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And his wife laden with fire-wood,
On her neck a twisted rope of palm fibre.1

Suratu'l-Humazah (civ) is directed against a rich man named Akhnas ibn Sharif,2 and clearly belongs to this period, though Noldeke mentions, but without approval, that some Muslim authorities consider it a Madina one:—

Woe to every backbiter, defamer !
Who amasseth wealth and storeth it against the future!
He thinketh surely that his wealth shall be with him for ever.
Nay ! for verily he shall be flung into the crushing fire;
And who shall teach thee what the crushing fire is ?
It is God's kindled fire,
Which shall mount above the hearts of the damned. 1-7.

In a late Meccan Sura, a number of persons are referred to as refusing to listen and to have become

1 If all that tradition relates about Abu Lahab is correct, this Sura becomes of much interest and value as showing how the special circumstances in which Muhammad was placed influenced even the very words used in the Qur'an. Thus, it is related that Muhammad one day called his kinsmen together to hear his claims. Abu Lahab became very angry and said : 'Hast thou called me for this? Mayest thou perish! 'Then taking a stone in his two hands, he threw it at Muhammad. So his hand was to perish. His wife Umm Jamil put thorns on a path over which the Prophet walked. Then one day as she was going along with a bundle of fire-wood, the rope around it twisted round her neck and she was strangled (Raudatu's Safa, Part ii, vol. i, p. 161; Khalasatu't-Tafasir, vol. iv, p. 126). Verse four may also mean that in hell she must gather wood for the fire. See Baidawi ad. loc. Maulavi Muhammad 'Ali says, she used to gather thorns bound with a rope, which she brought on her own head to spread in the Prophet's way' (Holy Qur'an, p. 1234). The words— ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ —Dhata lahabin, which mean ' fiery flame,' are a play on the name of Abu Lahab, or 'Father of flames' (Tafsir-i-Husaini, p. 477).
2 Baidawi, vol. ii; p. 416.
so obdurate that, even after punishment, they would be unconvinced. The words are:—

Some among them hearken unto thee;1 but we have cast a veil over their hearts that they should not understand it (Qur'an) and a weight into their ears; and though they should see all kinds of signs, they will refuse all faith in them until when they come to thee, to dispute with thee. The infidels say, Verily, this is nothing but fables of the ancients.'

And they will forbid it and depart from it, but they are only the authors of their own perdition, and know it not. Suratu'l-An'am (vi) 25-6.

Abu Jahl,2 another bitter opponent, is referred to in Suratu'l-'Alaq (xcvi) :

Nay, verily, man is insolent,
Because he seeth himself possessed of riches. 6-7.

It is said by Baidawi, that he threatened to put his foot on the neck of the Prophet, when he was prostrate in prayer.

Again in the Suratu'l-Hajj (xxii) we read :—

A man there is who disputeth about God without knowledge or guidance or enlightening Book.

This is a Madina Sura and so the reference is historical and retrospective, but that is not uncommon in the later Suras. In another late Madina Sura we have:—

1 The persons referred to are Abu Sufyan, Nadhir, Walid, 'Utba Shaibu and others. They asked Nadhir if he understood what Muhammad was saying. He replied that he did not; he only saw that he moved his tongue and told foolish stories. The reference in the next verse is to these same persons who forbade people to become Muslims, or to Abu Talib, who forbade the enemies of Muhammad, his nephew, to injure him, but would not himself accept Islam. Baidawi, vol. i, p. 287.
2 Baidawi, vol. ii, p. 411. Abu Jahl was killed at the battle of Badr.

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