Showing posts with label 104 Chapter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 104 Chapter. Show all posts

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Sūrah al-Humazah - The Backbiter / The Slanderer): Exegesis 104th Chapter of Qur'an

Sūrah al-Humazah " الهمزة‎ " is the 104th chapter (sūrah) of the Qur'an, with 9 verses (āyāt).  The Surah takes its name from the word Humazah occurring in the first verse. Humazah means "The Backbiter", "The Slanderer", "The Scorner" or "The Gossip-monger."

A study of its subject matter and style shows that this too is one of the earliest Surahs to be revealed at Makkah.

As already mentioned in the summary of the sūrah, in this sūrah some of the evils prevalent among the materialistic hoarders of wealth in the pre-Islamic days have been condemned. Every Arab knew that they actually existed in their society; they regarded them as evils and nobody thought they were good. After calling attention to this kind of ugly character, the ultimate end in the Hereafter of the people having this kind of character has been stated. Both these things (i.e. the character and his fate in the Hereafter) have been depicted in a way which makes the listener automatically reach the conclusion that such a man fitly deserves to meet such an end. And since in the world, people of such character do not suffer any punishment, but seem to be thriving instead, the occurrence of the Hereafter becomes absolutely inevitable.

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi is of the opinion that this surah is the counterpart of Surah 'Asr, the previous surah. Even a cursory look at both the surahs reveals a clear similarity in their themes. In the previous surah, the character of persons who will be salvaged in the Hereafter is depicted. They are those who exhort one other to the right path and remain steadfast on this attitude. In this surah, people of the opposite character are referred to: They are miserly by nature and greedily accumulate wealth. Instead of urging one another to fulfill the rights of Allah and their own fellow beings, if they see someone doing so, they make his life miserable by hurling taunts and jeers at him. They try their utmost to discourage and demoralize him so much that he may surrender to their reproaches and adopt their evil ways. This attitude conceals their own miserliness and saves them from being conscience-stricken when others call them to the right path. [9]

Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles at the end of the post:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةٍ 
( 1 )   Woe to every scorner and mocker
Sūrat al-Humazah begins with two words “Humazat il- Lumazah” which together mean the same: The slanderers. While the first word means slanderers who hurt others by word of mouth, the second word means slanderers who hurt others by action. These are Traducers, the Backbiters, the Mockers and many such similar qualities of man which ultimately result into his destruction and have him taken to the fire of hell where he is "crushed" forever.

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 hamz by some Arabic speaking people themselves is given to lamz by other Arabic speaking peoples. On the contrary, the meaning given to lamz 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.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The first of these relates to gestures and actions and the second to the tongue. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi 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 ہُمَزَۃ before لُمَزَۃ . (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, 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.

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.

 الَّذِي جَمَعَ مَالًا وَعَدَّدَهُ 
( 2 )   Who collects wealth and [continuously] counts it.
This second sentence after the first sentence by itself gives the meaning that he slanders others because of his pride of wealth. The words jama a malan for collecting money suggest the abundance of wealth; then the words counting it over and over again depict the person’s miserliness and his selfish hoarding of wealth.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(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.'' Then Allah says: (Who has gathered wealth and counted it.) meaning, he gathers it piling some of it on top of the rest and he counts it up.

This is similar to Allah's saying:(And collect (wealth) and hide it.) (70:18)

This was said by As-Suddi and Ibn Jarir. Muhammad bin Ka`b said concerning Allah's statement: (gathered wealth and counted it.) "His wealth occupies his time in the day, going from this to that. Then when the night comes he sleeps like a rotting corpse.''

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This is a very comprehensive picture. If a person is inclined towards stinginess he becomes greedy for wealth and then remains involved in ardently counting it. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
It is a person’s attitude towards life and not what he says which gives an indication of his inner self. The life of a person who considers this world as his final destination is totally different from that of a person for whom the next world is the ultimate destination, towards which this life leads. It is not possible that a person who believes in the Hereafter greedily hoard his wealth. Such a person, as the Prophet Jesus (sws) said, keeps his account with God: “Keep your wealth with God, because your heart is wherever your wealth is.” (Matthew, 6:21-22). (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 549)

 يَحْسَبُ أَنَّ مَالَهُ أَخْلَدَهُ 
( 3 )   He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal.
Another meaning also can be: He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal. That is, he is so engrossed in amassing wealth and counting it over and over again that he has forgotten death and he never bothers to consider that a time will come when he will have to depart from the world empty-handed, leaving everything behind.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Then Allah says,: (He thinks that his wealth will make him last forever!) meaning, he thinks that gathering wealth will make him last forever in this abode (the worldly life).

كَلَّا ۖ لَيُنبَذَنَّ فِي الْحُطَمَةِ  
( 4 )   No! He will surely be thrown into the Crusher.
The word in the original is la yunbadhanna. Nabdh in Arabic is used for throwing away a thing regarding it as worthless and mean. This by itself indicates that because of his wealth he thinks that he is a great man but on the Day Of Resurrection he will be hurled into Hell as a mean and contemptible object.

The word hutamah in the original is from hatm, which means to smash, crush and break into pieces. Hell has been described by this epithet because it will crush and break to pieces whatever is thrown into it because of its depth and its fire.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Hutama: that which smashes or breaks to pieces: an apt description of the three anti-social vices condemned. For scandal-mongering and backbiting make any sort of cohesion or mutual confidence impossible; and the miser's hoards up the channels of economic service and charity, and the circulation of good-will among men.

  وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْحُطَمَةُ 
( 5 )   And what can make you know what is the Crusher?
Ibn Kathir Explanation:
And what will make you know what Al-Hutamah is The fire of Allah, Al-Muqadah, which leaps up over the hearts.) Thabit Al-Bunani said, "It will burn them all the way to their hearts while they are still alive.'' Then he said, "Indeed the torment will reach them.'' Then he cried. Muhammad bin Ka`b said, "It (the Fire) will devour every part of his body until it reaches his heart and comes to the level of his throat, then it will return to his body.''

 نَارُ اللَّـهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ  
( 6 )   It is the fire of Allah, [eternally] fueled,
Nowhere else in the Quran has the fire of Hell been called the fire of Allah. Here, its ascription to Allah not only expresses its dreadfulness but it also shows how the wrath and contempt of Allah envelops those who become proud and arrogant with the worldly wealth. That is why Allah has described that fire as His own Fire into which they will be hurled.

 الَّتِي تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى الْأَفْئِدَةِ  
( 7 )   Which mounts directed at the hearts.
Tattaliu is from ittalaa, which means to climb and mount to the top, and also to be aware and informed. Afidah is plural of fuwad, which means the heart. But this word is not used for the organ which throbs in the breast, but for the seat of man’s understanding and consciousness, his feelings and desires, beliefs and thoughts, motives and intentions, Thus, one meaning of the rising of the fire to the hearts is that this fire will reach the place which is the centre of man’s evil thoughts, false beliefs, impure desires and feelings, and wicked motives and intentions. The second meaning is that the Fire of Allah will not be blind like the fire of the world, which burns up the deserving and the non-deserving alike, but it will reach the heart of every culprit and discover the nature of his crime and then punish him according to his guilt.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Fire of Punishment mounts right up to the hearts and minds of such men, and shuts them out of the love of their fellows. "Heart" in Arabic means not only the seat of affection, pity, charity, etc., but also of understanding and intelligent appreciation of things.

 إِنَّهَا عَلَيْهِم مُّؤْصَدَةٌ  
( 8 )   Indeed, Hellfire will be closed down upon them
That is, after the culprits have been thrown into it, Hell will be closed in upon them without leaving any slit or opening anywhere, in order to choke and suffocate them.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(Verily, it shall Mu'sadah upon them.) meaning, covering, just as was mentioned in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Balad (see 90:20).

Then Allah says,

 فِي عَمَدٍ مُّمَدَّدَةٍ  
( 9 )   In extended columns.
Fi amad-im-mumaddahah can have several meanings: (1) That the gates of Hell will be closed and tall columns will be erected on them, (2) That the culprits will be tied to the tall columns, (3) According to Ibn Abbas, the flames of the fire shall be rising high like tall columns.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(In pillars stretched forth. ) "Atiyah Al-`Awfi said, "Pillars of Iron.'' As-Suddi said, "Made of fire.'' Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, "He will make them enter pillars stretched forth, meaning there will be columns over them, and they will have chains on their necks, and the gates (of Hell) will be shut upon them.'' This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Humazah, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Those guilty of these vices will be choked and suffocated, for this Vault of Fire will cover them all over, and its scorching columns will extend over a far wider area than they imagine.

You may now like to listen to exegesis / tafsir of Sūrah al-Humazah by eminent Muslim Scholar, exegete  and linguist Nouman Ali Khan:

You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of other chapters of the Qur'an.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 |
Reading the Holy Quran 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 Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy 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.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the 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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