By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Nasir Makarim Shirazi in Tafsir Namuneh

Translated from Farsi into English by: Fatima Zabeth Beenesh

The sura e humaza is descended at Mecca and it is consisted of 9 ayaat.

The contents and virtues of Sura e Humaza

This sura is one among the chapters which descended at Mecca. It speaks about the people who only and purely get concerned to amass the worldly pleasure and wealth. And they entirely engaged themselves, enclosing the total moral human values in amassing the prosperity and worldly wishes. Then they began to underestimate those people whose pockets are empty and start to mock them.

These proud, selfish and cunning hoarders of treasures, they are intoxicated in such a way by the wine of pride that they enjoy to insult, criticise and mock everybody and made it a mean’s of entertainment in their own circle of people living around them.

In the end speaks about their painful future, how they are shamefully thrown in the hell. And before everything the burning hell dominates upon their hearts and burns there existence and soul as it was the home of the total arrogance, egoism and evils, the fire which is persistent, burning with no end.

Regarding the virtues of reading the Sura e Humaza, the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him stated: The one who recites the sura e Humaza he will attain ten virtues equal to each person who mocked the prophet peace be upon him and his companions.

In a hadis from imam Sadiq alaihis salam we read: the person who recites it in his daily obligatory namaz the poverty will vanish away from his life. And the prosperity will begin to proceed towards him. He will be kept away from the unpleasant and ruthless deaths.

الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ اللّهِ بِسْمِ

Al-Humazah (The Slanderer)

وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةٍ


Woe to every slanderer and backbiter.

الَّذِي جَمَعَ مَالًا وَعَدَّدَهُ


Who collects wealth and [continuously] counts it.

يَحْسَبُ أَنَّ مَالَهُ أَخْلَدَهُ


He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal.

كَلَّا لَيُنبَذَنَّ فِي الْحُطَمَةِ


No! Surely, he will be thrown into the crushing Fire.

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْحُطَمَةُ


And what will make you know what the crushing Fire is?

نَارُ اللَّهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ


It is the fire of Allah , [eternally]ignited,

الَّتِي تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى الْأَفْئِدَةِ


Which leaps up over the hearts,

إِنَّهَا عَلَيْهِم مُّؤْصَدَةٌ


Indeed, Hellfire will be closed down upon them

فِي عَمَدٍ مُّمَدَّدَةٍ


In pillars stretched forth (i.e. they will be punished in the Fire with pillars, etc.).

All about its descent

A group of interpreters thus mentioned, the aayat of this sura is about a person Valeed bin Mughaira who was engaged in back biting and speaking ill about the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him when he was absent and before him too he was provoking and mocking him.

Some others referred it about the other people who were polytheist leaders and the notorious revengeful enemies of Islam like akhnas bin shareeq, Umaiyyatib Nal Khalaf and Aas Bin Vail..

But in the case, if we accept this shaane nuzal of the ayaat still the meaning of ayat will not alter. But it includes those persons who possess these qualities.


Woe upon the critics and back biters

This sura starts by the scolding and said: Woe upon all the mockers and the critics.

وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةٍ


Woe to every slanderer and backbiter.

Those who with their stinging unkind tongue, with the movement of the tongue and eyes, eye brows, at the back or before the person enjoys to mock the others and attacked them with arrows of the defamation, abusive words and accusation.

هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةٍ

The above terms are mentioned in superlative adjectives. Here in defining both the terms some said: humaza means defamer and backbiters. Lumaza means criticizers.

Some defined Humaza as the persons who criticize and mock others by pointing the fingers, hinting and gestures. Lumaza means those who perform all these acts with help of their tongue.

And it is said: those who call the people with ugly abhorring titles.

Finally there is a statement by Ibn e abbas who indicated in a hadis from prophet peace be upon him: Shall I make aware of the most evil people? They said: Yes O prophet of Allah.

The great prophet peace be upon him said: They are the people who are intensely involved in backbiting and bring separation among the friends and they are engaged in pointing out fault in the innocent people and those who possess a clear character.

Both the terms have vast meaning and includes every type of blaming, reproaching others, involving verbally in back biting, sarcastic talk, ridiculing others verbally or with the help of hands and facial expression or defamation.

The term Vail


The above term is a severe warning for this group of people and basically the ayaat of noble Quran sternly stimulating these kinds of people. It has such scolding terms about these sins which any other sin does not possess. After warning the blind hearted hypocrites of the painful punishment for their mocking the believers in ther Sura e Tauba ayat 80 mentioned.

At-Tauba (The Repentance)

اسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لاَ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِن تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً فَلَن يَغْفِرَ اللّهُ لَهُمْ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ


Ask forgiveness for them, [O Muhammad], or do not ask forgiveness for them. If you should ask forgiveness for them seventy times – never will Allah forgive them. That is because they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.

Similar to this, it is mentioned about the hypocrites who were ridiculing the prophets peace be upon him in the ayat 5 of Sura e Tauba.

Basically the prestige, honour and reputation of the people is very respectable in Islam. In a hadis by prophet Muhammad peace be upon him it is said: The most destructive man is the person who abuses the people.

Then turns towards the main source of this ugly act (to find out the faults in others and using the scornful language for them) which mostly generated by arrogance caused by wealth and added: the one who accumulated the wealth and counted it, without calculating how much it is haram (illegal) and halal (legal).

الَّذِي جَمَعَ مَالًا وَ الَّذِي جَمَعَ مَالًا وَعَدَّدَهُ


He is so much attached to his amassed wealth that continuously he counts them. And enjoys and gets highly delighted the glitter of the dirham and dinar coins and other currencies.

Each dirham and dinar is like an idol for him, not only his own personality but he summarizes each and every one in the circle of the worldly wealth, naturally this misled and silly man persistently ridicules the poor believer.


The above term means to count them.

Any way this ayat is defining the wealth accumulators who attain money not for a basic or a great cause but their fundamental cause is only to achieve and accumulate the money. In amassing it they are not concerned about any bound and regulation. They gather the wealth whether it is haram or halal and they never hesitate to transgress and violate the others human rights, in an honourable or disrespectable way, to accumulate the money.

They do not want the property to reach their daily needs of life, for that reason as much as their wealth increases their greed too gets intensifies else reasonable and limited wealth is not disliked. But in the noble Quran at times the wealth is mentioned as a favour and a grace of Allah,as it is stated in ayat 10 of sura e juma: Al-Jumu’ah (Friday)

فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَانتَشِرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَابْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ


Then when the (Jumah) Salat (prayer) is finished, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah (by working, etc.) and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.

Al-Baqara (The Cow)

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ إِن تَرَكَ خَيْرًا الْوَصِيَّةُ لِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالأقْرَبِينَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُتَّقِينَ !(2:180)

Prescribed for you when death approaches [any] one of you if he leaves wealth [is that he should make] an inheritance settlement for the parents and near relatives according to what is acceptable – it is a duty upon the righteous.-

These kinds of wealth do not cause rebellion and it is not a means of self-glorification as well as it do not provide pathway for the scorning and teasing the others. But the wealth which is worshiped and made the ultimate goal for man and its masters like Qaroon ( Korah) are invited towards the rebellion it is a shame, disgrace, disaster and adversity and takes the human being away from the Allah and provides the man to live forever into the hell.

And mostly, to accumulate the huge amount of wealth, it is only possible by utmost filthy ways.

Hence in a hadis by Ali ibn Musa ar Reza we read: who said: the wealth accumulates by five manners:1to follow the lengthy and extensive desires, 2 to follow the commanding greed, 3 to break the relationship with the relatives qa’te rehem and 4 extreme miserliness prevailing upon man and 5 to prefer the worldly life more than the life hereafter.

They are the people who are big hearted and charitable and they are not in the grip of the overlong and far-reaching desires. These kind of people are very much cautious about the halal and haram and they support their relatives and those who are near friends and observe si’le rehem. And mostly, they are unable to amass money though their income is abundant.

In the next ayat adds: this wealth accumulating man and the adorer of prosperity who believes his wealth initiate him an immortal life.

يَحْسَبُ أَنَّ مَالَهُ أَخْلَدَهُ



It is interesting that the above term is mentioned in infinite verb. That means, he presume that his wealth make him eternal creature and death is unable to approach him. And the ailments and the incidents of life cannot create for him hardships. As in his opinion the solution for all his problems is only the money that he is possessing. He has the power of the wealth as he is its owner.

What a wrong believe and a raw thought? The wealth which was in the possession of the Korah (Qaroon) was to such extent that the keys of his treasures which were carried by many strong men with much difficulty. But at the stage when the divine calamity attacked the Qaroon, he was unable to postpose his death not even for a single hour; the Mighty God absorbed his entire wealth in earth, just in a span of a moment by a single tremor of earth.

Al-Qasas (The Narration)

فَخَسَفْنَا بِهِ وَبِدَارِهِ الْأَرْضَ فَمَا كَانَ لَهُ مِن فِئَةٍ يَنصُرُونَهُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ المُنتَصِرِينَ


So We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place. Then he had no group or party to help him against Allah, nor was he of those who can defend themselves.

The wealth, a perfect example which were in the hands of pharaohs of the Egypt, according to the truth defined by noble Quran: Ad-Dukhan (The Smoke)

كَمْ تَرَكُوا مِن جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ


How much they left behind of gardens and springs.

وَزُرُوعٍ وَمَقَامٍ كَرِيمٍ


and fields of grain and noble dwellings,

وَنَعْمَةٍ كَانُوا فِيهَا فَاكِهِينَ


And comforts of life wherein they used to take delight!

Hence on the judgment day when all the curtains get aside. They realize their great mistake and raise their cry and say: Al-Haqqah (The Reality)

مَا أَغْنَى عَنِّي مَالِيهْ


My wealth has availed me nothing:

هَلَكَ عَنِّي سُلْطَانِيهْ


My authority is gone away from me.

Basically the human being hates to get destroyed and he favors the eternal and ever living life. It is this inner instinct of man helps us in the discussions of the judgment day and makes us aware that man is created for a perpetual and everlasting life. Though it is very much well-known that he does not have the instinct to love the eternal life.

From this statement, it is evident that to imagine the eternal life with the help of wealth is not a reason to accumulate wealth. The gathering of wealth is the cause of all the mockery and ridicule of others in their opinion.

Quran in the reply of this group said: It is not as what they are thinking


But soon with utmost insult they are thrown in the back breaking fire.

لَيُنبَذَنَّ فِي الْحُطَمَةِ

Then such a way defines the term huthama and said: What do you know what is huthama?

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْحُطَمَةُ

It is an ignited fire.

نَارُ اللَّهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ

The fire that starts from the heart, its first sparks rises from the heart.

الَّتِي تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى الْأَفْئِدَةِ


The above term means to throw away something with condemnation which does not have any value.

That means the Supreme God on that day discard those arrogant and selfish people in hell fire like the valueless and hopeless creatures to make them watch the result of their pride and self-importance.


The above term is in superlative form which means to break something and this shows that the burning fire of the hell heavily crush apart the body parts. But according to the narratives hutamah is not the name of the entire hell but it is a part of fire which is very much hot.

To analyse the meaning of that fire, which instead of burning the body parts, it crushes them down. May be it was difficult in yester years to understand it however today it is not impossible. As today the effect of the waves of blast is obvious to all of us, where the dreadful blast occurs, it not only tears away the body part but this dreadful blast have such a power that breaks down the strong iron poles and shafts, now it is not a mysterious matter for us.

نَارُ اللَّهِ

The above term a means the divine fire and it is the proof of its being immensity and the term which expressed down


It proves of its being ignited perpetually.

It is strange that this fire unlike all the worldly ignitions which first burns the skin and then penetrates inside but the hell fire first catches the heart and then burns the inside first. Before everything it burns the heart, then the brain and the bones and then spreads in the outside.

What kind of fire is this that the initial sparks are starts from the heart? What kind of fire are this which burns the inside first and then the outside? Everything of resurrection day is astonishing and unfamiliar and it has much differences even the ignition of its fire.

Why it should not be like that? When their heart was the abode of the blasphemy, pride and self- admiration and it was the centre of the love for world, wealth and its materialistic pleasures.

Why the fire of his wrath and the divine anger before everything is dominating over their hearts? While with their mockery, fault finding, insult and backbiting they burnt the hearts of the believers. The divine justice affirms they must receive the punishment according to their deeds.

The last ayaat of the sura e Humaza said: For them this fire is inside the closed doors.

إِنَّهَا عَلَيْهِم مُّؤْصَدَةٌ


The above term means to close the door thoroughly and lock it. In fact as they were holding the wealth in the large and tightly closed storing boxes and treasures. ,the Dominant God too arrests them in the jail and punishes them inside the closed door of hell where there is no escape.

At last it said: they are put into the long pillars.

فِي عَمَدٍ مُّمَدَّدَةٍ


The above term is the plural of the term below


The above term means pillar or anything long and extended like the pieces of wood and iron.


The above term means everything that is long and extended.

A group of interpreters believe that they are the giant iron nails that the doors of the hells are closed with the help of them, in such a way that the way of exit is completely does not exist there. Therefore it emphasise the previous ayat that says the hell are closed for them and they are surrounded from everywhere.

Some of them believed that it is indicating towards the means of punishment like a chain with handle popularly known as heavy wooden or iron circular piece to fit the size of ankle in which the leg is tied and locked with a rod. In such a way that the person was unable to move, it is the punishment for imposing sufferings to the innocent and guiltless people.

And in the third place they defined recently with help of their detection that the burning hell flames are like the long pillars that dominate over them. They expressed in the recent discoveries and proved that the specific x-rays electromagnetic radiation unlike other rays spread in conical form and spread just like the cylinder like pillar. Strangely this ray penetrates in the entire body and dominates the heart. Thus with the help of these rays the photography of the internal organs are attained. So it is concluded that the rays which rise from the hell fire are similar to the above mentioned rays. But the first definition is appropriate.

The points:

1- Arrogance and pride is the main cause of all the major sins

Self-admiration is a great calamity which causes most of the sins, ignorance towards the Merciful God, to waste the divine blessings, to drown in the life full of pleasure and revelry, to disrespect and under estimate others, to mock the believers these are all the effects of the devilish qualities. The people low from within, when reached to some status in their material life they get involved in such a pride and self –importance that they not at all give value and respect to any other person. And this causes their separation from the society and the society too gets disconnected with them.

They drown in the world of their false estimations. They think themselves different from the others and very much valuable before the Supreme God. As the life and reputation of the people is valueless for them so they always get involves in humaza and lumaza (to mock with the actions of hands and eyes) and ridiculing and condemning the others. In their belief, by acting in such a manner they are increasing in their greatness.

Interestingly in some descriptions this type of people are compared to the scorpions that only stings (where as the sting of scorpion is not caused by the hatred but the sting of these people is out of hostility and animosity).

In a hadis it is defined that the great prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: At the night of Meraj I saw in the Hell, a group of people whose body flesh was separating from their sides and giving them to eat. I asked the Gabriel ‘Jibril alaihis salam’: who are they? The arch angel replied: They are the mockers and fault finders among your followers.

2- The greed to accumulate the wealth

About the wealth and affluences they have different views regarding its extravagance and thriftiness.

Some give importance to the wealth to such extent that they believe the money singly can solve the entire existing problems.

The eloquence of Sohban ( a famous Arab well-expressed writer), the elegant writing of Ibne Maqla ( the famous calligrapher) and he wisdom of Luqman, the piety of Ibraheem Ad’ham. If all these qualities accumulate in one person and if he is poor and penniless then he will not have the value and status of a single dirham( in the view of materialistic people).

Contrary to them there are a group of people they do not believe and give any value to the wealth and valuable things, they praise the poverty and admire it. Even they believe the wealth is a means disturbance towards nearness to God.

But contrary to these two believes who go extremely high or extremely low and there is another group of people who follow the rules presented to them according noble Quran and the Islamic narrations and they say that the wealth and money is good but they are abided by some rules, first and foremost the wealth is a means not a goal.

Secondly the wealth must not imprison the man but the man must have command over it.

Thirdly he must acquire it in a legal way and spend it gaining the blessings of Almighty God.

To be fond of this kind of money, it is not only called materialism but it is an object to love the hereafter. Hence in a hadis by imam Jafar e Sadiq alaihis salam we read: When he cursed the silver and gold, one of the companions got astonished and asked him about that and he replied: By the gold(zahab) means the thing that vanishes away the religion and the silver (fizza)means the thing that causes blasphemy and dishonesty.

In another hadis by ameeral momineen Ali alaihis salam we read: the intoxication is of four types: 1The intoxication of wine, 2 the intoxication of wealth, 3 the intoxication of sleep and 4 the intoxication of power.

In another hadis by imam Sadiq alaihis salam it is mentioned that a man visited him and said: I wish my Mother and father sacrifice upon you, give me guidance and good advices. The sixth imam replied: If the virtuous deeds are good then why to amass the wealth (why we must not spend it in the way of Allah?). And if the divine reward and return is a truth and why to get involved in miserliness.

Most of the people are engaged, just in amassing the wealth till the end of their life. And at the end they leave their beloved wealth and its benefits for others and its account are left for him to present before the God. Hence in a hadis somebody asked ameerul momineen Ali alaihis salam and said: Who is the most regretful person? He replied: The person who sees his wealth in the balance of deeds (tarazu e amaal) of other person and unfortunately he himself enters the hell because of his own wealth whereas his successors enters the heaven because of that same wealth.

In another hadis by sixth imam Jafar Sadiq alaihis salam in the definition of the ayat

Al-Baqara (The Cow)

كَذَلِكَ يُرِيهِمُ اللّهُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ حَسَرَاتٍ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَا هُم بِخَارِجِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ


Thus will Allah show them their deeds as regrets upon them. And they are never come out of the Fire.

And said: This is about the person who leaves wealth because of his miserliness and never spends it in obeying the rules of God. Then he dies and leaves it for the person who obeys the rules of Exalter God or spends it in transgression with the Just God.

Then the great imam added: if the successors of his money spend in the way of God he sees his wealth in the balance plate of them and feels extremely regretful. As that wealth was belonged to him and if that person spends it in the way of sins, made him dominant to do the sins. (Again he feels regretful for that).

Yea the approach of man before the wealth is in different ways. Sometimes he built a dangerous idol out of that wealth and at times he establishes a means of well-being for the others.

We end this subject with the meaningful hadis of Ibn e Abbas, he said: When for the first time, the coins of dirham and dinar were created, Iblis (Satan) saw them and after observing them completely. He took them and touched to his eyes and pressed to his chest screamed a cry full of love and then once gain pressed them to his chest. And then yelled: you (dirham and dinar) are my eye sight and fruit of my heart. If the people love you, I do not bother if they are not involved in idol worshiping. If they just love you (coins) it is enough for me. As you are the uppermost idols.

O Benevolent Lord: Save us from the intoxication of the worldly wealth and status.

O Dominant God: release us from the domination of the devil and slavery of dirham and dinar.

O Exalted God: The hell fire is great breaker of body parts and getting rid of it is possible only by your kindness; take us in your benevolence.


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