Surah al-Masad, meaning “The Palm Fibre”, is the 111th Surah of the Quran. This Surah was revealed as a retort to the arrogance of Abu Lahab, a staunch adversary of righteousness. Blinded by their pride and animosity towards others, Abu Lahab and his wife had gone out-of-the-way to injure innocent people and denounce the Message of Allah.

Abu Lahab, as well as his wife, used to take pride in torturing people, denying others their rights, and indulging in treacherous deeds. They would often throw thorns in the path of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and use ill-speech for him and his companions. In fact, so arrogant was Abu Lahab that he claimed that he would buy a place in heaven using his wealth!

This article provides full translation and tafsir of Surah al-Masad, along with the Arabic text.

First up, the full Arabic text of Surah al-Masad:

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Translation

  1. The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish.
  2. His wealth and gains will not help him.
  3. He will be plunged in flaming Fire,
  4. And his wife, the wood-carrier,
  5. Will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre.

And now, the Tafsir of Surah al-Masad.

Tafsir

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1. The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish.

Once, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered a speech calling people to Islam. Therein, Abu Lahab stood and said, “Perish you for the rest of this day! Have you gathered us for this?” Therefore, in the Ayah, Allah refers to his speech and curses his hands and his self — his body and his soul in this life and in the Hereafter.

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2. His wealth and gains will not help him.

Ibn Masud narrated that when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) called people towards Islam, Abu Lahab said, “Even if what Muhammad says is true, I will ransom myself from all problems on the Day of Judgement with my wealth and my children.” Allah therefore revealed this Ayah stating that wealth and worldly gains will not help Abu Lahab.

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3. He will be plunged in flaming Fire,

In continuation with the previous one, this Ayah too states that Abu Lahab’s wealth and worldly stature will not save him.

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4. And his wife, the wood-carrier,

Abu Lahab’s wife, Umm Jamil bint Harb, supported her husband in his unfair deeds and, much like her husband, spread lies and treachery. Therefore, Allah states that she too will accompany her husband in hell.

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5. Will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre.

Umm Jamil used to throw “masad” (palm-fibres) in the path of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), so as to hurt him physically and to ridicule him. Our Prophet (PBUH) did not respond to any of her abuses or actions in any manner. As such, for her hatred and unfair treatment towards others, Umm Jamil’s punishment in the Hereafter will be that she’ll wear a collar of palm-fibres.

Remarks

For the uninitiated, this Surah might appear to be as one filled with anger and disgust. However, one must view it in the light of the actions and behavior of Abu Lahab and his wife. They used to *enjoy* torturing and hurting innocent people — men, women and children — simply because those particular people had chosen to follow Islam. As such, Abu Lahab and his wife used to take pride in their sadistic and sick behavior. Ever came across a news related to any sociopath who would kill or hurt others simply for sadistic delight? Yes, Abu Lahab and his wife were just that.

As such, in response to their sadism and sociopathic manners, Abu Lahab and Umm Jamil were accorded such punishment.