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Surat Al- Masad. The Palm Fiber. تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ (1) 1. Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab (an uncle of the Prophet), and perish he! مَا أَغْنَى عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ (2) 2. His wealth and his children (etc.) will not benefit him!

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surat al masad

Surat Al-Masad

The Palm Fiber


تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ (1)

  • 1. Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab (an uncle of the Prophet), and perish he!

مَا أَغْنَى عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ (2)

  • 2. His wealth and his children (etc.) will not benefit him!

سَيَصْلَى نَارًا ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ (3)

  • 3. He will be burnt in a Fire of blazing flames!

وَامْرَأَتُهُ حَمَّالَةَ الْحَطَبِ (4)

  • 4. And his wife too, who carries wood (thorns of Sadan which she used to put on the way of the Prophet () , or use to slander him).

فِي جِيدِهَا حَبْلٌ مِّن مَّسَدٍ (5)

5. In her neck is a twisted rope of Masad (palm fibre).


Its names:

1) (المسد): From the last word in the Sura.

2) (تبت): Some Scholars give it this name. (as in many copies of Qura’an)

  • Stage of revelation:
  • Makkeyyah

The reason of its revelation:

  • Al-Bukhari recorded from IbnAbbas 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 this Sura.

The theme of this Sura:

  • The inevitable destruction of the disbelievers (definitely losing) in spite of his closeness to the best winners (Abu Lahab is the uncle of Prophet Mohammad ) → Abu Lahab’s recompense is the Hill Fire because of his extreme enmity to Prophet  , and also because of his answer to Prophet Mohammad  . His wife also was helping him in hatred to Prophet Mohammad .

The relation between Surat Al-Masad and its theme:

  • In Surat Al-Masad there is an example (model) of losers of men and women (Abu Lahab and his wife)

The reason of its beginning:

  • Abu Lahab was treating Prophet Mohammad  in a bad way, he cut the bond of kinship, refused to answer Prophet Mohammad  to Islam and harmed him. He depended on his money and children, but he perished himself, his wife and who followed him from his children.

The relation between Surat Al-Masad and the two Sura’s before it (Al-Kafiroon & An-Nasr):

* Surat Al-Kafiroon: is talking about the disbelievers and what they worship.

Surat An-Nasr: is talking about Muslim’s victory upon disbelievers.

Then Surat Al-Masad, was talking about disbelievers’ recompense and their loss (Abu Lahab and his wife are examples of the disbelievers who harmed ( Prophet Mohammad () and Muslims), refused accepting Islam and prevented others to follow Prophet Mohammad .

→ everyone disbelieve in Allah , or fights our Prophet (refuses following him)  will be punished in this life and in the Hereafter.

* In Surat An-Nasr there is a worldly victory, but in Surat Al-Masad the victory is in the Hereafter.


The relation between its beginning and the end of Surat Al-Khafiroun:

  • The end of Al-Kafiroun: لكم دينكم ولي دين: Prophet Mohammad  said to the disbelievers: to you is your religion and to me is my religion (The Islamic Monotheism).
  • → Then Surat An-Nasr: (The one who singles Allah out will win as a reward of Islamic Monotheism)
  • In Surat Al-Masad: the recompense of disbelievers (Abu Lahab) is the Hell fire, because he was Mushrik→ Allah  said: تبت يدا أبي لهب وتب.

The relation between the parts of Surat Al-Masad and its theme:

  • Most of the people who used to fight Prophet Mohammad  at the beginning of Islam, had entered it. in this Sura, Allah is telling us about Abu Lahab and his wife that they will die on Shirk, accordingly they will lose this life and the Hereafter. So after mentioning the people who entered Islam in crowds in Surat An-Nasr, Surat Al-Masad came to tell us about those who didn’t enter Islam.

General explanation for Surat Al-Masad:

* Abu Lahab and Om Jamil (his wife) used to harm Prophet Mohammad .

1) When Abu Hashim tribe decided to protect Prophet Mohammad , Abu Lahab allied with Quraish.

2) His two sons were husbands for Prophet Mohammad’s  daughters (Ruqayah and Um Kalthoum) before comissionProphethood, but afterward he ordered them to divorce their wives.

3) Abu Lahab’s house was beside Prophet Mohammad’s  house, so his wife used to put thorns, wood and dirt in front of his door .


Allah  in this Sura is defending His Prophet , Allah () said:

  • تبت يدا أبي لهب وتب: (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 often to harm the Messenger of Allah . He hated and scorned him and his religion.
  • ما أغنى عنه ماله وما كسب: (His wealth and his children (Kasab) will not benefit him!) Ibn `Abbas and others have said, "Kasab means his children”.

سيصلى ناراً ذات لهب: This is in the Hereafter, he will be burnt in a Fire full of flames! (severe Lahab). Allah  described it ذات لهبto show us it’s kindled fire.


:وامرأته حمالة الحطب“And his wife too, who carries wood”.His wife was among the noble women of the Quraysh and she was known as Umm Jamil. Her name was ArwahbintHarb 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 Judgment. 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.

  • Linguistically: It is a metonymy of her turning away her efforts in plotting against him and causing him grief, it’s an exaggerated term: which means she used to do that more frequently.

(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 IbnZayd 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.'‘

- 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.


When Om Jamil heard this Sura, she became angry (from the words of this Sura and from the rhythm). The sound of Surat Al-Masad is intensive (i.e. tightning loads of wood, pulling her neck in a rope of fire). (strong impact on the hearing)

→ It comes with the nature of this Sura and also with the reason of its revelation.


That’s why, when she heared this Sura she went to Prophet Mohammad  as in Hadith: Asma' bintAbiBakr () said, "When (Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he)!) was revealed, the one-eyed Umm JamilbintHarb 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.) (

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(who abuses).


Lessons from Surat Al-Masad:

1) The recompense for the deed is of the same nature of the deed:

a) Om Jamil used to bear thorns and wood to put it in the way of Prophet Mohammad  till his feet been injured so she will bear the same in the Hellfire and she will throw it on her husband to burn him and she will be burnt also with it. What a shame feeling; she will participate in burning her loving husband whom she used to follow in this life (she will share with him the suffering in the Hellfire).

b) It’s been said that Om Jamil had an expensive necklace, she sold it and paid its cost in Harming Prophet Mohammad .

→ she will be punished in her neck.

So take care, don’t try to help anyone in disobeying Allah, the same as those who help smokers by giving them lighters (flame their cigarettes).


2) In this Sura there is a miracle and strong proof of the Prophecy. This Sura has been revealed ten years before the death of Abu Lahab death and in spite of that, he didn’t become a Muslim. Though, he would say: Mohammad’s God said: I will be in the Hellfire, but I will become a Muslim to show you that this religion (Islam) is not a correct religion, but he didn’t , and he died on shirk, the same as what Allah (), and His Prophet  told us.


3) Prophet Mohammad  is our model. He didn’t treat Om Jamil the same as she used to harm him. He had the full good manners, he was patient, forbearing and never exceeded in enmity as in Hadith Abu Hurayrah:

  • Narrated Abu Hurairah Allah’s Messenger  said: “Doesn’t it astonish you how Allah protects me from the Quraish’s abusing and cursing? They abuse Mudhammam(the one who dispraised) and curse Mudhammam while I am Muhammad(praised) (and not Mudhammam)”.

( We should take him as our example).


4) Relatives, money and all what we have will never benefit us if we are from the dwellers of the Hellfire.

→ Abu Lahab was our Prophet’s uncle and that didn’t avail him in the least against the will of Allah. So don’t be deceived with what you have in this life the same as Allah said about Abu Lahab that: ما أغنى عنه ماله وما كسب


5) وامرأته حمالة الحطب: The woman who is helping her husband in his bad deeds, sins and shirk, she will share him also in his punishment in the Hellfire. Compare this with Khadija, when she prepared a quite, relieved home for her husband prophet Mohammad , Allah give her the glad tiding in a house in Paradise as in this Hadith:

Aishah () said: “I did not envy any woman as I envied Khadijah and the Messenger of Allah  did not marry me except after she had died that was because the Messenger of Allah  gave her glad tidings of a house in Paradise made of Qasab, without clamoring nor discomforts in it.” (Sahih).

[Abu Eisa said:] This Hadith is HasanSahih. [Of Qasab, he said pearl is what is meant by Qasab

→ Wives have influence on their husbands.


6) Abu Lahab and his wife are examples (lessons) for every one:

a) Who opposes what Allah  revealed upon His Prophet  and follows his vain desires.

b) Who hold fast their false doctrines, their excuse is: we get used to believe in.

c) Who is deceived with wealth or properties that he has or his status in other’s hearts → Nothing with committing sins will protect him from Hellfire except his repentance and good deeds.

** [ The word Lahab came the same as his name].

** [The description of Um Jamil is( حمالة الحطب ) The same as her works.]