A Journey through Surah Yaseen

Surah yassen

This Surah derives its name from the opening disjointed letters ya and seen. The Surah is said to be a late Meccan surah, its surah number 36 when looking at the Qur’an chronologically. It is a slightly longer surah compared to the surahs before it and after it, with 83 verses. It carries the style of Meccan surahs, the verses are short and the fast rhythm gives it a special outlook. The different forms of embellishments and the imagery the verses draw, truly leave the reader inspired and wanted to read more. The full course can be found on Islamic Course Online titled ‘A Tafseer of surah Yasin’.

The surah shares the same themes with other Meccan Surahs, it begins with calling people to the Holy Qur’an and its purpose.

YA SIN. By the Quran, full of wisdom, you are indeed one of God’s messengers, pursuing a straight way. It is revelation by the Almighty, the ever Merciful.”[1]

This Surah being a Meccan surah is addressing the problems of the Meccans, and their major problems were three. They rejected Muhammad as a Prophet, they rejected the concept of resurrection, being brought back to life and finally they rejected the concept of accountability. So, to teach the Meccans Allah informs them of the duties of Prophets and that’s fundamentally to warn and give glad tidings to his people. Furthermore, Allah relates the story of the people of the township to which messengers were sent, using the story to warn against rejection of the message and denial of the revelation. This story shows the end of a people who deny, belittle and mock a prophet of Allah, total destruction. And again at the end of the Surah this point is reemphasised and brought to the forefront of the argument.

We have not taught the Prophet poetry, nor is it fitting for him to be a poet….”[2]

The next theme of the surah can be seen in verses 13 to 19, in which Allah narrates the story of the people of the towns. A community that received three messengers and one supporter, never have we heard of one nation received three messengers at the same time. This is an interesting incident from many aspects, it is one of the few communities that had three messengers at the same time. Not only that, the names of the messengers were not mentioned, and their speeches were not highlighted. But, the activism and the speeches of an unknown individual became the centre of attention of the surah.

We sent two messengers but they rejected both. Then we reinforced them with a third. They said,’Truly, we are messengers to you.” [3]


“Then, from the furthest part of the city, a man came running. He said, ‘My people, follow the messengers.” [4]

And this man had so much love, care and concern for his people, and love for the truth, he spoke out against oppression knowing he will not live to see another day, but he preferred that than living in bondage all his life, subservient to falsehood. He was killed and entered paradise, all for adhering and following the messengers of his time.

After raising awareness of Prophethood, the next major theme of the Surah is resurrection. It is first mentioned in verse 12, in the story of a faraway man to the town, that Allah promises he will bring the dead back to life. Then resurrection is mentioned again in the middle of the surah in verses 48-50, and again at the end in verses 78-79. We see resurrection occurring very carefully at the beginning, middle and end.

These fundamental issues of faith are repeatedly mentioned in Meccan Qur’an. Each time though addressed from a different perspective, shedding more light on the topic, opening new doors, giving the listener no opportunity to disbelieve.

The imagery and the poetic nature of these verses are miraculously maintained throughout the Surah even though the fundamental topics of faith do not change. Some of the scenes of the Day of Judgement, the scenes in the story and the positions taken in it and the dialogue it includes, also the end suffering by earlier communities. Other very powerful images are draw of the universe, the planets ‘swimming’ in orbit, yet Allah describes them all on their own journey and that with the complexities of the universe nothing collides with another, why because Allah is perfect and the creator of perfection in his creation. Then, Allah addresses and presents an example for man to reflect upon, the dead land, how life begins to emerge in it, then the night and the day, the sun running in its course, the moon in its. The movement and the appearance of the moon during the month being compared to an old date stalk. It is using these scenes and images that the surah emphasizes its message. All the imaginery can be seen on Islamic courses online.

The Surah then warns in a very bold and threatening manner those who after hearing the different scenes in this surah yet decides to turn away with a severe punishment.

Around their necks, we have put chains, reaching their chins, so that their heads are forced up…”[5]

To summarise, the surah can be divided into three parts, the first begins with an oath Allah makes by declaring the two letters ya and seen and by mentioning the Qur’an which is full of wisdom , to highlight the truth of the Prophet Muhammad’s message and that he lays out for us the straight path. The Meccans are listening very attentively, then this part of the surah concludes by mentioning the story of the people of the Towns, who denied their prophets and their end of absolute destruction.

The second part, discusses the behaviour of those who deny the messengers and their final abode. It is in this section that most of the imagery as mentioned above is depicted for the reader. And this section is concluded with a vivid scene from the Day of Resurrection.

The third and final section of surah Yasin, begins with a strong refutation against the accusations made about the Prophet, they called him a poet, which is refuted. It then moves to describe the Oneness of Allah, and the futile worship of idols. And then finally Allah reminds the listener of resurrection, that we are all to be brought back to life, resurrected from the ashes of our bones. And there is no doubt in that, Allah logically proves that by stating, what is more difficult to create the entire universe or to bring you back from your remains. It is all easy for Allah, as He ends the surah with:

When he intends something to be, He only says to it, BE,’ and it is. Limitless, then in his glory is He in whose hand rests the mighty dominion over all things, and to him you all will be brought back.” [6]


[1] Ya sin 36:1-5

[2] Ya sin 36: 69

[3] Ya sin 36:20

[4] Ya sin 36:26-27

[5] Ya Sin 36:8

[6] Ya Sin 36:82-83

Read more

The Destiny of Humanity – Part 2

The Destiny of Humanity – Part 2

The Destiny of Humanity – Part 2 In the opening verses of the second chapter of the Qur’an, Surah Al Baqrah, Allah divides mankind into three types believers, disbelievers and hypocrites. After detailing each one’s traits and characteristics Allah invites all of mankind to worship him, the creator of the heavens and the earth. Then […]

Allah’s Challenge to Mankind

Allah’s Challenge to Mankind

Allah’s Challenge to Mankind One of the greatest miracles of the Holy Qur’an is its inimitability, this outstanding challenge to mankind has stood strong for over 1400 years. In the time of the Prophet Muhammad his enemies accused him of many things ranging from being called a mad man, magician to a poet.  None of […]

Family matter – Part 2

Family matter – Part 2

Family Matters The family is a part of the Islamic social order. The society that Islam wants to establish is a society based on social justice, liberating people from the worship of man to the freedom and liberation to worship their one true god. The Islamic society is based around the human nature, it works […]