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The Reason for the Revelation of this Surah and the Arrogance of Abu Lahab toward the Messenger of A Print E-mail

Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet went out to the valley of Al-Batha and he ascended the mountain. Then he cried out,

«يَا صَبَاحَاه»

(O people, come at once!) So the Quraysh gathered around him. Then he said,

«أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ حَدَّثْتُكُمْ أَنَّ الْعَدُوَّ مُصَبِّحُكُمْ، أَوْ مُمَسِّيكُمْ أَكُنْتُمْ تُصَدِّقُونِّي»

؟ (If I told you all that the enemy was going to attack you in the morning, or in the evening, would you all believe me) They replied, "Yes.'' Then he said,

«فَإِنِّي نَذِيرٌ لَكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَيْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيد»

(Verily, I am a warner (sent) to you all before the coming of a severe torment.) Then Abu Lahab said, "Have you gathered us for this May you perish!'' Thus, Allah revealed,

﴿تَبَّتْ يَدَآ أَبِى لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ ﴾

(Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!) to the end of the Surah. In another narration it states that he stood up dusting of his hands and said, "Perish you for the rest of this day! Have you gathered us for this'' Then Allah revealed,

﴿تَبَّتْ يَدَآ أَبِى لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ ﴾

(Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!) The first part is a supplication against him and the second is information about him. This man Abu Lahab was one of the uncles of the Messenger of Allah.His name was `Abdul-`Uzza bin Abdul-Muttalib. His surname was Abu `Utaybah and he was only called Abu Lahab because of the brightness of his face. He used to often cause harm to the Messenger of Allah . He hated and scorned him and his religion. Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Az-Zinad that a man called Rabi`ah bin `Abbad from the tribe of Bani Ad-Dil, who was a man of pre-Islamic ignorance who accepted Islam, said to him, "I saw the Prophet in the time of pre-Islamic ignorance in the market of Dhul-Majaz and he was saying,

«يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، قُولُوا: لَا إِلهَ إِلَّا اللهُ تُفْلِحُوا»

(O people! Say there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and you will be successful.) The people were gathered around him and behind him there was a man with a bright face, squint (or cross) eyes and two braids in his hair. He was saying, "Verily, he is an apostate (from our religion) and a liar!'' This man was following him (the Prophet ) around wherever he went. So, I asked who was he and they (the people) said, "This is his uncle, Abu Lahab.'' Ahmad also recorded this narration from Surayj, who reported it from Ibn Abu Az-Zinad, who reported it from his father (Abu Zinad) who mentioned this same narration. However in this report, Abu Zinad said, "I said to Rabi`ah, `Were you a child at that time' He replied, `No. By Allah, that day I was most intelligent, and I was the strongest blower of the flute (for music).''' Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith. Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿مَآ أَغْنَى عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ ﴾

(His wealth and his children (Kasab) will not benefit him!) Ibn `Abbas and others have said,

﴿وَمَا كَسَبَ﴾

(and his children (Kasab) will not benefit him!) "Kasab means his children.'' A similar statement has been reported from `A'ishah, Mujahid, `Ata', Al-Hasan and Ibn Sirin. It has been mentioned from Ibn Mas`ud that when the Messenger of Allah called his people to faith, Abu Lahab said, "Even if what my nephew says is true, I will ransom myself (i.e., save myself) from the painful torment on the Day of Judgement with my wealth and my children.'' Thus, Allah revealed,

﴿مَآ أَغْنَى عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ ﴾

(His wealth and his children will not benefit him!) Then Allah says,

﴿سَيَصْلَى نَاراً ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ ﴾

(He will enter a Fire full of flames!) meaning, it has flames, evil and severe burning.

 
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