Sura Al Masad
Quran Tafsir by Dr Wasim Ahmed
Feb 26 2011

Notes by Jaihoon


There are three types of signs mentioned in the Quran:

1. Signs in the universe

2. Signs in the Self

3. Days of Allah

Man is the counterpart of the universe. There are as many signs in Man as in the universe.

Sufis say Man is alam al akbar, universe is alam ala asgar. This is in line with the tradition, Man arafa nafsahu, arafa rabbahu

In Quran some matters are laid open. Others are hidden. The meanings of the verses are like the fishes in the ocean. Some are available on the surface of the water. Some require further diving. More treasures can be found in the depth of the ocean.

No one has found the secrets of the Quran absolutely.

Taweel is the technical meaning of the word. Tafsir is the detailed explanation of the verse.

Taweel is to reach the first meaning of the word. The context of the word is also important.

The differences of opinion in understanding a verse will also naturally reflect in the unity of the community.


There is a foretelling element in this Sura. The future happening is described in past tense. This reinforces the certainty of the event.

Quran is full of self-confidence and power. Its author is making claims never made before.

Quran mentions certain incidents when it is least expected to happen. Past, Present and Future are all same for Allah.

Abu Lahab soiled the honor of Kaaba. He amassed wealth instead of helping the needy. He did not respect the rich traditions of Arabs, like enjoining blood relations. Thus he is named and damned by the Creator.

The fiery flamed face may be referring to the extreme anger he showed in opposing Islam.

Man pays the price for his actions of the same nature. His name was Abu Lahab. He will be burned in hell.

Most of the sectarian differences arise due to the narrow-minded literal interpretations of the words.

Man is destroyed by words, saved by meanings, said a Prophet.

The first ‘perished’ referring to the defeat of his plan and the second ‘perished’ is referring to the destruction of his person.

His amassed wealth and sons were of no use to him.

His wife supported and encouraged him in his opposition to Prophet. She was his partner in crime. She wanted him to amass his wealth so that she could wear the ornaments.

The fire-woods are her own actions which would burn her. What became the source of beauty for her also led to her disgrace.

This is reminder to the womenfolk who should be encouraging their men in the doing of good. Or else they would share the same fate in the end.


Islam can accommodate all the diversity of human thought. There is always space for the grey shade, besides just black and white. Truth is indeed absolute, but it is also a personal experience. It is not the monopoly of any particular bend of mind.

Muslims need to embrace Quran closer to their hearts. It would help them face the challenges in their lives. The Holy Book, which is itself filled with absolute self-confidence, will radiate the reader’s heart with the same force of thought.