Monday 1 October 2018

Surah Ya Seen: Summary of 36th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Sūrah Yā-Sīn, the 36th Chapter / Surah of the Holy Qur'an with its 83 verses with five  rukus, part of the 22-23 Juzʼ  of the Qur'ān. It was revealed in later period of stay of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Makkah. It is considered as the Heart of the Holy Qur'an. 

The name of the chapter comes from the two letters of the first verse of the chapter: Yā and Sīn. These words without any meaning in the Holy Qur'an are called "Muqatta’at" - words that have been given no meaning and include the abrogated Ayat, parables, oaths, that which should be believed in, but not implemented, these letters none but Allah (alone) knows their meanings, as against the words that are "Muhkamat" - words that are entirely clear and plain, which explain the abrogating rulings, the allowed, prohibited, laws, limits, obligations and rulings that should be believed in and implemented.

Like most of the chapter revealed in Makkah, the the theme of Sūrah Yā-Sīn is to warn the pagans of Makkah of the consequences of not believing in the Prophet hood of Muhammad (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) 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]
  • (1) For Tauhid (Oneness of Allah), 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 Prophet hood of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him), 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.
The surah ends stressing the existence of Resurrection and God's sovereign power.

Now let us read the English translation of Sūrah Yā-Sīn and brief summary of the message (s) contained therein:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 

"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
1. Ya-Sin.
2. By the Qur'an, full of wisdom (i.e. full of laws, evidences, and proofs),
3. Truly, you (O Muhammad ) are one of the Messengers,
4. On a Straight Path (i.e. on Allah's religion of Islamic Monotheism).
5. (This is) a Revelation sent down by the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful,
6. In order that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, so they are heedless.
The opening six verses stress onto the nonbelievers of Makkah that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is one of many messengers that Allah had sent before him to warn them for their forefathers did not listen to earlier messengers and remained heedless.  

Reference verse 7 below, 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, 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, that period cannot be said to be without the guidance. But when the influence of a 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. When the influence was about to die out, and the real teaching was also distorted, Allah chose Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and made such arrangements that His message can neither be wiped out nor tampered with. [1]
7. Indeed the Word (of punishment) has proved true against most of them, so they will not believe. 8. Verily! We have put on their necks iron collars reaching to chins, so that their heads are forced up. 9. And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so that they cannot see. 10. It is the same to them whether you warn them or you warn them not, they will not believe.
11. You can only warn him who follows the Reminder (the Qur'an), and fears the Most Beneficent (Allah) unseen. Bear you to such one the glad tidings of forgiveness, and a generous reward (i.e. Paradise).
In the verse 8, setting of a barrier before them and a barrier behind them" means that the natural result of their stubbornness and pride is that they neither learn any lesson from their past history nor ever consider the consequences of the fixture. Their prejudices have so covered them from every side and their misconceptions have so blinded them that they cannot see even those glaring realities which are visible to every right-thinking and unbiased person.

This does not mean that it is fertile to preach, but it means: "Your preaching reaches every kind of people. When you come across the people of the first kind and you see that they continue to persist in their denial, pride and antagonism, you should leave them alone, but at the same time you should not feel disheartened so as to give up your mission, for you do not know exactly where among the multitudes of the people are those sincere servants of God, who would heed your admonition and fear God and turn to the right path. The real object of your preaching, therefore, should be to search out and collect this second kind of the people. You should ignore the stubborn people and gather this precious element of the society about you.
12. Verily, We give life to the dead, and We record that which they send before (them), and their traces [their footsteps and walking on the earth with their legs to the mosques for the five compulsory congregational prayers, Jihad (holy fighting in Allah's Cause) and all other good and evil they did, and that which they leave behind], and all things We have recorded with numbers (as a record) in a Clear Book.
Verse 12 is indicative of three kinds of the entries that are made in the conduct-book of men:
  • First, whatever a person does, good or bad is entered in the Divine Register. 
  • Second, whatever impressions a man makes on the objects of his environment and on the limbs of his own body itself, become recorded, and all these impressions will at one time become so conspicuous that man's own voice will become audible and the whole history of his ideas and intentions and aims and objects and the pictures of all of his good and bad acts and deeds will appear before him. 
  • Third, whatever influences he has left behind of his good and bad actions on his future generation, on his society and on mankind as a whole, will go on being recorded in his account as far as they reach and as long as they remain active and operative. The full record of the good and bad training given by him to his children, the Bard or evil that he has spread in the society, and its impact on mankind as a whole, will go on being maintained till the time that it goes on producing good or evil results in the world.
In verses 13-32 Allah mentions the fate of the people upon whom two messengers were sent they rejected them.
13. And put forward to them a similitude; the (story of the) dwellers of the town, when there came Messengers to them. 14. When We sent to them two Messengers, they belied them both, so We reinforced them with a third, and they said: "Verily! We have been sent to you as Messengers." 15. They (people of the town) said: "You are only human beings like ourselves, and the Most Beneficent (Allah) has revealed nothing, you are only telling lies." 
Reference Verse 15: In other words, what they wanted to say was: `Since you are human beings, you cannot be the messengers of God. " The same was the view of the disbelievers of Makkah. They also said; "Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) cannot be a messenger because he is a man" In Surah Al Furqan (verse 7) such disbelievers are quoted as saying: "They say: what sort of a Messenger is he that he eats food and moves about in the streets."  
16. The Messengers said: "Our Lord knows that we have been sent as Messengers to you,17. "And our duty is only to convey plainly (the Message)." 18. They (people) said: "For us, we see an evil omen from you, if you cease not, we will surely stone you, and a painful torment will touch you from us." 19. They (Messengers) said: "Your evil omens be with you! (Do you call it "evil omen") because you are admonished? Nay, but you are a people Musrifun (transgressing all bounds by committing all kinds of great sins, and by disobeying Allah). 20. And there came running from the farthest part of the town, a man, saying: "O my people! Obey the Messengers; 21. "Obey those who ask no wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided. 22. "And why should I not worship Him (Allah Alone) Who has created me and to Whom you shall be returned. 23. "Shall I take besides Him aliha (gods), if the Most Beneficent (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession will be of no use for me whatsoever, nor can they save me? 24. "Then verily, I should be in plain error. 25. Verily! I have believed in your Lord, so listen to me!" 26. It was said (to him when the disbelievers killed him): "Enter Paradise." He said: "Would that my people knew! 27. "That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honoured ones!" 28. And We sent not against his people after him a host from heaven, nor do We send (such a thing). 29. It was but one Saihah (shout, etc.) and lo! They (all) were silent (dead-destroyed). 30. Alas for mankind! There never came a Messenger to them but they used to mock at him. 31. Do they not see how many of the generations We have destroyed before them? Verily, they will not return to them. 32. And surely, all, everyone of them will be brought before Us.
Even a third messenger was sent but he too was mocked and pained and was not taken to be a man chosen to put them on the righteous path. They even murdered a a man who tried to convince them that the messengers of Allah only conveyed to them the message from the Divine Creator and needed nothing in return. But the cruel people killed him. It was then Allah’s wrath fell upon the disbelieving community, and the whole town was annihilated. This purpose of this narration was in fact a stern warning to the pagans of Makkah and the polytheists so that they should be careful in rejecting Allah’s Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) refrain from killing him as he was repeatedly threatened lest they also invited the wrath from Allah.
33. And a sign for them is the dead land. We gave it life, and We brought forth from it grains, so that they eat thereof. 34. And We have made therein gardens of date-palms and grapes, and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein. 35. So that they may eat of the fruit thereof, and their hands made it not. Will they not, then, give thanks? 36. Glory be to Him, Who has created all the pairs of that which the earth produces, as well as of their own (human) kind (male and female), and of that which they know not. 37. And a sign for them is the night, We withdraw therefrom the day, and behold, they are in darkness. 38. And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. 39. And the moon, We have measured for it mansions (to traverse) till it returns like the old dried curved date stalk. 40. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float, each in an orbit. 41. And an Ayah (sign) for them is that We bore their offspring in the laden ship [of Nuh (Noah)]. 42. And We have created for them of the like thereunto, so on them they ride. 43. And if We will, We shall drown them, and there will be no shout (or helper) for them (to hear their cry for help) nor will they be saved. 44. Unless it be a mercy from Us, and as an enjoyment for a while. 45. And when it is said to them: "Beware of that which is before you (worldly torments), and that which is behind you (torments in the Hereafter), in order that you may receive Mercy (i.e. if you believe in Allah's Religion - Islamic Monotheism, and avoid polytheism, and obey Allah with righteous deeds). 46. And never came an Ayah from among the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord to them, but they did turn away from it. 47. And when it is said to them: "Spend of that with which Allah has provided you," those who disbelieve say to those who believe: "Shall we feed those whom, if Allah willed, He (Himself) would have fed? You are only in a plain error." 48. And they say: "When will this promise (i.e. Resurrection) be fulfilled, if you are truthful?" 49. They await only but a single Saihah (shout, etc.), which will seize them while they are disputing! 50. Then they will not be able to make bequest, nor they will return to their family.
In verses 33-50 various signs of Allah in Nature are mentioned. And these signs have been taken as witness by Allah: Are there not signs enough around you to bear witness to Allah? These signs include that of earth, gardens and fields full of fruits and green crops, life, light of stars and the planets that follow a set orbit and never deviating from their path. These signs include various modes of transportation that make easier for men to move about and carry their heavy cargo of trade not only on land but also in seas and rivers. A reference to the ship of Prophet Nuh (Noah, peace be upon him) is also made which saved the paired male and female of every living thing to begin the life all over again. These signs are their for men to ponder over these and learn how Allah has made their life easier so that they learn the law of goodness from these and believe in the day which shall come unexpected and men will then be asked why did not believe in Allah when he showed many of His signs as reference. Bur perhaps it would be too late for repentance ford those who mocked the word of Allah brought to them by His messengers and will face the dreadful torment from Allah.
51. And the Trumpet will be blown (i.e. the second blowing) and behold! From the graves they will come out quickly to their Lord. 52. They will say: "Woe to us! Who has raised us up from our place of sleep." (It will be said to them): "This is what the Most Beneficent (Allah) had promised, and the Messengers spoke truth!" 53. It will be but a single Saihah (shout, etc.), so behold! They will all be brought up before Us! 54. This Day (Day of Resurrection), none will be wronged in anything, nor will you be requited anything except that which you used to do. 55. Verily, the dwellers of the Paradise, that Day, will be busy in joyful things.
56. They and their wives will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones. 57. They will have therein fruits (of all kinds) and all that they ask for. 58. (It will be said to them): Salamun (peace be on you), a Word from the Lord (Allah), Most Merciful.
59. (It will be said): "And O you Al-Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners, disbelievers in the Islamic Monotheism, wicked evil ones, etc.)! Get you apart this Day (from the believers). 60. Did I not ordain for you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaitan (Satan). Verily, he is a plain enemy to you.
61. And that you should worship Me [Alone Islamic Monotheism, and set up not rivals, associate-gods with Me]. That is a Straight Path. 62. And indeed he (Satan) did lead astray a great multitude of you. Did you not, then, understand?
63. This is Hell which you were promised! 64. Burn therein this Day, for that you used to disbelieve. 65. This Day, We shall seal up their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their legs will bear witness to what they used to earn. (It is said that one's left thigh will be the first to bear the witness). [Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol. 22, Page 24] 66. And if it had been Our Will, We would surely have wiped out (blinded) their eyes, so that they would struggle for the Path, how then would they see? 67. And if it had been Our Will, We could have transformed them (into animals or lifeless objects) in their places. Then they should have been unable to go forward (move about) nor they could have turned back. [As it happened with the Jews see Verse 7:166 The Qur'an]. 68. And he whom We grant long life, We reverse him in creation (weakness after strength). Will they not then understand?
69. And We have not taught him (Muhammad ) poetry, nor is it meet for him. This is only a Reminder and a plain Qur'an. 70. That he or it (Muhammad  or the Qur'an) may give warning to him who is living (a healthy minded the believer), and that Word (charge) may be justified against the disbelievers (dead, as they reject the warnings). 71. Do they not see that We have created for them of what Our Hands have created, the cattle, so that they are their owners. 72. And We have subdued them unto them so that some of them they have for riding and some they eat. 73. And they have (other) benefits from them (besides), and they get (milk) to drink, will they not then be grateful? 74. And they have taken besides Allah aliha (gods), hoping that they might be helped (by those so called gods). 75. They cannot help them, but they will be brought forward as a troop against those who worshiped them (at the time of Reckoning). 76. So let not their speech, then, grieve you (O Muhammad ). Verily, We know what they conceal and what they reveal. 77. Does not man see that We have created him from Nutfah (mixed male and female discharge semen drops). Yet behold! He (stands forth) as an open opponent. 78.  And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: "Who will give life to these bones when they have rotted away and became dust?" 79. Say: (O Muhammad ) "He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!" 80. He, Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! You kindle therewith. 81. Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator.
The last part of Sūrah Yā-Sīn deals with the Resurrection and Hereafter in verses 51-81. The man is reminded of that day when he will be taken by utter surprise for he thought that day which messengers of Allah have been promising may never come. That day, those who listened to Allah's commandments and His messengers and following the path of truth will be all smiles for they will be blessed and crowned with nearness to Allah. But what a bad day for those who sinned and disbelieved, a day when their own limbs will speak against them and bear witness to what all bad deeds they were forced to commit. And then Allah Almighty will stamp their eternal life with door to hell.
82. Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, "Be!" and it is!
83. So Glorified is He and Exalted above all that they associate with Him, and in Whose Hands is the dominion of all things, and to Him you shall be returned.
The last two Verses are very powerful that exhibit the absoluteness of Allah, the Almighty and Creator of the Universe, whose one command "Be!" and it is (verse 82) made the universe from nothing but smoke by this command and everything that He created will come to an end by the same command. So Glorified is He and Exalted above all that they associate with Him, and in Whose Hands is the dominion of all things, and to Him you shall be returned (verse 83).

In verse 83 for "Dominion" the Arabic word "Malakūt" has been used. Though  another Arabic word "Mulk (sovereignty)" is frequently used in the Qur'an, both this word and "Malakūt"(Dominion) have the same meaning. However, going rather deeply to differentiate between the two words, some interpreters are of the opinion that "Malakūt" refers to Allah’s Lordship over the unseen realm while "Mulk" refers to His Lordship over the visible world. In some Islamic cosmologies, this world is designated by mulk, while malakūt is understood as the level of being above this world, and above that lies the arch-angelic realm, which is designated by the term "Jabarūt." [6]

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrah Yā-Sīn with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, the exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran are basically based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites. 

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