Surah Al-Humazah

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The Scandal-Monger


Name of Chapter and Reason for its Name

This chapter is called Surah Al-Humazah, and it takes its name from “the slanderer” (humazah) mentioned in verse 1. The root word “همز” (hamz) means loss and breaking. The word “همزة” (humazah) means someone who without any reason repeatedly taunts, finds faults, and criticizes others - when in reality no fault actually exists. [1] The wordلمز (lamz) means fault. Thus, “همزة” and “لمزة” (lumazah) both carry the same meaning. Humazah is someone who backbites, and lumazah is someone who taunts. [2] [3]

Chapter Number

Surah Al-Humazah is the 104th chapter of the Quran.

Number of Verses

This chapter has 9 verses.

Place of Revelation

This chapter was revealed in Mecca. [2]


Important Concepts in this Chapter

This chapter is a severe warning to those who love gathering wealth and then use that immense wealth to defame others. They brag to others about what they have accumulated and belittle them for not having wealth, though this is not a weakness. [2]

Verses 1-2

A warning to those who find faults, those who are greedy for collecting wealth, and their eventual consequences. “Woe to every scandal-monger and slanderer, who amasses wealth and counts it over.”

وَيْلٌ لِكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُمَزَةٍ١ الَّذِي جَمَعَ مَالًا وَعَدَّدَهُ٢

According to Ibn Kathir, a person who is a scandal-monger and slanderer is intensely in love with wealth and greedy for amassing it. He gathers wealth on top of wealth, and is continuously counting and keeping track of it. [4] This type of person enjoys the simple fact of the enormity of his wealth. However, some have said that what is meant here is that this person stores his wealth in order to protect himself on days when he is afflicted with some sort of financial trouble. Therefore, the phrase ‘counts it over’ at the end of the second verse does not literally mean counting and keeping track of the wealth. [5] [6]

Verse 3

“He supposes that his wealth will make him immortal!”

يَحْسَبُ أَنَّ مَالَهُ أَخْلَدَهُ٣

What is meant here is that this type of person imagines that all of the wealth which he has accumulated, will make him live forever in this world and protect him from death [5]. This verse also explains that if someone gathers and counts material wealth, this motivation and belief that they possess is incorrect. The error that they are making is due to their mistaken reasoning that wealth grants a person everlasting life. [5]

Verse 4

“No indeed! He will surely be cast into the Crusher.”

كَلَّا لَيُنْبَذَنَّ فِي الْحُطَمَةِ٤

The Crusher الْحُطَمَة (al-hutamah) is one of the names of hell. This is understood through the context of the next 2 verses. This verse seeks to show the terrifying nature of ‘The Crusher.’ [5]

Verse 6-7

“[It is] the fire of Allah, set ablaze which will overspread the hearts.”

نَارُ اللَّهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ٦ الَّتِي تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى الْأَفْئِدَةِ٧

Allah has Himself added to this blazing fire, and so it becomes understood that this fire, which is burning and glowing, is not like the other fires. [7]

Verse 7 mentions ‘the hearts’ which in Quranic terminology means the human soul which human consciousness and thinking originates from. The intended meaning of the fire overspreading the hearts is that the fire of hell will burn their inner being and consciousness. [8] This fire will overcome their conscience until the pain and burning transforms them. Some have suggested that this fire will start internally and then burn outwardly, in contrast to the fire of the physical world which starts externally, and then burns inwardly. [7]

Verse 8

“Indeed it will close in upon them.”

إِنَّهَا عَلَيْهِمْ مُؤْصَدَةٌ٨

The fire closing in on them means that not a single person will be able to escape it and they will not find any salvation from within this fire. [8] The doors of hell will be closed on them in such a way that they will lose all hope of escaping from this fire of hell. [7]

Verse 9

“In outstretched columns.”

فِي عَمَدٍ مُمَدَّدَةٍ٩

Zamakhshari believes that these columns are pillars of the levels and doors that will enclose the people of hell. [4]

Discussions on this Chapter

According to the Sunni Traditions

Benefits of Reciting this Surah

عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّی اللَّهُ عَلَیهِ وَ سَلَّمَ: مَنْ قَرَأَ سُورَةَ الْهُمَزَةِ أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ عَشْرَ حَسَنَاتٍ بِعَدَدِ مَنْ استهزا بِمُحَمَّدٍ وَ أَصْحَابِهِ»

The Prophet of Allah has said: “Whoever recites Surah al-Humazah, Allah will give them 10 good deeds equal to whoever… Muhammad and his companions.” [4]

وَ رُوِی أَنَّهُ کانَ للأخنس أَرْبَعَة آلَاف دِینَار. وَ قِیلَ: عَشَرَةُ آلَافٍ. وَ عَن الْحَسَنِ: أَنَّهُ عَادَ مُوسِراً فَقَالَ: مَا تَقُولُ فِی أُلُوفُ لَمْ أفتد بِهَا مِنْ لَئِیمُ، وَ لَا تفضلت عَلَی کرِیم؟ قَالَ: وَ لَکنَّ لِمَاذَا؟ قَالَ: لِنُبُوَّةِ الزَّمَانِ، وَ جَفْوَة السُّلْطَان، وَ نَوَائِب الدَّهْر، وَ مَخَافَة الْفَقْرِ. قَالَ: إِذن تَدَعْهُ لِمَنْ لَا یحْمَدُک، وَ ترد عَلَی مَنْ لَا یعذرک.

Zamakhshari says that al-Akhnas [who according to some this chapter was revealed about] had 4000 dinars. Some believed that he had 10000 dinars. Al-Hasan said that he was normally well-off [financially]. He said, “What do you have to say about the thousands [of dinars that you have] which you did not give away to an evil person, nor did you give it to someone out of generosity?” He said, “But why?” He replied, “Due to the Prophethood of the time, the indifference of the ruler, the representatives of the era, and the fear of poverty.” He said, “So then, associate with those who do not praise you and forget about those who do not forgive you.” [4]

According to the Shia Traditions

فی تفسیر علی بْنِ إبراهیم: یحْسَبُ أَنَّ مالَهُ أَخْلَدَهُ وَ یبقیه ثُمَّ قَالَ: کلّاً لَینْبَذَنَّ فِی الْحُطَمَة وَ الْحُطَمَةُ النَّارِ آلتی تَحَطُّمُ کل شی‌ء، ثُمَّ قَالَ: وَ مَا أَدْراک مَا الْحُطَمَة نارُ اللَّهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ آلتی تَطْلع عَلَی الْأَفْئِدَة قَالَ: تَلْتَهِبُ علی الْفُؤَادِ قَالَ أَبُو ذَرّ رضی اللَّهُ عَنْهُ: بَشِّرِ المتکبرین بکی فی الصُّدُورِ وَ سحب علی الظُّهُورِ قَوْلِهِ: إِنَّها عَلَیهِمْ مُؤْصَدَة قَالَ: مُطَبّقَة فِی عَمَدٍ مُمَدَّدَةٍ قَالَ: إِذَا مُدَّت الْعَمْد علیهم أکلت وَ اللَّهِ الْجُلُود

In the Quranic exegesis of Ali ibn Ibrahim: “He supposes his wealth will make him immortal” - then he said: “No indeed! He will surely be cast into the Crusher.” ‘The Crusher’ is a fire which will destroy everything. Then he said: “And what will show you what is the Crusher. [It is] the fire of Allah, set ablaze. [The fire] will burn the hearts.” Abu Dharr said regarding it, “… arrogant people, crying on the inside and it is understood from the apparent meaning of: ‘Indeed it will close in upon them.’” He said, “It will be applied [on them] in outstretched columns.” He said, “When the columns are stretched over them, I swear by Allah the patient, it will consume them.” [2]

رَوَی الْعَیاشِی بِإِسْنَادِهِ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ النُّعْمَانِ الْأَحْوَلِ عَنْ حُمْرَان بْن أَعْین عَنْ أَبِی جَعْفَر قَالَ أَن الْکفَّارِ وَ الْمُشْرِکینَ یعَیرُونَ أَهْل التَّوْحِیدِ فِی النَّارِ وَ یقُولُونَ مَا نَرَی توحیدکم أَغْنی عَنْکمْ شَیئاً وَ ما نَحْنُ وَ أَنْتُمْ إِلَّا سَوَاء قَالَ فیأنف لَهُمْ الرَّبّ تَعَالَی فَیقُولُ لِلْمَلَائِکةِ اشْفَعُوا فَیشْفَعُونَ لِمَنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ یقُولُ لِلنَّبِیینَ اشْفَعُوا فَیشْفَعُونَ لِمَنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ یقُولُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِینَ اشْفَعُوا فَیشْفَعُونَ لِمَنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ وَ یقُولُ اللَّهُ أَنَا أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِینَ أُخْرِجُوا بِرَحْمَتِی کمَا یخْرُجُ الْفِرَاش قَالَ ثمَّ قَالَ أَبُو جَعْفَر ثُمَّ مُدَّت الْعَمد وَ أوصدت عَلَیهِمْ وَ کانَ وَ اللَّه الْخُلُود

Al-Ayyashi narrates with a chain of narrators from Muhammad ibn al-Numan al-Ahwal, from Humran ibn Ayun, from Abu Jafar that: “The disbelievers and polytheists will insult the people who believed in tawheed but are in hell and they will say, ‘We do not see that your belief in tawhid is helping you in anything… not us and not you except ….’” Then he continued: “Then, the Exalted Lord will reject? (or interject) them and say to the angels ‘Intercede’ and they will intercede for whoever Allah wills. Allah will say ‘I am the most Merciful of those who show mercy. Take them out [of hell] because of My mercy just like a bed is taken out.’ Then, I swear by Allah the patient, that the pillars will extend and close on them.” ((Ibid.) [9]


  1. Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1997), Volume 20, Page 358
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran, Volume 20, Page 358
  3. Mahmud Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf an Haqaiq Ghawamid al-Tanzil, Volume 4, Page 796
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf an Haqaiq Ghawamid al-Tanzil, Volume 4, Page 796
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran, Page 359
  6. Tabrisi, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran, Volume 10, Page 817
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Tabrisi, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran, Volume 10, Page 818
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran, Page 360
  9. Tabrisi, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran, Page 819