Surah Al Humazah (Arabic: الهمزة) is the 104th Surah of Quran and the English meaning is “The Traducer” or “The Gossip-monger”.
The main message of this Surah is to condemn backbiters or those who slander others. Whether it is by speech or by action. Allah also reminds his believers not to fall in love with their wealth and get wrapped up in a hedonistic existence. It will not give you immortality and remember that in the end your return will be to Allah.
One of the goals of the My Islam site is to make it easy to read and understand the Qur’an. Below you can read every ayah with transliteration and Sahih International translation. At the end of this Surah you can also find various tafseers to expand your knowledge on Surah Humazah.
Surah Humazah Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
in the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
Wailul kuli humazatil-lumazah
1. Woe to every scorner and mocker
Allazee jama’a maalanw wa ‘addadah
2. Who collects wealth and [continuously] counts it.
Yahsabu anna maalahooo akhladah
3. He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal.
Kallaa; layumbazanna fil hutamah
4. No! He will surely be thrown into the Crusher.
Wa maa adraaka mal-hutamah
5. And what can make you know what is the Crusher?
6. It is the fire of Allah, [eternally] fueled,
Allatee tattali’u ‘alal af’idah
7. Which mounts directed at the hearts.
Innahaa ‘alaihim mu’sada
8. Indeed, Hellfire will be closed down upon them
Fee ‘amadim mumaddadah
9. In extended columns.
Tafsir of Surah Humazah
For those looking to gain a deep understanding of this Surah we’ve provided four different tafseers. We hope by reading the different works of Qur’an commentators you’ll be able to truly understand the historical context of Surah Humazah, learn the background of this surah’s revelation, and the significance this Surah has for past and future generations of Muslims.
Surah Humazah Tafsir by Ibn Kathir
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(Hammaz, going about with slander) (68:11) Ibn `Abbas said, “Humazah Lumazah means one who reviles and disgraces (others).” Mujahid said, “Al-Humazah is with the hand and the eye, and Al-Lumazah is with the tongue.” Then Allah says,
(Who has gathered wealth and counted it.) meaning, he gathers it piling some of it on top of the rest and he counts it up. This is similar to Allah’s saying,
(And collect (wealth) and hide it.) (70:18) This was said by As-Suddi and Ibn Jarir. Muhammad bin Ka`b said concerning Allah’s statement,
(gathered wealth and counted it.) “His wealth occupies his time in the day, going from this to that. Then when the night comes he sleeps like a rotting corpse.” Then Allah says,
(He thinks that his wealth will make him last forever!) meaning, he thinks that gathering wealth will make him last forever in this abode (the worldly life).
(But no!) meaning, the matter is not as he claims, nor as he reckons. Then Allah says,
(Verily, he will be thrown into Al-Hutamah.) meaning, the person who gathered wealth and counted it, will be thrown into Al-Hutamah, which is one of the descriptive names of the Hellfire. This is because it crushes whoever is in it. Thus, Allah says,
(And what will make you know what Al-Hutamah is The fire of Allah, Al-Muqadah, which leaps up over the hearts.) Thabit Al-Bunani said, “It will burn them all the way to their hearts while they are still alive.” Then he said, “Indeed the torment will reach them.” Then he cried. Muhammad bin Ka`b said, “It (the Fire) will devour every part of his body until it reaches his heart and comes to the level of his throat, then it will return to his body.”
(Verily, it shall Mu’sadah upon them.) meaning, covering, just as was mentioned in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Balad (see 90:20). Then Allah says,
(In pillars stretched forth. ) “Atiyah Al-`Awfi said, “Pillars of Iron.” As-Suddi said, “Made of fire.” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, “He will make them enter pillars stretched forth, meaning there will be columns over them, and they will have chains on their necks, and the gates (of Hell) will be shut upon them.” This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Humazah, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
This Surah warns of the severe punishment on three grave sins, and then highlights the nature of that severe punishment. The three sins are backbiting, deriding and selfish hoarding of wealth. The words hamz and lamz are used in several senses. Most commentators agree that the word hamz, from which is derived the word humazah, means to ‘backbite’, that is, to speak ill of a person behind his back. The word lamz, from which is derived the word lumazah, means to ‘slander’ or ‘to deride’, that is, to speak ill of a person to his face. Both these sins are morally and socially obnoxious and deadly. The Qur’an and the Sunnah have sounded a stern warning against these sins. However, ‘backbiting’ is, from one perspective, worse than ‘slander’. ‘Backbiting’ is worse because the ill of a person is spoken behind his back; the victim is not present to defend himself and put an end to it; thus the sin continues to be committed to a greater and increasing degree. ‘Slander’, on the other hand, though an obnoxious sin in itself, is relatively less in degree than backbiting, because the victim is present to defend himself and put an end to face-to-face insulting or fault-finding with him. From another perspective ‘slander’ is worse than ‘backbiting’, because to speak ill of a person to his face is tantamount to insulting him and denigrating him. This is morally and socially more harmful and hurting, and therefore its punishment is more dreadful. According to a Hadith, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has said, شِرارُ عِبَادِ اللہِ تَعَالٰی المَشَّاءُونَ بِالنَّمِیمَۃِ المُفَرِّقُونَ بَینَ الاَحبَّۃِ البَاعُونَ البُرَآَءَ العنت “The worst servants of Allah are those who speak ill of someone, creating enmity between friends and finding fault with innocent people.”
[104:2] The third evil quality denounced severely in this Surah is greed, that is, the selfish hoarding of wealth, against which is the stern warning of the dreadful end of those who have passion for worldly riches. This verse, however, refers to the love of, and passion for, wealth which is accumulated and counted over and over again. Other verses and Ahadith bear testimony to the fact that amassing of wealth in principle is not prohibited or sinful. Therefore, verse [ 2] must be interpreted in the light of those verses and traditions. This verse purports to say that anyone who accumulates wealth and does not pay his obligatory dues or has greed for wealth that leads him to pride and arrogance, or has love of wealth that engrosses him in the hoarding of wealth so profoundly that he forgets his religious obligations, his practice is condemned in the strongest terms, and a person attaching such profound love, greed and passion for material riches will suffer eternal perdition as described in the verses that follow.
[104:3] He thinks that his wealth has made him eternal.
[104:4] Never! He will certainly be thrown into the Crusher.
[104:5] And what may let you know what the Crusher is?
[104:6] It is Allah’s kindled fire,
Verse [104:7] تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى الْأَفْئِدَةِ (that will peep into the hearts). In other words, the fire of Hell will reach their hearts. The basic property of fire is to burn every particle of the things that fall into it. When people are put into the Hell-fire, it will devour every limb and organ of the body until it reaches their heart, but the person will not die. This characteristic of the Hell-fire is especially highlighted in the verse because the fire of this world kills the person even before reaching the heart. The fire of the Hell, on the other hand, will reach the heart in the state of life, and man will experience the torture of the burning of the heart while alive.
The Commentary on
This surah portrays a real scene from the early days of the Islamic message, yet the same scene is repeated in every environment and society. It shows a vile, mean person who is given wealth and who uses it to tyrannize others, until he begins to feel himself almost unbearable. He thinks that wealth is the supreme value in life, before which all other values and standards come toppling down. He feels that since he possesses wealth, he controls other people’s destiny without being accountable for his own deeds. He imagines that his money and his wealth is a god, capable of everything without exception, even of resisting death, making him immortal and stopping God’s judgement and His retribution.
Deluded as he is by the power of wealth, he counts it and takes pleasure in counting it again and again. A wicked vanity is let loose within him driving him to mock other people’s positions and dignity, to taunt and slander them. He criticizes others verbally, mocks them with his gestures, either by imitating their movements and voices or by ridiculing their looks and features, by words and mimicry, by taunt and slander.
It is a vile and debased picture of someone devoid of human ideals and generosity and stripped of faith. Islam despises this type of person whose characteristics are diametrically opposed to its own high standards of morality. Islam emphatically forbids mockery and ridicule of other people as well as deliberate fault-finding. But in this case the Qur’ān describes these actions as sordid and ugly, delivering a stern warning to anyone who indulges in them. This suggests that the surah is referring to an actual case of some unbelievers subjecting the Prophet and the believers to their taunts and slander. The reply to these actions comes in the form of a strong prohibition and awesome warning. There are some reports which name specific individuals as being the slanderers meant here, but these are not authentic, so we will not discuss them, but instead content ourselves with general observations.
The warning comes in the form of a picture of the hereafter portraying the mental and physical suffering there and drawing an image of hell which is both palpable and telling. It takes care to relate the crime to the punishment inflicted and to its effect on the culprit. On the one side there is the image of the taunting, slandering backbiter who mocks and ridicules others while he gathers wealth thinking that he is guaranteed immortality in this way. This image of a cynical calumniator seeking power through wealth is contrasted with the slighted, ignored person flung into a crushing instrument which destroys all that comes in its way. It soon crushes his structure and his pride.
The crushing instrument is “God’s own kindled fire.” (Verse 6) Its identification as the fire of God suggests that it is an exceptional, unfamiliar sort of fire, full of terror. This fire ‘rises’ over the person who mocks and ridicules others. To complete the image of the slighted, ignored and crushed person, the fire closes in on him from all directions and locks him in. None can save him and none asks about him. Inside he is tied to a column, as animals are tied, without respect.
The tone of the vocabulary used in this surah is very strong ‘Keeps counting it again and again; by no means! He will indeed be flung; rises, towering.’ By such expressions, forcefulness is emphatically conveyed: “He will indeed be flung into the crushing one. Would that you know what the crushing one is! It is God’s own kindled fire.” (Verses 4-6) First comes the generalization and cryptic expression, then the exclamation suggesting great horror, and then the clear answer — all are forms of forceful expression. The style also conveys warnings: ‘Woe to…; He will be flung into…; The crushing one…; God’s kindled fire; which will rise over people’s hearts, it will close in upon them; in towering columns.’ In all this there is a kind of harmony between imagery and feelings and the actions of the ‘taunting, slandering backbiter.’
At the time of its revelation, the Qur’ān followed up the incidents faced by the Islamic message whilst also leading it along its way. The Qur’ān is the infallible weapon which destroys the cunning of conspirators, shakes the hearts of enemies, and fills the believers with courage and determination to persevere. Indeed we recognize two significant facts in God’s care here as He denounces this sordid type of people: firstly, we are shown the ugliness of moral decline and how people are rendered so abject. Secondly, we realize that He defends the believers, preserves their souls against their enemies’ insults, shows them that God knows and hates what is inflicted on them, and that He will punish the wrongdoers. This is enough to elevate their souls and to make them feel their position high above the wicked designs of others.
Tafsir of Surah Al Humazah By Abul A’la Maududi
The words used in the original are humazat il-lumazah. In Arabic hamz and lamz are so close in meaning that they are sometimes used as synonyms and sometimes with a little difference in the shade of meaning. But this difference is not definite and clear, for the meaning given to hamz by some Arabic speaking people themselves is given to lamz by other Arabic speaking peoples. On the contrary, the meaning given to lamz by some people is given to hamz by others. Here, since both the words appear together and the words humazat il-lumazat have been used, they give the meaning that it has become a practice with the slanderer that he insults and holds others in contempt habitually. He raises his finger and winks at one man, finds fault with the lineage and person of another, taunts one in the face and backbites another; creates differences between friends and stirs up divisions between brothers; calls the people names and satirizes and defames them.
This second sentence after the first sentence by itself gives the meaning that he slanders others because of his pride of wealth. The words jama a malan for collecting money suggest the abundance of wealth; then the words counting it over and over again depict the person’s miserliness and his selfish hoarding of wealth.
Another meaning also can be: He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal. That is, he is so engrossed in amassing wealth and counting it over and over again that he has forgotten death and he never bothers to consider that a time will come when he will have to depart from the world empty-handed, leaving everything behind.
The word in the original is la yunbadhanna. Nabdh in Arabic is used for throwing away a thing regarding it as worthless and mean. This by itself indicates that because of his wealth he thinks that he is a great man but on the Day Of Resurrection he will be hurled into Hell as a mean and contemptible object.
The word hutamah in the original is from hatm, which means to smash, crush and break into pieces. Hell has been described by this epithet because it will crush and break to pieces whatever is thrown into it because of its depth and its fire.
6owhere else in the Quran has the fire of Hell been called the fire of Allah. Here, its ascription to Allah not only expresses its dreadfulness but it also shows how the wrath and contempt of Allah envelops those who become proud and arrogant with the worldly wealth. That is why Allah has described that fire as His own Fire into which they will be hurled.
Tattaliu is from ittalaa, which means to climb and mount to the top, and also to be aware and informed. Afidah is plural of fuwad, which means the heart. But this word is not used for the organ which throbs in the breast, but for the seat of man’s understanding and consciousness, his feelings and desires, beliefs and thoughts, motives and intentions, Thus, one meaning of the rising of the fire to the hearts is that this fire will reach the place which is the centre of man’s evil thoughts, false beliefs, impure desires and feelings, and wicked motives and intentions. The second meaning is that the Fire of Allah will not be blind like the fire of the world, which burns up the deserving and the non-deserving alike, but it will reach the heart of every culprit and discover the nature of his crime and then punish him according to his guilt.
That is, after the culprits have been thrown into it, Hell will be closed in upon them without leaving any slit or opening anywhere, in order to choke and suffocate them.
Fi amad-im-mumaddahah can have several meanings:
(1) That the gates of Hell will be closed and tall columns will be erected on them.
(2) That the culprits will be tied to the tall columns.
(3) According to Ibn Abbas, the flames of the fire shall be rising high like tall columns.