In The Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace.
104:1 Woe unto every slanderer, fault-finder!
i.e., everyone who maliciously tries to uncover real or imaginary faults in others.
104:2 [Woe unto him] who amasses wealth and counts it a safeguard.
This repetitive interpolation is necessary because the blameworthy attitude spoke of in verses 2-3 obviously belongs to a category entirely different from the two mentioned in verse 1.
104:3 Thinking that his wealth will make him live forever!
This is a metonym for the tendency to attribute an almost “religious” value to the acquisition and possession of material goods and facilities – a tendency which precludes man from giving any real importance to spiritual considerations (cf. note 1 on 102:1). My rendering of ‘addadahu in the preceding verse as “[he] counts it a safeguard” is based on Jawhari’s explanation of this term.
104:4 Nay, but [in the life to come such as] he shall indeed be abandoned to crushing torment!
Al-hutamah – one of several metaphors for the otherworldly suffering comprised within the concept of “hell’” (see note 33 on 15:43-44).
104:5 And what could make thee conceive what that crushing torment will be?
i.e., originating in their hearts – thus clearly alluding to the spiritual nature of the “fire” in the sinners’ belated realization of their guilt.
104:6 A fire kindled by God.
Lit., “in extended columns”, i.e., overwhelming with despair.
104:7 Which will rise over the [guilty] hearts.
104:8 Verily, it will close in upon them.
104:9 In endless columns!