104

 

The Message of the Quran

Muhammad Asad

 

AL-HUMAZAH (THE SLANDERER)

THE HUNDRED-FOURTH SURAH
Total Verses: 9
MECCA PERIOD

 

Introduction

 

TAKING its conventional name from a noun occurring in the first verse, this surah seems to have been revealed towards the end of the third year of Muhammad's prophethood - probably after surah 75 ("Resurrection").

 

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MOST GRACIOUS, THE DISPENSER OF GRACE:

 

 

(1) WOE unto every slanderer, fault-finder! 1

 

(2) [Woe unto him 2] who amasses wealth and counts it a safeguard,

 

(3) thinking that his wealth will make him live forever! 3

 

(4) Nay, but [in the life to come such as] he shall indeed be abandoned to crushing torment! 4

 

(5) And what could make thee conceive what that crushing torment will be?

 

(6) A fire kindled by God,

 

(7) which will rise over the [guilty] hearts: 5

 

(8) verily, it will close in upon them

 

(9) in endless columns! 6

 

 

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1 I.e., everyone who maliciously tries to uncover real or imaginary faults in others.

 

2 This repetitive interpolation is necessary because the blameworthy attitude spoken of in verses 2-3 obviously belongs to a category entirely different from the two mentioned in verse 1.

 

3 This is a metonym for the tendency to attribute an almost "religious" value to the acquisition and possession of material goods and facilities - a tendency which precludes man from giving any real importance to spiritual considerations (cf. note 1 on 102:1). My rendering of addadahu in the preceding verse as "[he] counts it a safeguard" is based on Jawhari's explanation of this term.

 

4 Al-hutamah - one of several metaphors for the otherworldly suffering comprised within the concept of "hell'" (see note 33 on 15:43-44).

 

5 I.e., originating in their hearts - thus clearly alluding to the spiritual nature of the "fire" in the sinners' belated realization of their guilt.

 

6 Lit., "in extended columns", i.e., overwhelming with despair.

 

 

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