The word dhikr, in Islamic esoterism, is used of the rhythmic formulae that correspond exactly to Hindu mantras. The repetition of these formulae is intended to bring about the harmonization of the different elements of the being and to cause vibrations which, by their repercussions throughout the whole hierarchy of the states, are capable of opening up a communication with the higher states. This is, moreover, generally speaking, the essential and primordial purpose of all rites.
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With thanks to World Wisdom Books and the journal Studies in Comparative Religion.