Imam Ahmad, Abu Daud, Nasai, Ibn Majah and Tabarani have related on the authority of Hadrat Ma’qil bin Yasar that the Holy Prophet said:
“Surah Ya Sin is the heart of the Quran.”
The Surah Ya Sin has been called the throbbing heart of the Quran because it presents the message of the Quran in a most heartfelt manner, which overcomes one’s inattention and indolence, stirring the spirit to action.
In the first few ayah of this sura we see a confirmation for Rasul Allah (saw).
يس – 36:1
Ya Sin (These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran, and they have hidden meanings)
وَالْقُرْآنِ الْحَكِيمِ – 36:2
Wal Qur’an al hakim
By the Qur’ān, that is full of wisdom,
إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ – 36:3
Innaka lamina almursaleen
You, oh Prophet, are one of the messengers
عَلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ – 36:4
‘ala siratin mustaqeem
(and) you are on a straight path
تَنزِيلَ الْعَزِيزِ الرَّحِيمِ – 36:5
Tanzeela al ‘azeezi ar-raheem
(and this Qur’an is) a revelation from the Most Mighty (al aziz), the most compassionate (ar rahman))
لِتُنذِرَ قَوْمًا مَّا أُنذِرَ آبَاؤُهُمْ فَهُمْ غَافِلُونَ – 36:6
Litunthira qawman ma onthiraabaohum fahum ghafiloon
In order that you may warn a people who are unaware because their forefathers were not warned
لَقَدْ حَقَّ الْقَوْلُ عَلَىٰ أَكْثَرِهِمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ – 36:7
Laqad haqqa al-qawlu ‘ala ‘aktharihim fahum la yu’minoon
Already the word has come into effect upon most of them, so they do not believe.
The exoteric object of the discourse is to warn the Quraish of the consequences of not believing in the Prophethood 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.
Esoterically, one can also see this as a guidance for each of us. This is to say that as we turn away from the light of guidance (nur I muhammadi) we tend to loose our love for life and for our fellow human beings. Even deeper is the meaning that when we are aware of where we are guided to the abode of the true beloved we turn toward that and do not loose our way.
Arguments have been given for three things:
- For tawheed (unitiy of all existence), from the signs of the universe and from common sense;
- For the Hereafter (akhira – the life eternal), from the signs of the universe, from common sense and from man’s own existence itself;
- For the Prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (nur I muhammadi), 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 and love left in them should not remain unmoved.
Again Imam Ahmad, Aba Da’ud and Ibn Majah have related from the same Ma’qil bin Yasar that the Holy Prophet said: “Recite Surah Ya Sin to the dying ones among you.” The object is not only to revive and refresh the whole Islamic creed in the mind and heart of the dying person but also bring before him or her, in particular, a complete picture of the Hereafter so that s/he may know what stages one would have to pass through after crossing away from the stage of this worldly life.
An inner meaning as well here is to remember the phrase “Die before death…” This reminds us that we should always remember the love of Allah (swt) who tells us “Remember me and I shall remember you” Reading Ya-Sin is a way of remembering and feeling in one’s heart.
As we will delve into the heart of the Quran, it is most important that we understand our relationship with Allah (swt) and with Rasul Allah (saw), we need to remember in the strongest sense of our love, our duties and responsibilities and how it hardens our heart when we neglect them.
Allah (swt) is telling us that in Ya Sin in strong terms with might and power. In it we are reminded of many things, among them are –
- Al-Qur’an is revealed by Allah (swt) to inform people and point out the heart pain and isolation of not remembering.
- Allah (swt) has created all things in pairs. (this includes spiritual practices)
- The day, night, sun and moon; all are being regulated by Allah (swt) and, therefore, the time of our very lives.
- Scenes from the Day of Judgement, and the inward looking and struggle we have with our inner selves – nafs.
- Allah’s greetings to the residents of Paradise, including paradise here on earth.
- Allah’s address to the people who sin against themselves and do not examine (muhassibah)
- Hands and feet shall bear witness – our own bodies are affected by our actions
- All human beings shall be raised back to life again on the Day of Judgement for accountability of their deeds.
The purpose of our exploring this sura is for us to become clearer in our hearts and closer to Allah (SWT) and why it is so important for us to keep our hearts full of faith.
It is said that the believers will intercede for their brothers and sisters on judgement day saying:
‘O Allah! (Save) our brothers (for they) used to pray with us, fast with us and also do good deeds with us.’ Allah will say, ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one (gold) Dinar.’ Allah will forbid the Fire to burn the faces of those sinners. They will go to them and find some of them in Hell (Fire) up to their feet, and some up to the middle of their legs. So they will take out those whom they will recognize and then they will return, and Allah will say (to them), ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one half Dinar.’ They will take out whomever they will recognize and return, and then Allah will say, ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant), and so they will take out all those whom they will recognize.’
So we must be vigilant in our own hearts – vigilant in observing our inner state and also vigilant in watching ourselves and our brothers and sisters and encouraging them so that they will be recognized on that day. But it is better, if they know, that they use the time here for the betterment of their deen. Remember, we do not know when this day is coming but we can do our best to prepare for it insha’allah!
And Allah (swt)
 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 Prophet (peace be upon him).
 Mursaleen – from the same root as Rasul, meaning prophet.
 Here, two of the attributes of the Sender of the Quran have been mentioned. First, that He is Most-Mighty; second, that He, is Most-Merciful. The first attribute is meant to impress the reality that the Quran is not the counsel of a powerless preacher, which, if you observe and acknowledge in your life, will bring boundless joy, peace, beauty and love to you; this is the Edict of that Creator of the Universe in love, Who is Most-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 being separated from the beloved and follow the right path which may lead you to the successes of the world and the Hereafter.
 This is about those people (at the time of the revelation) who, being obstinate and stubborn with regard to the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him) had made up their minds not to listen to him at all. But now it applies to each of us who predispose to deny our connection with the divine. When we do this, when we value the worldly things above our soul’s purpose we cause our suffering.We do not heed the admonition, and persist in our denial and hostile attitude to the truth in spite of the warning from Allah conveyed through the Prophets, we are ourselves, overwhelmed by the consequences and deprived of knowledge of our divine connection. You can only warn him who follows the admonition and seeks knowledge of the Merciful God even though one cannot see Him.