Surah Masad Ayat 1 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 1
May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he.
Perish the hands of the Father of Flame! Perish he!
Destroyed were the hands of Abu Lahab, and he lay utterly doomed.
Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab (an uncle of the Prophet), and perish he!
The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish.
Would the hands of ⊃ Abu Lahab be cut up, (i.e., perish) and would he be cut up (too)!
May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined! May he be ruined too!
Quran 111 Verse 1 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Masad ayat 1, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(111:1) Destroyed were the hands of Abu Lahab, and he lay utterly doomed.
1. His real name was Abd al-Uzza, and he was called Abu Lahab on account of his glowing, ruddy complexion. Lahab means the flame of fire, and Abu Lahab the one with a flaming, fiery face. His being mentioned here by his nickname (Kunyat), instead of his real name, has several reasons. First, that he was better known by his nickname than by his real name; second, that the Quran did not approve that he should be mentioned by his polytheistic name Abd al Uzza (slave of Uzza); third, that his kunyat goes well with the fate that has been described of him in this Surah.
Some commentators have translated tabbat yada Abi Lahab to mean: May the hands of Abu Lahab be broken, and tabba to mean: may he perish or he perished. But this, in fact, was not a curse which was invoked on him, but a prophecy in which an event taking place in the future, has been described in the past tense, to suggest that its occurrence in the future is certain and inevitable.
In fact, at last the same thing happened as had been foretold in this Surah a few years earlier. Breaking of the hands obviously does not imply breaking of the physical hands, but a person’s utterly failing in his aim and object for which he has exerted his utmost. And Abu Lahab indeed had exerted his utmost to defeat and frustrate the message of Islam presented by the Prophet (peace be upon him). But hardly seven or eight years after the revelation of this Surah most of the big chiefs of Quraish, who were a party with Abu Lahab in his hostility to Islam, were killed in the Battle of Badr. When the news of the defeat reached Makkah, he was so shocked that he could not survive for more than seven days. His death occurred in a pitiable state. He became afflicted with malignant pustule and the people of his house left him to himself, fearing contagion. No one came near his body for three days after his death, until the body decomposed and began to stink. At last, when the people began to taunt his sons, according to one tradition, they hired some black people, who lifted his body and buried it.
According to another tradition, they got a pit dug out and threw his body into it by pushing it with wood, and covered it up with earth and stones. His utter failure became manifest when the religion which he had tried his utmost to impede and thwart, was accepted by his own children. First of all, his daughter, Darrah, migrated from Makkah to Madinah and embraced lslam; then on the conquest of Makkah, both his sons, Utbah and Muattab, came before the Prophet (peace be upon him) through the mediation of Abbas, believed and took oath of allegiance to him.
1. Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he! 2. His wealth and his children will not benefit him! 3. He will enter a Fire full of flames! 4. And his wife too, who carries wood. 5. In her neck is a twisted rope of Masad.
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.
(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
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.” This is the end of the Tafsir of this Surah, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.
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