During this blessed month of Shahru Ramadan, we will meditate upon various Surahs of the Quran Majid, so that we can become closer to our holy book, during its month of revelation.
Two of Rasulullah’s (SAW) greatest enemies were his uncles Abu Lahab (LA) and Abu Jahal (LA).
When we look at Abu Lahab (LA), his real name was Abd-al Uzza, but he was known by everyone as Abu Lahab (LA). In Arabic culture, the father is often known as the father of the eldest son, for example Abu Mohammed. Abu Lahab (LA), however, did not have a son named Lahab and Abu Jahal (LA) did not have a son named Jahal.
Abu Lahab (LA) means father of fire and Abu Jahal (LA) means father of ignorance. In this meditation we will, in sha Allah, discuss why they were given these names.
Abu Lahab (LA) was a very wealthy and handsome man. His face was very bright, and the people of Makkah used to describe him as a ‘shining fire’, and as Lahab means fire, they used to call him Abu Lahab (LA).
Allah’s (SWT) hikmat is evident wherever we look and although Abu Lahab (LA) was named so because of his appearance, this name also demonstrated his character. Abu Lahab (LA) had a fiery character.
Just as Iblees (LA) was made from fire, Abu Lahab’s (LA) fiery character resonated with everything that we associate with the shaitan (LA).
Abu Lahab (LA) was quickly upset, quickly angered, a backbiter, he would conspire against people and quickly attack them, he would quickly destroy relationships of families and was one to quickly curses others. His aqhlaq and manners were the opposite of Rasulullah (SAW).
Likewise, Abu Jahal (LA) was the father of ignorance. Just as Ibless (LA) causes fire (like Abu Lahab (LA)), Ibless (LA) also causes ignorance, like Abu Jahal (LA).
Indeed, both of these titles were given by Allah (SWT), through the people of Makkah, to humiliate these two uncles of Rasulullah (SAW) that caused him so much trouble.
Just as Allah (SWT) gave them humiliation through their name, he also gave us a warning through their name, as well.
Allah (SWT) did not just call them Lahab and Jahal, he called them Abu Lahab (LA) and Abu Jahal (LA). They are the fathers and although none of their sons were called Lahab and Jahal by name, many people can be called the children of Lahab and Jahal by character.
How often do we see people who are of a fiery character and possess all of the qualities of Abu Lahab (LA)? How often do we see those who are so ignorant to the truth of Islam that they destroy the true message of Islam (especially from within the Muslim community itself) that they possess the same qualities as Abu Jahal?
This is why Allah (SWT) says in the very first aya, Tab bat yadaa abee Lahabinw-wa tabb (Perish the hands of the Father of Flame! Perish again). Firstly, Allah (SWT) is saying that Abu Lahab (LA) will perish and by saying perish again, Allah (SWT) is stating that his children (in characteristic) will also perish just as he has.
Just as many are fiery in character, many are ignorant and, this ignorance is the ignorance of Allah (SWT). Rasulullah (SAW) said that he who knows himself knows his Lord. However, how few of us know ourselves?
How many are chasing after this duniya like a child chases after a toy, instead of trying to know themselves by understanding the true meanings of the Quran Majid (not just the literal translation) and realising that we are nothing more than the servants of Allah (SWT)?
In Shahre Ramadan, we purposefully try to avoid the characteristics of Abu Lahab (LA) and Abu Jahal (LA), by controlling our behaviour so that it is not fiery, and our actions are not those of jahannum, and we also strive to know ourselves and our Lord through ibadat, through becoming closer to the Quran Majid and through purifying our intention.
May Allah (SWT) give us the strength and understanding to continue this throughout the year, so that our behaviour and character follows the example of Rasulullah (SAW) and our ignorance is removed by understanding ourselves and our Lord. Aamin.