-Faily”, is performed with one’s obedient actions. It comprises of obedience to:
The commandments of Allah (SWT)
i.e. Prayer, Fasting, Hajj, umrah, Zakaat, charity etc
The Sunnah of our Holy Prophet (SAW)
i.e. eating, drinking, sleeping, walking, talking, dressing etc.
Verbal Zikr, also known as “Zikr-e-Lisani”, is observed with one’s tongue. It comprises of:
Loud zikr; i.e. Azan, Takbir, Collective zikr etc
Low tone zikr, i.e. Tasbihat, masnoon duas etc
Silent Zikr, also known as “Qalbi Zikr”, “Zikr-e-Khafi” and “Daimi Zikr” is performed within one self.. There are many stages to silent zikr. The first and foremost of which is Qalbi Zikr: Remembrance of Allah (SWT) from within the heart.
Most, if not all, of us are familiar with both practical and verbal forms of zikr and we’ll have at some point practiced them within our life. Silent zikr, on the other hand, is less well known. This is because this form of zikr is practiced and taught only by the Friends of Allah (SWT).
Types of Zikr & Sufi Orders, one will have understood from the Sufism Introduction the path towards reaching Allah (SWT) comprises of the following four elements:
Full adherence to Shariah: The Islamic Law
Observance of all Sunnah.
Remembrance of Allah (SWT): Zikr
Code of Love & Discipline
It is because there are many types of Zikr, that there are many paths towards Allah (SWT). These paths, known as Sufi Orders, vary primarily on the type of Zikr chosen to lead the mureed to Allah (SWT).
From the four famous sufi orders, Qadiri, Chisti & Soharwardi all start the mureed (student) off with verbal zikr later moving onto Qalbi Zikr. The Naqshbandi order, however, begins by taking the mureed (student) directly on Qalbi Zikr