The Reason for Revelation
It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Dharr swore that this Ayah —
(These two opponents dispute with each other about their Lord;) was revealed concerning Hamzah and his two companions, and `Utbah and his two companions, on the day of Badr when they came forward to engage in single combat. This is the wording of Al-Bukhari in his Tafsir of this Ayah. Then Al-Bukhari recorded that `Ali bin Abi Talib said, “I will be the first one to kneel down before the Most Merciful so that the dispute may be settled on the Day of Resurrection.” Qays (sub-narrator) said, “Concerning them the Ayah was revealed:
(These two opponents dispute with each other about their Lord;) He (Qays) said, “They are the ones who came forward (for single combat) on the day of Badr: `Ali, Hamzah and `Ubaydah vs., Shaybah bin Rabi`ah, `Utbah bin Rabi`ah and Al-Walid bin `Utbah.” This was reported only by Al-Bukhari. Ibn Abi Najih reported that Mujahid commented on this Ayah, “Such as the disbeliever and the believer disputing about the Resurrection.” According to one report Mujahid and `Ata’ commented on this Ayah, “This refers to the believers and the disbelievers.” The view of Mujahid and `Ata’ that this refers to the disbelievers and the believers, includes all opinions, the story of Badr as well as the others. For the believers want to support the religion of Allah, while the disbelievers want to extinguish the light of faith and to defeat the truth and cause falsehood to prevail. This was the view favored by Ibn Jarir, and it is good.
The Punishment of the Disbelievers
(then as for those who disbelieved, garments of fire will be cut out for them,) meaning, pieces of fire will be prepared for them. Sa`id bin Jubayr said: “Of copper, for it is the hottest of things when it is heated.” n
(boiling water will be poured down over their heads. With it will melt (or vanish away) what is within their bellies, as well as (their) skins.) meaning, when the boiling water –which is water that has been heated to the ultimate degree- is poured down over their heads. Ibn Jarir recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said:
(The boiling water will be poured over their heads and will penetrate their skulls until it reaches what is inside, and what is inside will melt until it reaches their feet. This is the melting, then he will be restored to the state he was before.) It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said it is Hasan Sahih. This was also recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim, who then recorded that `Abdullah bin As-Sariy said, “The angel will come to him, carrying the vessel with a pair of tongs because of its heat. When he brings it near to his face, he will shy away from it. He will raise a hammer that he is carrying and will strike his head with it, and his brains will spill out, then he will pour the brains back into his head. This is what Allah says in the Ayah:
(With it will melt what is within their bellies, as well as (their) skins.)”
(And for them are hooked rods of iron.) Ibn `Abbas said, “They will be struck with them, and with each blow, a limb will be severed, and they will cry out for oblivion.”
(Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein,) Al-A`mash reported from Abu Zibiyan that Salman said, “The fire of Hell is black and dark; its flames and coals do not glow or shine.” Then he recited:
(Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein,)
(“Taste the torment of burning!”) This is like the Ayah:
(and it will be said to them: “Taste you the torment of the Fire which you used to deny.”) 32:20. The meaning is that they will be humiliated by words and actions.