بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Repercussions of Surah al-Masad on Quraish and the Early Muslims and on Today’s Tyrants and the Dawah Carriers
The greatest of creation, Prophet Muhammad (saw), went to the valley of Al-Batha and he ascended the mountain. Then he cried out,«يَا صَبَاحَاه»“O people, come at once!” So the Quraysh gathered around him. Then he said, «أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ حَدَّثْتُكُمْ أَنَّ الْعَدُوَّ مُصَبِّحُكُمْ، أَوْ مُمَسِّيكُمْ أَكُنْتُمْ تُصَدِّقُونِّي» “If I told you all that the enemy was going to attack you in the morning, or in the evening, would you all believe me?” They replied, “Yes.” Then he said,«فَإِنِّي نَذِيرٌ لَكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَيْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيد»“Verily, I am a warner (sent) to you all before the coming of a severe torment.” Then Abu Lahab said, “Have you gathered us for this May you perish!” Thus, Allah (swt) revealed,
[تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ * مَا أَغْنَى عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ * سَيَصْلَى نَارًا ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ * وَامْرَأَتُهُ حَمَّالَةَ الْحَطَبِ * فِي جِيدِهَا حَبْلٌ مِّن مَّسَدٍ]
“May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he. (1) His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained. (2) He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of [blazing] flame (3) And his wife [as well] - the carrier of firewood. (4) Around her neck is a rope of [twisted] fiber. (5)” [Al-Masad: 1-5]
This surah was revealed in Mecca when the Prophet (saw) wanted to declare his Revelation to Quraish by first reminding them of his honesty and trustworthiness yet the closest of kin, his paternal uncle Abu Lahab [full name Abdul-Uzza bin Abdul-Muttalib] outrightly insulted and sabotaged his message at the valley. Abu Lahab known for his ruddy complexion and his animosity for his nephew who commonly thwarted the speech of the Messenger (saw) as he conveyed the message of Tawheed to the Quraish. Abu Lahab’s wife known as Umm Jamil [full name Arwah bint Harb bin Umayyah and the sister of Abu Sufyan] also deeply hated and conspired against the Prophet (saw) was known as the carrier of firewood (hamaalit al-hattab) as revealed in Surah al-Masad due to her harm to the Prophet by throwing thorns and wood in his path. Hasan Basri and Qatadah wrote that she wore a valuable necklace and used to say: “By Lat and `Uzza, I will sell away this necklace and expend the price to satisfy my enmity against Muhammad.” Scholars also argued that this described her as a tale-bearer as she used to spread malicious slander to harm the Prophet (saw) throughout Mecca.
Thus when Abu Lahab scorned the Prophet (saw) and cursed him, the verses were revealed as the proclamation and warning against him. Allah Almighty cursed him and his wife and these verses were recited boldly by the Messenger of Allah (saw) to the wealthy and influential tribal chief of Quraish yet this did not falter nor frighten Muhammad (saw). These verses were repeated by all those who heard the surah including the believers and the non-believers, a short yet powerful Revelation that warned of the perishing of Abu Lahab and his wife in the fires of Hell and that his wealth nor his children that he boasted of before his people will be of no intercession on the Day of Judgement.
The repetition of this surah by the people impacted the public opinion because it was a pact from Allah (swt) who defended His Messenger from the rebuke of the vicious uncle. Abu Lahab indeed died a morbid and grotesque death in isolation and even further his burial was a shameful one. This was the Truth spoken by Allah to be witnessed by all of Mecca. Muslims felt reassurance by the Quranic verses and the Mushrikeen witnessed the warning to the tribal elite.
Since that time, Muslims have been slandered and attacked by those who oppose the message of Tawheed – the clear truth of Islam. We see the pursuit and harassment against those call for Islam, it is constant and perpetual and it comes in all forms from the conventional methods of assault, slander, imprisonment to the more contemporary the blocking of media sites and censure of online posts.
Who is the Abu Lahab and his wife of today?
They come in various forms, from spiteful individuals to tyrannical regimes to older vendettas that still wage war against the carriers of Islam. There is no difference of complexity and complicity in the Muslim lands or the non-Muslim lands as the individuals that perpetuate the campaign of hatred and destruction permeate all borders. This is evident by the colonialist Western agendas to remove Islam from the lives of Muslims to strictly confine them to practice mere individualistic worships in the private sphere to the Muslim lands’ dictators with their oppressive chokeholds over the general public and natural resources.
Rasulullah (saw) and his Companions (ra) faced stringent obstacles in the path of spreading the call of Allah Almighty from isolation, banishment, torture, slander, pursuit, various restrictions in movement and livelihood due to their adherence to their new Deen. This too is seen today with the dawah carriers, especially with Hizb ut Tahrir members and supporters, from the founder and the first generation and the subsequent members who endured horrific tortures, pursuit and even death for the sake of Allah and Islam.
During the time of Quraish, the early Muslims rejected the Jahiliyyah practices and beliefs. They called for the Tawheed and belief in Allah and His Messenger (saw) and rebuked the worship of idolatry and the common Arab practices of the Jahiliyyah period. After the collapse of the Khilafah (Caliphate) State, the later Muslims rebuked the man-made ideologies from Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism, and the tight grip of the monarchies and dictatorships established throughout the Muslim lands anchored by Western regimes to assert their dominance from afar. In both instances, Muslims faced the backlash of such opposition as it disturbed the status quo of the influential and the wealthy of both times. Just as mentioned above, the tactics used are almost mirrored to inhibit the spread of the dawah to Islam and to quell the impact of their calls on the public i.e. influencing the public opinion.
Just as Surah al-Masad was recited to Quraish that spiked a frenzy among their society and the incident of Abu Lahab’s wife seeking out the Messenger (saw) with a stone(s) in her hand only to find Abu Bakr (ra), we see the dawah carriers recite out the same surah today in the face of the dangers and evils. Before it was in opposition of the Mushrikeen, the idol worshippers, the peddlers of back-breaking riba to the lewd actions of the Jahiliyyah society; whereas today’s dawah carriers are in opposition of the followers and pillars of the manmade regimes and legislators and the greedy followers of their imperialism.
For example, the contemporary Abu Lahabs include Kemal Attaturk’s colossal eradication of the Islamic State to AbdulAziz Saud’s massacres, Libya’s Qaddafi, the notorious tyrant who ruled with a blazing grip for 40 plus years, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein who waged war against the Muslims including the Kurds mercilessly killing them, and Karimov of Uzbekistan whose notorious prison colonies send shivers down the spine. Full blown massacres of Hafez Assad (40 plus years of tyranny in Syria) and other notorious rulers as well. The list goes on from 1919 to today from the ruthless criminal rulers of the Muslim lands. Western governments including the former Soviet Union countries also clamped down on Muslims and their expression such as the Russian Criminal Code that states various classical Islamic texts are prohibited and has severe consequences on Hizb ut Tahrir’s Shabab and Muslims from lengthy inhumane prison sentences. The US war on terrorism after Sept 11 and the UK July 7 incidents paved the path for the legitimization to target Muslims and Islam from the establishment of Homeland Security and Prevent accordingly, these came with catastrophic results, striking examples but not limited to the establishment of Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and military bases, the waging of horrific wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and more. Yet these and many more had Muslims oppose their regime and call for the implementation of Islam fully in their place, imagine the consequences of such bold stances. Many Muslims faced their death as the result sacrificing their precious souls for the sake of Allah.
What kind of personality is needed to be able to oppose such deeply rooted establishments past or present? What kind of personality needs to be able to recite Surah al-Masad to the tyrants? And to be able to abide by this hadeeth of the Beloved (saw), «يَا عَمُّ ، وَاللهِ لَوْ وَضَعُوا الشَّمْسَ فِي يَمِينِي وَالقَمَرَ فَي يَسَارِي عَلَى أَنْ أَتْرُكَ هَذا الْأَمْرَ حَتَّى يُظْهِرَهُ الله أَوْ أَهْلُكَ فِيهِ مَا تَرَكْتُهُ»“O Uncle, even if they were to put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left for me to abandon this matter, until Allah makes it dominant or I perish in its path, I will not leave it.”
When the Prophet (saw) recited the verses, he had no real authority nor protection from the wrath of the Mushrikeen and this lasted thirteen years in Mecca. And this was replicated after 1924, Muslims have had no authority till today. One hundred years without a shield yet the Shabab of Hizb ut Tahrir recite these verses and the hundreds of other verses boldly each day without fear or exhaustion. We have masses of Muslims acclimate to their current status quo and assimilate into Western societies, yet a group stands apart and remains upright calling for the fundamental Islam to be re-implemented by the reestablishment of the Khilafah State (Caliphate) to restore the justice and glory that once was. Hizb ut Tahrir, a political party whose ideology is Islam, was established in 1953 by Sheikh Taqiudeen Nabahani (rh). The work of Hizb ut Tahrir is to carry the Islamic da’wah in order to change the situation of the corrupt society so that it is transformed into an Islamic society. What is manifested in these political actions is culturing the Ummah with the Islamic culture in order to melt it with Islam and to cleanse it of the corrupt creeds, false thoughts and erroneous concepts including the influence of Kufr thoughts and opinions.
The Muslims’ characteristics must entail the true conviction in the doctrine of Islam that Allah is Supreme, Lord of the Worlds, and that we are the devout servants to implement the Law of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (saw); the mindset must be fully developed to maintain the belief in the pillars that life and sustenance are in the Hands of Allah Alone to allow for the full reliance on Allah and the liberation from fear and recession at the hands of the tyrants. Even before this, that the system for life must come from the Creator as manmade systems have only brought misery to humanity. The Ummah’s affairs must revert to their origin under the shield of the Khilafah, matters judged and gauged by purely Islamic standards completely devoid of innovated laws of kufr. The Quran needs to be taken as the constitution and compass for the Muslims. Furthermore, the Muslim dawah carrier needs to be enshrouded in patience, resilience, steadfastness and gratification in the path taken by the Muslim as all hardships will be met with reward on the day when neither wealth nor offspring may intercede on one’s behalf. The characteristics of uprightness and sturdiness must be present otherwise one may falter and hesitate in stances of confrontation, it is not sufficient to simply believe without being tested. The Messenger (saw) said, «الساكت عن الحق شيطان أخرس» “Whoever remains silent from the truth [against an injustice] is a mute devil.” Dawah carriers must have an uncompromising demeanor in front of the false glitters of the regimes and as the society may sway him or her or slow their work ethic. The love for the call of Islam must be felt by those surrounding the dawah carrier, to sense the sincerity for the call, to sense the caring for the Muslim Ummah near and far without any self-serving intentions or devises, to call for the Hukm to be for Allah Alone.
All these are to enable the dawah carrier to engage in ideological and political struggle to be part of a bloc / party in order to achieve an aim like how the Sahaba (ra) surrounded the Messenger (saw) and his culturing allowed the Sahabah to withstand all hardships with full certainty that the promise of Allah will be fulfilled and for the Sahabah to be the future statesmen after the Aqeedah was fully instilled in them. There was no turning back after the ayah came to publicly declare Islam to Quraish. Today there in an undeniable global onslaught on Islam and Muslims, as it could be seen in every Muslim country in one form or another. Thus as Muslims to attain the aim of an Islamic society, there needs to be the political ideological party that cultures its members in order to be like the honorable Companions (ra) who recited the ayaat of Allah challenging the societies and unjust chiefs. This party must combine the thought and method to achieve such a radical change.
As we recite the ayaat of challenge, opposition, and denial of Kufr and its ways, this needs to act as a spur for the catalyst for change and Islamic revival otherwise we simply recite without willful comprehension. Allah (swt) says:
[كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ]
“Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you might use reason.” [Al-Baqara: 242].
[إِنَّ هَـٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ وَيُبَشِّرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَبِيرًا]
“Indeed, this Qur'an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.” [Al-Isra: 9].
[وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا فِي هَـٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لِيَذَّكَّرُوا وَمَا يَزِيدُهُمْ إِلَّا نُفُورًا]
“And We have certainly diversified [the contents] in this Qur'an that mankind may be reminded, but it does not increase the disbelievers except in aversion.” [Al-Isra: 41]
From the Quran, we as dawah carriers take our strength and guidance to assemble ourselves and align to the Truth and confront the Abu Lahab’s of today and tomorrow and work diligently to re-establish an Islamic society through the reestablishment of the second Khilafah Rashidah (rightly guided Caliphate) upon the method of the Prophethood. These deeds will attest to us on the Day of Judgement where no child or wealth will do.
[يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ * إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّـهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ * وَأُزْلِفَتِ الْجَنَّةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ * وَبُرِّزَتِ الْجَحِيمُ لِلْغَاوِينَ]
“The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children (88) But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart." (89) And Paradise will be brought near [that Day] to the righteous. (90) And Hellfire will be brought forth for the deviators,” [Ash-Shu'ara: 88- 91]
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by