The Quran about reminder
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
Memory serves as an indispensable characteristic of human being. Memory forms on the base of past experience. To create an association, people use their memories, i.e. people memorize everything that is happening around them in space and time, constructing schemes and connections based on that. Thus, it helps us to analyze incoming messages and to make specific conclusions.
Prescription of God is estimated for this function of memory so that we could make use of received information if needed. There are several words in the Quran the base of which is Arabic term “zakara” which means “to mention, to name, to bring, to tell, to remember, to recall”.
Creator showed an association of guidance with reminder:
He said, “Descend from here – all. Ones of you are enemies to one another. And after guidance comes from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor be miserable. And whoever turns away from My reminder – indeed, he will have a difficult existence! We will gather him on the day of standing before God blind!” (20:123-124)
This particular promise, the realization of which took place by means of the messengers, can be traced in the course of history:
Or do you wonder that there has come to you a reminder from your Lord through a man from among you, that to warn you and that you may beware, so you might receive mercy?!” (7:63)
Recite to them the message of Nuh (Noah).
When he said to his nation, “O my nation! If my residence and my reminding of the signs of God has become burdensome upon you – then I have relied upon God. So unite your affair and your associates, then let not your affair to trouble you. Then make the decision about me and do not give me respite! (10:71)
For the sake of fairness, it is necessary to mention, that the style of the Quranic narrative is special. The term “reminder” acts as a synonym of the concepts “Prescription” and “Guidance”, which, in turn, are each other synonyms as well:
We had already given Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron) the criterion, a light and a reminder for the circumspect, who fear their Lord in secrecy and apprehend approach of the hour! (21:48)
And We had certainly given Musa (Moses) guidance, and We caused the children of Israel to inherit the Prescription, as guidance and a reminder for those of understanding. (40:53-54)
In some cases, verbal reminding took place, as it were referred to a particular nation and on a certain occasion:
Or do you wonder that there has come to you a reminder from your Lord through a man from among you, that he may warn you? Remember, how He made you successors after the nation of Noah and increased you created space. Remember the favor of God, maybe you will succeed!”. (7:69)
Thamud nation denied the warning. They said, “Is it one human being among us that we should follow? We would then be in error and madness! Has the reminder been sent down upon him from among us? Of course, he is an insolent liar!” (54:23-25)
If the reminder needed to be kept for the subsequent generations, then it was fixed in writing:
Indeed, We have already prescribed in the Scripture after the reminder that the land is inherited by My improved servants. (21:105)
However, inheritors of the reminder frequently used to turn away from it, what lead to unfavorable consequences:
After they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened gates to any things until, that in the time they rejoiced in that which they were given, to seize them suddenly! (6:44)
After they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We saved those who had held from the evil and struck those who were obscurant, with a wicked punishment, because they were apostates. (7:165)
Such an attitude to the reminder of God still exists among the people:
But if the Truth had followed their passions, the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them would have been ruined. Rather, We have brought them the reminder, but they, from the reminder, are turning away! (23:71)
The new reminder had come to them from the Gracious, but they turned away from it. (26:5)
And that they shy away from the reminder, like running frightened donkeys, running away from compulsion! (74:49-50)
Irresponsible attitude to the reminder of the Creator doesn’t allow the spiritual state to light up with the Light of Lord and keeps a human in “darkness”:
Who is more “dark” from those who is reminded of the signs of his Lord, but he turned away from them and forgot what was made by his hands earlier? We have placed over their hearts veil, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness! If you appeal them to Guidance – they will never be guided! (18:57)
Who is more “dark” than one who is reminded of the signs of his Lord; then he turned away from them? Indeed, We, from the criminals, will take retribution! (32:22)
The consequence of it is that the “disobedient” to God becomes an adviser for the people:
And whoever is blinded from remembrance of the Gracious – We appoint for him a disobedient and he is to him a companion! (43:36)
In most of the cases, people made fun of the messengers and of the reminder and laughed at them, accompanying their activity with irony and sarcasm:
The arrival of told reminder of Lord to them excluded their attention. They were being amused. (21:2)
But you took them in mockery until you forgot My reminder! You were mockers! (23:110)
Mocking of the messengers was accompanied by some arguments that were based on the traditions and settled worldview of that specific habitat. In contrast to that, the Creator, addressing to the memory, demands to give the Prescription as the real argument:
What is with you? How do you reason? Do not you come to your senses? Or do you have a clear order? Then show your Prescription, if you are truthful! (37:154-157)
However, as practice has shown, the majority does not pay attention to the truth, what usually lead them to their downfall.
We did not destroy any city except that it had been warned by My reminder! Never have We been obscurant! (26:208-209)
The mission of Muhammad was to spread granted reminder among all people:
And leave those who take their duty as amusement and diversion and whom the worldly life has deluded! But remind with it, lest a personality be given up to destruction for what it earned; it will have other than God no patron and no guardian! And if it should offer every compensation, it would not be taken from it! Those are the ones who are given to destruction for what they have earned! For them will be a drink of scalding water and a painful punishment because they used to be the closed ones! (6:70)
Say, “I ask of you for this message no payment! Indeed, it is not but a reminder for the nations of the world!” (6:90)
The Prescription had been revealed to you, so let there not be predicament therefrom – that to warn them and to remind to the believers.Follow it, what has been revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow instead of it any patron! Little do you remember! (7:2-3)
You do not ask them for it any payment. Indeed, it is not except a reminder to the nations! (12:104)
The reminder granted to Muhammad was the Quran, in which it is told about previous messengers:
We tell you from the message about the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an exhortation and a reminder for the believers. (11:120)
They ask you about the owner of two horns. Say, “I will recite to you about him a reminder.” (18:83)
The reminder of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zechariah. (19:2)
Remind in the Prescription about Maryam (Mary). When she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east. (19:16)
Remind in the Prescription about Ibrahim (Abraham). Indeed, he was a truthful messenger. (19:41)
Remind in the Prescription about Ishmael. Indeed, he was true to his promise and a sent messenger. (19:54)
Remind in the Prescription about Idrees. Indeed, he was a truthful messenger. (19:56)
Thus, We tell you the message of what has preceded. And We have certainly given you from Us the Reminder! (20:99)
Be patient over what they say and mention Our servant, Dawud (David), the possessor of support. Indeed, he was repentant! (38:17)
Remember Our servants, Ibrahim (Abraham), Ishaq (Isaac), and Yaqub (Jacob) – possessors of support and astuteness. Indeed, We showed loyalty to them by the genuine reminder of adobe! Indeed they are Our best-chosen servants!
Remember Ishmael, Elisha, and Dhul-Kifl (Ezekiel) – all are among the best!
This is the Reminder!
Indeed, for the circumspect is a fine haven. (38:45-49)
Mention the brother of ‘Aad nation, when he warned his nation on the sandy hill. Warnings had already passed on before him and after him, “O, serve exceptionally God. I fear for you the punishment of a great day!”. (46:21)
Muhammad’s entourage was miscellaneous and many of them had knowledge of former Prescriptions. In polemics the appeal to the previous sources has been authorized to show the continuity of a new reminder:
And We sent not before you except men with clear proofs and Scripture to whom We suggested! So ask the holders of the reminder if you do not know! And We revealed to you the reminder that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought! (16:43-44)
We sent not before you except men to whom We suggested. So ask the people of the reminder if you do not know. (21:7)
Apparently, from the context, it is about relying on the previous Prescriptions, but not on the present Islamic “scientists”.
Spreading of the reminder of the Creator, as usually, had faced the resistance from the society which transformed into an insult towards the messenger:
They said, “O you upon whom the reminder has been sent down! Indeed, you are mad. (15:6)
And indeed, those who closed themselves would almost make you slip with their eyes when they hear the reminder, and they say, “Indeed, he is obsessed.”
But it is not except the Reminder to the nations! (68:51-52)
However, Creator Himself states the opposite:
So remind! And you are not, by the favor of your Lord, a priest or an obsessed! (52:29)
Denial to accept the reminder of Lord is dictated by pantheistical worldview:
… When you mention your Lord as the only One, in the Literature (Quran), they turn back in aversion. (17:46)
Say, “Who can protect you at night or by day from the Gracious?” Of course, they, from the remembrance of their Lord, turning away! (21:42)
Despite abusive speeches, supported solely on human reasoning and all possible justifications, Muhammad had never shown a reactionary character towards his opponents, and just used to switch to those, who had perceived the reminder:
We have not sent down to you the Literature (Quran) that you be distressed, but only as a reminder for those who fear – a revelation from He who created the earth and highest heavens. (20:2-4)
And is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Prescription which is recited to them? Indeed in that is a mercy and reminder for a people who believe! (29:51)
You warn one who follows the reminder and fears the Merciful in secret. So gladden him with forgiveness and noble reward! (36:11)
So adhere to that which is suggested to you! Indeed, you are on a straight path! Indeed, it is a reminder for you and your nation! And you are going to be questioned! (43:43-44)
We are most knowing of what they say, and you are not over them a tyrant. But remind by the Literature (Quran) whoever fears My threat! (50:45)
So turn away from whoever turns his back on Our reminder and desires not except the near life. (53:29)
There is no point in propagandizing to those who don’t listen to the reminder of Creator. If the guidance doesn’t interest a human, then he thereby punishes himself:
Has the reminder been sent down to him out of us?” Of course, they are in doubt about My reminder. Of course, they have not yet tasted My punishment! (38:8)
Woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the reminder of God. Those are in manifest error!
God has sent down the best story, with similar, repetitive prescriptions. The skins shiver therefrom of those who fear their Lord! Then their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance of God! That is the guidance of God! By which He guides whom He wills. And one whom God leaves astray – for him there is no guide! (39:22-23)
O, if they had remained on the way, We would have given them abundant water, so to test them by it. Whoever turns away from the reminder of his Lord, He will put into raising punishment! (72:16-17)
Then how can you be safe, if you remain closed? That day children will become white-haired!
The heaven will break apart then and His promise will be fulfilled!
Indeed, this is a reminder! So whoever wills may take to his Lord a way! (73:17-19)
The reminder of God in our world is in the highest status and position for a believer since only by means of it there is an opportunity to become successful in future life:
Recite, what has been suggested to you of the Prescription and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits excessiveness and disapproved, and the remembrance of God is greater. And God knows that which you do. (29:45)
By this the main mission of Muhammed is explained – the spread of the reminder:
Remind, for indeed, the reminder helps the believers! (51:55)
God has prepared for them a harsh punishment. So beware of God, O you of understanding who have believed!
God has sent down to you the messenger with the reminder, reciting to you clarified signs of God that He may bring out those who believe and corrected themselves from darknesses into the Light. And whoever believes in God and corrects himself – He will admit him into gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein forever. God will have perfected for him a provision! (65:10-11)
So remind, indeed, you are a reminder! (88:21)
Whoever conceived the reminder of God becomes the believer, whose thoughts are directed towards the Creator, because the remembrance of Almighty provides certain “feedback”:
So remember Me and I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not close yourselves! (2:152)
There are certain provisions to be performed in the reminder itself:
There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord. But when you depart from ‘Arafat, remember God at a sacred, ceremonial place. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray. (2:198)
And when you have completed your rites, remember God like your remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance.
Among the people, there are those who say,
“Our Lord! Give us in this world!” and they will have in the hereafter no share. (2:200)
And remember God during numbered days. Then whoever hastens in two days – there is no sin upon him; and whoever delays – there is no sin upon him – for him who is circumspect. And beware of God and know that unto Him you will be gathered. (2:203)
And if you fear anything, then you can pray on foot or riding. But when you are secure, then remember God, as He has taught you that which you did not know. (2:239)
When you have completed the prayer, then remember God standing, sitting, or on your sides. But when you become secure, then stand for prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times. (4:103)
O you who have believed! When you are called for the prayer on the day of gathering, then proceed to the remembrance of God and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew! When the prayer has been completed, disperse within the land and strive for an abundance of God. Remember God often that you may succeed! (62:9-10)
The remembrance of God is a pivot in the spiritual life of a believer, directing force and a “regulator” of actions:
Indeed, believers are those who, when God is mentioned, their hearts become timid, and when His signs are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord, they rely. (8:2)
Hearts of those who has believed calm down by the remembrance of God. Is it not by the remembrance of God hearts to calm down?! (13:28)
And those who, when reminded of the signs of their Lord, do not fall upon them deaf and blind. (25:37)
Indeed, those believe in Our signs who, when they are reminded, fall down in prostration and praise with glory their Lord, and they are not arrogant! (32:15)
And remember what is recited in your houses of the signs of God and judgement. Indeed, God is ever Subtle and Acquainted! (33:34)
Indeed, in that is a reminder for whoever has a heart or who has given hearing and he is a witness! (50:37)
Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of God and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Prescription before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are apostates! (57:16)
The advice to limit excessive passion for interests of this life is caused just by the fact that it may distract from the remembrance:
O you who have believed! Let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of God! And whoever does that – then those are the losers! (63:9)
And just to distract from the remembrance “iblees & company” provoke and seduce people to various passions, which facilitate mind covering, after all, memory is inseparably linked with our brain activity:
The disobedient only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through substances that cover the mind and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of God and from prayer. So will you not desist? (5:91)
The Day of Debt is an overall result of life activities of humanity, where the guidance by the reminder of Creator plays the crucial role:
We will present Hell that day to the closed ones, on display, to those whose eyes had been within a cover from My remembrance, and they were not able to hear. (18:100-101)
They will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for us to take besides You any patrons! But You provided comforts for them and their fathers until they forgot the message and became a nation ruined!” (25:18)
Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is the disobedient, to man, a deserter.” (25:28-29)
Today, the Quran serves as the main source of the remembrance for the believers. However, there is one nuance that is expressed in dividing of the concepts: Prescription and reminder. Some think that Lord promised to preserve not the Prescription but only the reminder, reasoning from the following fragment:
Indeed, it is We who sent down the reminder. And indeed, We guard it! (15:9)
It would worth to notice, that the reminder had been “technically” sent down, what corresponds to the quality of appearance of the Prescription. It is impossible to preserve some information without any distortions until the Day of Debt unless it is fixed in writing, especially, when it is intended for all people ever lived on the Earth:
Indeed, it is not but a reminder to the nations! (38:87)
No! Indeed, it is the Reminder!
Then whoever wills will remember it!
They remember only what God wills!
He possesses warning and possesses forgiveness! (74:54-56)
No! Indeed, it is the Reminder!
So whoever wills may remember it,
in honored sheets,
purified by the hands of scribers, respectable and noble! (80:11-16)
It is not except a reminder to the nations of the world!
For those, who wills among you to stand upright! (81:27-28)
Arabic word “quran” means “literature”, which is an attribute of written thing.
And We did not give him knowledge of poetry, nor is it befitting for him. It is not but a reminder and a clear Literature (Quran). (36:69)
By the Literature (Quran) containing reminder! (38:1)
By the clear Prescription, indeed, We have made it an Arabic Literature (Quran) that you might understand! Indeed, it is found in the main Prescription with Us, in exalted, full of wisdom.
Then should We turn the reminder away, disregarding you, to let you become a transgressing people? (43:2-5)
And We have certainly made the Literature (Quran) easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?! (54:17,22,32,40)
Thus, term “reminder” is one of the synonyms among in a row of the words: Quran, Prescription, judgement, criterion, guidance, straight path.
We recite to you the signs and the legible reminder. (3:58)