36 - Ya Sin

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 36.1


Yā sīn: God knows best what He means by these [letters].

Ibn Al Kathir

The Messenger was sent as a Warner

We have already discussed the individual letters at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah.

وَالْقُرْءَانِ الْحَكِيمِ

(By the Qur'an, full of wisdom) means, Al-Muhkam (perfect) which falsehood cannot come to from before it or behind it.


(Truly, you) means, O Muhammad,

لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَعَلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

(are one of the Messengers, on the straight path.) means, following a straight methodology and religion, and an upright Law.

تَنزِيلَ الْعَزِيزِ الرَّحِيمِ

(Sent down by the Almighty, the Most Merciful.) means, this path which you have brought is a revelation from the Lord of might Who is Most Merciful to His believing servants. This is like the Ayah:

وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَيْكَ رُوحاً مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِى مَا الْكِتَـبُ وَلاَ الإِيمَـنُ وَلَـكِن جَعَلْنَـهُ نُوراً نَّهْدِى بِهِ مَن نَّشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِى إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ - صِرَطِ اللَّهِ الَّذِى لَهُ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ أَلاَ إِلَى اللَّهِ تَصِيرُ الاٍّمُورُ

(And verily, you are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path. The path of Allah to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Verily, to Allah all matters return.) (42:52-53).

لِتُنذِرَ قَوْماً مَّآ أُنذِرَ ءَابَآؤُهُمْ فَهُمْ غَـفِلُونَ

(In order that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, so they are heedless.) This refers to the Arabs, for no warner had come to them before him. The fact that they alone are mentioned does not mean that others are excluded, just as mentioning some individuals does not mean that all others are excluded. We have already mentioned the Ayat and Mutawatir Hadiths which state that the mission of the Prophet is universal, when we discussed the meaning of the Ayah:

قُلْ يَأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا

(Say: "O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah.'') (7:158).

لَقَدْ حَقَّ الْقَوْلُ عَلَى أَكْثَرِهِمْ

(Indeed the Word has proved true against most of them,) Ibn Jarir said, "The punishment has become inevitable for most of them, because Allah has decreed in the Mother of the Book (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz) that they will not believe.

فَهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ

(so they will not believe. ) in Allah, or in His Messengers.

Kashf Al-Asrar

YāÌ Sīn. By the Wise Qur'an, surely thou art one of the envoys, upon a straight path.

It has been said that the name of the surah is Yāsīn because of the report in which MuṣṬafā said, "God recited Ṭāhā and Yāsīn two thousand years before He created Adam. When the angels of the Domin- ion heard it, they said, 'Happy is the community upon which this pure speech descends! Happy are the tongues that recite it! Happy are the breasts that are the oyster for this hidden pearl!'"

It is reported that when the friends and the faithful go into that scented garden of felicity and arrive at the joy and bliss of paradise, a call will come from the Compeller: "You have heard much from oth- ers. Now is the time to hear from Me." Then He will make them hear the surahs al-FātiḤa, Ṭāhā, and Yāsīn. MuṣṬafā said, "When the people listen to the Qur'an recited by the All-Merciful, it will be as if they had never heard it before." You must take the rose from its own bush to catch its scent correctly.

Hear it from Him who spoke it and increase thereby

in burning love, for the sweetness of the rose is in its branches.

It has also been said that it means "O man [yā insān]!" and is addressed to MuṣṬafā's form and mortal nature, just as He said elsewhere: "Say: 'I am but a mortal like you'" [18:110], for his hu- man nature and genus are similar to that of the people. This address, "O man!," accords with that. But, in respect of the eminence of prophethood and the specification for messengerhood, he is ad- dressed, "O Prophet!" and "O Messenger!" He is addressed in terms of form and mortal nature as jealousy's mask, so that not just anyone will be privy to and be aware of his beauty and perfection. This is as they say, "Call me Arsalan so that no one will know who I am." It would be a shame for such beauty and perfection to be touched by the eyes of Abū Jahl, ʿAtaba, and Shayba. Thou seest them looking at thee, but they do not see [7:198]. The eyes of Abū Jahl, which were dazzled by denial, saw only his human and mortal nature.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

Ibn 'Abbas, 'Ikrimah, Dahhak, Hasan Basri and Sufyan bin 'Uyainah have opined that it means, "O man", or "O person"; some other commentators have regarded it as an abbreviation of "Ya Sayyid" as well, which, according to this interpretation, would be an address to the Holy Prophet.

To begin a discourse like this does not mean that the Holy Prophet, God forbid, had some doubt about his Prophethood, and Allah had to say this in order to reassure him of it. But the reason is that the disbelieving Quraish at that time were most vehemently refusing to believe in his Prophethood; therefore. Allah at the very beginning of the discourse has said: "You are indeed one of the Messengers," which implies that the people who deny your Prophethood, are misled and mistaken. To further confirm the same, an oath has been taken by the Qur'an, and the word "wise" has been used as an epithet of the Qur'an, which means this: "An obvious proof of your being a Prophet is this Qur'an, which is fill of wisdom, This itself testifies that the person who is presenting such wise revelations is most surely a Messenger of God. No man has the power to compose such revelations. The people who know Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) can never be involved in the misunderstanding that he is himself forging these discourses, or reciting them after having learned them from another man." (For further explanation, see Yunus: 16-17, 37-39; Bani Isra'il: 88; An Naml: 75; AI-Qasas: 44-46, 85-87; AI-'Ankabut: 49-51; Ar-Rum: 1-5 and the relevant E.N.'s).

Here, two of the attributes of the Sender of the Qur'an have been mentioned. First, that He is All-Mighty; second, that He, is All-Merciful. The first attribute is meant to impress the reality that the Qur'an is not the counsel of a powerless preacher, which if you overlook or ignore, will not bring any harm to you; but this is the Edict of that Owner of the Universe, Who is All-Mighty, Whose decrees cannot be withheld from being enforced by any power, and Whose grasp cannot be avoided by anyone. The second attribute is meant to make one realize that it is all due to His kindness and mercy that He has sent His Messenger for your guidance and instruction and sent down this great Book so that you may avoid errors and follow the right path which may lead you to the successes of the world and the Hereafter.

Another translation can be: "You should warn the people of the same of which their forefathers had been warned, because they live in heedlessness." if the first meaning, as given above in the text, is taken, the forefathers would imply the forefathers of the immediate past, for in the ancient time several Prophets had appeared in Arabia. And if the second meaning is adopted, it would imply this: Revive and refresh the message that had been conveyed to the forefathers of this nation y the Prophets in the past, for these people have forgotten it." Obviously, there s no contradiction between the two translations, and, as to meaning, each is correct in its own place!

A doubt may rise here: How could the forefathers of a nation to whom no warner had been sent at a particular time in the past, be held responsible for their deviation at that time? The answer is: When Allah sends a Prophet in the world, the influence of his message and teaching spreads far and wide, and is handed down by one generation to the other. As long as this influence remains and there continue arising among the followers of the Prophet such people as keep his message of guidance fresh, the period pf time cannot be said to be without the guidance. And when the influence of the Prophet's teaching dies out, or the teaching is tampered with, the appointment of another Prophet becomes inevitable. Before the advent of the Holy Prophet the influence of the teachings of the Prophets Abraham, Ishmael, Shu'aib and Moses and Jesus (peace be upon all of them) could be seen everywhere in Arabia and from time to time there had been arising among the Arabs, or coming from outside, men, who revived their teachings. When the influence was about to die out, and the real teaching was also distorted, Allah raised the Prophet Muhammad, and made such arrangements that his message can neither be wiped out nor tampered with. (For further explanation, see E N. 5 of Surah Saba above).

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said upon the interpretation of the saying of the Creator, glorified is His mention, (Ya Sin.): '(Ya Sin.) He says: Ya Sin, O human being, in the Syriac language.