In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ
(36:1) Ya'. Sin.1 يٰسٓ ۚ
(36:2) By the Wise Qur'an,
وَالۡقُرۡاٰنِ الۡحَكِيۡمِ ۙ
(36:3) you are truly among the Messengers,2 اِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الۡمُرۡسَلِيۡنَۙ
(36:4) on a Straight Way,
عَلٰى صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِيۡمٍؕ
(36:5) (and this Qur'an) is a revelation from the Most Mighty, the Most Compassionate3 تَنۡزِيۡلَ الۡعَزِيۡزِ الرَّحِيۡمِ ۙ
(36:6) so that you may warn a people whose ancestors were not warned before
wherefore they are heedless.4 لِتُنۡذِرَ قَوۡمًا مَّاۤ اُنۡذِرَ اٰبَآؤُهُمۡ فَهُمۡ غٰفِلُوۡنَ
(36:7) Surely most of them merit the decree of chastisement; so they do not
believe.5 لَقَدۡ حَقَّ الۡقَوۡلُ عَلٰٓى اَكۡثَرِهِمۡ فَهُمۡ لَا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ
(36:8) We have put fetters around their necks which reach up to their chins
so that they are standing with their heads upright,6 اِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا فِىۡۤ اَعۡنَاقِهِمۡ اَغۡلٰلًا فَهِىَ اِلَى الۡاَ ذۡقَانِ
(36:9) and We have put a barrier before them and a barrier behind them, and
have covered them up, so they are unable to see.7 وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنۡۢ بَيۡنِ اَيۡدِيۡهِمۡ سَدًّا وَّمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ سَدًّا فَاَغۡشَيۡنٰهُمۡ
فَهُمۡ لَا يُبۡصِرُوۡنَ
(36:10) It is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn
them for they shall not believe.8 وَسَوَآءٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَاَنۡذَرۡتَهُمۡ اَمۡ لَمۡ تُنۡذِرۡهُمۡ لَا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ
(36:11) You can warn only him who follows the Admonition and fears the Merciful
Lord without seeing Him. Give such a one good tidings of forgiveness and a generous
اِنَّمَا تُنۡذِرُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الذِّكۡرَ وَخَشِىَ الرَّحۡمٰنَ بِالۡغَيۡبِۚ
فَبَشِّرۡهُ بِمَغۡفِرَةٍ وَّاَجۡرٍ كَرِيۡمٍ
(36:12) We shall surely raise the dead to life and We record what they did
and the traces of their deeds that they have left behind.9 We have
encompassed that in a Clear Book.
اِنَّا نَحۡنُ نُحۡىِ الۡمَوۡتٰى وَنَكۡتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُوۡا وَاٰثَارَهُمۡؕ وَكُلَّ
شَىۡءٍ اَحۡصَيۡنٰهُ فِىۡۤ اِمَامٍ مُّبِيۡنٍ
1. 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).
2. To begin a discourse like this does not mean that the Prophet (peace be
upon him), God forbid, had some doubt about his Prophethood, and Allah had to
say this in order to reassure him of it. But the reason is that the disbelieving
Quraish at that time were most vehemently refusing to believe in his Prophethood.
Therefore, Allah at the very beginning of the discourse has said: You are indeed
one of the Messengers, which implies that the people who deny your Prophethood
are misled and mistaken. To further confirm the same, an oath has been taken
by the Quran and the word “wise” has been used as an epithet of the Quran, which
means this: An obvious proof of your being a Prophet is this Quran, which is
full of wisdom. This itself testifies that the person who is presenting such
wise revelations is most surely a Messenger of God. No man has the power to
compose such revelations. The people who know Muhammad (peace be upon him) can
never be involved in the misunderstanding that he is himself forging these discourses,
or reciting them after having learned them from another man. For further explanation,
(Surah Yunus, Ayats 16-17, 37-39);
(Surah Bani-Israil, Ayat 88);
(Surah An-Naml, Ayat 75);
(Surah Al-Qasas, Ayats 44-46, 85-87);
(Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayats 49-51);
(Surah Ar-Rum, Ayats 1-5)
and the relevant E.Ns.
3. Here, two of the attributes of the Sender of the Quran have been mentioned.
First, that He is All-Mighty; second, that He, is All-Merciful. The first attribute
is meant to impress the reality that the Quran is not the counsel of a powerless
preacher, which if you overlook or ignore, will not bring any harm to you; but
this is the Edict of that Owner of the Universe, Who is All-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
errors and follow the right path which may lead you to the successes of the
world and the Hereafter.
4. Another translation can be: You should warn the people of the same of which
their forefathers had been warned, because they live in heedlessness. If the
first meaning, as given above in the text, is taken, the forefathers would imply
the forefathers of the immediate past, for in the ancient time several Prophets
had appeared in Arabia. And if the second meaning is adopted, it would imply
this: Revive and refresh the message that had been conveyed to the forefathers
of this nation by the Prophets in the past, for these people have forgotten
it. Obviously, there is no contradiction between the two translations, and,
as to meaning, each is correct in its own place.
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 in the world,
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 and there
continue arising among the followers of the Prophet such people as keep his
message of guidance fresh, the period of time cannot be said to be without the
guidance. And when the influence of the Prophet’s teaching dies out, or the
teaching is tampered with, the appointment of another Prophet becomes inevitable.
Before the advent of the Prophet (peace be upon him) the influence of the teachings
of the Prophets Abraham, Ishmael, Shuaib and Moses and Jesus (peace be upon
all of them) could be seen everywhere in Arabia and from time to time there
had been arising among the Arabs, or coming from outside, men, who revived their
teachings. When the influence was about to die out, and the real teaching was
also distorted, Allah raised the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and made
such arrangements that his message can neither be wiped out nor tampered with.
(For further explanation, see
(E. N. 5 of Surah Saba).
5. This is about those people who were being obstinate and stubborn with regard
to the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and had made up their minds
not to listen to him at all. This is because: They have already deserved the
torment; therefore, they do not believe. It means: The people who do not heed
the admonition, and persist in their denial and hostile attitude to the truth
in spite of the final warning from Allah conveyed through the Prophets, are
themselves overwhelmed by the evil consequences of their misdeeds and deprived
of every opportunity to believe. The same thing has been expressed more clearly
in (verse 11 )below: You can only warn him who follows the admonition and fears
the Merciful God though he cannot see Him.
6. “Shackles” in this verse implies their own stubbornness which was preventing
them from accepting the truth. “Reaching to chins” and “so they are made stiff-necked”
implies the stiffness of the neck which is caused by pride and haughtiness.
Allah means to impress this: We have made their obstinacy and stubbornness the
shackles of their neck, and their pride and haughtiness has made them so stiff-necked
that they will not pay heed to any reality, however clear and evident it may
7. Setting 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 future.
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.
8. This does not mean that it is futile to preach, but it means: Your preaching
reaches every kind of people. Some of them are the ones mentioned above, and
some others those who are being mentioned in the next verse. 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.
9. This shows that three kinds of the entries 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
good 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.