In one of the most beautiful beginnings of the Qur’an, Allah ta’ala starts surah Saad with a powerful reminder. He says:

ص ۚ وَالْقُرْآنِ ذِي الذِّكْرِ

Saad. And by the Qur’an, full of dhikr! [Surah Saad, verse 1]

This ayah begins with a letter, which are known as: huroof muqatta’aat, the disjointed letters. There are many opinions as to what these letters mean, but the greatest and strongest opinion is that none but Allah ta’ala knows their meanings. But why do some surahs start with these letters, if no one knows the meaning? One reason is that it is for emphasis, and astonishment: here are letters from your own language, yet you cannot produce anything similar to it!

So this surah, with the first letter, has already set the tone with a powerful beginning. Then Allah ta’ala says: “and by the Qur’an, full of dhikr!” If you notice the letter ‘wow’, it shows that Allah is swearing and taking an oath by the Qur’an which is called a ‘qasm’ in Arabic, which is why the translation is “and by”.

What is this Qur’an? ذِي الذِّكْرِdhi dhikr, full of dhikr. the word ‘dhi’ means possessor, one that contains, one that owns something. So what does the Qur’an own, contain and possess? adh-Dhikr. This is one of the names of the Qur’an, and gives multiple interpretations. There is a reason why this word has not be translated yet in this post, it is because this word in this context has several meanings:

  1. Firstly, dhikr here means “tadhkeer” (تذكير), a reminder. What does the Qur’an remind of? It reminds us of reality of life and of our duties and obligations.
  2. Secondly, dhikr here means “maw’idhah” (موعظة), admonition. A maw’idhah is an advice or instruction, but not just any advice, this advice is effective and pushes a person to do good deeds and to abstain from disobedience.
  3. Thirdly, dhikr here means a bayyaan (بيان) ‘a mention, explanation’. What does the Qur’an mention? The nations of the past, ahkaam (rulings) and future events as well.
  4. Lastly, dhikr here means sharaf (شرف), honor. The Qur’an, by its mention, is a source of honor for those who accept. The one who mentions the Qur’an is honored as well as the Qur’an itself is honorable.

So this Qur’an is dhi dhikr: possessor and owner of reminder, admonition, advice and honor. SubhanAllah, absolute completeness. This ayah is a response to the pagans of Makkah who said, we wish we had a dhikr from the former people! Allah responds, this is the Qur’an, dhi dhikr.

Have you sought out the dhikr today? May Allah ta’ala make us companions of the Qur’an, Ameen.

and Allah ta’ala knows best.