Sūra al-Masad (Arabic: سورة المسد) or Sūra Tabbat (Arabic: سورة تَبَّتْ) is 111th sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura located in juz' 30. The name al-Masad (palm fiber) is adopted from the last word of this sura and Tabbat is adopted from the first verse of this sura. Sura al-Masad was revealed about Abu Lahab and his wife who were serious enemies of the Prophet (s) and mentioned them as dwellers of fire. In this sura, God called Abu Lahab's wife, "hammalat al-hatab" [the firewood carrier] and some commentaries explained the reason being that she put thorn bushes on the way of the Prophet (s) so that he (s) would get hurt. It is mentioned in hadiths that the Prophet (s) prayed that God do not place whoever recites this sura, and Abu Lahab in one place [in the hereafter].
This sura is called "al-Masad" (woven palm fibre) which is its last word. It is also called "Tabbat" which is the first word of the sura. Since this sura speaks about Abu Lahab, it is also called Abu Lahab.
Order and Place of Revelation
Number of Verses and Words
All of the Sura al-Masad is about Abu Lahab and his wife. In this sura, destruction of Abu Lahab and his deeds are mentioned and it is promised that he and his wife will be punished in the hell. Tafsir nimuna mentioned this sura, the only sura, in which the name of one of the enemies of Islam is mentioned and wrote, "the content of this sura shows that Abu Lahab and his wife showed great enmity toward the Prophet (s).
Context of Revelation
There are many hadiths about the context of the revelation of Sura al-Masad, all of which express a similar message. It is narrated from Ibn al-'Abbas that one day the Prophet (s) went up the hill of Safa and called Quraysh and threatened them of severe punishment of God. Abu Lahab who was in the crowd objected to the Prophet (s), "Is that why you have gathered us here?" and began swearing at the Prophet (s) with the phrase "tabb-an lak!" [May you be perished!]. The verses of Sura al-Masad were revealed as an answer to this insult and mentioned Abu Lahab as the one who will be perished.
Sura al-Masad described Umm Jamil, the wife of Abu Lahab as "hammalat al-hatab" (the firewood carrier). About the reason why the Qur'an addressed her like this, exegetes have offered different opinions including that,
- Umm Jamil brought thorn bushes from the desert and when the Prophet (s) went to the mosque for the prayer, she put them on his way so that he (s) would get hurt.
- With her actions, she fueled the hellfire for herself.
- This phrase refers to her slandering.
Virtue and Benefits
It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that, "I hope for the one who recites Sura al-Ra'd, that God do not place him and Abu Lahab in the same place [in the hereafter]." This implies that such a person would be among the dwellers of the paradise.
- Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from سوره مسد in Farsi WikiShia.