Qur’an Stories: Abu Lahab

Surah Al Masad is the chapter of the Glorious Qur’an this story comes from.

Abu Lahab ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib (أبو لهب) was an uncle of Prophet Muhammad(SAW), and a staunch critic of Islam. He is one of the few Arabs to be mentioned by name in the Qur’an, who were alive during Muhammad’s revelations. A Surah(Chapter) of the Qur’an was also revealed as regards to his enmity to Islam.

He was born in Makkah in the year 549 as the son of Abdul Muttalib, chief of the Hashim clan, and the paternal grandfather of Muhammad.

When Muhammad announced that he had been instructed by Allah to spread the message of Islam openly, the Quran told him to warn his kinsfolk about divine punishment. He therefore climbed Mount Ṣafā and shouted: “Wa ṣabāḥah!” which means, “O [calamity of] the morning!” In Arabia this alarm was traditionally raised by any person who noticed an enemy tribe advancing against his own tribe at dawn.

Narrated Ibn Abbas: When the Verse:–‘And warn your tribe of near-kindred, was revealed, the Prophet ascended the Safa (mountain) and started calling, “O Bani Fihr! O Bani ‘Adi!” addressing various tribes of Quraish till they were assembled. Those who could not come themselves, sent their messengers to see what was there.

Abu Lahab and other people from Quraish came and the Prophet then said, “Suppose I told you that there is an (enemy) cavalry in the valley intending to attack you, would you believe me?” They said, “Yes, for we have not found you telling anything other than the truth.” He then said, “I am a warner to you in face of a terrific punishment.”

Abu Lahab then said (to the Prophet) “May your hands perish all this day. Is it for this purpose you have gathered us?” Then it was revealed: “Perish the hands of Abu Lahab (one of the Prophet’s uncles), and perish he! His wealth and his children will not profit him….” Qur’an 111 v. 1-2

The Chapter goes thus:

  1. May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he.
  2. His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained.
  3. He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of [blazing] flame.
  4. And his wife [as well] – the carrier of firewood.
  5. Around her neck is a rope of [twisted] fiber.