This means that the seeker who is reciting dhikr must observe the exact number of repetitions entailing the silent dhikr of the heart. To keep an account of the dhikr is not for the sake of the account itself, but is for the sake of securing the heart from bad thoughts and to cause it to concentrate more in the effort to achieve the repetition prescribed by the shaikh as quickly as possible.
The pillar of dhikr through counting is to bring the heart into the presence of the One who is mentioned in that dhikr and to keep counting, one by one, in order to bring one’s attention to the realization that everyone is in need of that One whose Signs are appearing in every creation.
Shah Naqshband (q) said, “Observance of the numbers in dhikr is the first step in the state of acquiring Heavenly Knowledge (`ilm ul-ladunni).” This means that counting leads one to recognize that only One is necessary for life. All mathematical equations are in need of the number One. All creation is in need of the only One.