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|Abū lahab ibn 'Abd al-Muṭṭalib
|ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib
|c. 624 (aged 74-75)
|Major Chief of Quraysh
|Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib
|Umm Jamil bint Harb
|Utaybah bin Abu Lahab
Utbah ibn Abi Lahab
Mutaib bin Abu Lahab
Durrah bint Abu Lahab
Uzzā bint Abu Lahab
Khālida bint Abi Lahab
|Abdul Muttalib (father)
Lubnā bint Hājar (mother)
Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib
Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib
Abu Lahab ibn 'Abdul Muttalib (أبو لهب) was a half paternal uncle of Muhammad, a leader of the Quraysh, and a staunch critic of Islam. He is one of the few Arabs alive during Muhammad's period of revelations to be mentioned by name in the Qur'an.
In the Qur'an
The 111st chapter of the Qur'an is variously titled Masad and Lahab, and is entirely about the fiery fate of Abu Lahab and his wife.
His wealth and gains will not exempt him.
He will be plunged in flaming Fire,
And his wife, the wood-carrier,Will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre.
The following Hadith provide historical context for the revelation of Surah 111:
Allegedly falsifiable prophecy
Sometimes it is claimed that Abu Lahab could have destroyed the credibility of Muhammad and the Quran by converting or pretending to do so after the above-quoted surah had been revealed. However, critics point out that there are two obvious flaws in this suggestion. Firstly, the surah does not state that Abu Lahab will never believe, but only that he is destined to be plunged into hell when he dies, which is unfalsifiable. If instead the prophecy is taken to imply Abu Lahab's continuing non-belief, then the believers would have called his bluff if he claimed to believe. They would simply ask Abu Lahab, "How can you possibly believe in the truth of a book which contains a prophecy that you will never do so?" Indeed, interpreted as a prophecy about his continuing non-belief, it is self-fulfilling. His conversion would automatically negate the book he would claim to now believe in, making such a belief impossible for him.
Abu Lahab's wife Umm Jamil bint Harb (أم جميل بنت حرب) finds mention in the following narration:
Abu Lahab's daughter Durrah and son 'Utbah both converted to Islam.
'Utbah married Muhammad's daughter Ruqayyah, and Utaibah, another one of Abu Lahab's sons, married Muhammad's daughter Umm Kulthum. However, neither marriage was consummated. Abu Lahab's daughter Durrah married Muhammad's adopted son Zaid ibn Haritha, though this marriage ended in divorce. It is not known when this divorce occurred, but Durrah later married Ḥārith ibn Naufal of Banu Hāshim and, when he died, married she married Dihya ibn Khalifa.
Freeing his slave girl Thuwayba, Muhammad's wet-nurse
Abu Lahab is also noted for having freed Muhammad's wet-nurse, who had previously been Abu Lahab's slave:
- Ibn Saad/Bewley vol. 8 p. 25.
- Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 3. Translated by Bewley, A. (2013). The Companions of Badr p. 32. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
- Ibn Saad/Bewley vol. 8 p. 37.