It was a fundamental Arab goal to have sons. Father and sons would raid other tribes. Fathers considered their daughters a burden because they could not fight and risked falling into enemy hands, which would tarnish the tribes honour. This mindset caused the Makkan men to assume that Islam would endure only in name after the Prophet’s death as he had no son to protect his legacy.
The Prophet (pbuh) had a son called Ibraheem, born to Maria Qibtiyya who died when he was 18 months old. His two sons from Sayyida Khadija (Qasim & Tahir) had also died in infancy. Some people including his uncle Abu Lahab taunted him, calling him ‘Abtar’ which means an animal without a tail – one who had no succession.
The pain of losing his son was extenuated by those who celebrated saying his legacy would die with him. This chapter was revealed in reply to those who taunted the Prophet (pbuh) and gives consolation to him and expounds on the immense favours given to him which would be timeless and immeasurable. His succession and legacy of the Ahlulbayt through Sayyida Fatima, the Qur’an and the stream of Kawthar in Janna.