|Position||Juzʼ 22, 23|
|No. of Rukus||5|
|No. of verses||83|
|Opening muqaṭṭaʻāt||Yā Sīn|
Yā Sīn (also Yaseen; Arabic: يس) is the 36th chapter (sūrah) of the Quran. It has 83 verses (āyāt). Regarding the timing and contextual background of the supposed revelation (asbāb al-nuzūl), it is an earlier "Meccan surah", which means it is believed to have been revealed in Mecca, instead of later in Medina. Some scholars maintain that verse 12 is from the Medinan period.
It is named "yā sīn" because the chapter starts with the "disconnected" or "mysterious" (Muqatta'at) Arabic letters: يس (yā sīn). The meaning of these letters has caused much scholarly debate. Tafsir al-Jalalayn, a Sunni exegesis (tafsir), concludes, "God knows best what He means by these [letters]."
Yasin is also one of the names of the Prophet Muhammad, as reported in a saying of Ali, "I heard the Messenger of God say, 'Verily God has named me by seven names in the Quran: Muhammad (3:144; 33:40; 47:2; 48:29), Ahmad (61:6), Ṭā-Hā, (20:1), Yā Sīn (36:1), thou enwrapped (Al-Muzzammil; 73:1), thou who art covered (Al-Muddathir; 74:1), and servant of God (ʿAbd Allāh; 72:19).'"
The surah focuses on establishing the Qur'an as a divine source, and it warns of the fate of those who mock God's revelations and are stubborn. The surah tells of the punishments that plagued past generations of nonbelievers as a warning to present and future generations. Additionally, the surah reiterates God's sovereignty as exemplified by His creations through signs from nature.
The surah ends with arguments in favor of the existence of Resurrection and God's sovereign power.
Heart of the Quran
It has been proposed that yā sīn is the "heart of the Quran". The meaning of “the heart” has been the basis of much scholarly discussion. The eloquence of this surah is traditionally regarded as representative of the miraculous nature of the Qur'an. It presents the essential themes of the Qur'an, such as the sovereignty of God, the unlimited power of God as exemplified by His creations, Paradise, the ultimate punishment of nonbelievers, resurrection, the struggle of believers against polytheists and nonbelievers, and the reassurance that the believers are on the right path, among others. Yā Sīn presents the message of the Qur'an in an efficient and powerful manner, with its quick and rhythmic verses. This surah asserts that Muhammad was not a poet, rather he was the greatest and the last messenger of Allah to come.
It is recorded in Sunan al-Darimi that Muhammad said that "If anyone recites Yaseen at the beginning of the day, their needs for that day will be fulfilled.” In another narration, this Sūrah has been described as the key to all good in this life and in the hereafter and a safety from all evil in this life and in the hereafter. Needs are fulfilled if asked after the recitation of this Sūrah and the reward for its recitation is also compared to performing twenty hajj pilgrimages.
Sections and themes
There are three main themes of yā sīn: Tawhid, the oneness of God; Risala, that Muhammad is a messenger sent by God to guide His creations through divine revelation; and the reality of Akhirah, the Last Judgment. 36:70 “This is a revelation, an illuminating Qur’an to warn anyone who is truly alive, so that God’s verdict may be passed against the disbelievers.”  The surah repeatedly warns of the consequences of not believing in the legitimacy or the revelation of Muhammad, and encourages believers to remain steadfast and resist the mockery, oppression, and ridicule they receive from polytheists and nonbelievers. The arguments arise in three forms: a historical parable, a reflection on the order in the universe, and lastly a discussion of resurrection and human accountability.
The chapter begins with an affirmation of the legitimacy of Muhammad. For example, verses 2-6, "By the wise Qur'an, you [Muhammad] are truly one of the messengers sent of a straight path, with a revelation from the Almighty, the Lord of Mercy, to warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, and so they are unaware." The first passage, verses 1-12, focuses primarily with promoting the Qur'an as guidance and establishing that it is God's sovereign choice who will believe and who will not. It is stated that regardless of a warning, the nonbelievers cannot be swayed to believe. 36:10 "It is all the same to them whether you warn them or not: they will not believe."
Surah Yāʾ-Sīn then proceeds to tell the tale of the messengers that were sent to warn nonbelievers, but who were rejected. Although the messengers proclaimed to be legitimate, they were accused of being ordinary men by the nonbelievers. 36:15-17 "They said, 'Truly, we are messengers to you,' but they answered, 'You are only men like ourselves. The Lord of Mercy has sent nothing; you are just lying." However, a man from amongst these people beseeched them to believe in the messengers. "Then there came running, from the farthest part of the City, a man, saying, 'O my people! Obey the messengers: Obey those who ask no reward of you (for themselves), and who have themselves received Guidance.'"[Quran 36:20] Upon his death, the man entered Paradise, and lamented the fate of the nonbelievers. 36:26 "He was told, 'Enter the Garden,' so he said, 'If only my people knew how my Lord has forgiven me and set me among the highly honored." This surah is meant to warn the nonbelievers of the consequences of their denial. Verse 36:30 goes on to state: "Alas for human beings! Whenever a messenger comes to them they ridicule him." Ultimately, it is God's will who will be blind and who will see.
The following passage addresses the signs of God's supremacy over nature. This is presented by the sign of revived land, the sign of day and night, the sign of the arc and the flood, and the sign of the sudden blast that arrives on the day of judgement. 36:33-37 The sign of revived land follows:
There is a sign for them in this lifeless earth: We give it life and We produce grains from it for them to eat; We have put gardens of date palms and grapes in the earth, and We have made water gush out of it so that they could eat its fruit. It is not their own hands that made all this. How can they not give thanks? Glory be to Him who created all the pairs of things that the earth produces, as well as themselves and other things they do not know about.
The disbelievers do not recognize God’s power in the natural world, although He is the one Creator.
The surah further addresses what will happen to those who reject the right path presented by Muhammad and refuse to believe in God. On the last day, the day of reckoning, the nonbelievers will be held accountable for their actions and will be punished accordingly. God warned the nonbelievers of Satan, and yet Satan led them astray. 36:60-63 "Children of Adam, did I not command you not to serve Satan, for he was your sworn enemy, but to serve Me? This is the straight path. He has led great numbers of you astray. Did you not use your reason? So this is the fire that you were warned against." Although God warned them against following Satan, the nonbelievers were deaf, and so now they will suffer the consequences of their ill judgements. 36:63 "So this is the Fire that you were warned against. Enter it today, because you went on ignoring [my commands]."
The surah proceeds to address the clear nature of the revelation and assure that Muhammad is a legitimate prophet. 36:69 states, "We have not taught the Prophet poetry, nor could he ever have been a poet." Yāʾ-Sīn concludes by reaffirming God’s sovereignty and absolute power. 36:82-83 "When He wills something to be, His way is to say, 'Be'—and it is! So glory be to Him in whose Hand lies control over all things. It is to Him that you will all be brought back."  It is to God, the one Creator who holds everything in His hands, that everything returns. The closing passage is absolute and powerful and carries an essential message of the Qur'an.
- Joseph E. B. Lumbard, "Introduction to Sūrat Yā Sīn", in The Study Quran ed. S.H. Nasr, Caner Dagli, Maria Dakake, Joseph Lumbard, and Mohammed Rustom (HarperOne, 2015), p. 1069.
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- The Qur'an. A new translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem. Oxford University Press. 2004. Pg. 283
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