(1) (111:1) Destroyed were the hands of Abu Lahab, and he lay utterly doomed. *1
*1) His real name was 'Abd al-'Uzza, and he was called Abu Lahab on account of his glowing, ruddy complexion. Lahab means the flame of fire, and Abu Lahab the one with a flaming, fiery face. His being mentioned here by his nickname (Kunyat), instead of his real name, has several reasons. First, that he was better known by his nickname than by his real name; second, that the Qur'an did not approve that he should be mentioned by his polytheistic name `Abd al 'Uzza (slave of 'Uzza); third, that his kunyat goes well with the fate that has been described of him in this Surah. Some commentators have translated tabbat yada Abi Lahab to mean: "May the hands of Abu Lahab be broken", and tabby to mean: 'may he perish" or "he perished". But this, in fact, was not a curse which was invoked on him, but a prophecy in which an event taking place in the future, has been described in the past tense, to suggest that its occurrence in the future is certain and inevitable. In actual fact, at last the same thing happened as had been foretold in this Surah a few years earlier. Breaking of the hands obviously does not imply breaking of the physical hands, but a person's utterly failing in his aim and object for which he has exerted his utmost. And Abu Lahab indeed had exerted his utmost to defeat and frustrate the message of lslam presented by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). But hardly seven or eight years after the revelation of this Surah most of the big chiefs of Quraish, who were a party with Abu Lahab in his hostility to Islam, were killed in the Battle of Badr. When the news of the defeat reached Makkah, he was so shocked that he could not survive for more than seven days. His death occurred in a pitiabie state. He became afflicted with malignant pustule and the people of his house left him to himself, fearing contagion. No one came near his body for three days after his death, until the body decomposed and began to stink. At last, when the people began to taunt his sons, according to one tradition, they hired some negroes, who lifted his body and buried it. According to another tradition, they got a pit dug out and threw his body into it by pushing it with wood, and covered it up with earth and stones. His utter failure became manifest when the religion which he had tried his utmost to impede and thwart, was accepted by his own children. First of all, his daughter, Darrah, migrated from Makkah to Madinah and embraced lslam; then on the conquest of Makkah, both his sons, `Utabh and Mu`attab, came before the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) through the mediation of Hadrat `Abbas, believed and took oath of allegiance to him.