Al Alaq 96: 9-14 (Abu Jahl)

9. have You (O Muhammad (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)) seen Him (i.e. Abû Jahl) who prevents,

10. a slave (Muhammad (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)) when He prays?

11. tell Me, if He (Muhammad (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)) is on the guidance (of Allâh)?

12. or enjoins piety?

13. tell Me if He (the disbeliever, Abû Jahl) denies (the truth, i.e. This Qur’ân), and turns away?

14. knows He not that Allâh does see (What He does)?


Abu Jahl Tried to Prevent the Prophet from Praying

The second part of the surah is revealed when the Prophet salllahu alaihi wasalam when he (s.a.w) is preventing from praying particularly by Abu Jahl.

Imam Muslim (may Allah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: Abu Jahl asked, “Does Muhammad rub his face in the dust (i.e. does he prostrate when he prays at the K’abah) when he is among you?” He was told, “Yes.” He said, “By al-Laat and al-‘Uzza, if I see him doing that, I will step on his neck or I will rub his face in the dust.” Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came and prayed. He (Abu Jahl) had claimed that he would step on his neck, but suddenly all they saw was that he was running away, raising his hands to protect himself. It was said to him, “What is the matter with you?” He said, “There is a ditch of fire and terror and wings between me and him. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If he had come near me, the angels would have snatched him piece by piece.” Then Allah revealed the words (interpretation of the meaning):

9. have You (O Muhammad (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)) seen Him (i.e. Abû Jahl) who prevents,

10. a slave (Muhammad (Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam)) when He prays?
Even though these verses are related to Abu Jahl, who is one of those who prevent Prophet Muhammad sallahu alaihi wasalam to pray, these verses are also meant for those who make it difficult and prevent people from praying.
Abu Jahal

Abu Jahal’s actual name was Amr ibn Hisham but he was commonly known as Abu Hakam (“Father of Wisdom”) among the Quraysh as he was considered a wise man. His relentless hostility and belligerence towards Islam earned him the name Abu Jahal (Father of Ignorance) among the Muslims. He was a member of the Banu Makhzum clan of the Quraysh.

Abu Jahal was not a real uncle of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) [not his father’s real brother] but his father’s cousin. He was a staunch polytheist and greatly disliked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), taking any opportunity to rebuke and publicly humiliate him.

He was one of the greatest persecutors of the Muslims. When a Muslim convert was discovered among the hierarchy of a tribe, Abu Jahal would reprimand the convert and then ridicule him in front of his fellow tribesmen so he would lost their respect. When he discovered a trader had converted to Islam he gave orders that no one should engage in business with him. As a result, the convert trader was unable to sell his wares and became impoverished.

Convert slaves belonging to the polytheist Quraysh received the harshest punishment. Abu Jahal beat Harithah bint al-Muammil (may Allah be pleased with her), one such slave, for her conversion to such an extent that she lost her eyesight. He attacked Sumayyah bint Khayyaṭ, the mother of Ammar (may Allah be pleased with him) and inflicted on her mortal wounds by stabbing her with a spear in her private parts. This blessed lady was the first to meet martyrdom in the cause of Islam.

Prophet Make du’a Asking Allah to Guide one of the two ‘Amrs

“O Allah, guide one of the two ‘Amr’s”

Allah’s Messenger prayed that Allah guides one of the two ‘Amr’s (‘Umar bin al Khattab, or ‘Amr bin Hisham [Abu Jahl]).

This means that Allah’s Messenger saw something good in him, and if he did become Muslim he would bring alot of good and honor to the Muslims. Out of the two; Umar bin al Khattab became Muslim.

The words in the hadith signify; If he (Abu Jahl) had accepted Islam, he could have been like ‘Umar in his greatness and benefit (of being the second best man after the Prophets’ of Allah).

Allah said in surah at-Teen:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الِْنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ . ثُمّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ
We have certainly created man in the best of stature; Then We return him to the lowest of the
low, [at-Teen 95:4-5]

Abu Jahl was made in a perfect form, with characteristics of the greatest people on Earth (loyalty, manhood, strength, honour, perseverance etc.) however – he was rejected to the lowest of the low for using all these great characteristics for disbelief / polytheism and oppression.

When Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) embraced Islam, he was determined to announce his new faith to the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) enemies and the first place he went to was the house of Abu Jahal. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) knocked on his door, Abu Jahl came out and greeted him,“Welcome! What brings you here?” “I have come to tell you that I have embraced the religion of Allah and His Messenger, Muhammad,” Umar calmly stated. Abu Jahl heard this and disgustedly said, “May God ruin you and what you have brought!” and slammed the door shut.

The Similarities between ‘Umar (bin al Khattab) and ‘Amr bin Hisham [Abu Jahl] : He had the exact same characteristics as ‘Umar, but what destroyed him?

Arrogance. Just like Iblees/shaytan’s arrogance destroyed him.

Both ‘Umar and ‘Amr (Abu Jahl) had nationalism and tribalism before Islam.
Both Umar and Abu Jahl were made in a perfect form, with characteristics of the greatest people on Earth (loyalty, manhood, strength, honour, perseverance etc.) however – Abu Jahl was rejected to the lowest of the low for using all these great characteristics for disbelief / polytheism and oppression.

The main difference however is that Abu Jahl had an Ego which prevented him from his Islam, whereas ‘Umar humbled himself and submitted in Islam.

People are able to get rid of their nationalism, however – it is harder to remove the Ego personally, and requires effort to humble yourself to a truth. This is where ‘Umar achieved success, and ‘Amr [Abu Jahl] did not.

Abu Jahl actually liked the message of Allah’s Messenger.

It’s reported in the Seerah of Ibn Is-haaq that; Akhnas bin Shuraiq, Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan bin Harb (al Umawi) [before he became Muslim] approached the apartment of Allah’s Messenger during the night.

Allah’s Messenger was reciting the Qur’an in Tahajjud / Qiyam al Layl (the Night prayer) – and all of them went secretly to listen to it. Then they sneaked back, and caught each other – what are you doing they asked each other? They gradually all admitted they were secretly listening to the Qur’an. They promised they would not come back, but surprisingly the next night they caught each other secretly again.
This happened again the following night the day after. They finally promised not to come here again, otherwise the youth might find out and the honour of their tribe will be discredited (since Banu Umayyah [the tribe of Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan] always competed for power with Banu Hashim [the tribe of Prophet Muhammad].)

So Akhnas bin Shuraiq later on asks Abu Sufyan what he thinks about the Qur’an. Abu Sufyan tells that he believes its the truth. So they go to Abu Jahl and ask him what he thinks about the Qur’an, so Abu Jahl replies;

“Of course it is the truth. We’re Banu ‘Aamir (from Banu Umayyah), whenever they fight, we fight, whenever they’re generous, whenever they do good, we do good. Now one of their people have these words (the Qur’an), we will never get words like this. If we accept him as a Messenger, Banu ‘Aamir loses forever.

Abu Jahl in Battle of Badr

As befitting a general, Abu jahl was well-protected during the battle by men carrying swords and spears. He was so well guarded no Muslim could even get near him.

A young boy told Abdur Rahman bin Auf, “Show me Abu Jahl.”
Abdur Rahman replied, “What have you to do with him?”
“I have been told that he vilifies the Prophet sallalahu alaihi wasalam. By the One in whose hand my life is, I shall kill him when I see him, or shall be killed by him!”
Another young boy told Abdur Rahman the same thing. Suddenly, Abdur Rahman spotted Abu Jahl on the battlefield and pointed him out to the young boys. They attacked him fiercely with their sword, and Abu Jahl fell to the earth. After the battle, they both presented themselves before the prophet sallahu alaihi wasalam, each claiming to have killed Abu jal. He looked at their swords and proclaimed, “Both of you have killed him.”

The young boys were Mu’adh ibn Afra and Mu’adh ibn “Amr. The first is said to have been martyred in the same battle, but Mu’adh remained alive till the Caliphate of Uthman. The Prophet sallahu alaihi wasalam gave him Abu Jahl belongings.

Abdullah bin Mas’ud, who found Abu Jahl dying in the battlefield, placed his leg on his old enemy’s neck and caught hold of his beard to behead him, “Hasn’t Allah disgrace you, O enemy of Allah?”

Even as he lay dying Abu Jahl was unrepentant. “For what have I been disgraced? Is there anybody above the man you have killed? I only wish someone other than the farmer had killed me. Tell me, who was victorious today?”

Allah and His Messenger,” Abdullah said.
“O herdsman! You have mounted a very difficult place,” Abu Jahl responded. Abdullah then cut his head off and placed it before the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam.

“Allah is the greatest! Allah praise is due to Allah.” The prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam cried. “He has proven His promise to be true, helped His servants, and defeated the opposite army.” Gazing at Abu Jahl’s head before him, the Prophet sallalalhu alaihi wasalam said, “He was the Pharoah of his nation.


In these set of ayahs, Allah makes comparison of the one who prays against those who are preventing and the one who prevents him to pray

The one who prays :
– Upon the guidance of Allah
– Strive for piety.
The one who prevents praying :
He denies and turns away from the truth

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