Good Deed: #304 Stop Hoarding, Reflect on Surah Al-Humazah – The Slanderer

SURA 104. Humaza, or the Slanderer
1. Woe to every [kind of] slanderer and-backbiter,
2. Who pileth up wealth and layeth it by,
3. Thinking that his wealth would make him last for ever!
4. By no means! He will be sure to be thrown into That which Breaks to Pieces,
5. And what will explain to thee That which Breaks to Pieces?
6. [It is] the Fire of [the Wrath of] Allah kindled [to a blaze],
7. The which doth mount [Right] to the Hearts:
8. It shall be made into a vault over them,
9. In columns outstretched.



1. This Surah  shows a vile, mean person who is given wealth and who uses it to tyrannize others, until he begins to feel himself almost unbearable. He thinks that wealth is the supreme value in life, before which all other values and standards come toppling down. He feels that since he possesses wealth, he controls other people’s destiny without being accountable for his own deeds. He imagines that his money and his wealth is a god, capable of everything without exception, even of resisting death, making him immortal and stopping God’s judgement and His retribution.

2. Deluded as he is by the power of wealth, he counts it and takes pleasure in counting it again and again. A wicked vanity is let loose within him driving him to mock other people’s positions and dignity, to taunt and slander them. He criticizes others verbally, mocks them with his gestures, either by imitating their movements and voices or by ridiculing their looks and features, by words and mimicry, by taunt and slander.

3. It is a vile and debased picture of someone devoid of human ideals and generosity and stripped of faith. Islam despises this type of person whose characteristics are diametrically opposed to its own high standards of morality.

4. Islam emphatically forbids mockery and ridicule of other people as well as deliberate fault-finding. But in this case the Qur’ān describes these actions as sordid and ugly, delivering a stern warning to anyone who indulges in them.

5. The warning comes in the form of a picture of the hereafter portraying the mental and physical suffering there and drawing an image of hell which is both palpable and telling. It takes care to relate the crime to the punishment inflicted and to its effect on the culprit. On the one side there is the image of the taunting, slandering backbiter who mocks and ridicules others while he gathers wealth thinking that he is guaranteed immortality in this way. This image of a cynical calumniator seeking power through wealth is contrasted with the slighted, ignored person flung into a crushing instrument which destroys all that comes in its way. It soon crushes his structure and his pride.

6. The crushing instrument is “God’s own kindled fire.” (Verse 6) Its identification as the fire of God suggests that it is an exceptional, unfamiliar sort of fire, full of terror. This fire ‘rises’ over the person who mocks and ridicules others. To complete the image of the slighted, ignored and crushed person, the fire closes in on him from all directions and locks him in. None can save him and none asks about him. Inside he is tied to a column, as animals are tied, without respect.


Source: Sayyid Qutb – in the shade of the quran


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