Monday 12 December 2022

Woe to every scorner and mocker (Selected verses from Qur’an)

Talking ill of a Muslim brother, or even anyone else, with an intent of malice, deceit, harm and spoiling someone's reputation is one of the most heinous crimes in Islam. There are a number verses in Qur'an and many Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad which warn Muslims against scorning and backbiting another, especially in his absence. In fact, Qur’an has considered slander as an inhuman action, and has introduced it as eating flesh of a dead brother. 

Before we share the verse selected for today, let us be clear about slandering and backbiting:
Ghibah or backbiting means speaking about a Muslim in his absence and saying things that he would not like to have spread around or mentioned. Buhtan or slander means saying things about a Muslim that are not true, or in other words telling lies about him.

These cause hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbours and relatives. They can decrease in good deeds and increase in evil ones and lead to dishonor and ignominy. 

Backbiting and slandering are shame and disgrace. Their perpetrator is detested and he shall not have a noble death. Allah forbids these acts, as He says in the Holy Quran: "Backbiting and gossiping are from the vilest and most despicable of things, yet the most widely spread amongst mankind, such that no one is free from it except for a few people." 

“Verily, those who accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers — are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter, and for them will be a great torment” [Surah al-Noor 24:23].
The importance of this malice can be ascertained from the fact that a complete chapter of Qur'an, the 104th Surah is named Al Humaza "The One Who Slanders." The main theme of the 9-versed chapter is about slanderer, defamer and stingy who shall be thrown into the blazing fire. We have already published the summary/Exegesis. Here we are sharing its very first verse that cautions Muslims against slandering and mocking:
بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ
وَيۡلٌ لِّـكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةِ ۙ‏ 
Woe to every scorner and mocker
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 lamz by some Arabic speaking people themselves is given to lamz by other Arabic speaking peoples. On the contrary, the meaning given to harm 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. 

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Three vices are here condemned in the strongest terms: (1) scandal-mongering, talking or suggesting evil of men or women by word or innuendo, or behaviour, or mimicry, or sarcasm, or insult; (2) detracting from their character behind their backs, even if the things suggested are true, where the motive is evil; (3) piling up wealth, not for use and service to those who need it, but in miserly hoards, as if such hoards can prolong the miser's life or give him immortality: miserliness is itself a kind of scandal.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
(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.'

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., everyone who maliciously tries to uncover real or imaginary faults in others.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The first of these relates to gestures and actions and the second to the tongue. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:
… Making evil gestures and slandering others are two aspects of the same character. When the purpose is to make fun of others and to degrade and ridicule them, both are employed. At times, ridiculing and demeaning others through gestures can prove sharper and more effective than the tongue, and perhaps this is the reason for placing هُمَزَة before لُمَزَة . (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 9, 548)
A little deliberation shows that this way of making fun of others and demeaning them through gestures is the same as what can even be witnessed today in caricatures and cartoons depicted in the newspapers of today as well as in the statements of leaders.
Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
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’an 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.

To sum up, Slander indicates mentioning hidden weak points and faults of the others so that if they hear, they will be disturbed. These points are either concerned with religious, moral, spiritual and social aspects, or with corporeal aspects, including face, body's limbs, corporal powers, and actions and behaviours, or his attachments, such as wife, child, and or his clothing, house, etc.

There are several motives for slander:
  • Malice and revenge: as there is no easier and simpler way than slander and damaging a person's reputation and character for extinguishing flames of spite and revenge blazing in the heart of some people.
  • Envy: as the envious person always wishes for end of blessings of the envied one, when he cannot achieve his purpose, for compensating it, he tries to damage the envied person's reputation and credit through slander and revealing his weak points, and relieves the fire of his envy in this way.
  • Acquitting oneself from a committed sin: in other words, one tries to simplify or justify his action through mentioning the faults of others.
  • Mockery and deriding: of course, mockery and deriding others has several motives, and after rooting of its factors in man's entity, one of the ways of realization of this goal is slander.
  • Recreation and amusement: there are a lot of people who engage in mentioning weak points and faults of the others only for recreation and amusement or warming circles and meetings, because no other sin is sweeter than slander for people. It should also be noted that people not only enjoy recreation and amusement, but also enjoy causing others to laugh.
  • Excitation of curiosity instinct: this instinct which is one of the most powerful man's instincts, invites man to urge others for slander and revealing weak points of different individuals, and perhaps the sweetness of slander for some people originates from the false satiation of this instinct. Such people enjoy knowing mysteries and faults of others and are curious about them, and therefore make others slander more eagerly and enthusiastically.
Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo; Pixabay | Reference: | 1 || 2 | 3 |
Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  

In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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