During the time of our beloved Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) unbelievers used to insult the Prophet and wish nothing but evil for all Muslims. They plotted openly and secretly and conspired against Islam. They spread rumours to cause anguish and division among the Muslims. They uttered evil words about Allah's beloved Prophet Mohammad (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) and his highly dignified wives (mothers of the Muslims). Allah brought punishment for their rebellion, insults and infidelity either through natural disasters or through hands of the Muslims.
The insulting chiefs of the Quraish tribe in Mecca missed no opportunity to mock the Prophet of Allah (sallallaho alaihi wasallam). They used to call him 'Mudhammam' (meaning condemned and shameful one) by deliberately distorting his name. Once the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) said to his companions: "Are you not surprised at the insults of the Quraish which Allah turns away from me? They curse me and make fun of me by calling me 'Mudhammam' whereas I am Muhammad (the praised one)?"
The revelations then came concerning the wickedness of the Quraish and those who showed enmity and hatred to the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam). Many of their leaders perished in the battle of Badr. Abu Lahab, an uncle of the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam), also perished a week after Badr. He was one of the staunch enemies of Islam. He tried everything in his power to hurt and insult the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam). When the people of Mecca were invited by the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi was all am) to Islam for the first time, Abu Lahab picked up a heavy stone and hurled it at the prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam). Abu Lahab was inflicted with a deadly disease, the plague. According to the Arab custom of the time, such a person was not allowed to live in the house. He was, therefore, taken outside Mecca where he was left alone and uncared for to meet a slow, painful death. When he died his body lay unattended for several days in the scorching heat rotting and decomposing, giving out a horrible smell which spread far. Unable to bear the smell, the people finally dug a pit for him but nobody wanted to get near his decomposed body, much less touch it. It was shoved into the pit by means of long poles and then quickly covered with sand and stones to reduce the stench -a fitting disgraceful end for the enemy of Allah and his Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam).
Abu Lahab's wife, Umme Jamil, daughter of Harb Umayya and sister of Abu Sufyan, was a very cruel woman. She indulged in many acts that caused the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) mental anguish and physical harm. She used to throw thorns in the way where the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) used to walk at night. Once when she was carrying stones she said that if she found the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) she would smash his face with them. Then she sang a little poem in which she abused the Prophet of Allah (sallallaho alaihi wasallam). But soon thereafter, she met her evil end. She was strangled to death by a halter (rope) of palm-fibre around her neck exactly in the manner as the revelation from Allah had predicted in Surah Lahab:
"Tabbat-yadaa abi lahabin watab. Maa agh-na an-hu maa laahu wa maa kasab. Sayasla naa-ran zaata lahaabinw. Wam-raa aatuhuu hamma la-kal hatab. Fii jee-dihaa hab-loon min-masad."
'Abu Lahab will surely perish. His wealth and his worldly gains will not profit him for he will lose everything. He will be burnt and smashed in the blazing fire of hell. His wife, a carrier of firewood; a twisted rope of palm-leaf fibre is around her neck; the rope of slavery, humiliation and death in this world and the Hereafter. She will surely be hanged until her humiliation by violent death and burnt in the blazing fire in the Hereafter. "(Surah Lahab, 111: 1-5)
This revelation came with a general warning that any cruelty perpetrated against or insult to the Prophet (sallallaho alaihi wasallam) would bring about the ultimate ruin of the guilty person. In an introduction to the above Surah, a translator has stated: 'The person who rages against holy things is burnt up in his own rage. His hands, which are the instruments of his actions, perish and he punishes himself. No boasted wealth or position will serve him. The women, who are made of nobler emotions, may, if they go astray, feed unholy rage with fiercer feud to their own loss. For they may twist the torturing rope round their own neck. It is common experience that people perish by the very means by which they seek to destroy others.'