“Woe to every slanderer and backbiter who has gathered wealth and counted it. He thinks that his wealth will make him last forever! Nay! Verily, he will be thrown into the crushing fire. And what will make you know what the crushing fire is? The fire of Allah, kindled, which leaps up over the hearts. Verily, it shall be closed upon them in pillars stretched forth (i.e. they will be punished in the fire with pillars.)” (Al-Humazah 104:1-9)
Surat Al-Humazah describes the worst condition of Hell and its enormity. It presents a lowly character who thrives on slandering (Humazah) and backbiting (Lumazah) others. Allah (swt) warns him of the worst possible destruction because this person was a fault picker. He slandered others, impacting their self-esteem negatively.
The word ‘Humazah’ has its roots in a sharp nail that is used to poke a horse to make it gallop. And it is the devil’s deed to keep poking man with evil thoughts until he acts upon it. It means to be a gossip monger and a scorner in the absence of the victim.
The word ‘Lumazah’ means to taunt and belittle on the face. According to Ibn Abbas (rtam), the action crushes the worth of the other. It could be a gesture, a chuckle, an insult, a subliminal remark, or a direct hit at someone.
This corrupt mindset is so common in homes, educational institutes, markets, and workplaces that slandering is not even considered to be a sin. But one comment can shatter someone’s life forever. Parents and teachers are also not exempted from this behavior. Neither Tarbiyah nor teaching comes with taunts.
Islam wants a dignified society. The honour of a Mumin is higher than the honour of the Kabah. And when someone decides to dishonor a Mumin and does not repent and mend his ways, the culprit’s final abode is ‘Al-Hutamah’ or the crushing fire. This fire will initially crush him into pieces, burn his body, next leap into his heart, and finally he will be sealed into the chambers of blazing flames forever. He would wish for death which will never come to him.
Only the Quran teaches us how to treat a person and where to place him. As Mumineen, we are to value ourselves and respect others too. This is being a great human.