¡ Yā. Sīn.
1 The Arabic letters yāʾ and sīn are among the separated letters (al-muqaṭṭaʿāt) that are found at the beginning of twenty-nine sūrahs and whose meaning is considered by most to be known only to God; see 2:1c. Some allow that yāʾ sīn could be an abbreviation meaning “O human being” (Q). In this interpretation, the yāʾ is the vocative “O,” used in many Quranic verses, and the sīn is an abbreviation for unsayn, the diminutive of insān (“human being”). In this context, the diminutive “O little human being” is a term of endearment interpreted as God’s address to the Prophet Muhammad. Others say that Yā Sīn is a name given to the Prophet by God whose exact meaning is unknown (Q). For this reason it is sometimes used in the Islamic world as the name for a male. ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib is reported to have said, “I heard the Messenger of God say, ‘Verily God has named me by seven names in the Quran: Muhammad [3:144; 33:40; 47:2; 48:29], Aḥmad [61:6], Ṭā Hā [20:1], Yā Sīn [36:1], thou enwrapped [al-Muzzammil; 73:1], thou who art covered [al-Mudaththir; 74:1], and servant of God [ʿAbd Allāh; 72:19]’” (IA, Q). Other commentators take Yā Sīn to be a name of the
Quran itself, while al-Qushayrī identifies it with the Day of the Covenant (yawm almīthāq), when God made a covenant with all the children of Adam (see 7:172c).