¡ Woe unto every slandering backbiter
1 Woe translates wayl, which indicates that punishment or destruction will befall them (Sh), and is taken by some as the name of a valley in Hell (Ṭ), in which case the verse could be rendered, “[The valley of] Wayl is for every slandering backbiter” (see 2:79c). According to Mujāhid, humazah, here translated slandering, refers to harm done to others with one’s hands and eyes, while lumazah, here translated backbiter, refers to harm done with one’s tongue (IK). According to others, humazah indicates any form of calumny, while lumazah indicates verbal reproach and accusation (Ṭ). Yet others maintain the opposite, stating that lumazah literally means to eat the flesh of others (Ṭ; regarding backbiting, see 49:12). Despite the different interpretations, all point to the moral decrepitude of those who slander others whether in public or in private. It can also be taken as a more general rebuke to any who are more concerned with the faults of others than with their own (Aj).