Overview - Surah 36: Ya Sin (Ya Sin)

Surah Introduction

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The Surah explains some of the basic beliefs of Islam, especially the belief in life after death and the Akhirah.

Sections:

  1. The truth of the Qur'an and the truth of Prophet Muhammad (saw).
  2. Allah's messengers were sent to other people.  The response of those to whom the prophets were sent and the result of their denial.
  3. Allah's signs in nature to remind about the day of Resurrection.
  4. The scenes of the day of Resurrection.
  5. Reminders about death and the Day of Judgment.

This Surah takes its name after the first Ayat, Ya Sin

There are 83 Ayat in this Surah.

Overview

Total Ayat83
Total Words *725
Root Words *220
Unique Root Words *0
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 41st (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 8th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1, 2nd Migration to Abyssinia, Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam
Events during/after still to occur*
Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3,Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey,1st Pledge of Aqabah,2nd Pledge of Aqabah,,Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah,Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr,Battle of Uhud,,Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah,Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers,,Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain,Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk,Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation
Names of Prophets Mentioned
Adam
Surah Index
Ageing, God (gives humans free will) , Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (solar and lunar orbits), Beasts, Charity, Children (of Adam) , Creation of everything (in opposite duality) , Date palms, Earth, Grain, Grave, Hell, Humankind (creation of) (from a drop of sperm), Humankind (given free will) , Iblis, Judgement (Day) , Marriage (recline with spouses in Paradise) , Qur’an, Qur’an (full of wisdom) , Qur’an (not poetry) , Record of personal deeds, Resurrection, Resurrection (of humans) , Resurrection (of soul) , Revelation, Ships, Trees

Central Theme

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Theme 1: Establishing the Belief in the Ressurection.

Theme 2: The object of the discourse is to warn the Quraysh of the consequences of not believing in the Prophethood of Muhammad and of resisting and opposing it with tyranny, ridicule and mockery. The aspect of the warning is dominant and conspicuous although along with repeatedly giving the warnings, arguments also have been given for the correct understanding by the people.

Arguments have been given for three things:

(1) For Monotheism (Tawhid) from the signs of the universe and from common sense; (2) for the Hereafter from the signs of the universe, from common sense and from man’s own existence itself; and (3) for the Prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad. This was from the fact that he was facing all kinds of hardships in the preaching of his message without any selfish motive and from this that whatever he was inviting the people to was rational and reasonable, accepting which was in the people’s own interest.

On the strength of these arguments themes of reprobation, reproof and warning have been presented repeatedly in a highly forceful manner so that hearts are shaken up and those which have any capacity for accepting the truth left in them should not remain unmoved.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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The relationship between the beginning of the Surah and its end is clear. The beginning of the Surah speaks about Disbelievers  deserving of the punishment as a result of their stubbornness, and as a result of Allah having sealed their hearts:

  • "Indeed the Word (of punishment) has proven true against most of them, so they will not believe." (36:7)
  • "Verily, We have put on their necks iron collars reaching to the chins, so that their heads are raised up." (36:8)
  • "And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so that they cannot see." (36:9)

The end of the Surah gives an example of one of these stubborn deniers (introduced generally at its beginning), upon whose heart Allah has sealed, and whose vision Allah has blinded, arguing with the Prophet SAW with regards to resurrection:

  • "And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: "Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust." (36:78)

Allah Almighty mentions in the begining and towards the end of the Surah how He is the life-giver.

  • إِنَّا نَحْنُ نُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ وَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُوا وَآثَارَهُمْ ۚ وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُّبِينٍ "Indeed, it is We who bring the dead to life and record what they have put forth and what they left behind, and all things We have enumerated in a clear register. " (36:12)
     
  • قُلْ يُحْيِيهَا الَّذِي أَنشَأَهَا أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلْقٍ عَلِيمٌ "Say, "He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing." (36:79)

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • Taking Satan as an enemy. Both Surah al-Fatir and Ya Sin emphasize the need to take Satan as an enemy:
    - إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّا ۚ إِنَّمَا يَدْعُو حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُونُوا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ  "Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze." (35:6)
    - أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ "Did I not enjoin upon you, O children of Adam, that you not ta'badu [enslave/serve] Satan - [for] indeed, he is to you a clear enemy." (36:60)

The Virtues of the Surah

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  • Jundub ibn Abdullah narrates that the Messenger of Allah said, "مَن قرَأ يس في ليلةٍ ابتغاءَ وجهِ اللهِ غُفِر له" "Whoever recites Surah Ya Sin in the night seeking the pleasure of Allah will be forgiven." [Saheeh ibn Hibban no. 2574]
  • Imam Ahmad has narrated in his Musnad from Safwan that, ‘The scholars use to say that when it is recited by the deceased, Allah creates ease for him/her.’ (See Tafsir ibn Kathir vol.3 pg.571)
  • There are a number of reports which state Surah Ya Sin is the 'Heart of the Qur'an'. 

Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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Surah Ya Sin is Surah no. 36 with 83 Ayat. If we multiply 36 x 83 = 2,988. Interestingly, there are 2,988 letters in Surah Ya Sin - according to the counting Qur'an programme 'Ahsa al-Qur'an'. 

Period of Revelation

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A study of the style shows that it was either sent down during the last stage of the middle Makkan period or it is one of those Surahs which were sent down during the last stage of the Prophet’s stay at Makkah.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • Ma’qil ibn Yasar (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said: “Surah Yasin is the heart of the Qur’an. When anyone who intends the Akhira recites it Allah will forgive him. Recite it upon your deceased.”  [Sunan Abi Dawud - Imam Hakim has classified this tradition as sahih (authentic); Mustadrak Hakim vol.1 pg.565 – see al-Targhib vol.2 pg.376]
     
  • Sayyiduna Jundub ibn ‘Abdullah (radiyallahu’anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever recites Surah Yasin at night seeking the pleasure of Allah, His sins will be forgiven.” [Muwatta Imam Malik, Sahih ibn Hibban vol.6 pg.312 (see al-Targhib vol.2 pg.377) A similar narration is reported by Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu’anhu) and has been recorded by Imam Abu Ya’ala in his Musnad. Hafiz Ibn Kathir has classified its chain of narrators as good (jayyid). (Tafsir ibn Kathir vol.3 pg.570)

Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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  • The Qur’an is revealed by Allah to warn people and establish a charge-sheet against the disbelievers.
  • Allah has created all things in pairs.
  • The day, night, sun and moon; all are being regulated by Allah.
  • Scenes from the Day of Judgement:
  • Allah's greetings to the residents of Paradise.
  • Allah's address to the criminal sinners.
  • Hands and feet shall bear witness.
  • All human beings shall be raised back to life again on the Day of Judgement for accountability of their deeds.
  • The Qur'an does not benefit except those who are alive, لِّيُنذِرَ مَن كَانَ حَيًّا وَيَحِقَّ الْقَوْلُ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ "To warn whoever is alive and justify the word against the disbelievers." (36:70)

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Miscellaneous Issues

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Scientific References

The Orbital Movement of the Sun and the Moon

لَا الشَّمْسُ يَنبَغِي لَهَا أَن تُدْرِكَ الْقَمَرَ وَلَا اللَّيْلُ سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ ۚ وَكُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ "It is not allowable for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming. " (36:40)

The Arabic words used in these verses are falak and yasbahoon which can be translated as ‘sphere or orbit’ and ‘swimming.’ This concept of the movement of the sun and the moon and the other planets is in perfect harmony with recent discovery. It is inconceivable that an Arab, living centuries ago in the most primitive part of the world, could have rightly used such a specific term to describe the movements of planets without divine guidance. It should be noted that the discovery of the orbital movement of all celestial bodies was due to the invention of telescopes.

The Qur’ān on Duality in Creation

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْأَزْوَاجَ كُلَّهَا مِمَّا تُنبِتُ الْأَرْضُ وَمِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَمِمَّا لَا يَعْلَمُونَ “Exalted is He who created all pairs - from what the earth grows and from themselves and from that which they do not know.” (36:36)

This Qur’ānic verse outlines the fact that all creatures, whether living beings or solid matter, are created in pairs. It refers to everything that was created. Amazingly, the outstanding truth and generality of this and similar verses came to be gradually realised, and more so recently, during 14 centuries since the Qur’ān was first revealed in a primitive world.

Millions of animal species discovered, classified and investigated only during the last two centu-ries, were found to be invariably in ‘pairs,’ male and female. Electron microscopy has clarified that all living creatures, however minute, are in pairs. The smallest microbes, viruses, and bacteria have their counterpart antibodies Take for example DNA – it is made up of thousands of different genes, and genes are made up of base pairs. These ‘base pairs’ are made of two paired up nucleotides. In order to form a base pair, we need to pair up specific nucleotides. Each type of nucleotide has a specific shape, so only certain combinations fit.

The sequence, composition, and orientation of these ‘pairs’ of nucleotides control the genetic information carried by the DNA. A chromosome consists of different types of protein bound tightly with a single DNA molecule chain.

The DNA is a large long (up to 1 meter long) amino acid chain. It consists of a ‘pair’ of spiral strands, connected with steps. Each step consists of a ‘pair’ of chemical components, so-called nucleotides.

There are 4 nucleotides. Adenine, Thymine, Guanine and Cytosine represented respectively by the letters A,T,G and C. Due to their shapes only A and T or G and C fit into one another.

Base Pairs [A-T, G-C] (billions of these matching pairs) ---> Genes (thousands of these) --> DNA --> Chromosomes --> Nucleotides --> Nucleus (the ‘brain’ of the cell).

All life systems including plant, animal and human consist of different types of cells. A cell consists of a nucleus surrounded with cytoplasm which is usually enclosed, within a cell wall. The cell nucleus, carries the chromosomes that control all the cell functions. All cells of a particular organism have exactly the same number of chromosomes; the number varies widely between different species. Proteins are formed from various combinations of amino acids. Specifically, 20 types of amino acid are used in different combinations to form more than a million types of protein, present in a human being. Every type of amino acid can exist in either of a pair of structures (right-handed isomer or left-handed isomer), with opposite polarised light rotation direction. The same applies to the proteins formed thereof.

The wide variety of creatures including living species, solid matter, liquids and gases are marvel-lous combinations of the same list of building blocks: atoms. These basic units, were long known to consist of a ‘pair’ of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negative electrons. The nucleus consists of protons that carry the positive charge, together with neutrons. Even the neutral neutrons have their counterpart, the anti-neutrons. Later advances in nuclear physics has demonstrated that each of these particles is, in effect, a complex structure of much smaller nuclear particles. Over 200 of such elementary particles are now known.

At the atomic level, atoms can, literally, ionise i.e. either lose or gain electrons to form positive cations or negative anions. ‘Pairs’ of cations/anions combine to produce the wide variety of chemical (inorganic) compounds. This is one of the conclusions made by British physicist Paul Dirac, winner for Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933. His finding, known as ‘parity,’ revealed the duality known as matter and anti-matter.

Another example of duality in creation is plants. Botanists only discovered that there is a gender distinction in plants some 100 years ago. Yet, the fact that plants are created in pairs was revealed in the verses of the Qur’ān 1,400 years ago. It was only after the discovery of microscopes that human beings knew that plants have male organs (stamens) and female organs (ovaries) and that the wind, together with other factors, carries the pollen from one type to the opposite one so that reproduction can take place.

Every animal species of the wide animal kingdom reproduce sexually. Sexual reproduction results from the combination of a female ovum and a male sperm. The formation of this zygote ‘pair’ is the starting point in the reproduction cycle. The sperms, in turn are of ‘two’ kinds, the first carries the hereditary male characteristics, while the other carries the female ones.

Flowering plants, of which more than 250,000 have been discovered so far, also reproduce sexually. They have both female (ovaries containing eggs) and male (stamens carrying pollens); either combined in the same flower or in different flowers. In the latter case, fertilization occurs when pollens are transferred by wind or insects to an adjacent flower.

Non-flowering plants, on the other hand, amounting to 150,000 species, reproduce in a double-stage cycle of sexual and asexual reproduction. Yet, the asexual reproduction stage is essentially a process of breaking up the DNA ‘pair’ of strands into two; followed by each of which re-forming its complementary strand. Thus, a new ‘pair’ of identical DNA molecules results in the cell, just before it divides into a ‘pair’ of identical cells. The same applies to the asexual reproduction of bacteria.

Each bacterium consists of a single cell, the smallest biological unit able to function independently. A single bacterium reproduces the same way explained above, i.e. by splitting into a pair of identical cells. As we have seen, cell division occurs through the process of DNA replication, in which the two strands of the DNA molecules are separated; and each strand resynthesises a complementary strand to itself. So, ‘asexual’ reproduction of bacteria involves the DNA ‘pair’ of strands splitting and reformation into a new ‘pair’ of cells.