Ayah 1 – 2
This Surah was revealed in the early stages of Islam when people were just accepting this new religion. The words chosen in this Surah depict how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala teaches the fundamental beliefs of Islam and in so doing creates an impression on the minds of those who are new to Islam.
وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةٍ
“Woe to every Humazah Lumazah.”
Al-Hammaz refers to slander by speech, and Al-Lammaz refers to slander by action. This means that the person finds fault with people and belittles them. Ibn `Abbas said, “Humazah Lumazah means one who reviles and disgraces (others).” Mujahid said, “Al-Humazah is with the hand and the eye, and Al-Lumazah is with the tongue.”
Here, the words humazat il-lumazat mean that it has become a practice with the slanderer that he insults and holds others in contempt habitually. He raises his finger and winks at one man, finds fault with the lineage and person of another, taunts one in the face and backbites another; creates differences between friends and stirs up divisions between brothers; calls the people names and satirizes and defames them.
الَّذِى جَمَعَ مَالاً وَعَدَّدَهُ
“Who has gathered wealth and counted it.”
meaning, he gathers it piling some of it on top of the rest and he counts it up. This is similar to Allah’s saying in Surah Al-Maarij ayah 18, “And collected and hoarded.” This was said by As-Suddi and Ibn Jarir.
Muhammad bin Ka`b said concerning Allah’s statement,
جَمَعَ مَالاً وَعَدَّدَهُ
“His wealth occupies his time in the day, going from this to that. Then when the night comes he sleeps like a rotting corpse.”
This second Ayah right after the first Ayah by itself gives the meaning that he slanders others because of his pride of wealth. The words jama `a malan for collecting money suggest the abundance of wealth; then the words “counting it over and over again” depict the person’s miserliness and his selfish hoarding of wealth.
Ayah 3 – 4
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says next in Ayah 3,
يَحْسَبُ أَنَّ مَالَهُ أَخْلَدَهُ
“He thinks that his wealth will make him last forever!”
meaning, he thinks that gathering wealth will make him last forever in this abode (the worldly life). Another meaning also can be: “He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal.” That is, he is so engrossed in amassing wealth and counting it over and over again that he has forgotten death and he never bothers to consider that a time will come when he will have to depart from the world empty-handed, leaving everything behind.
meaning, the matter is not as he claims, nor as he reckons. Then Allah says,
لَيُنبَذَنَّ فِى الْحُطَمَةِ
“Verily, he will be thrown into Al-Hutamah.”
meaning, the person who gathered wealth and counted it, will be thrown into Al-Hutamah, which is one of the descriptive names of the Hellfire.
Nabdh in Arabic is used for throwing away a thing regarding it as worthless and meaningless. This by itself indicates that because of his wealth he thinks that he is a great man but on the Day of Resurrection he will be hurled into Hell as a mean and contemptible object.
The word hutamah in the original is from hatm, which means to smash, crush and break into pieces. Hell has been described by this label because it will crush and break to pieces whatever is thrown into it because of its depth and its fire. It crushes whoever is in it.