As you are aware, Surah Yasin consists of 88 verses and it begins with Ya, Seem (Yaseen)


بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

يس (1) والقرآن الحکیم (2) إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِين (3) علی صراط مستقیم (4) تنزیل العزیز الرحیم

Ya, Seen. (1) By the wise Qur'an. (2) Indeed you, [O Muhammad], are from among the messengers, (3) On a straight path. (4) [This is] a revelation of the Exalted in Might, the Merciful, (5) ……

( tanzil.net / 36:1 )

As you see, the initial verse of this Surah is "Yaseen". Its meaning in many translations is written Yaseen too.

But I couldn’t find any specific meaning for it (according to an authentic translation). I'd be thankful if anyone says that what is the exact meaning or interpretation of this verse? (I mean "Yaseen")

(Note: I'm looking for authentic sources, please)

  • This isnt really an answer, but I heard Yaseen was the prophets name
    – user17003
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 12:28
  • ? Perhaps. Jazak Allah Khaira for you brief helpful comment. Commented May 30, 2016 at 6:00

4 Answers 4


There about 25-30 Surah's in Quran in which there are such initial ayahs. The meaning of them is not known to anyone except Allah. I heard in many bayaans, the meaning will be disclosed after the Judgement day to the believers.

I am trying to find some more info. Will update once I find something.


Just as mtk pointed out, there are many Surahs in the Qur'an that begin with such Ayats(verses). In this case some claim it means 'O humans' others that it is a name of Yaseen. However, a majority position of the ulema is that only Allah knows their true meaning.

One particular and interesting remark is:

An interesting point regarding the suwar that begin with these letters is that the very next aayah is about the Qur’aan. Oftentimes, there is an oath involved as well. The word kitaab or Qur’aan occurs in this next verse. The point of these letters is to call your attention to the Qur’aan. -- Source

To illustrate this point, let's take Surat Al-Baqarah as an example, it also begins with disjointed letters namely ا-ل-م 'alif-lam-mim', one opinion of Ar-Razi is as follows:

In surah al Fatihah, we asked Allah to ‘guide us to the upright path’. Showing that we cannot be guided by our own will, we need Allah’s help.

The letters in this ayah(verse); Alif, Lam, Meem – show that we cannot know and understand everything, so we should put more hope and reliance upon Allah.

Allah lets us know that if you really want to get guidance from this Book – you will ask Allah to give you understanding of this religion, you cannot know it of your own accord. So an arrogant attitude will prevent you from true knowledge, and submission to Allah will open the doors for true understanding.

  • I know that there must be secret behind this word, and seemingly it has mentioned mysteriously, but I wanna know if there is any tradition that mentioned regarding its secret or not. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 10:34
  • @السید____علی No there's none, you may be interested in reading another time the quote from Ar-Razi.
    – Hakim
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 10:36


The generally held view among traditional scholarship is that these so-called Huruf-e-Muqattat have hidden meanings known to Allah alone. This explanation raises several questions. It essentially implies that they are meaningless to us, and must have been meaningless for the people of Arabia at the time of Prophet Muhammad. And if they are just a meaningless jiberrish, then why didn't those people raised any objection? Why did Allah put words into Quran which are meaningless to us?

The Arabic language existed even before Quran. Quran was written in the language, in the style and using the vocabulary that the people of that time were familiar with. Anything else wouldn’t have captured the imagination and the attention of the people.

First alternate explanation for Hurf-i-Muqattat that I came across was in the Tafseer of Maudoudi, Tafheem-ul-Quran. His opinion was essentially built up on the theory proposed by Hamid-uddin Farahi. According to Farahi, these words are actually the names of the Surahs. Such a naming convention was in use by the poets of Arabia and was nothing out of the ordinary for them. Further according to Farahi, shape of letters in Arabic were inherited from letters of the ancient languages such as Hebrew and Egyptian. In those languages letters were denoted with shapes of things.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs

And these letters not only stand for a phonetic sound but sometimes also stand for the shape they are drawn from.

“Farahi presents Surah Nun in support of his theory. The letter Nun still denotes its ancient meaning of fish. In this surah, the Prophet Jonah (sws) has been addressed as sahib al-h~ut that is he who is swallowed by a whale. Farahi opines that it is because of this reference that the Surah is called Nun. He goes on to say that if one keeps in consideration the example given above, it is quite likely that the abbreviated letters by which other surahs commence are placed at the beginning of the surahs to symbolise a relation between the topics of a particular surah and their own ancient connotations”


Meaning of Y - S

Now coming to the original question where it was explicitly asked what is the meaning of Y-S, I would like to quote the commentary from Muhammad Asad's Message of Quran:

Whereas some of the classical commentators incline to the view that the letters y-s (pronounced ya sin) with which this surah opens belong to the category of the mysterious letter-symbols (al-muqatta'at) introducing a number of Qur'anic chapters (see Appendix II), 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas states that they actually represent two distinct words, namely the exclamatory particle ya ("O") and sin, which in the dialect of the tribe of Tayy' is synonymous with insan ("human being" or "man"): hence, similar to the two syllables ta ha in surah 20, ya sin denotes "O thou human being!" This interpretation has been accepted by 'Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan al-Basri, Sa'id ibn Jubayr, and other early Qur'an-commentators (see Tabari, Baghawi, Zamakhshari, Baydawi, Ibn Kathir, etc.). According to Zamakhshari, it would seem that the syllable sin is an abbreviation of unaysin, the diminutive form of insan used by the Tayy' in exclamations. (It is to be borne in mind that in classical Arabic a diminutive is often expressive of no more than endearment: e.g., ya bunayya, which does not necessarily signify "O my little son" but, rather, "my dear son" irrespective of the son's age.) On the whole, we may safely assume that the words ya sin apostrophize the Prophet Muhammad, who is explicitly addressed in the sequence, and are meant to stress - as the Qur'an so often does - the fact of his and all other apostles' humanness.

  • 1
    Hebrew and Arabic letters have the same origin "Aramaic letters" but while the Hebrew letters derived directly from the Aramaic letters the Arabic passed through the "Nabataean" letters which have been derived directly from Aramaic letters. Therefore i can't accept the Theory of Farahi
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 9:48
  • You are free to accept what you will. But Farahi is talking about how letters themselves originated. Based on their origin, letters not only represent a phonetic sound but there was a concept behind each of these derived letters. Therefore in what order the scripts of these languages inherited from each other, and how the concept behind the letters changed with this direct or indirect inheritance is inconsequential. It is apparent from the earliest discovered writings that pictographs gradually got simplified into letters we know today. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/521235.stm Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 11:29

No there is no one who can actually understand these introductory words in most of the surahs (verses) in holy Qur'an except Allah himself.

  • 3
    Would you please provide some sort of reference that backs up your answer. Thank you, and welcome to SE :)
    – Atata
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 18:41

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