Who is the person mentioned in verses 11-26 of the chapter of al-Muddaththir?

Details of the Question

Who is the person mentioned in verses 11-26 of the chapter of al-Muddaththir?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Chapter of al-Muddaththir, verses 11 – 30:

11. Leave Me alone, (to deal) with the (creature) whom I created (bare and) alone!- 12. To whom I granted resources in abundance, 13. And sons to be by his side!- 14. To whom I made (life) smooth and comfortable! 15. Yet is he greedy-that I should add (yet more);- 16.       By no means! For to Our Signs he has been refractory! 17. Soon will I visit him with a mount of calamities! 18.       For he thought and he plotted;- 19. And woe to him! How he plotted!- 20. Yea, Woe to him; How he plotted!- 21. Then he looked round; 22. Then he frowned and he scowled; 23. Then he turned back and was haughty; 24. Then said he: "This is nothing but magic, derived from of old; 25. "This is nothing but the word of a mortal!" 26.         Soon will I cast him into Hell-Fire! 27. And what will explain to thee what Hell-Fire is? 28. Naught doth it permit to endure, and naught doth it leave alone!- 29. Darkening and changing the color of man! 30. Over it are Nineteen.

The Explanation of the verses:

11-17. Tafsir scholars say that those verses were sent down for the Makkan polytheist, Walid b. Mughira. (see Tabari, XXIX, 96; Shawkani, V, 376) For, Walid was one of the notables of Quraysh and he had a lot of sons; he was very rich; however, instead of thanking Allah for the boons He granted him, he acted ungratefully toward Allah and the Prophet; he was one of the leaders of those who wanted to eliminate Islam. 

Allah's order "Leave Me alone, (to deal) with the (creature) whom I created (bare and) alone" are interpreted in two ways:

a) Leave that person, whom I created as weak and alone in his mother’s womb; you do not have to cope with him; I will punish him.

b) Leave me alone with him. I will cope with him and punish him as it is necessary. (see Shawkani, V, 376)

Although the verse was sent down about Walid b. Mughira, its purpose is general and gives the following message: It is one of the most simple ethical duties and a necessity of the mind and justice to thank for boons and to be grateful to the owner of boons. We become grateful to an ordinary person for his ordinary help and thank him; it is definitely ingratitude not to be grateful to Allah and not to thank Him who grants us life, whatever we own and all kinds of material and spiritual boons and facilities; it is the biggest and most severe ingratitude and injustice to lead denial, polytheism and oppression along with denying Allah’s existence and oneness.

18-30. According to a narration, the polytheists asked Walid b. Mughira how they should act toward the Prophet (pbuh) and the Quran, which he conveyed to people; after thinking for a while, he advised them to tell people that the Prophet (pbuh) was a magician and that the Quran was a magic transferred from the previous magicians and a human word. In verses 18-25, those who display an attitude to deny the Quran like Walid b. Mughira are condemned; in verses 26-30, the otherworldly penalty they deserve in the hereafter is summarized. (see Diyanet Tefsiri, Kur’an Yolu: V/420)

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