36:1-4 Yāʾ Sīn. By the Wise Qur’an, surely thou art one of the envoys, upon a straight path.
It has been said that the name of the surah is Yāsīn because of the report in which Muṣṭafā said, “God recited Ṭāhā and Yāsīn two thousand years before He created Adam. When the angels of the Dominion heard it, they said, ‘Happy is the community upon which this pure speech descends! Happy are the tongues that recite it! Happy are the breasts that are the oyster for this hidden pearl!’”
It is reported that when the friends and the faithful go into that scented garden of felicity and arrive at the joy and bliss of paradise, a call will come from the Compeller: “You have heard much from others. Now is the time to hear from Me.” Then He will make them hear the surahs al-Fātiḥa, Ṭāhā, and Yāsīn. Muṣṭafā said, “When the people listen to the Qur’an recited by the All-Merciful, it will be as if they had never heard it before.” You must take the rose from its own bush to catch its scent correctly. Hear it from Him who spoke it and increase thereby in burning love, for the sweetness of the rose is in its branches.
Indeed, there is no stipulation to show the personal quarters to the non-personals. It wants someone who has become privy to the Shariah and the Tariqah. When the medicine of following the Master has been placed in the eyes of someone’s seeking and has become the eye-strengthener of veneration, he will be qualified to see that beauty. It has also been said that the Yā’ of Yāsīn alludes to the Day of the Compact [mīthāq], and the Sīn alludes to His secret [sirr] with the lovers. It is as if He is saying, “By the rightful due of the Day of the Compact, by My secret with the lovers, and by the Wise Qur’an, surely thou art one of the envoys, upon a straight path.”
36:5 The sending down of the Exalted, the Ever-Merciful.
This Qur’an has been sent down by a Lord whose name is the Exalted and the Ever-Merciful. The Exalted is He whom it is difficult to perceive. God is exalted in the sense that there is no perceiving Him; understandings and imaginations do not reach the core of His majesty. The sending down of the Exalted, the Ever-Merciful. He is both exalted and ever-merciful—exalted for the estranged and ever-merciful toward the faithful. Were He exalted and not ever-merciful, no one would ever find Him, and were He ever-merciful and not exalted, everyone would find Him. He is exalted so that the unbelievers will not know Him in this world and the ever merciful so that the faithful will see Him in the afterworld.
36:6 That thou mayest warn a people whose fathers were not warned, so they are heedless.
The heedless are two. First are those who are heedless of the work of the religion and unaware of seeking for their own wholesomeness. They have applied their heads to this world and become warmth with appetite. They have shut the eyes of reflective thought and heedfulness. The result for them is as the Exalted Lord says: “Those who are heedless of Our signs, it is they whose refuge will be the Fire for what they were earning” [10:7-8]. A report has come: “I wonder at him who is heedless though he is not unheeded.”
Second, are the admirable heedless. They are heedless of this world’s work and of arranging their livelihood. The ruling power of the Haqiqah has gained mastery over their inwardness. They are so consumed by the unveiling of the majesty of Unity that they are absent from themselves. They have no news of this world, nor of the afterworld. With the tongue of their state they say, This world is in the hand of intellect, that world in the hand of the spirit—put the foot of your aspiration on the neck of both headmen. [DS 719]
36:31 Have they not seen how many generations We destroyed before them?
Do they not look with the eyes of the head to see the wonders of the artifacts? Do they not look with the eyes of the secret core to see the subtleties of the duties? Do they not look with the eyes of the head to see the signs of the horizons? Do they not look with the eyes of the secret core to see the signs of the souls? Do they not look with the eyes of the heart to see the lights of guidance? Do they not look with the eyes of the spirit to see the secrets of solicitude? Do they not look with the eyes of witnessing to see the Presence of the Witnessed? Do they not look with the eyes of ecstasy to see the banner of finding? Do they not look with the eyes of selflessness to see the Friend face-to-face? Do they not look with the eyes of annihilation to see a world without shore?
How long will you let this prison deceive you with this and that?
It’s time to come out of this dark well and see the world—
A world in which every heart you find is king,
a world in which every spirit you see is joyous! [DS 704-5]
O indigent man! How long will you look at the artifacts? Look once at the Artisan! How long will you be distracted by wonders? Look once at the Wonder-Worker! How long will you be a man of every door? A man of every door will never see wholesomeness and deliverance: “Be not a weathercock, lest you perish.” Tearing up a thousand bronze fortresses from the ground is easier than bringing a man of every door back to one door.
Abū Yazīd Basṭāmī was asked about the heart. He said, “The heart is that which does not contain the measure of one speck of desire for the creatures.” Have they not seen how many generations We destroyed before them? Whenever Salmān Fārsī passed by ruins he would stop and weep miserably. He would remember those who left that domicile and say, “Where are they, those who set down these foundations and built these houses? They gave their hearts and they tossed away their wealth and lives to adorn these rooms. Once they attached their hearts to them and blossomed like roses on a wall, they fell from the wall and slept in the clay.”
36:36 Glory be to Him who created the pairs, all of them, from what the earth grows and from themselves and from what they do not know!
Purity and faultlessness belong to the God who shows all these wonders of artisanry in the earth, from one water, one dust, and one air, and who makes the banners of power appear in order to make the servants see! He displays the marks so that those who have not seen may see, and those who have not perceived may perceive, that all of this is the deed of an Enactor and the making of a Maker. These adornments have an Adorner and these growing things have a Grower. All testify to the being of God and mark His oneness, even though the testifiers have no intelligence and the markers have no tongue. And in each thing, He has a sign showing that He is one.
36:37 A sign for them is the night; We strip from it the day.
A great man was asked, “Is night more excellent, or day?”
He answered, “Night is more excellent, because at night all is ease and comfort, and comfort belongs to paradise.”
He also said, “Night is the portion of the self-purifiers, who worship with self-purification and without eye-service. The day is the portion of the duplicitous, who worship with eye service and without self-purification. The night is the time of seclusion for friends, the time of meeting for seekers of peace, the solace of the yearners, the moment for the mystery of lovers.” The revelation came to one of the prophets, “He who claims to love Me is a liar if night comes, and he goes to sleep on Me. Does not every lover love to be secluded with his beloved? Here I am, aware of you, I hear and I see [20:46].”
It has also been said that night and day are the marks of the contraction and expansion of the recognizers. The time of night is a contraction for them and the time of day expansion. On the night of contraction, they see everything in lassitude and awe. In the day of expansion, they find all as gentleness and mercy. In the night of contraction, the cold wind of severity comes, the marks bearing witness to majesty appear, and the servant weeps and enters into pleading. In the day of expansion the breeze of gentleness blows and brings the scent of union, the marks bearing witness to beauty appear, and the servant delights and enters into ease.
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “Sometimes I say that I am in constant contraction—there is so much covering! Sometimes a light shines, next to which mortal nature disappears. A light, and what a light! It is the mark of beginningless love, the title page of the scroll of life. It is the ease of the spirit, the delight of the spirit, and the pain of the spirit.”
36:39 And the moon, We have determined way stations for it, till it returns like the old palm branch.
It has been said that the wisdom in the waxing and waning of the moon is that at the beginning of creation, the moon’s light was in perfection. It gazed upon itself and self-admiration appeared in it. The Exalted Lord commanded Gabriel to strike the moon’s face with his wing, and that took away the light. Ibn ʿAbbās said, “The lines you see on the face of the moon are the mark of Gabriel’s wing.” He took away the light, but the imprint stayed in place. It is the imprint of the words of tawḥīd written on the moon’s forehead: “There is no god but God; Muḥammad is God’s messenger.”
When the light was taken from the moon, it was prevented from serving at the Threshold. The moon asked for help from the angels so that they would intercede for it. They said, “Lord God, the moon has become accustomed to serving at the Exalted Threshold. Is there no way for You not to deprive it totally?” The Exalted Lord accepted their intercession and commanded it to prostrate itself once a month on the fourteenth night. Now every night when it comes up and the time of service comes closer, its light increases, until the fourteenth night, the time of prostration, and its light reaches perfection. Then when the fourteenth passes, every night its light diminishes because it is becoming farther from the carpet of service.
It has also been said, “What is similar to the sun is a servant who is forever in the radiance of recognition. He is the possessor of stability, not undergoing variegation. The sun of his recognition constantly shines from the mansions of his felicity. It is not taken by an eclipse, nor curtained by clouds. “What is similar to the moon is a servant whose states are constantly undergoing transition. He is the possessor of variegation. He has an expansion that lifts him up to the boundary of union, and then he is pushed back into lassitude and falls into contraction in the limpidness of his state. Thus he diminishes and returns to deficiency in his affair until his heart is lifted up from his present moment. Then the Real is munificent toward him and gives him the success to return from his lassitude, bringing him back from his intoxicatedness. His state continues becoming more limpid until he is near to union and he climbs up to the peak of perfection.”
36:55 Surely the companions of the Garden today are in an occupation, rejoicing.
Wakīʿ ibn al-Jarrāḥ said, “Their occupation in paradise is listening.” This is exactly what He says elsewhere: “They will be made happy in a garden” [30:15]. “You and your spouses made happy” [43:70]. These are reports about listening in the Garden. In paradise, the faithful servant will delight in listening. The Exalted Lord will send Seraphiel, who will stand on his right hand and recite the Qur’an, and David, who will stand on his left hand and recite the Psalms. The servant will keep on listening until he becomes happy. His spirit will come to the listening, his heart to elation, and his secret core to the work. Of the body, the tongue will remain, and that’s it. Of the heart, the mark will remain, and that’s it. Of the spirit, face-to-face vision will remain, and that’s it. The body will be distracted by ecstasy, the heart consumed by witnessing, the spirit drowned in finding. The eyes will hope to see the Possessor of Majesty, the heart will hope for a pure wine [76:21], the spirit will hope for listening to the Real. The Exalted Lord will lift up the curtain of majesty and show the vision. He will caress the servant with warmth and begin to recite Ṭāhā and Yāsīn, and then the servant’s spirit will begin to listen in reality.
O chevalier! The body is not able to listen because it is attached to having the upper hand. The heart is not able to listen because it is a passer-by. “Listening” is the listening of the spirit, for it does not belong here. The body does not listen because it suffers pain from itself. The heart does not listen because it is passing the days. The spirit listens because it is solitary for the Solitary. Your seeker must be solitary like You— he must be free of every defect and pain.
It has also been said that the occupation of the paradise-dwellers is ten things: a kingdom without dismissal, youth without old age, constant health without sickness, continued exaltation without abasement, ease without hardship, blessing without tribulation, subsistence without annihilation, life without death, approval without anger, and intimacy without estrangement. This is the occupation of the generality of the faithful, concerning whom Muṣṭafā said, ‘Most of the folk of the Garden are simpletons.’ As for the proximate of the empire and the elect of the presence of contemplation, they will not turn toward the bliss of paradise and away from observation through witnessing and immersion through finding for one instant.
“When all the people go forth from the courtyards of the Resurrection, this group will stay right there and will not go. The command will come, ‘You also, go to paradise, and see its joy and bliss.’ “They will say, ‘Why should we go? What we want is right here now.’”
The Commander of the Faithful ʿAlī said, “Were I to be veiled from Him for an hour, I would die.”