English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 36: Ya Sin — Ya Sin (Revealed at Makkah: 5 sections, 83 verses)

Section 2 (Verses 36:13–36:32): Confirmation of the Truth

Translation:

36:13 And set out to them a parable of the people of the town, when messengers came to it.
36:14 When We sent to them two, they rejected them both; then We strengthened (them) with a third, so they said: Surely we are sent to you.1
36:15 They said: You are only mortals like ourselves, nor has the Beneficent revealed anything — you only lie.2
36:16 They said: Our Lord knows that we are surely sent to you.
36:17 And our duty is only to deliver the message clearly.
36:18 They said: Surely we consider you an evil omen.3 If you do not stop, we will surely stone you, and a painful punishment from us will certainly afflict you.
36:19 They said: Your evil fortune is with you. What! If you are reminded! Indeed, you are an extravagant people.4
36:20 And from the remote part of the city a man came running.5 He said: My people, follow the messengers.
36:21 Follow him who asks of you no reward, and they are on the right course.
36:22 And what reason have I that I should not serve Him Who created me and to Whom you will be brought back.
Part 2336:23 Shall I take besides Him gods whose intercession, if the Beneficent should desire to afflict me with harm, will not avail me in the least, nor can they deliver me?
36:24 Then I shall surely be in clear error.
36:25 Surely I believe in your Lord, so hear me.
36:26 It was said: Enter the Garden.6 He said: If only my people knew
36:27 how my Lord has forgiven me and made me from among the honoured ones!
36:28 And We did not send down upon his people after him any army from heaven, nor do We ever send.7
36:29 It was but a single cry,8 and lo! they were still.
36:30 Alas for the servants! Never does a messenger come to them but they mock him.
36:31 Do they not see how many generations We destroyed before them, that they do not return to them?9
36:32 And all — surely all — will be brought before Us.

Commentary:

  1. This is called a parable in the previous verse; therefore it is an error to name a particular town and three messengers who went together to it. The parable is set forth only to point out the truth of the Holy Prophet. The two messengers sent before are Moses and Jesus, both of whom clearly prophesied the advent of the Holy Prophet, and the third, with whom they are strengthened, is no other than the Holy Prophet himself, the fulfilment of prophecy in whose person without doubt strengthened the truth of previous revelation. The conversion of Arabia and its reclamation from idolatry had been tried both by the followers of Moses and Jesus, and both had failed, and a third messenger was now sent.
  2. Note that the people here deny all revelation. The Arabs rejected pre­vious revelation as well as the revelation of the Holy Prophet.
  3. Distress in one form or other always overtakes a people when a prophet appears among them. See 6:42. It is to this distress that the rejectors of messengers refer.
  4. They are told that distress is not due to the Prophet’s advent, but is the result of their own evil deeds, and the Prophet does no more than remind them and warn them of the consequences of their evil deeds.
  5. This man represents the believer in the Truth. Every prophet has testimony borne to his truth by one from among the people themselves. Thus the Quran speaks of a believer from among the people of Pharaoh (40:28), and Joseph of Arimathaea believed in and helped Jesus. The Prophet Muhammad had such a follower in Abu Bakr, who was the first to believe, while the others rejected.
  6. It is a promise to the believer that he will be success­ful.
  7. Armies are not sent down from above to chastise the wicked, but causes are brought into existence on this very earth.
  8. The single cry signifies only a sudden punishment.
  9. The words may also mean that many generations were destroyed before them because they did not turn to the messengers.

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