During this blessed month of Shahru Ramadan, we will meditate upon various Surahs of the Quran Majid, so that we can become closer to our holy book, during its month of revelation.
In the 214th aya of Surah Ash-Shu’ara, Allah (SWT) says ‘wa anzir ashiratakal aqrabeen’ (And warn, O Muhammad (SAW), your closest kindred – about Allah (SWT) and his lordship).
When this aya was revealed, Rasulullah (SAW) called his closest relations to the mountain of Safa and, when they had all arrived, Muhammad (SAW) asked them that if he told them that were horses at the bottom of this mountain that he had seen, but they had not, would they believe him.
Rasulullah’s (SAW) family said yes, as they then said that they had not known Muhammad (SAW) to lie to them throughout his whole life.
Rasulullah (SAW) then said that he was warning them of a great punishment if they do not believe in Allah (SWT).
When Rasulullah (SAW) said this, his uncle, Abu Lahab (LA) came out of the circle and said ‘perish that you called us for this. What childishness, do you think we were going to believe you?’
Abu Lahab (LA) then took a stone to throw at Rasulullah (SAW), however, Allah (SWT) protected Muhammad (SAW) by making the stone fall out of Abu Lahab’s (LA) hand.
In response to this event, Allah (SWT) revealed Surah Al-Massad and just as Abu Lahab (LA) told Rasulullah (SAW) to perish, Allah (SWT) begins by telling Abu Lahab (LA) to perish.
Throughout the entire Quran Majid, there is no other Surah where Allah (SWT) attacks a person like he does to Abu Lahab (LA) and his family.
The reason for this is very simple, Abu Lahab (LA) personified all that Allah (SWT) does not like. The biggest of all of these is hypocrisy.
Abu Lahab (LA) would always say that if Muhammad (SAW) won, he would be with him. Likewise, he would say that if Quraish won, he would be with them. This hypocrisy, double-nature and two-faced attitude is one which Allah (SWT) does not like at all, so much so that this is the reason why he ridiculed Abu Lahab (LA) so greatly.
We live in an age where hypocrisy and two-faced behavior is very common. When we look at politicians, we see that they say one thing to one group to win their vote and then contradict themselves deliberately to others, so that they win their vote.
Likewise, we see this in lobbyists who will befriend and support all parties, so that whichever party is in power, they will benefit.
Just as this happens in politics, there may be a part of us that also follows this behavior of hypocrisy and being two-faced. If we see this in ourselves, may the barakat of Surah Al-Massad help us to move away from this great sin.
In Islam, we are encouraged to be strong and firm with our beliefs and the truth, when hypocrisy and two-faced behavior is present, it means that we have gone away from this major requirement of our religion.
Once we are strong in our belief and the truth and say what is true, we will walk on the siratul-mustaqeem, unless we do so, we will be like chameleons going around in circles.
This is why Allah (SWT) emphasizes in the opening aya by saying ‘wa-tabb.’ By saying this, Allah (SWT) is warning us that not only will we perish once, we will perish many times.
In another aya, Allah (SWT) says ‘Wala turku be aidikum ila tahluka.’ (don’t throw yourself through the behavior of your hands into disaster). In this aya, Allah (SWT) uses the term ‘aidikum’ symbolically. In this aya, the term hands represent the self and, when we relate it to our nafs, it relates to when our nafs is at the lowest, when we have nafs-al-ammara-basu.
Why do we get to nafs-al-ammara-basu? It is because of our ego. Rasulullah (SAW) said that ego will cause us to move away from our faith. The reason is because ego causes us to move towards being hypocritical and two-faced, where our words and actions are to please our ego and not to be true to ourselves and to Allah (SWT).
May Allah (SWT) protect us from an ego that presides over our nafs, that causes us to be hypocritical and two-faced and, ultimately, to displease Allah (SWT) just as Abu Lahab (LA) had. Aamin.