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Role of Abu Lahab in the earlier days of Islam

The Quran specifically names Abu Lahab in a surah lahab
Explore the life of Abu Lahab, Muhammad’s uncle, from his birth to his vehement opposition to Islam. Despite familial ties, Abu Lahab’s stubbornness led to his downfall, marked by ridicule, boycott, and a gruesome death. The narrative emphasizes humility and truth-seeking over prideful resistance to enlightenment.

Early Life and Family

Abu Lahab’s Character and Appearance

Abu Lahab, one of the most prominent opponents in the early history of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), was born in 549 CE in Mecca. His original name, ‘Abd al-Uzza,’ was a testament to his dedication to the goddess al-Uzza. However, his father named him Abu Lahab, meaning “Father of Flame.” This name was given due to his striking appearance; he had red, inflamed cheeks, and his father found him very beautiful and charming. He was often described as stylish and well-groomed, and he was always seen wearing an Aden cloak, which added to his stunning appearance. He was married to Arwa bint Ḥarb, who was known for her opposition to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and also for a poem.

Upbringing and Early Days

Abu Lahab was the paternal uncle of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). His father, Abdul Muttalib, was the leader of the Hashim clan, and Abu Lahab grew up in Makkah, a bustling center of business and the Hajj pilgrimage. As a young man, he accompanied his father and uncles on business expeditions to various prominent civilizations, including Yemen, Syria, Abyssinia, and Persia. These journeys helped him develop his trading and business skills, eventually leading him to become a wealthy and intelligent businessman.

Wife of Abu Lahab

Arwa bint Ḥarb, also known as Umm Jamīl, was the wife of Abu Lahab and the sister of Abu Sufyan. She is mentioned in the Quran and was an aunt of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUM. Despite being very close to the Prophet (SAW), they misused their power and wealth. They never attempted to understand the message of the Prophet (PBUM). When the Prophet (SAW) and the Muslim community were progressing towards the Kaaba. They threw obstacles in their way and attempted to hinder their progress. Their lives were filled with uncontrolled anger, hatred, cruel schemes, and unjust actions. As punishment for the harm they caused the Muslims, their punishment was similar to the harm they caused.

Surah Lahab

Surah Lahab, also known as Surah Al-Masad, is the 111th chapter of the Quran, which has a total of five verses. Abu Lahab is the only enemy of Islam who is directly cursed by name in the Holy Qur’an. When the Holy Prophet (SAW) climbed Mount Safa and addressed the crew and his clansmen, saying: “O Banu ‘Abd Al-Muttalib, O Banu Fihr, O Banu Lu’ay; would you believe me if I say that there is an enemy at the foot of this mountain behind, ready to launch an attack on you”; will you believe me?” They said: “Yes. You are Al-Ameen (trustworthy) and Al-Sadiq (truthful); we have never seen you speak lies. Soon, he declared Prophethood.

The people dispersed, murmuring silently, but Abu Lahab blew on his hands and said, “May you perish! Is this what you gathered us for?” He refused to accept anything Prophet Muhammad (PBUM) said. Then, Allah (SWT) revealed a declaration about Abu Lahab through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Surah Lahab revealed for Abu Lahah and his wife Arwa bint Harb.

Surah lahab recounts the punishments that Abū Lahab and his wife will suffer in Hell.
  1. May the hands of Abu Lahab perish, may he (himself) perish. “
  2. His wealth avails him not, neither what he had earned.”
  3. Soon will he roast in a flaming fire,”
  4. And his wife, the bearer of the firewood,”
  5. Upon her neck a rope of twisted palm-fibre.” (Surah Lahab)

After the Revelation of Surah Al-Masad

Abu Lahab had married two of his sons to the daughters of Prophet Muḥammad (SAW), ‘Utbah to Ruqayyah and Utaybah to Umm Kulthum. However, the marriages were never completed. After the announcement of Surah Al-Masad, Abu Lahab told his sons: “My head is unlawful to your head if you do not divorce Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) daughters.” They, therefore, divorced them. Abu Lahab’s daughter Durrah was at some stage married to Zayd ibn Haritha al-Kalbi. Who was at that time regarded as Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) son, and they were later divorced, but the timing of this marriage and divorce is not known. Later, she married Ḥārith ibn Naufal of Banu Hāshim, and after his death, she married Dihya ibn Khalifa.

Later, the Prophet’s first daughter was married to Hazrat Uthman bin Affan (RA), the third caliph of Islam. Hazrat Uthman (RA) married the Prophet’s (SAW) other daughter when one passed away.

Abu Lahab’s family conversion to Islam

Abu Lahab’s elder son, Utba, embraced Islam after the conquest of Makkah. He was well received by the Holy Prophet (SAW). He spent his life as a good Muslim and received the honorable title of Sahabi. Abu Lahab’s daughter Durrah also embraced Islam and became a narrator of Hadith. She narrated a Hadith, which has been reported by Imam Ahmad Hanbal in his Musnad: “A man got up and asked the Prophet (SAW), ‘Who is the best of the people?’ He answered, ‘The best of the people is the most learned, most God-fearing, most to be enjoining virtue, most to be prohibiting vice, and the most to be joining the kin.'”

Acts of Abu Lahab as an Opposition

Abu Lahab intensely opposed Islam. He tried to actively work against Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his teachings. Abu Lahab openly ridiculed and mocked Prophet Muhammad (PBUM), spreading false stories and insulting remarks about him. Abu Lahab also tried to stop the spread of Islam by urging people not to convert and to oppose Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He never embraced Islam and remained steadfast in his opposition until he died.

Opposition to First Open Preaching

He strongly opposed Islam right from the start. After secretly inviting people to Islam for three years, Allah Almighty commanded Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to openly call his household and the tribal leaders to accept Islam. He climbed Mount Safa and called out. He gathered all his family members from the Quraysh and addressed them, saying, “O people!” If I were to tell you that behind this hill, I see an army coming to attack you, would you believe me?” So they all said, “Yes, of course we would believe you; we do not know you to be a liar.” ” If that is so, then know that I am warning you of a great punishment that will come from Allah (SWT) if you do not believe in Him. Abu Lahab, present among them, rudely said, “Perish you! Did you gather us for this?”

On the first day, when the Prophet (SAW) announced his Prophethood and invited people to Islam, it was a great shock. This disrespectful and rude statement was the reason that Allah (SWT) revealed Surah Lahab.

Opposition in Dhul Majaz Market

One day, Prophet Muhammad (PBUM) visited the Dhul Majaz market to spread the message of Islam. He preached, “Say there is no god worthy of worship except Allah Almighty, and you will be successful.” Some people gathered to listen, but Abu Lahab called him a liar and warned others not to listen. Accusing him of abandoning their religion. Throughout the day, Abu Lahab followed him wherever Prophet Muhammad (SAW) went in the market, trying to keep people away from him. Abu Lahab’s behavior showed how wicked and heartless he was.

Boycott

Abu Lahab, along with other leaders of the Quraysh crew, imposed a boycott on the Muslims. This boycott was meant to isolate and weaken them. The Muslims faced a lack of trade, communication, and social interaction with the rest of Meccan society. This was very tough on them, as they were forced to live in complete isolation without access to necessities like food, water, and other essential items.

Abu Lahab was against the rise of Islam in Mecca, and he showed his animosity towards the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his followers in many ways. He hurled insults and spread lies about them, which caused a lot of harm to the Muslims.

Despite all the suffering, the Muslims remained steadfast in their faith, and their resilience eventually led to the boycott being lifted. Abu Lahab’s efforts to weaken Islam were in vain, as the religion continued to spread in Mecca and beyond. Abu Lahab’s actions have made him one of the most notorious opponents of Islam in history, whose animosity and bigotry towards Muslims have become a symbol of intolerance and oppression.

Battle of Badr

Abu Lahab was unable to participate in the Battle of Badr. He was sitting in a large tent near the Kaaba when he heard about the battle. When informed about the “men in white turbans between the heavens and the earth” who aided the Muslims and fought against the disbelievers. He was deeply disturbed. Umm Al-Fadl, Abbas’s wife, and Abu Rafi, Abbas’s servant, were among those who heard this news in the corner of the tent. They were both Muslims who kept their faith concealed except for a few.

If you want to learn more about the Battle of Badr. Click on the given link The Significance of the Battle of Badr

However, Abu Rafi couldn’t contain his joy after hearing the news of the Prophet’s (SAW) victory. Upon hearing about the “men in white turbans,” he exclaimed, “By Allah Almighty, those were angels!” This angered Abu Lahab immensely. He grabbed Abu Rafi, struck his face, threw him to the ground, kneed him, and repeatedly hit him. Umm Al-Fadl then lifted a wooden solid peg from the tent and struck Abu Lahab on the head with all her might, severely injuring him.

How did Abu Lahab die?

According to Islamic sources, Lubaba wounded Abu Lahab so severely that his head was split open, laying bare part of his skull. The wound turned septic, and his entire body erupted into open pustules. He died a week later. This would have been in late March 624. The smell from Abu Lahab’s wound was so repulsive that nobody could come near him. His family left his decaying body in his home for two or three nights until a neighbor rebuked them. “It is disgraceful. You should be ashamed of leaving your father to rot in his house and not bury him from the sight of men!” They then sent in slaves to remove his body. It was watered from a distance. Then pushed with poles into a grave outside Mecca, and stones were thrown over it.

Conclusion

This blog highlights the results of being stubborn, arrogant, and resisting the truth. Even though Abu Lahab was closely related to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he refused to accept Islam and fought against it. His actions, like mocking and spreading false rumors, showed his ignorance. The Quran specifically names surah Lahab for Abu Lahab, condemning his disbelief and foretelling his punishment in the afterlife. From this, we learn the importance of being open-minded, humble, and seeking truth rather than stubbornly opposing it due to pride or ignorance.

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