03 Nov Sūratu’l-A’lā (The Most High):(87:9)
فَذَكِّرْ إِن نَّفَعَتِ الذِّكْرَىٰ
So remind and instruct (them in the truth) in case reminder and instruction may be of use. (Al-A’lā 87:9)
If we do not consider the reason why this and similar other verses were revealed, some inaccurate interpretations may arise, such as “Why do I continue reminding and instructing since they are of no use!” or “I have gone to them many times, but they do not pay heed,” or “Those people are not qualified to believe; therefore, it is useless to continue preaching them.”
The verse says quite the opposite. It teaches those who call people to the truth the way in which they should call them and how they should act toward people. It says to them:
“You should continue reminding and instructing; as stated in the verse to follow, it will be of use to those who stand in awe of God and whose hearts have signs of ‘life.’ Therefore, we should incessantly continue to convey God’s Message to others and those whose hearts are not dead will benefit from it.”
Despite the verse,
“(Despite the commitment and energy you show in striving to help people to believe,) those who willfully persist in unbelief: it is alike to them whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe” (Al-Baqarah 2:6),
who knows how many times Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, went to the unbelievers such as Abū Jahl, Utba, and Shayba, whose minds and hearts were shut off the belief, and called them to belief?
Indeed, conveying God’s Message to people and calling them to believe in it is God’s command which must be fulfilled incessantly. While doing this, we should not consider whether people will accept it or not. God Almighty orders His Messenger:
“O Messenger! Convey and make known in the clearest way all that has been sent down to you from your Lord. For, if you do not, you have not conveyed His Message and fulfilled the task of His Messengership” (Al-Māedah 5:67).
- There is a mild warning here: even though you are fulfilling your duty of conveying My Message in the best way possible and without the least negligence, it should once more be reminded that as one with the noblest and highest character and one pursuing the loftiest of aims, you should continue fulfilling your duty in the way you have done so far.
In another verse, God declares:
“You cannot guide to truth whomever you like, but God guides whomever He wills” (Al-Qasas 28:56).
The Prophet’s task, as well as the task of those who convey God’s Message in every age, is conveying the Message in the way described in the Qur’ān, conscious of the fact that their duty is not securing people’s guidance. It is only God Who guides, Who creates guidance in people’s hearts, and no one else can do this.
Back to the topic, in addition to the meaning mentioned above, the clause “in case reminder and instruction may be of use” also signifies this:
- Some people will not accept the Message. So in conveying it, we should know in advance that the Message will not be accepted by some and, therefore, not fall into despair. In awareness that it is God Who guides and will guide and that our duty is conveying the Message in the best way described in the Qur’ān and followed by our master, upon him be peace and blessings, we should continue fulfilling our duty. Those who stand in awe of God, those whose hearts have signs of life will benefit from the Message.
To sum up, since our master, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, was absolutely responsible for reminding, instructing, and exhorting, the conditional clause, “In case reminder and instruction may be of use,” has the meaning of emphasizing the responsibility rather than restricting it. An eloquent, powerful speech, the Qur’ān, which was revealed for the guidance and benefit of people, absolutely has the potential and capacity to give benefit. If some do not benefit from it while many others do benefit from it and are guided, that is their problem. Therefore, we should understand the verse in discussion as, “Remind and instruct, because it is definitely of use.”
O God! Include us among Your servants, sincere and with pure intention, and bestow blessings and peace on the master of those sincere and with pure intention.