Surah Al Masad (meaning “Palm Fiber”) is the 111th surah of The Quran with 5 short verses. It’s also commonly referred to as Surah Lahab because of the mention of Prophet Muhammad’s uncle Abu Lahab.

It is given name ‘Palm Fiber’ based off verse 5 where it describes the rope being twisted around the Neck of the wife of Muhammad’s uncle Abu Lahab. In the Tafsir by Ibn Kathir (can read this at the bottom of page) it is discussed how she bitterly opposed Islam. Umm Jamil called her “the bearer of the wood” because she is said to have carried thorns and cast them in Muhammad’s pathway as to injure his feet.

Below you can read this Surah Al-Masad in Arabic. If you are not as strong of a reader, the English transliteration is provided to assist you in your reading. You can also follow along the video which takes the Surah one ayah at a time.

Surah Al-Masad Transliteration

Al Masad Verse 111-1

Tabbat yada abee lahabin watab
1. May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he.

Al Masad Transliteration 111-2

Maa aghna ‘anhu maaluhu wa ma kasab
2. His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained.

Al Masad Translation 111-3

Sayasla naran thatalahab
3. He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of [blazing] flame

Read Al Masad 111-4

Wam ra-atuhu hamma latal-hatab
4. And his wife [as well] – the carrier of firewood.

Surah Al Masad 111-5

Fee jeediha hablun min masad
5. Around her neck is a rope of [twisted] fiber.

Tafsir Of Surah Al Masad By Ibn Kathir

The Reason for the Revelation of this Surah and the Arrogance of Abu Lahab toward the Messenger of Allah.

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

Then he said, (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,(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, (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,

(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,

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

(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, (His wealth and his children will not benefit him!) Then Allah says, (He will enter a Fire full of flames!) meaning, it has flames, evil and severe burning.

The Destiny of Umm Jamil, the Wife of Abu Lahab

(And his wife too, who carries wood.) His wife was among the leading women of the Quraysh and she was known as Umm Jamil. Her name was `Arwah bint Harb bin Umayyah and she was the sister of Abu Sufyan. She was supportive of her husband in his disbelief, rejection and obstinacy. Therefore, she will be helping to administer his punishment in the fire of Hell on the Day of Judgement. Thus, Allah says,

(And his wife too, who carries wood.) His wife was among the leading women of the Quraysh and she was known as Umm Jamil. Her name was Arwah bint Harb bin Umayyah and she was the sister of Abu Sufyan.

She was supportive of her husband in his disbelief, rejection and obstinacy. Therefore, she will be helping to administer his punishment in the fire of Hell on the Day of Judgement. Thus, Allah says, (Who carries wood. In her neck is a twisted rope of Masad.) meaning, she will carry the firewood and throw it upon her husband to increase that which he is in (of torment), and she will be ready and prepared to do so.

(In her neck is a twisted rope of Masad.) Mujahid and `Urwah both said, “From the palm fiber of the Fire.” Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn `Abbas, `Atiyah Al-Jadali, Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd that she used to place thorns in the path of the Messenger of Allah . Al-Jawhari said, “Al-Masad refers to fibers, it is also a rope made from fibers or palm leaves. It is also made from the skins of camels or their furs. It is said (in Arabic) Masadtul-Habla and Amsaduhu Masadan, when you tightly fasten its twine.” Mujahid said, (In her neck is a twisted rope of Masad.) “This means a collar of iron.” Don’t you see that the Arabs call a pulley cable a Masad.

A Story of Abu Lahab’s Wife harming the Messenger of Allah

Ibn Abi Hatim said that his father and Abu Zur`ah both said that `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr Al-Humaydi told them that Sufyan informed them that Al-Walid bin Kathir related from Ibn Tadrus who reported that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr said, “When (Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he)!) was revealed, the one-eyed Umm Jamil bint Harb came out wailing, and she had a stone in her hand.

She was saying, `He criticizes our father, and his religion is our scorn, and his command is to disobey us.’ The Messenger of Allah was sitting in the Masjid (of the Ka`bah) and Abu Bakr was with him. When Abu Bakr saw her he said, `O Messenger of Allah! She is coming and I fear that she will see you.’ The Messenger of Allah replied, (Verily, she will not see me.) Then he recited some of the Qur’an as a protection for himself. This is as Allah says,

(And when you recite the Qur’an, We put between you and those who believe not in the Hereafter, an invisible veil.) (17:45) So she advanced until she was standing in front of Abu Bakr and she did not see the Messenger of Allah.

She then said, `O Abu Bakr! Verily, I have been informed that your friend is making defamatory poetry about me.’ Abu Bakr replied, `Nay! By the Lord of this House (the Ka`bah) he is not defaming you.’ So she turned away saying, `Indeed the Quraysh know that I am the daughter of their leader.”’

Al-Walid or another person said in a different version of this Hadith, “So Umm Jamil stumbled over her waist gown while she was making circuits (Tawaf) around the House (the Ka`bah) and she said, `Cursed be the reviler.’ Then Umm Hakim bint `Abdul-Muttalib said, `I am a chaste woman so I will not speak abusively and I am refined so I do not know. Both of us are children of the same uncle. And after all the Quraysh know best.”

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This is the end of the Tafsir of this Surah, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.