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Chapter 104:
Al-Humazah — The Slanderer:

Revealed at Makkah: 9 verses

English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali


Introduction:

As opposed to those who are spoken of in the last chapter as believing, doing good and enjoining truth and patience, we have here a description of those who, instead of doing any permanent good, amass wealth, and instead of enjoining truth, slander others; hence the name of the chapter Al-Humazah or The Slanderer, occurring in the first verse. It is one of the earliest revelations.

Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

104:1 Woe to every slanderer, defamer!a

104:2 Who amasses wealth and counts ita

104:3 He thinks that his wealth will make him abide.a

104:4 Nay, he will certainly be hurled into the crushing disaster;a

104:5 And what will make thee realize what the crushing disaster is?

104:6 It is the Fire kindled by Allah,

104:7 Which rises over the hearts.a

104:8 Surely it is closed in on them,

104:9 In extended columns.a

Commentary:

1a. The slanderers and defamers are condemned here generally, with particular reference to the opponents, who started their persecution of the Holy Prophet by bitterly slandering and defaming him, so that the pilgrims coming to Makkah from afar should not listen to his teachings. Just as goodness and patience are combined in the previous chapter as the two qualities which are the foundations on which human character should be built, the amassing of wealth and defaming are combined here as the two evils which lead ultimately to disaster.

2a. ‘Addada-hu signifies he considered it a provision against the casualties of fortune (LA). It also means he reckoned or counted it (LL). It is a succinct but exact picture of the material civilisation of our day.

3a. By abiding is meant abiding in prosperity, or lasting forever.

4a. Al-hutamah is derived from hatima, meaning it became broken into pieces (LL). The name is applied to hell, because it crushes everything that is cast into it. It includes both hell and other disasters which, it is prophesied, would crush the wealthy defamers of the Truth, their punishment being called by this name because they wanted to crush the Truth.

7a. The Fire of hell is described as rising over the hearts, showing that it is within the heart of man that the origin of hell-.re lies. A man’s hell is thus within his own heart in this life.

9a. It is inordinate desires extending beyond all limits that give rise to extended columns of fire. Spiritually they may be witnessed in this life, but they assume a palpable shape in the next.

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