Revealed at Makkah.


THIS chapter was composed soon after the assembly of the Bani Hashim, called together by Muhammad in order that he might invite them to turn to God and accept of Islam. His uncle, Abd al Uzza Ibn Abdul Muttalib, who was surnamed Abu Lahab, came with others, but discovering the nature of the meeting, cried out, "Let him be damned! Is this all thou hast called us together forV' At these words the whole assembly broke up, as they could see no sense in Muhammad's speech when he told them he was a "warner sent them before a grievous chastisement." The words of this chapter contain the curses of Muhammad uttered against Abu Lahab on this occasion.

Probable Date of the Revelation.

Muir and Noëldeke fix the date of this chapter at a very early period of the Prophet's ministry at Makkah. But surely the intensity of the hatred here manifest between the parties points to a later date. I would say the fourth or fifth year of the Call.

Principal Subject.

The curse of Muhammad against Abu Lahab and his house ... 1-5


R 1/37.

(1) The hands of Abu Lahab shall perish, and he shall perish. (2) His riches shall not profit him, neither that which he hath gained. (3) He shall go down to be burned into flaming fire; (4) and his wife also, bearing wood, (5) having on her neck a cord of twisted fibres of a palm-tree.

(1) Abu Lahab. "Abu Lahab was the surname of Abdul Uzza, one of the sons of Abdul Muttallib, and uncle to Muhammad. He was a bitter enemy to his nephew, and opposed the establishment of the new religion to the utmost of his power.

"By the hands of Abu Lahab some commentators, by a synecdoche, understand his person; others, by a metonymy, his affairs in general, they being transacted with those members; or his hopes in this world and the next."— Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

He shall perish. "He died of grief and vexation at the defeat his friends had received at Badr, surviving that misfortune but seven days. They add that his corpse was left above ground three days till it stank, and then some negroes were hired to bury him."— Sale, Baidhawi.

The readers should remember that the stories related by the corn mentators relating to the enemies of the Prophet are all open to suspicion, and none should be received as true without careful consideration. See on this point Muir's Life of Mahomet, Introd., p. lviii.

(2) His riches, &c. "And accordingly his great possessions, and the rank and esteem in which he lived at Makkah, were of no service to him, nor could protect him against the vengeance of God. Al Baidháwi mentions also the loss of his son Utba, who was ‘torn to pieces by a lion in the way to Syria, though surrounded by the whole caravan ."— Sale.

(3) Flaming fire. "Arab nár dhat lahab, alluding to the surname of Abu Lahab, which signifies the ‘father of flames.' "— Sale.

(4) His wife. "Her name was Umm Jamil: she was the daughter of Harb, and sister of Aba Sufian."— Sale.

Bearing wood. "For fuel in hell, because she fomented the hatred which her husband bore to Muhammad; or bearing a bundle of thorns and brambles, because she carried such, and strewed them by night in the Prophet's way."— Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

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