Summary of the Introductory Programme to the Explanation of Sūrah Yāsīn
Presented at Masjid Qubā, Ridgeway
 An Overview of the Chapter
Sūrah Yāsīn is the 26th chapter of the Holy Qur’ān. It is Meccan, comprising of 83 verses.
Meccan chapters are characterised by a discussion of issues related to the Meccan period of Islam. Some of these issues are:
1. Issues pertaining to Islamic Faith and Beliefs:
In the Meccan period of Islam, there was a need to set the foundations right and therefore these chapters focus primarily on issues pertaining to Islamic Faith like Monotheism, belief in Resurrection and Accountability.
2. The proofs of the above aspects:
They appeal to the reader to ponder over the various, diverse forms of creation of Allah azza wa jall and their magnificence like the sun; moon; mountains; etc.
3. The stories of the past nations, their prophets and the consequences of their actions.
Hence, being a typical Meccan chapter, it tackles the above issues and others in a most profound and thought-provoking manner.
 The Virtues and Significance of the Chapter
It is termed Qalbul-Qur’ān, which means: The heart of the Holy Qur’ān.
[Ahmad and Nasa’ī]
Imām Ghazālī [rahimahullāh]: The belief in accountability and resurrection is of pivotal importance to the health of one’s spiritual self and to one’s faith just as the health of one’s physical body is dependant on the heart.
Thus, the belief in accountability regulates one’s life in the sense that one does not endeavour to do anything before pondering over it’s consequences in the Hereafter.
The person who recites it will receive the reward of the recitation of the Holy Qur’ān ten times.
[Tirmidhī and Dārimī]
Mawlānā Ashraf Alī Thānwī [rahimahullāh] was once asked that how can the reward of one who recites the Holy Qur’ān ten times be equal to the reward of the one who merely recites this chapter? He replied that the one who recites this chapter will surely receive the reward of ten recitations of the entire Holy Qur’ān but such a person will not receive the same divine light and blessings that a person who recited it ten times will receive.
Think of the example of one who flies to Cape Town from Johannesburg and one who drives all the way. Both reach the same destination but the one who flies does not attain the same experience as the one who travels by road like the beautiful and scenic drive through the garden route, etcetera.
It was the desire of the Messenger of Allah (sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam) that this chapter be in the heart of every Muslim (i.e.: they memorise it).
[Tafsīr of Ibn Kathīr from Bazzār]
It has been named:
1. al-`Azīmah (The Honoured) and it’s reciter is called ash-Sharīf (The Noble).
Therefore, the one who recites it has been duly honoured and exalted by Allāh azza wa jalla.
2. al-Mu`immah [The Generaliser)
It envelopes it’s reciter with all forms of prosperity.
3. al-Mudāfi`ah (The Repeller)
It reps harm and difficulty. Perhaps due to this characteristic, we are urged to recite it upon those experiencing the pangs of death as it facilitates the easy exit of the spirit from the body. Ibn Kathīr (rahimahullah) states that the scholars say that this chapter is never recited at a time of difficulty except that it brings about ease.
[Rūhul-Ma`ānī and Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr]
 Interesting Discussions Regarding the Opening Verse
An analysis of the opening verses of some chapters which begin with mere letters whose meaning is unknown
According to the monumental Qur’ān exegesis, Mafātīhul-Ghayb, it is stated that out of all 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet, Allah azza wa jall had mentioned half of them (i.e: 14) at the beginning of some chapters. (By this we mean verses like Alif Lām Mīm)
The complete set comprising of 28 letters of the alphabet could be broken down into three groups:
- The first nine letters, from Alif to Dhāl
- The middle ten letters, from Rā’ to Ghayn
- The last nine letters, from Fā’ to Yā’
An interesting feature is that…
- From the first group of letters (mentioned above) seven letters are not used at the beginning of the chapters, whereas two are mentioned (Alif and Hā’).
- From the third group, the opposite happens. That is: seven letters are used, whereas two are omitted (Fā’ and Wāw).
- In the middle group, the first of every two letters are mentioned. For example `Ayn is mentioned whilst Ghayn is omitted, etcetera.
There must be some reason for this, but our knowledge cannot comprehend it. This is similar to us commanding someone to say A D J or L P M. Even an Arab does not understand the meaning of such verses. Therefore, we learn that Allah azza wa jall is training us to accept his commands whether we comprehend the reason for it or not by making us recite these verses. One circumstance is where a person does something knowing the benefit and reason behind it; most probably he would do it willingly. But, if one does not know the reason behind doing something but still does it, it means he really is obedient to the one commanding him to do it.
The words Yāsīn
The majority of scholars say none knows it’s meaning besides Allah azza wa jall.
- Ibn Abbās states that it means Yā Insān, meaning: O, human being! [Ibn Abī Shaybah].
- Ibn Jubayr states that it is a name of our beloved prophet, Muhammad [sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam]
- It is a name of Allah azza wa jall
Keeping it as a name
Imām Mālik’s opinion is that one should not keep it as a name since it may be a name of Allah azza wa jall which is exclusive to him like The Creator.
Muftī Shafī` states that one could keep the name if one writes it correctly. This means that one may not write it as it appears in this chapter, but rather in the way it appears in the chapter entitled As-Sāffāt. Since, in that chapter, reference has been made to the name of a pious person being Yāsīn according to a specific reading of that verse. Thus, if the name is kept then it should be written in Arabic as: ياسين .
And Allah knows best!