Summary of Quran Chapter 80 Surah ‘Abasa, He Frowned

The initial verses of Surah ‘Abasa mention a specific incident. This event is described in the books of Seerah (Prophetic biography) as follows: On one occasion, several prominent leaders of the Quraysh (including ‘Utbah, Shaybah, Abu Jahl, Umayyah bin Khalaf, Walid bin Mughira, and Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, among others) were sitting with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and he was trying to persuade them to accept Islam.

At the very moment when he was engaged in conversation with them, a blind companion, Abdullah bin Umm Makhtum (may Allah be pleased with him), came and, without observing the etiquette of the gathering, tried to attract the Prophet’s attention. 


Surah Abasa


He was saying, “O Messenger of Allah, guide me.” “O Messenger of Allah, teach me from what Allah has taught you.” What he should have done was to understand the situation and wait for the Prophet to finish his conversation. Obviously, he could not see, but he could hear that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was engaged in a conversation.

Nevertheless, due to his repeated interruptions, some signs of displeasure appeared on the blessed face of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Consequently, these verses were revealed.

Some people, considering the exalted status of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), have attempted to interpret these verses differently, believing that such an incident was impossible. However, there is no doubt that this incident occurred exactly as described in these verses.

To understand the real essence and logic of this matter, it is fundamentally important to keep in mind that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was always trying to adopt the best possible methods and approaches, within human capacity, to fulfill his prophetic duties.

In the tribal society of Arabia, the most effective way to advance the mission of preaching was to attract the prominent leaders of the important tribes to Islam. Consequently, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) continuously made efforts for this purpose, repeatedly inviting the leaders of the Quraysh in various ways and also praying for their guidance.

He considered this matter so significant that on one occasion, he made a very unusual supplication with great fervor, asking Allah to strengthen Islam through either ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab or Amr bin Hisham (Abu Jahl). Clearly, if any of the influential people in society embraced faith, their conversion would be far more impactful than that of hundreds of ordinary individuals.

Because of such a prominent figure, the overall Islamic movement would gain strength, and the suffering of the poor and helpless believers in Mecca, who were subjected to constant persecution, would be alleviated to some extent.

Thus, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) placed special importance on his meetings with the influential people of Mecca, and at the time of the aforementioned incident, he considered his conversation with the leaders of the Quraysh significant for this reason.

Additionally, there is a logical and natural aspect to this matter: sometimes, those within the community are given less priority compared to outsiders because they understand the situation and therefore do not take offense at being temporarily overlooked.

After all, a Prophet is also a human being, and from the perspective of human psychology and emotions, it is clear that Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) reaction to the incident was entirely natural and aimed at a higher purpose. The higher a person’s status in the sight of Allah, the higher the standard of character and actions expected of them.

Regarding these verses, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself used the word “rebuke.” It is narrated that after the revelation of these verses, whenever Abdullah bin Umm Makhtum (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the Prophet, he would address him and say: “Welcome to the one on whose account my Lord rebuked me.” (مَرْحَبًا بِمَنْ عَاتَبَنِى فِيْهِ رَبِّي )

Considering all these aspects related to the incident, the entire matter becomes easily understandable, and there is no need to seek alternative interpretations of the relevant verses.

Surah ‘Abasa He Frowned Hadith

Chapter: Regarding Surat ‘Abasa

Aishah narrated:

[“He frowned and turned away” was revealed about Ibn Umm Makhtum the blind man. He came to the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Guide me.’ At that time, there was a revered man from the idolaters with the Messenger of Allah. So the Messenger of Allah turned away from him and faced the other man, saying: ‘Do you think that there is something wrong with what I am saying?’ He said: ‘No.’ So it was about that that it was revealed.”  (He frowned and turned away,) (80:1).]

Reference: Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3331

In-book reference: Book 47, Hadith 383

English translation: Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3331. (Dr. Israr Ahmed Opinion, an Islamic Scholar)

Chapter 80 of the Quran, titled “He Frowned” (Arabic: عبس, ‘Abasa), addresses a moment when Prophet Muhammad frowned and turned away from a blind man, Abdullah ibn Umm-Makhtum, who had approached him seeking guidance. The chapter rebukes the Prophet for prioritizing the attention of wealthy and influential people over someone who earnestly sought to learn about Islam.

It emphasizes the importance of treating all individuals with respect and compassion, regardless of their social status. The chapter serves as a reminder that everyone is equal in the eyes of God (Allah Almighty) and that the message of Islam is meant for all humanity. It stresses the significance of humility, the value of sincere seekers of knowledge, and the need to prioritize spiritual over worldly concerns.