Significance of Admonition (Tadhkῑr) From a Qur’ānic Perspective

Significance of Admonition (Tadhkῑr) From a Qur’ānic Perspective

Gowhar Quadir Wani

The word tadhkῑr translating to admonishing/reminding is the verbal noun carrying the Arabic radicals dh, k, r. Of this root, 19 different forms occur 292 times in the Qur’ān: dhakara 73 times, dhukira 11 times, dhakkara 8 times, dhukkira 10 times, dhikrun 76 times and so on The occurrence of these radicals constituting tadhkῑr in such a multitude of both number and form but testifies to the significance of admonition and reminding from the Qur’anic perspective. Moreover, the different names of the Qur’ān mentioned in the same also include dhikr, tadhkirah, dhikrā, and so on- all derived from the same root. These names make it all the more clear that the Qur’an does not merely contain some admonitions, rather it is entirely a book of admonitions. All the teachings of the Holy Qur’ān are meant to admonish people in one way or the other.
Qur’ān is an Admonition/Reminder: Translation of Some Selected Verses
Some of the verses in which the Qur’ān has been labelled as an admonition are given below:
Nay this surely is an admonition (74:54).
This is naught but an Admonition Unto the worlds (81:27).
This which We recite unto thee is of the signs and of the wise admonition(03:58)
This in exposition unto mankind and a guidance and an admonition unto the God-fearing
Sad.By the Qur’ān full of admonition (38:01).
It is naught but an admonition Unto the worlds (38:87).
We have put forth for men, in this Qur’an every kind of Parable, in order that they may receive admonition(39:27).
But We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition? (54: 17, 22, 32,40)
Ta. Ha. We have not sent down on thee the Qur’ān that thou should’st be distressed. But only as an admonition unto him who feareth (20:1-3).
And verily it is an Admonition Unto the God-fearing(69:48).
And this is an admonition blest, which We have sent down! will ye then be the rejecters thereof? (21:50)
The above verses mentioned to highlight the significance of admonition from the Quranic perspective are those verses that contain any of the words derived from the root dh, k, r. A number of other verses which do not have any such word also emphasize on the need of admonition. For example, the Prophetic mission of the Last Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH) has been pronounced at four places in the Quran as Tilāwati Ᾱyāt, Ta‘lῑmi Kitāb, Ta‘lῑmḤikmah, and Tazkiyah all of which ultimately serve to admonish the people regarding the truth of their lives so that they pay heed to the Divine message and reform their conduct. Moreover, the method of delivering the Divine message should be such that it serves the cause of admonition. Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) is advised by Allah to call people unto His way with wisdom, goodly exhortation/admonition, and best argument (16: 125). The Prophet(PBUH) is also asked to convey the message in such a way that it touches the hearts of the addressees (04:63).
These verses make it all the more clear that the Qur’ān is an embodiment of admonitions meant to remind people about the purpose of life. It has been revealed to make human beings aware of the ‘creation plan of God’ and instruct them to live their life in accordance with the approval of their Creator. The Prophets are sent to convey the Divine message and give glad tidings to those who submit to the Divine revelation and warn the rejecters of eternal punishment. In the Qur’ānic phraseology, the former is called as tabshῑr while the latter indhār. Besides, the believers are required to strive their utmost in conveying the Divine message to the whole humankind so much so that no one is left with any excuse against Allah.
The conveying of divine message is represented by the term Da‘wah and the utmost struggle for the same is termed as jihād. All these collectively constitute the apparatus for the realization of the Qur’anic mission of admonishing people so that they hopefully turn to their Lord in repentance. That is why, Muslims have produced an amazing corpus of literature inspired from the Quranic directive of tadhkῑr solely dedicated for this purpose. This literature that can genuinely be termed as tadhkῑr literature or mawā‘iẓ literature plays in important role in the purification of self and the consequent reformation of conduct.

—The author is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh. He can be reached at:

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