Surah Lahab – Understanding Surah Lahab

Abu Lahab was a stingy, materialistic man. Ibn Jarir reported that once in pre-Islamic days he was accused of stealing two golden deer from the treasury of the Ka’abah. Although the deer was later recovered from another person, the fact that it was accused of theft indicates how the people of Makkah felt about it.

About his wealth Qadi Rashid bin Zubair writes in his Adh-Dhakha’ir wat-Tuhaf. He was one of the four richest men of the Quraysh, each of whom owned one qintar (about 260 ounces) of gold. His love of wealth may be judged from the fact that when, on the occasion of the battle of Badr, the fate of his religion was to be decided for ever, and all the chieftains of Quraysh went to fight in person, he sent “Jaco bin Hisham to fight for himself, saying to him: This is the place of the debt of four the thousand dirhams you owe me. So he devised a plan to pay off his debt because ‘As was bankrupt and there was no hope of recovering the debt from him.
In ayah no 2 allah Says:

مَآ أَغْنَى عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ

Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu and others said:
وَمَا كَسَبَ

“…and his children (Kasab) will not benefit him!” Kasab means his children. A similar statement was reported from ‘A’ishah, Mujahid, ‘Ata’, Al-Hasan and Ibn Sirin. It was mentioned on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud radhiAllahu ‘anhu that when the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called his people to faith, Abu Lahab said:”Even if what my nephew says is true, I will redeem myself (i.e. save myself ) from the painful torment on the Day of Judgment with my wealth and my children.” Thus Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed,
مَآ أَغْنَى عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ

Some commentators have taken “kasab” to mean earnings, i.e. the benefits accruing to him from his wealth were his kasab (earnings), and other commentators have taken it to imply children, for the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that the son of man is also his kasab (earnings). (Abu Da’ud, Ibn Abi Hatim).

Both of these meanings fully correspond to the fate that befell Abu Lahab. For when he was afflicted with a malignant boil, his wealth did him no good, and his children also left him alone to die a miserable, miserable death.They didn’t even give him an honorable burial. Thus, within a few years, people witnessed the literal fulfillment of the prophecy that was made in this Surah about Abu Lahab.


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