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Surahs Lahab-Ikhlās
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)


Mutual Relationship

These two surahs form a pair as regards the subject discussed in them. The first surah informs the Prophet (sws) of the divine punishment which awaits the leadership of the Quraish, particularly the greatest enemy of Tauheed, Abu Lahab and all his accomplices, while in the second surah the Prophet (sws) has been directed to clearly explain his real message -- the Tuaheed of the Creator of the worlds -- to the unbelievers and the People of the Book standing at their back after this decisive declaration of doom on this occasion of renunciation and migration in a manner that all hopes of any compromise should be dispelled in their minds.

Viewed thus, the subjects of migration and renunciation, and, of  victory and glad tidings of the future which began in Surahs Maa`oon and Kauthar have reached their culmination after Surahs Kaafiroon and Nasr in these two surahs.



Surah Lahab

The surah is directed at the Prophet (sws) and its central theme is a prediction of doom for the greatest enemy of the Prophet (sws), Abu Lahab and his accomplices. It is evident from this prediction that these leaders of the Quraish have squandered all their chances of survival and in retribution of denying the Prophet (sws) are now, after his migration, under a constant threat of punishment.

It is evident from the contents of the surah that it was revealed in Mecca during the period of migration and renunciation in the Prophet's mission (sws) as the very final declaration to his people.

Surah Ikhlās

The surah is directed at the Prophet (sws) and its central theme is the decisive declaration of Tauheed by the Prophet (sws) which, on this occasion of migration and renunciation, was proclaimed by the Prophet (sws) as the very last word with his people.

It is evident from the contents of the surah that it was revealed in Mecca during the period of migration and renunciation of the Prophet’s mission (sws) as the very final declaration to his people.



Surah Lahab

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful

The hands of Abu Lahab have been broken and he himself has perished1. Neither did his wealth benefit him nor the [good]2 he earned. Soon shall this man [of glowing countenance] be put in a glowing Fire3 and [with him] his wife4 also such that [in Hell] she will be carrying firewood on her back [for her own self]5; [like a slave woman], there will be a twisted rope round her neck6.

Surah Ikhlās

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful

Declare ye [O Prophet!]: that Allah7 is One and Alone8; Allah is with everyone9; He is neither father nor son10; and there is none like Him11.








1. The word ‘hands’ in accordance with classical Arabic usage is a metonym for ‘power’, and here it signifies Abu Lahab’s accomplices and associates. These words revealed in Mecca are actually a great prediction of success for the Muslims and have not been used in the derogative sense as is generally understood. At a time, when no one could have imagined it, they foretell that the Prophet's enemies shall soon be humbled. Abu Lahab's name has been singled out here because it was he who stood apart among the enemies of the Prophet (sws) as regards his meanness and hatred for the Islamic message. Unlike the other chiefs, his enmity was not because of his ancestoral religion; it was, on the other hand, a matter of personal loss of status and position. The past - tense employed in this sentence actually indicates the certainty of the event which has yet to take place in the future -- a common figurative use in the Quran. History bears witness that almost two years later, this prediction came true and in the battle of Badr almost all the leaders of the Quraish were killed. Abu Lahab himself died of smallpox a week later inspite of the fact that he did not take any part in the battle.

2. This referes to the good deeds which he as the chief clergyman of the Baitullaah and as the overseer of its treasury did to put up a pretentious display of religiosity.

3. While in the previous verses the dreadful fate which awaits Abu Lahab in this world is foretold, this verse prognosticates the punishment of Hell he will encounter in the Hereafter. His glowing countenance, in retribution of his evil deeds, shall befittingly face the glowing fire of Hell.

4. Abu Lahab's wife Ummi Jameel was noted for her personal enmity against the Prophet (sws). Greed and pretense had encompassed her personality. As the first lady, she had an equal share in her husband's crimes and was actually the real motivation behind his crimes.

5. This is a vivid picture of helplessness and humiliation of Ummi Jameel in Hell. Her sins shall manifest themsleves in the firewood which she herself will carry and which will continuously be used in stoking the fire.

6. These words complete the picture of Ummi Jameel drawn in the previous verse. This particular state of hers will actually be in accordance with her deeds. If in this world, she wore heavy necklaces, she shall wear a heavy rope round her neck in the next world like slave women who collect wood.

7. The pronoun `huwa' (that) is the pronoun of the fact (dhameer-us-shaan), which is used when the implied meaning is so clearly understood between the speaker and to whom it is addressed that the mind instinctively jumps to its antecedent. After the advent of Islam the concepts of God's being and His attributes had become hot topics of debate. In particular, the question of Tauheed (monotheism) had become a burning issue. In the later part of the Meccan period, the People of the Book had also come forward to rally forth with the Quraish in opposing the Islamic mission. In these circumstances, the Prophet has been directed to unequivocally declare the Tauheed of the Almighty. Hu wallaah (that God) means `the God about whom you are debating and arguing is ...'

8. The word Ahad in one word describes that the Almighty is sole and singular in both His being and His attributes. In other words, He is Unique in all respects. It also follows from this that God has always existed, and that everything except Him is His creation.

9. Samad actually means a large rock behind which refuge is sought from an enemy attack. In many holy scriptures particularly in the Psalms of David, God has been called the Rock of help: ‘The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer.’ (Psalms:18). This attribute serves to clarify a philosophical misconception. A statement of the Almighty's uniqeness and singularity might depict Him as an aloof and unconcerned Creator. History also bears witness that this misconception has led many a nation to worship other beings as a means to procure the nearness of the Almighty.

10. Though the attribute Ahad was enough to negate the notion of Allah being a father or a son, yet since the Quraish, the Jews and the Christians -- all three of them were guilty of this holding this wrong view, the verse stresses this particular aspect. The Quraish regarded the angels to be the daughters of God. The Jews regarded Uzair as the son of God, while the Christians had established the Trinity of the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.

11. That is He has no parallel or equal and is matchless and peerless. All those who have been created are His servants and slaves.

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