Section 1: The Qur’an, The Apostle and the Manifest Guide
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
عَلي صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
1. “Ya Sin (Y.S)”
2. “By the Qur’an, full of Wisdom,”
3. “Verily you are of the messengers,”
4. “On a straight path.”
In spite of the kinds of accusations which were said to the Prophet (S), like: poet, soothsayer, sorcerer, and insane, Allah, the Wise, swears by the Qur’an full of wisdom and emphasizes on the messengership of the Prophet (S).
It swears by the Qur’an which has been sent down from His side. This explains its greatness and sacredness.
Similar to twenty eight other Suras of the Qur’an, this Surah begins with abbreviated letters:
About the commentary of the abbreviated letters of the Holy Qur’an, there have been explained some discussions in details at the beginning of Suras: Al-Baqarah, ’Al-i-‘Imran, and Al-’A‘raf.
But there are some other interpretations about the abbreviated letters of Ya Sin, too, including the following:
This term contains: ‘Ya’ (a vocative particle) and ‘Sin’ viz., the Prophet of Islam (S), and thus, the holy Prophet (S) is addressed for the statement of the later matters.
Some Islamic traditions also indicate that this term is one of the names of the holy Prophet of Islam (S).
Imam Sadiq (as) in a tradition said:
“Ya-Sin is the name of The Messenger of Allah (S) and its evidence is the word of Allah, The Exalted, Who said:
Next to these abbreviated letter, like many other Suras of the Qur’an which have began with abbreviated letters, the words are about the Holy Qur’an, but here Allah swears by them and says:
It is interesting that Qur’an is qualified by the word /hakim/ while this word is usually the quality of an alive and wise person. As if it introduces the Qur’an as a wise, living, and leading leader that can open the doors of wisdom to human beings, and lead them to the straight way that will be pointed out in later verses.
Of course, Allah does not need to take any oath, but the oaths of the Qur’an have always two important usages. The first is an emphasis on the concerning matter, and the second is the statement of the greatness of the thing by which is sworn, for nobody takes an oath to the worthless things.
Therefore, in the next holy verse, the Qur’an reiterates the thing for which the oath in the previous verse has been taken.
تَنزِيلَ الْعَزِيْزِ الرَّحِيمِ
لِتُنذِرَ قَوْماً مَّآ اُنذِرَ ءَابآؤُهُمْ فَهُمْ غَافِلُونَ
5. “A revelation of the Mighty, the Merciful.”
6. “That you may warn a people whose fathers were not warned, hence they are heedless.”
The origin of the descent of The Qur’an is Divine Power and Mercy, and whoever attaches it, reaches honour and grace. This holy verse implies that this is The Qur’an which has been sent down from the side of Allah, the Mighty, the Merciful.
The emphasis of the holy verse on the fact that Allah is ‘Mighty’ is for the statement of His power over such a great Book which remains during all centuries as an eternal miracle, and no power is able to wipe out its greatness from the hearts of the believers.
The emphasis on mercifulness of Allah is for the statement of this fact that His Mercy has required that He bestows such a great bounty on human beings.
So, if people try to deny and belie the truth, Allah has threatened them by His Might, and if they come forth with submission and acceptance, Allah has given them glad tiding by His Mercy.2
Therefore, His Might and Mercy, one of which is the symbol of warning, and the other is the symbol of glad tiding, have mixed with together and He has given this great heavenly Book to men.
Here, there arises a question that why the addressee in this sentence has been taken the holy Prophet (S), not the polytheist nor the people in general.
The answer is that: the purpose has been in this fact that He emphasizes that you are legitimate and on the straight path, whether they accept it or not. For this very reason, you should be earnest in the heavy mission of your messengership, and do not let the least discouragement come to you because of the rejection of the opponents.
In the next verse, the Qur’an explains the main aim of the descent of the Qur’an, as follows:
The purpose of this people is certainly the pagans of Arab, and if someone says that, as they believe, there has not been any nation without a Warner, and the earth will never be empty of Allah’s ir, No. 35, verse 24:
there is, of course, an answer for it.
In answer we will say that the purpose of the verse under discussion is the manifest Warner and a great prophet whose name is heard everywhere, else, in any time, there exists Divine authority for those who eagerly seek him.
And if we see that the course between the time of Hadrat Messiah (as) and the advent of the Prophet of Islam (S) has been counted as the course of intermission, it does not mean that there has not absolutely been any Divine Authority for them, but this interval had been from the point of the appointment of great prophets or arch-prophets.
Imam Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) in this regard says:
“Verily Allah appointed Muhammad (S) when neither one of Arabs used to read a heavenly Book, nor (anyone) claimed prophesy.”3
However, the aim by sending down the Qur’an was to make the negligent people aware and to awaken those who were asleep. It intended to remind them the dangers that had surrounded them, and the sins they were involved in and the Polytheism and immorality, they were polluted by.
Yes, the Qur’an is the base of knowledge and awareness, and it is the Book of sanctification of the heart and soul, too.
لَقَدْ حَقَّ الْقَوْلُ عَلَي أَكْثَرِهِمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ
اِنَّا جَعَلْنَا فِي أَعْنَاقِهِمْ أَغْلاَلاً فَهِيَ اِلَي الأَذْقَانِ فَهُم مُّقْمَحُونَ
7. “The word (of punishment) has been realized against most of them, yet they do not believe.”
8. “Verily, we have put chains on their necks, and these reach up to their chins, so their heads are raised.”
Allah puts chains on the pagans’ necks, but they themselves have provided its preparation.
As a prophecy about the chiefs of pagans and leaders of polytheists, this verse says:
Concerning the purpose of the Qur’anic word /qaul/ (the word) mentioned here, the commentators have delivered some probable meanings, but apparently the objective meaning is the promise of the Hell punishment for the followers of Satans, as Surah As-Sajdah, No. 32, verse 13 says:
And again Surah Az-Zumar, No. 39, verse 71 says:
However this state is for those who had ceased all their communication lines with Allah and had broken all the means of relation. They had closed the entire doors of guidance to them and had committed the utmost degree of enmity, obstinacy, and stubbornness. Yes, such people will never believe and have no way to return, because they have ruined all the bridges behind them.
The fact is in this that man will be corrigible and worthy of being guided if he has not totally ruined his monotheistic nature with his ugly and polluted deeds, otherwise, an absolute darkness will dominate over his heart and all of the doors of hope will be closed for him.
By the way, it was made clear by this statement that the purpose of the majority of the persons who never believe is the chiefs of polytheists and pagans, and that was why that some of them were killed in the battles of Muslims in the state of polytheism and idolatry, and those who remained did not have any faith in their hearts until the end, while after the conquest of Mecca, the majority of the Arab polytheists embraced Islam groups and groups, as the Qur’an says:
The verses which are recited after it and refer to the barriers in front of them and behind them and count their eyes blind, and clearly says that they are alike whether they are warned or not, all attest to this very meaning.
However, the next holy verse continues explaining this unchangeable group, when it says:
The Arabic word /’aqlal/ is the plural form of /qul/ and the word /qalala/ originally means: something which is in the middle of some things. For example, the flowing water, which passes through some trees, is called /qalal/ and the Arabic word /qul/ was a ring which was put on the necks or the heads of persons and then it was fastened with some chains.
So, since the hand was put in the middle of it, this word has been used for it. Sometimes the rings which were put on the necks were separately fastened by a chain, and the rings on the heads were different from them.
But, sometimes the hands were put in a ring and this ring was fastened to the ring which was on the neck, and, thus, the prisoner or the captive was intensively put in pressure, limitation, and torture.
If this word is used for the state of thirst or intense of grief and anger, it is called /qullih/ which is also for the sake of penetrating this state into the man’s heart and soul. Principally, the Arabic word /qall/ has been applied in both the senses of: ‘to bring in’ and ‘to enter’, therefore the income of the house, or agriculture, and the like is called /qallih/.5
In any case, sometimes when the ring, which was put on the neck, came up to the chin and set the head upward, and the captive or prisoner, being extraordinarily tortured by it, could not see around him.
How interesting is the resemblance which has been made from the state of obstinate idolaters to such persons.
Those have put the ring of imitation and the chain of superstitious customs on their necks, hands, and feet and their rings are so wide and vast that they have kept their heads upward and they are deprived from seeing the facts around them. They are some captives who have neither the power of activity and motion, nor the ability of watching.
Some commentators have mentioned a few occasions of revelation for the above mentioned verse and the verse next to it, saying that they have been revealed about Abujahl, or a man from ‘Bani Makhzun’ tribe, or the tribe of Quraysh.
They frequently decided to kill the Prophet (S), but Allah, by the way of miracle, hindered them to commit this action, and at that sensitive moment when they reached the holy Prophet (S) and wanted to attack him, their eyes could not see, or the power of motion was taken from them.6
But these occasions of revelation do not hinder the generality of the concept of the verse and the vastness of its meaning about all chiefs of pagans and those who are obstinate and zealous.
In the meantime it is a confirmation over what was said on the commentary of the Qur’anic phrase:
that its purpose is not the majority of polytheists, but the purpose of it is the majority of the chiefs of polytheists, pagans, and hypocrites.
وَجَعَلْنَا مِن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ سَدّاً وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ سَدّاً فَأَغْشَيْنَاهُمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يُبْصِرُونَ
وَسَوآءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ
9. “And We have put a barrier in front of them and a barrier behind them, and (further), We have covered them up, so they do not see.”
10. “And the same is to them whether you warn them or you do not warn them, they do not believe.”
The feature of the obstinate person has been illustrated very exactly and interestingly in this verse. The negligent faithless persons neither take an example from the past of pagans, nor from the miracle and argument which are in front of them.
That is why there is another description about these persons in this verse. By implying that they are confronted a barrier in their front and a barrier in their behind, the verse illustrates the expressive hindrances they have, and that they are so surrounded between these two barriers that they can move neither forward nor backward.
In the meantime their eyes have been covered by a barrier and, consequently, they cannot see anything at all.
It continues saying:
What a wonderful clear illustration it is! From one side, they are like some prisoners who are put in ring and chains. And, on the other side, this ring is so wide and vast that it has caused their heads to be kept upward unto the sky so that they do not see absolutely anything from around them.
Think carefully about this kind of person who has such circumstances. What can he do? What thing does he understand? What can he see? And how can he walk? Such is the status of the self-loving egoistic men of pride, and the blind and deaf imitators, who are obstinate and zealous, in front of the face of the facts.
For this reason the Qur’an explicitly says:
The more your speech is influential, and the more the heavenly revelation is fairly effective, they will not affect unless they arrive into a receptive ground.
If thousand years the world illuminating sun shines on a saline, and the life-giving rains come down on it, and the spring winds constantly pass over it, this land will not deliver any product save some thorn, because the receptivity of the recipient beside the activity of the agent is its condition.
إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الذِّكْرَ وَخَشِيَ الرَّحْمَنَ بِالْغَيْبِ فَبَشّـِرْهُ بِمَغْفِرَةٍ وَأَجْرٍ كَرِيمٍ
11. “You can only warn him who follows the reminder (Qur’an) and fears the Beneficent (Allah) in secret; so give him the good tidings of forgiveness and a generous wage.”
Qur’an is the cause of remembrance, and following it is the means of reminding that which has been forgotten and recalling the man’s passive nature.
It is also necessary that fear and hope come beside each other. In the Qur’anic sentence: /xašiy-ar-rahman/ (fears the Beneficent (Allah)) there are both fear and mercy.
In the previous holy verse, the words were about a group of people who had never the readiness of accepting the Divine warnings, and warning them or not is the same for them. But the verse under discussion speaks about another group who are just opposite of them, so that, by comparing them, as it is the style of the Holy Qur’an in discussions, the subject can be made more manifest.
And whoever is like that, to him you should give the glad tidings of forgiveness and worthy compensation.
It continues saying:
These two qualities, in fact, are readiness and its ‘potential’ aspect. That is, warning can be effective only upon those who have a hearing ear and a receptive heart. Warning leaves two effects on them. The first is following the contents of the Holy Qur’an; and the second is to be in awe before Allah and for responsibilities.
In other words, these two states potentially exist in them, but, after warning, they become active, in spite of the blind-hearted, obstinate and negligent persons who have neither a hearing ear nor are they ready to fear.
A great deal of the commentators believe that the objective meaning of the word /ŏikr/, in this verse, is the Holly Qur’an, because this word, in this form, has repeatedly been used in this very meaning.
But it does not matter that the purpose of the word /ŏikr/ is its lexicographical meaning which is any kind of remembrance that includes the verses of the Holy Qur’an and other warnings of the Prophet (S) and those of the Divine leaders.
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نُحْيِ الْمَوْتَي وَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُوا وَءَاثَارَهُمْ وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُبِينٍ
12. “Verily We shall give life to the dead, and We write down that which they send before and (even) their footprints, and We have numbered everything in a clear Register.”
The man’s file of deeds is open even after his death until the Hereafter. Not only the man’s deeds, but also all his traces will be recorded and will be reckoned in the Hereafter, whether they are good effects, like: mortmain, remaining voluntary alms, teaching knowledge to people and so on; or they are evil effects like establishing centres of indecency.
However, fitting with the explanation of the former holy verse about the compensation and the valuable rewards of the believers and those who accept the admonishments of the prophets, this verse refers to the subject of Resurrection and recording the man’s deeds for reckoning and compensation, and it says:
The emphasis on the Arabic word /naḥnu/ points to this fact that with the great powers that you all know about Allah, there is no room for the discussions and debates that how the rotten bones will revive again and continue to live in a new life.
Allah not only gives life to the dead but also He writes down whatever people sent before them and He writes all their effects that they leave behind them. Therefore, there will surely remain nothing save that they will be protected in the record of deeds for the Reckoning Day.
The Qur’anic sentence /ma qaddamu/ (that which they send before) refers to the deeds they have done and there is no trace remained from them; but the application of the Qur’anic phrase /wa ’atharahum/ (and their footprints) refers to the deeds which remain from a person and their effects are seen in the environment, like: remaining voluntary alms: (buildings, mortmain properties, and the centres which remain after the death of a person and people take benefit from them)
There is also this probability in the commentary that the Qur’anic sentence /ma qaddamu/ (that which they send before) points to the deeds which have personal aspect while the Qur’anic phrase /’atharahum/ points to the affairs which become precedent custom and later, after the death of the person, will also be the source of public welfare and blessing, or the cause of vice, harm, and sin.
The concept of it is vast, of course, and both of these commentaries may be involved in its concept.
For more emphasis, at the end of the verse the holy Qur’an adds:
The majority of the famous commentators have rendered the Qur’anic phrase: /’imam-in-mubin/ here into ‘Protected Table’. The same Book in which all the deeds of men and the whole beings and events of this world are recorded and protected.
The application of the word /’imam/ here may be for the sake that in the Hereafter this book is the guide and a lead for all of the angels of reward and retribution, and it is a criterion for evaluation of the value of men’s deeds and their reward and retribution.
It is interesting that in some other verses of the Holy Qur’an this meaning (Imam) has been used in respect to ‘the Turah’, where the Qur’an says:
The usage of the word /’imam/ (guide) in this verse, about the Torah, is for the knowledge, ordinances, and instructions in it. It is also for the signs of the Prophet of Islam (S) which have been mentioned in it. In all these affairs it could be guide and leader of people. Thus, the above mentioned word has a concept in every one of them proportionate to it.
- 1. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn ,Vol. 4, P. 375
- 2. The commentary by Fakhr-i-Razi
- 3. Nahj-ul-Balaqah, sermons 33 and 104
- 4. Surah An-Nasr, No. 110, verse 2
- 5. and Majma‘-ul-Bayanitr-ul-MuhMufradat, by Raqib Qut
- 6. Tafsir-i-’Alusi, Vol. 22, P. 199
- 7. There are some Islamic narrations available from the side of Ahl-ul-Bayt (as) in which the Qur’anic phrase: /’imam-in-mubin/ has been rendered into ’Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as).
Among them is a tradition narrated from Imam Baqir (as) from his father, from his grandfather (as) who said:
“When this verse was revealed, Abubakr and ‘Umar stood up and said:
‘O messenger of Allah! Is its purpose the Turah?’
‘Is it Bible?’
‘Is its purpose the Qur’an?’
He said: ‘No’. At this time Amir-ul-Mu’mimeen Ali (as) came toward the Prophet (S). As soon as the Messenger of Allah (S) saw him, he said:
‘This man is /’imam-in-mubin/. He is the Imam in whom Allah, the Exalted, has numbered the knowledge of everything’.” (Ma‘ani-ul-‘Akhbar, by Saduq)
In the commentary of Ali-ibn-‘Ibrahim it has also been narrated from Ibn-i-‘Abbas, from Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) himself that he said:
“By Allah! I am Al-’Imam-ul-Mubin. I make manifest the right from wrong. I have learnt this (knowledge) from the Messenger of Allah (S).”
- 8. Surah Hud, No. 11, verse 17