Sura al-Masad

Priority: b, Quality: b
From wikishia
Sura al-Masad
Sura Number111
Revelation Number6
Verse Count5
Word Count22
Letter Count81\

This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Masad; to read its text see text:Sura al-Masad.

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' thirty. 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].


  • Naming

This sura is called "al-Masad" (woven palm fiber)[1] 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.[2]

  • Order and Place of Revelation

Sura al-Masad was revealed in the first public invitation of the Prophet (s); thus, it is Makki.[3] It was the sixth sura in revelation and now 111th sura in the Qur'an,[4] located in juz' thirty.

  • Number of Verses and Words

Sura al-Masad has five verses, twenty two words and eighty one letters. Regarding volume, it is among mufassalat (having several short verses), and qisar (short) suras of the Qur'an.[5]


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.[6] Tafsir-i 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).[7]

Content of Sura al-Masad[8]
Failure and punishment of Abu Lahab and his
wife due to their enmity with the Prophet (s)
First topic: verses 1-3
Failure and punishment of Abu Lahab
Second topic: verses 4-5
Punishment of the resentful wife of Abu Lahab
First point: verses 1-2
Failure of Abu Lahab with all his resources and might
First point: verses 4-5
The wife of Abu Lahab will enter the hell as "the firewood
carrier with a rope of palm fiber around her neck"
Second point: verse 3
Punishment of Abu Lahab with a blazing fire

Occasion of Revelation

There are many hadiths about the occasion 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.[9]

Hammalat al-Hatab

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.[10]
  • This phrase refers to her slandering.[12]

Merits and Benefits

It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that, "I hope for the one who recites Sura al-Masad, that God do not place him and Abu Lahab in the same place [in the hereafter]."[13] This implies that such a person would be among the dwellers of the Paradise.[14]

External Links


  1. Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Mufradāt alfāẓ al-Qurʾān, Under the word «مسد»
  2. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1270.
  3. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 27, p. 411-412.
  4. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1270.
  5. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1270.
  6. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 384.
  7. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 27, p. 412.
  8. 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.
  9. Wāḥidī Niyshābūrī, Asbāb al-nuzūl, vol. 1, p. 248.
  10. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 852.
  11. Motahhari, Majmūʿa-yi āthār, vol. 28, p. 825.
  12. Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 10, p. 428.
  13. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 850.
  14. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 27, p. 412.


  • Khurramshāhī, Bahāʾ al-Dīn. Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī. Tehran: Dūstān-Nāhīd, 1377 Sh.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1374 Sh.
  • Maʿrifat, Muḥammad Hādī. Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān. [n.p]: Markaz Chāp wa Nashr-i Sāzmān-i Tablīghāt, 1371 Sh.
  • Motahhari, Morteza. Majmūʿa-yi āthār. Qom: Intishārāt-i Ṣadrā, 1389 Sh.
  • Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad al-. Mufradāt alfāẓ al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Dār al-Qalam, 1412 AH.
  • Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Mūhammad Ḥusayn al-. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Second edition. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1974.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Muḥammad Jawād Balāghī. Third edition. Tehran: Intishārāt-i Nāṣir Khusru, 1372 Sh.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Aḥmad Qaṣīr al-ʿĀmilī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, [n.d].
  • Wāḥidī Niyshābūrī, ʿAlī b. Aḥmad al-. Asbāb al-nuzūl. Translated to Farsi by ʿAlī Riḍā Dhikāwatī. Tehran: Nashr-i Niy, 1383 Sh.