One day, the Prophet s.a.w went out to the valley of Al Batha and he went up to the mountain. Then he cried out
“O people, come at once!”
It was a normal business day, but because Prophet Muhammad s.aw. who is a very respected man called out in a hurry, the Qurashy gathered around him. then Rasullulah s.aw. asked
“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?”
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is also known as Al Ameen meaning the truthful one. He was known for his good character, his honesty and truthfulness.
Thus without doubt the people relpied,
“Yes! Of course we believe you.”
Then Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said to them,
“Verily, I am a warner sent to you all before the coming of a severe torment.”
So the Prophet s.a.w told the people about Allah and they should worship Allah alone.
Abu Lahab was in the crowd. Then he said, “Have you gathered us for this? May you perish!”
May you perish means I hope you die!
Thus then Allah revealed Surat Al Masad
Perish the two hands of ABu Lahab and perish he! (1)
His wealth and children will not benefit him. (2)
He will be plunged in flaming Fire, (3)
And his wife, the wood-carrier, (4)
Will have upon her neck a twisted rope of Masad. (5)
Who is Abu Lahab?
Abu Lahab is Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.’s uncle. Abu Lahab, i.e. the Father of the Flames, whose name was ‘Abdul-‘Uzza and means the servant of the idol ‘Uzza, was a man of fiery temperament with a reddish face. This nickname, perhaps, was chosen for him, because, ‘lahab’, in Arabic, means ‘a flame of fire’.
Ever since Prophet Muhammad s.a.w began to spread Islam, Abu Lahab became his enemy. He used to often cause harm to the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. even though the Prophet is his own nephew. When Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was born, Abu Lahab was so happy he went to free a slave. But after Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. invited people to worship Allah and leave the idols, he hated him and scorned the religion.
Whenever Prophet s.a.w goes to the market to spread Islam calling the people to worship Allah, Abu Lahab would follow him and shouted, “Verily! He is an apostate and a liar!” He was following behind him (p.b.u.h.) calling the prophet s.a.w a mad man and pelting his feet with stones, causing the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to walk with bleeding wounds.
تَبَّتۡ يَدَآ أَبِى لَهَبٍ۬ وَتَبَّ
Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!
This is a supplication against Abu Lahab and the second is information about him.
مَآ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنۡهُ مَالُهُ ۥ وَمَا ڪَسَبَ
His wealth and his children will not benefit him!
When Prophet s.a.w. called his people to faith, Abu Lahab said, “Even if what my nephew says is true, I will ransom myself from the torment on the Day of Judgement with my wealth and my children.”
Abu Lahab was a rich, proud man who boasted about his wealth and used it against Islam. Allah said that all his wealth and his children will not benefit him at all.
سَيَصۡلَىٰ نَارً۬ا ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ۬ (٣)
He will enter a Fire full of flames!
Then Allah said He will enter a fire full of flames. Allah has promised Abu Lahab hell even before he dies. This ayaat was sent down even before Abu Lahab dies. Allahu Alim knows that Abu Lahab would not be among those who will receive guidance and will be sent to hell.
Who is Abu Lahab’s wife?
Abu Lahab’s wife is Arwah Binti Harb bint Umayyah. She is one of the leading women in Quraysh. Also known as Umm Jamil. She is also the sister of Abu Sufyan.
She was very supportive of her husband’s hatred to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. She used to place thorns in the path of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. with the intention of hurting him.
According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir, she will be helping to administer Abu Lahab’s punishment in the fire of hell. Allah says
وَٱمۡرَأَتُهُ ۥ حَمَّالَةَ ٱلۡحَطَبِ (٤)
She will carry the firewood and throw it upon her husband to increase his torment. And she herself will be in the hell fire.
فِى جِيدِهَا حَبۡلٌ۬ مِّن مَّسَدِۭ (٥)
In her neck is a twisted rope of Masad.
In her neck will be a tight twisted rope. Some said made of fibres. Some said skin animals and some said made of iron.
When Arwah heard this surah revealed she was very angry. She went out to look for the prophet with a stone in her hand. She wants to harm our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. She said, “He criticises our father, his religion is our scorn and his command is to disobey us.”
The Messenger s.a.w. was sitting in the masjid (of the Kaabah) and Abu Bakar r.a.. When Abu Bakar r.a. saw this, he said, “O! Messenger of Allah! She is coming and I fear that she will see you.” The Messenger s.a.w. replied, “Verily she will not see me.”
So Arwah came near to them until she was standing in front of them. But she did not see the Messenger s.a.w. She then said to Abu Bakar r.a. ,”O Abu Bakar. I heard that your friend is making poetry slandering me.”
ABu Bakar replied, “No! By the Lord of this house (Kaabah) he is not defaming you.”
So she turned away and said, “Indeed the Quraysh know that I am the daughter of their leader.”
I prepared a follow through worksheet for the children to help them explore this surah, Insya Allah. I emphasised on the who/what/why/when/where whichever is applicable.
In this surah there are two body parts that are mentioned which are hands (يدا) and the upper part of the chest (جيد). We explored the description of these body parts and what Allah described what will happen to them in this surah.
I introduced some basic arabic words for body parts.
Allah described that Abu Lahab’s wealth and children will not benefit them.
nauzubillah that we are befallen on the same fate. We talked about how we can make use of our possessions to benefit us in the Hereafter, Insya Allah
Finally we discussed the lessons that we can gain from this surah, Insya Allah.
1. Relationship does not guarantee faith. Even though, Abu Lahab is the Prophet’s closest uncle, this does not guarantee he has any benefit of the true faith. The same goes to us. We pray for guidance for ourselves and our children to always be in the straight path and not be misguided.
2. This sura is about ABu Lahab and his wife but also more on their behaviour and thoughts against Prophet muhammad s.a.w. and Islam. Thus they are cursed for this. Thos individual who have the same quality are also cursed by Allah.
And these are the lessons that the children put in their answer sheets
1. Abu Lahab and his wife Arwah will have a place in the hellfire
2. Those who curses Prophet Mohammad s.a.w. will go to hell.
3. Assisting those people will put you in the same place too.
I am putting here a copy of the worksheet that I prepared for this lesson. Feel free to use it if you like. I appreciate that if you do use it, to give feedback so we (as in me and you) can, Insya Allah, improve each other. Tell me also how you can improve it. 😀
Tafsir Ibn Kathir (The tafsir of Surah Tabbat)
Abu Lahab and his Wife Arwah by Shazia Nazlee (Darussalam Publication)