ON THE LAST SECTION QUR`AN
Chapter 104: Surat Al-Humazah
the name of Allah,
the Beneficent, the Merciful
These particular verses
were addressed specifically to the people, several of whose names
have been suggested, who were actively against the Prophet. They
were all very wealthy, supposedly possessed great strength and
constantly bragged about their might and wealth while mocking the
Woe to every slanderer
Wayl means 'great
misfortune or distress', and is translated as the exclamation 'Woe!'
It evokes one of the rivers of the Fire. There exists in human
nature the need to seek reassurance of others, and therefore we seek
only those companions who reinforce the validity of our own actions.
Humazah is a
'slanderer' or 'backbiter'. In the Arabic language the hamzah
is a glottal stop, and the hamazāt al-shayātīn are the evil
suggestions of the devil, the subtle whispers we hear within
'fault-finder', and comes from the verb lamaza, which means
'to give someone a wink, to speak ill of someone, criticize,
censure, backbite, defame'. Whoever defames another reveals his own
weakness and announces his insecurity in the same way that
haughtiness declares deep uncertainty about oneself. If a person was
totally certain that he was on the right path, if he acknowledged
his dependence on Allah and realized that everyone would come to
know the truth fully and absolutely, he would not give in to these
enticements to slander others. The truth of it is that his slander
and arrogance reveal his sickness and disease: hence the warning
that woe will befall, and he will be destroyed.
Who amasses wealth and
counts it [as a provision];
This verse refers to
those who collect wealth and find refuge and reinforcement in
constantly counting it. Persistent accumulation and examining what
one has is another form of looking for security. The men of Allah
say, 'He who loves wealth is a hypocrite, and he who hoards wealth
is ignorant.' The proof of hypocrisy (nifaq) and ignorance (jahl)
is to be found in the collection and retention of wealth (mal).
He thinks that his
wealth will make him immortal.
means 'to calculate, to reckon'. He imagines that he moves closer to
khuld (eternity) by counting and watching over what he
wrongly imagines will give him longevity and permanency. His is a
perverted worship. The Eternal is another attribute of Allah: al-Khālid.
We all want to know the Eternal because only by so doing shall will
we be secure in the knowledge that only eternity exists. But whoever
believes that what he has accumulated will give him security has
completely slipped off the path.
Nay! He will certainly
be hurled into the crushing Hell.
Nabadha means 'to
hurl, throw away, reject, cast out, abandon'. By casting out what is
useless or dangerous, we are protected from the evil in it.
an epithet for Hell, means 'a crushing disaster', and comes from
hatama, 'to shatter, crush, destroy'. Most
whoever takes refuge in his wealth, or in anything of the visible
world, does not trust that the hand of the Invisible is behind the
visible. He will
be cast out into that which causes nothing but destruction.
And what will make you
comprehend what the crushing Hell is?
As if to emphasize the
magnitude of the hutamah, we are asked again:
And what do you know of it? Another meaning of hutamah
comes from the verb in its second form, where it signifies 'to
break', implying that in order to be broken or crushed, the object
involved is solid to begin with. This double emphasis on hutamah
is meant to communicate in as tangible a way as possible the painful
consequences of looking to other-than-Allah.
The fire of Allah,
The crushing disaster is
the Fire of Allah that is forever lit.
Which rises up to the
Certainly it will shut
tightly around them.
This Fire of Allah is
locked within the heart of man. It is the fire which causes him to
be in a loss, to try to take refuge in material security, wealth and
power. We see this in the present
state of our cultures, in that we have completely taken refuge in
our imaginations and calculations. We imagine that what is of
greatest importance is what is tangible or visible, but the visible
is not the sum of what there is in this world; it is only one aspect
thereof, one manifestation of reality. There are other forces or
powers behind the scenes.
In outstretched columns.
The Fire will tightly
encircle the heart in extended columns and form a burning wall
created by the heart itself through its own ignorance. Some men of
Allah talk about two types of fire: the fire of ignorance that
causes nothing but destruction, and the light of knowledge. However,
this chapter is normally interpreted as being addressed to people
who are at a loss. Their hearts are locked up in the fire of the
final, revealed knowledge.
Just as this chapter is
about those who take refuge in the discernable and material world
and believe that there is nothing beyond it, the next chapter
explains by example the falsity of their beliefs.
End of the Surah