111.1 It is reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) that when this verse was revealed:
وأنذر عشيرتك الأقربين
And warn thy nearest kindred (and thy group of selected people among them) (26:214)
The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) set off till he climbed Safa’ and called loudly: Be on your guard! They said: Who is it calling aloud? They said: Muhammad. They gathered round him, and he said: O sons of so and so, O sons of so and so, O sons of ‘Abd Manaf, O sons of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and they gathered around him. He (the Apostle) said: If I were to inform you that there were horsemen emerging out of the foot of this mountain, would you believe me? They said: We have not experienced any lie from you. He said: Well, I am a warner to you before a severe torment.
He (the narrator) said that Abu Lahab then said: Destruction to you! Is it for this you have gathered us? He (the Holy Prophet) then stood up, and this verse was revealed:
تبت يدا أبي لهب وتب
Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and he indeed perished (111:1).
A’mash recited this to the end of the Sura.
111.2 Abdul-Wahid bin sulaim narrated:
“I arrived in Makkah and met ‘Ata bin Abi Rabab. I said to him: ‘O Abu Muhammad! The people of Al-Basrah speak about Al-Qadar.’ He said: ‘O my son! Do you recite the Quran?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Then recite Az-Zukhruf to me.'” He said: ‘So I recited:
By the manifest Book
إنا جعلناه قرآنا عربيّا لعلكم تعقلون
Verily, We have made it a Quran in Arabic that you may be able to understand
وإنه في أم الكتاب لدينا لعلي حكيم
And verily it is, in the Mother of Book with Us, exalted and full of wisdom (43:1-4)
Then he said: ‘Do you know what Mother of Books is?’ I said: ‘Allah and His Messenger know better.’ He said:’It is a book that Allah wrote before He created the Heavens, and before He created the earth. In it, it is (written):
Fir’awn is among the inhabitants of the Fire, and in it is: Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab, and perish he!’
Ata said: ‘I met Al-Walid the son of Ubadah bin As-samit (رضي الله عنه)the Companion of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and asked him:’What was your father’s admonition when he died?” He said:”He called me and said: ‘O my son ! Have Taqwa of Allah, and know that you will never have Taqwa of Allah until you believe in Allah, and you believe in Al-Qadar-all of it-its good and its bad. If you die upon other than this you shall enter the Fire. Indeed I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) saying: “Verily the first of what Allah created was the Pen. So He said: ‘Write Al-Qadar, what it is , and what shall be, until the end.'”
111.3 Ibn Kathir related about
تبت يدا أبي لهب وتب
May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he (111:1)
Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Az-Zinad that; a man called Rabi’ah bin Abbad from the tribe of Bani Ad-Dil, who was a man of pre-Islamic ignorance who accepted Islam, said to him, I saw the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in the time of pre-Islamic ignorance in the market of Dhul-Majaz and he was saying, “O people! Say there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and you will be successful.” The people were gathered around him and behind him there was a man with a bright face, squint (or cross) eyes and two braids in his hair. He was saying, “Verily, he is an apostate (from our religion) and a liar!” This man was following him (the Prophet) around wherever he went. So, I asked who was he and they (the people) said, “This is his uncle, Abu Lahab.”
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir)
111.4 Mufti Shafi Usmani related about
وامرأته حمالة الحطب
And his wife [as well] – the carrier of firewood (111:4)
The phrase ‘the carrier of firewood’ has been interpreted by Sayyidna Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, ‘Ikrimah and a group of commentators to mean that ‘She was a tale-bearer’ while Ibn Zaid, Dahhak and other commentators retain it in its original sense, and explain that she literally used to collect thorny branches from the jungle, and place them in the path of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in order to harm him – hence the description: ‘carrier of firewood’.
It is recorded in the two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is reported to have said that a tale-bearer (to harm others) will not enter Paradise. Fudail Ibn ‘Iyad says that there are three evil deeds of man that destroy all his righteous actions. They are: backbiting, tale-bearing and lying.
Ata’ Ibn Sa’ib says that he asked Sha’bi about the Prophetic Tradition in which the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is reported to have said: “Three types of people will not enter Paradise: a murderer, a tale-bearer and a trader who is involved in usury.” Ata’ says that I cited this Tradition to Sha’bi and asked him in a surprising tone that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has equated ‘a tale-bearer’ with a murderer and a usurer. He replied: “Indeed, tale-bearing is the root cause of murder and usurpation of wealth.” (Qurtubi)
111.5 Ibn Mardawih narrated from Ibn Umar, Abu Hurairah and Ammar bin Yair (رضي الله عنهم) that
Darah bint Abi Lahab made Hijrah (emigrated to Medina) so the women told her, “Are you Darah, the daughter of Abu Lahab -about whom Allah revealed Tabbat Yada Abi Lahab? She mentioned this to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) so he said in a sermon,”O people! Do not annoy me about my denizens. By Allah! My intercession will be availed due to my proximity to the extent that even Hakam, Ha’ (Waha), Sada and Salhab (tribes also) will get it on the Day of Judgement for being near to me.