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For example, Al-Baqara begins like this:

الٓمٓ ﴿١﴾ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

And also, Ya-Sin begins like this:

يسٓ ﴿١﴾ وَٱلْقُرْءَانِ ٱلْحَكِيمِ

What are different opinions about these letters among scholars? What are they called?

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Lots of difference of opinion, but no strong answer. Allah knows best. –  ashes999 Jun 21 '12 at 16:41
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this type of question might be worded better. e.g., asking about scholary research into the subject rather than asking what God meant by the letters (the knowledge of which is with God alone). –  goldPseudo Jun 21 '12 at 16:43
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

These letters are called Muqatta'at (المقطعات), and the real knowledge of them is with Allah. These verses are not really open for opinion, as Allah says that these verses are those among the unclear and only he has the knowedge of it, and those who want to cause fitnah would search for it's meaning.

See Surah Al Imraan, Ayah 7:

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I found a website by a guy who uses this theory of Hamidudin Farahi, that the Huruf al-Muqattat are actually a sort of table of contents for the entire Sura they precede. He bases it on the fact that Arabic letters eventually lost their individual meaning. For example, Ya in Arabic means nothing. Arabic word Yadd means hand. Interestingly, the Hebrew letter Yodd means the same thing. This Semitic similarity is the basis for his interpretative. Check it out.

http://thequranisclear.blogspot.com/2012/12/huroof-al-muqattaat.html

It's very intriguing. Every single letter in each relative Sura is discussed using background knowledge of the ancient Hebrew alphabet.

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they are secrets of God and few know them. prophet said some of them. and the infallible Imams said some of them in their Hadithes.

for example about کهیعص most of shia scholars believe it is related to Karbala happening. and it is: ک is for کربلا Karbala ه is for هلاک Killing of family of prophet (Ahl Bayt) ی is for يزيد Yazid who was cruel on Hussain S.A ع is for عطش his thirsty ص is for صبر his patience

this is said by Imam Mahdi the 12th Imam of shia. and this Hadith of Imam Mahdi S.A can be seen in many shia Hadith books like:

  1. کمال‌الدین وتمام النعمة، شیخ صدوق
  2. احتجاج، طبرسی
  3. تفسیر البرهان، سیدهاشم بحرانى
  4. بحار الانوار، علامه مجلسی

the Hadith says: I was with Imam Askari S.A (the 11th Imam and father of Imam Mahdi S.A) and some one asked about کهیعص . Imam said ask my child Mahdi. then Imam Mahdi S.A said: these letters are from unseen secrets. and God said them to his slave Zakariya (Zechariah) and then God told its story to prophet Muhammad PBUH and it is Zechariah asked God to teach him the holey five names. so gabreil came to him and taught them to him. when Zechariah recited names of Muhammad and Ali and Hasan his sadness disappeared but when recited Hussain name sob came to him and so he wondered. so asked God the reason of this. tehn God said to him the story of Karbala and then said کهیعص and said ک is for کربلا Karbala ه is for هلاک Killing of amily of prophet (Ahl Bayt) ی is for يزيد Yazid who was cruel on Hussain S.A ع is for عطش is thirsty ص is for صبر his patience

ref:

shia Hadith Books:

  1. کمال‌الدین وتمام النعمة، شیخ صدوق
  2. احتجاج، طبرسی
  3. تفسیر البرهان، سیدهاشم بحرانى
  4. بحار الانوار، علامه مجلسی

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Karbala

http://www.al-islam.org/karbala-ashura/

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