Assalamualaikum.

Surah Mutaffifin (Arabic: سورة المطففين‎) is the 83rd Surah of the Quran titled “The Defrauders” or “The Cheats”. It is classified as a Meccan Surah meaning it’s revelation was before Muhammad (ﷺ) migrated from Mecca to Medina with his followers. It is composed of 36 ayat (verses).

This Surah opens with a beautiful lesson for the entire Ummah. Although specifically mentioning tradesmen, it’s a lesson we can all apply to our lives. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sends a warning to trades people who are happy to receive payment in full but only deliver partially. They view themselves as “optimizers” but really are fraudulent or cheaters looking to take advantage of a situation. This was becoming prevalent practice in Mecca which is why there was such a need for a clear and strong message.

This applies to every aspect of life, we should all strive to give more than we receive. To have integrity and do more than others expect of us. It’s quite rare trait these days and the bar to excel has been set very low. The wrong perspective is to look for shortcuts in which we try to do less yet expect to receive more. 

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Read Surah Mutaffifin With Transliteration

Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

وَيْلٌ لِلْمُطَفِّفِينَ

Wailul lil mutaffifeen
1. Woe to those who give less [than due],

الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ

Allatheena itha iktalooAAala annasi yastawfoon
2. Who, when they take a measure from people, take in full.

وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَوْ وَزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ

Wa izaa kaaloohum aw wazanoohum yukhsiroon
3. But if they give by measure or by weight to them, they cause loss.

أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُولَٰئِكَ أَنَّهُمْ مَبْعُوثُونَ

Alaa yazunnu ulaaa’ika annahum mab’oosoon
4. Do they not think that they will be resurrected

لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ

Li Yawmin ‘Azeem
5. For a tremendous Day –

يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Yawma yaqoomun naasu li Rabbil ‘aalameen
6. The Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds?

كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْفُجَّارِ لَفِي سِجِّينٍ

Kallaaa inna kitaabal fujjaari lafee Sijjeen
7. No! Indeed, the record of the wicked is in sijjeen.

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا سِجِّينٌ

Wama adraka ma sijjeen
8. And what can make you know what is sijjeen?

كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ

Kitaabum marqoom
9. It is [their destination recorded in] a register inscribed.

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُكَذِّبِينَ

Waylun yawma-ithin lilmukaththibeen
10. Woe, that Day, to the deniers,

الَّذِينَ يُكَذِّبُونَ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ

Allazeena yukazziboona bi yawmid deen
11. Who deny the Day of Recompense.

وَمَا يُكَذِّبُ بِهِ إِلَّا كُلُّ مُعْتَدٍ أَثِيمٍ

Wa maa yukazzibu biheee illaa kullu mu’tadin aseem
12. And none deny it except every sinful transgressor.

إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا قَالَ أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

Izaa tutlaa’alaihi aayaatunaa qaala asaateerul awwaleen
13. When Our verses are recited to him, he says, “Legends of the former peoples.”

كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ ۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

Kalla bal rana AAalaquloobihim ma kanoo yaksiboon
14. No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning.

كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَنْ رَبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَمَحْجُوبُونَ

Kallaaa innahum ‘ar Rabbihim yawma’izil lamah jooboon
15. No! Indeed, from their Lord, that Day, they will be partitioned.

ثُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ لَصَالُو الْجَحِيمِ

Thumma innahum lasaloo aljaheem
16. Then indeed, they will [enter and] burn in Hellfire.

ثُمَّ يُقَالُ هَٰذَا الَّذِي كُنْتُمْ بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ

Summa yuqaalu haazal lazee kuntum bihee tukazziboon
17. Then it will be said [to them], “This is what you used to deny.”

كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْأَبْرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ

Kallaaa inna kitaabal abraari lafee’Illiyyeen
18. No! Indeed, the record of the righteous is in ‘illiyyun.

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا عِلِّيُّونَ

Wa maaa adraaka maa ‘Illiyyoon
19. And what can make you know what is ‘illiyyun?

كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ

Kitabun marqoom
20. It is [their destination recorded in] a register inscribed

يَشْهَدُهُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ

Yashhadu hul muqarra boon
21. Which is witnessed by those brought near [to Allah].

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ

Innal abraara lafee Na’eem
22. Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure

عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنْظُرُونَ

AAala al-ara-iki yanthuroon
23. On adorned couches, observing.

تَعْرِفُ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ نَضْرَةَ النَّعِيمِ

Ta’rifu fee wujoohihim nadratan na’eem
24. You will recognize in their faces the radiance of pleasure.

يُسْقَوْنَ مِنْ رَحِيقٍ مَخْتُومٍ

Yusqawna mir raheeqim makhtoom
25. They will be given to drink [pure] wine [which was] sealed.

خِتَامُهُ مِسْكٌ ۚ وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ

Khitamuhu miskun wafee thalikafalyatanafasi almutanafisoon
26. The last of it is musk. So for this let the competitors compete.

وَمِزَاجُهُ مِنْ تَسْنِيمٍ

Wa mizaajuhoo min Tasneem
27. And its mixture is of Tasneem,

عَيْنًا يَشْرَبُ بِهَا الْمُقَرَّبُونَ

AAaynan yashrabu biha almuqarraboon
28. A spring from which those near [to Allah] drink.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ

Innal lazeena ajramoo kaanoo minal lazeena aamanoo yadhakoon
29. Indeed, those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed.

وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ

Wa-itha marroo bihim yataghamazoon
30. And when they passed by them, they would exchange derisive glances.

وَإِذَا انْقَلَبُوا إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِمُ انْقَلَبُوا فَكِهِينَ

Wa izan qalabooo ilaaa ahlihimun qalaboo fakiheen
31. And when they returned to their people, they would return jesting.

وَإِذَا رَأَوْهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ لَضَالُّونَ

Wa-itha raawhum qaloo inna haola-iladalloon
32. And when they saw them, they would say, “Indeed, those are truly lost.”

وَمَا أُرْسِلُوا عَلَيْهِمْ حَافِظِينَ

Wa maaa ursiloo ‘alaihim haafizeen
33. But they had not been sent as guardians over them.

فَالْيَوْمَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ يَضْحَكُونَ

Falyawma allatheena amanoomina alkuffari yadhakoon
34. So Today those who believed are laughing at the disbelievers,

عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنْظُرُونَ

‘Alal araaa’iki yanzuroon
35. On adorned couches, observing.

هَلْ ثُوِّبَ الْكُفَّارُ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ

Hal suwwibal kuffaaru maa kaanoo yaf’aloon
36. Have the disbelievers [not] been rewarded [this Day] for what they used to do?

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Tafseer Surah Mutaffifin 

Below we’ve provided four different tafseer of Surah Mutaffifin including Ibn Kathir. It is one thing to read the translation of the Quran and a completely different experience to make it a study. By reading the Qur’an interpretations we can learn of the historical context in which this Surah was revealed, it’s importance, the teachings or message of the Surah.

Surah Mutaffifin Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Which was revealed in Al-Madinah

﴿بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ﴾

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Increasing and decreasing in the Measure and Weight will be a Cause for Regret and Loss

An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah both recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “When the Prophet came to Al-Madinah, the people of Al-Madinah were the most terrible people in giving measurement (i.e., they used to cheat). Thus, Allah revealed,

﴿وَيْلٌ لِّلْمُطَفِّفِينَ ﴾

 

(Woe to Al-Mutaffifin.) After this, they began to give good measure.” The meaning of the word Tatfif here is to be stingy with measurement and weight, either by increasing it if it is due from the others, or decreasing it if it is a debt. Thus, Allah explains that the Mutaffifin those whom He has promised loss and destruction, whom are meant by “Woe” are

﴿الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُواْ عَلَى النَّاسِ﴾

 

(Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men,) meaning, from among the people.

﴿يَسْتَوْفُونَ﴾

 

(demand full measure,) meaning, they take their right by demanding full measure and extra as well.

﴿وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَوْ وَّزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ ﴾

 

(And when they have to give by measure or weight to (other) men, give less than due.) meaning, they decrease. Verily, Allah commanded that the measure and weight should be given in full. He says in another Ayah,

﴿وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ إِذا كِلْتُمْ وَزِنُواْ بِالقِسْطَاسِ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً ﴾

 

(And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight. That is good and better in the end.) (17:35) Allah also says,

﴿وَأَوْفُواْ الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ لاَ نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا﴾

 

(And give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but with that which he can bear.) (6:152) and He says,

﴿وَأَقِيمُواْ الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ تُخْسِرُواْ الْمِيزَانَ ﴾

 

(And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient.) (55:9) Allah destroyed the people of Shu`ayb and wiped them out because of their cheating in weights and measurements. ning, they take their right by demanding full measure and extra as well.

﴿وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَوْ وَّزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ ﴾

 

(And when they have to give by measure or weight to (other) men, give less than due.) meaning, they decrease. Verily, Allah commanded that the measure and weight should be given in full. He says in another Ayah,

﴿وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ إِذا كِلْتُمْ وَزِنُواْ بِالقِسْطَاسِ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً ﴾

 

(And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight. That is good and better in the end.) (17:35) Allah also says,

﴿وَأَوْفُواْ الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ لاَ نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا﴾

 

(And give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but with that which he can bear.) (6:152) and He says,

﴿وَأَقِيمُواْ الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ تُخْسِرُواْ الْمِيزَانَ ﴾

 

(And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient.) (55:9) Allah destroyed the people of Shu`ayb and wiped them out because of their cheating in weights and measurements. be able to bare. Imam Malik reported from Nafi` who reported from Ibn `Umar that the Prophet said,

«يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ، حَتْى يَغِيبَ أَحَدُهُمْ فِي رَشْحِهِ إِلَى أَنْصَافِ أُذُنَيْه»

 

(This will be the Day that mankind will stand before the Lord of all that exists, until one of them will sink up to the middle of his ears in sweat.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith from Malik and `Abdullah bin `Awn, both of whom reported it from Nafi`. Muslim also recorded it from two routes. Another Hadith: Hadith;uA ? give less than due.) meaning, they decrease. Verily, Allah commanded that the measure and weight should be given in full. He says in another Ayah,

﴿وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ إِذا كِلْتُمْ وَزِنُواْ بِالقِسْطَاسِ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً ﴾

 

(And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight. That is good and better in the end.) (17:35) Allah also says,

﴿وَأَوْفُواْ الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ لاَ نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا﴾

 

(And give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but with that which he can bear.) (6:152) and He says,

﴿وَأَقِيمُواْ الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ تُخْسِرُواْ الْمِيزَانَ ﴾

 

(And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient.) (55:9) Allah destroyed the people of Shu`ayb and wiped them out because of their cheating in weights and measurements.

 

Threatening the Mutaffifin with standing before the Lord of all that exists

Then Allah says as a threat to them,

﴿أَلا يَظُنُّ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَنَّهُمْ مَّبْعُوثُونَ – لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ ﴾

 

(Do they not think that they will be resurrected, on a Great Day) meaning, do these people not fear the resurrection and standing before He Who knows the hidden matters and the innermost secrets, on a Day that contains great horror and tremendous fright Whoever loses on this Day will be made to enter into a blazing fire. Then Allah says,

﴿يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ﴾

 

(The Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of all that exists) meaning, they will stand barefooted, naked and uncircumcised at a station that will be difficult, hard, and distressful for the criminals. They will be covered by the command from Allah, and it will be that, which the strength and the senses will not be able to bare. Imam Malik reported from Nafi` who reported from Ibn `Umar that the Prophet said,

«يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ، حَتْى يَغِيبَ أَحَدُهُمْ فِي رَشْحِهِ إِلَى أَنْصَافِ أُذُنَيْه»

 

(This will be the Day that mankind will stand before the Lord of all that exists, until one of them will sink up to the middle of his ears in sweat.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith from Malik and `Abdullah bin `Awn, both of whom reported it from Nafi`. Muslim also recorded it from two routes. Another Hadith: Hadit u ?? ? u A ? Threatening the Mutaffifin with standing before the Lord of all that exists Then Allah says as a threat to them,

﴿أَلا يَظُنُّ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَنَّهُمْ مَّبْعُوثُونَ – لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ ﴾

 

(Do they not think that they will be resurrected, on a Great Day) meaning, do these people not fear the resurrection and standing before He Who knows the hidden matters and the innermost secrets, on a Day that contains great horror and tremendous fright Whoever loses on this Day will be made to enter into a blazing fire. Then Allah says,

﴿يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ﴾

 

(The Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of all that exists) meaning, they will stand barefooted, naked and uncircumcised at a station that will be difficult, hard, and distressful for the criminals. They will be covered by the command from Allah, and it will be that, which the strength and the senses will not be able to bare. Imam Malik reported from Nafi` who reported from Ibn `Umar that the Prophet said,

«يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ، حَتْى يَغِيبَ أَحَدُهُمْ فِي رَشْحِهِ إِلَى أَنْصَافِ أُذُنَيْه»

 

(This will be the Day that mankind will stand before the Lord of all that exists, until one of them will sink up to the middle of his ears in sweat.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith from Malik and `Abdullah bin `Awn, both of whom reported it from Nafi`. Muslim also recorded it from two routes. Another Hadith: Imam Ahmad recorded from Al-Miqdad, who was Ibn Al-Aswad Al-Kindi, that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

«إِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ أُدْنِيَتِ الشَّمْسُ مِنَ الْعِبَادِ حَتْى تَكُونَ قَدْرَ مِيلٍ أَوْ مِيلَيْنِ قال فَتَصْهَرُهُمُ الشَّمْسُ فَيَكُونُونَ فِي الْعَرَقِ كَقَدْرِ أَعْمَالِهِمْ، مِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَأْخُذُهُ إِلَى عَقِبَيْهِ، وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَأْخُذُهُ إِلَى رُكْبَتَيْهِ، وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَأْخُذُهُ إِلَى حَقْوَيْهِ، وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يُلْجِمُهُ إِلْجَامًا»

 

(On the Day of Judgement, the sun will draw near the servants until it is a mile or two away from them. Then the sun will burn them, and they will be submersed in sweat based upon the amount of their deeds. From among them there will be those whose sweat will come up to their two heels. From among them there will be those whose sweat will come up to their two knees. From among them there will be those whose sweat will come up to their groins. From among them there will be those who will be bridled in sweat (up to their necks).) This Hadith was recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidhi. In Sunan Abu Dawud it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah used to seek refuge with Allah from the hardship of standing on the Day of Judgement. It has been reported from Ibn Mas`ud that they will be standing for forty years with their heads raised toward the sky. No one will speak to them, and the righteous and wicked among them will all be bridled in sweat. It has been reported from Ibn `Umar that they will be standing for one hundred years. Both of these statements have been recorded by Ibn Jarir. In the Sunans of Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah, it is recorded from `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah used to begin his late night prayer by declaring Allah’s greatness ten times, praising Allah ten times, glorifying Allah ten times, and seeking Allah’s forgiveness ten times. Then he would say,

«اللْهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَاهْدِنِي وَارْزُقْنِي وَعَافِنِي»

 

(O Allah! Forgive me, guide me, provide for me, and protect me.) Then he would seek refuge from the hardship of the standing on the Day of Judgement.

The Record of the Wicked and some of what happens to Them

Allah says truly,

﴿إِنَّ كِتَـبَ الْفُجَّارِ لَفِى سِجِّينٍ﴾

 

(Nay! Truly, the Record of the wicked is in Sijjin.) meaning, that their final destination and their abode will be in Sijjin, which is derived from the word prison (Sijn), and here it means straitened circumstances. Thus, Allah expresses the greatness of this matter, saying;

﴿وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا سِجِّينٌ ﴾

 

(And what will make you know what Sijjin is) meaning, it is a great matter, an eternal prison, and a painful torment. Some have said that it is beneath the seventh earth. It has been mentioned previously in the lengthy Hadith of Al-Bara’ bin `Azib that the Prophet said,

«يَقُول اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِي رُوحِ الْكَافِرِ اكْتُبُوا كِتَابَهُ فِي سِجِّينٍ. وَسِجِّينٌ هِيَ تَحْتُ الْأَرْضِ السَّابِعَة»

 

(Allah says concerning the soul of the disbeliever, `Record his book in Sijjin.’ And Sijjin is beneath the seventh earth.)” it is known that the destination of the wicked people will be Hell, and it is the lowest of the low. For Allah says,

﴿ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَـهُ أَسْفَلَ سَـفِلِينَ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ﴾

 

(Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low. Save those who believe and do righteous deeds.) (95:5-6) Here Allah says,

﴿كَلاَّ إِنَّ كِتَـبَ الْفُجَّارِ لَفِى سِجِّينٍ – وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا سِجِّينٌ ﴾

 

(Nay! Truly, the Record of the wicked is in Sijjin. And what will make you know what Sijjin is) and it is full of hardship and misery. Allah says,

﴿وَإَذَآ أُلْقُواْ مِنْهَا مَكَاناً ضَيِّقاً مُّقَرَّنِينَ دَعَوْاْ هُنَالِكَ ثُبُوراً ﴾

 

(And when they shall be thrown into a narrow place thereof, chained together, they will exclaim therein for destruction.) (25:13) Then Allah says,

﴿كِتَـبٌ مَّرْقُومٌ ﴾

 

(A Register inscribed.) This is not an explanation of His statement,

﴿وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا سِجِّينٌ ﴾

 

(And what will make you know what Sijjin is) It is only an explanation of the destination that will be recorded for them, which is Sijjin. Meaning, it is inscribed, written, and completed. No one can add to it and no one can remove anything from it. This was said by Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi. Then Allah said,

﴿وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴾

 

(Woe, that Day, to those who deny.) meaning, when they come to the imprisonment, Allah threatened them with, on the Day of Judgement, and the disgraceful torment. The statement, “Woe,” has already been discussed previously and there is no need to repeat it here. Basically, it means destruction and devastation. This is like what is said, “Woe to so-and-so.” This is similar to what has been recorded in the Musnad and the Sunan collections on the authority of Bahz bin Hakim bin Mu`awiyah bin Haydah,

َ مَا سِجِّينٌ ﴾

 

(Nay! Truly, ! TrulrsA ? the Record of the wicked is in Sijjin. And what will make you know what Sijjin is) and it is full of hardship and misery. Allah says,

﴿وَإَذَآ أُلْقُواْ مِنْهَا مَكَاناً ضَيِّقاً مُّقَرَّنِينَ دَعَوْاْ هُنَالِكَ ثُبُوراً ﴾

 

(And when they shall be thrown into a narrow place thereof, chained together, they will exclaim therein for destruction.) (25:13) Then Allah says,

﴿كِتَـبٌ مَّرْقُومٌ ﴾

 

(A Register inscribed.) This is not an explanation of His statement,

﴿وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا سِجِّينٌ ﴾

 

(And what will make you know what Sijjin is) It is only an explanation of the destination that will be recorded for them, which is Sijjin. Meaning, it is inscribed, written, and completed. No one can add to it and no one can remove anything from it. This was said by Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi. Then Allah said,

﴿وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴾

 

(Woe, that Day, to those who deny.) meaning, when they come to the imprisonment, Allah threatened them with, on the Day of Judgement, and the disgraceful torment. The statement, “Woe,” has already been discussed previously and there is no need to repeat it here. Basically, it means destruction and devastation. This is like what is said, “Woe to so-and-so.” This is similar to what has been recorded in the Musnad and the Sunan collections on the authority of Bahz bin Hakim bin Mu`awiyah bin Haydah, who reported from his father, who reported from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allah said,

«وَيْلٌ لِلَّذِي يُحَدِّثُ فَيَكْذِبُ لِيُضْحِكَ النَّاسَ، وَيْلٌ لَهُ وَيْلٌ لَه»

 

(Woe unto whoever speaks, and lies in order to make the people laugh. Woe unto him, woe unto him.) Then Allah says, in explaining who are the wicked, disbelieving deniers,

﴿الَّذِينَ يُكَذِّبُونَ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ ﴾

 

(Those who deny the Day of Recompense.) meaning, they do not believe it will happen, and they do not believe in its existence. Thus, they consider it a matter that is farfetched. Allah then says,

﴿وَمَا يُكَذِّبُ بِهِ إِلاَّ كُلُّ مُعْتَدٍ أَثِيمٍ ﴾

 

(And none can deny it except every transgressor, sinner.) meaning, transgressive in his actions by doing that which is forbidden and exceeding the limits when acquiring the permissible. He is a sinner in his statements, because he lies whenever he speaks, he breaks his promises whenever he makes them, and he behaves in an abusive and wicked manner whenever he argues. Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿إِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِ ءَايَـتُنَا قَالَ أَسَـطِيرُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ ﴾

 

(When Our Ayat are recited to him, he says: “Tales of the ancients!”) meaning, whenever he hears the Words of Allah from the Messenger , he denies it and has ill thoughts about it. Thus, he believes that it is a collection gathered from the books of the ancients. This is as Allah says,

﴿وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ مَّاذَآ أَنزَلَ رَبُّكُمْ قَالُواْ أَسَـطِيرُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ ﴾

 

(And when it is said to them: “What is it that your Lord has sent down” They say: “Tales of the men of old!”) (16:24) Similarly Allah says,

﴿وَقَالُواْ أَسَـطِيرُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ اكْتَتَبَهَا فَهِىَ تُمْلَى عَلَيْهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلاً ﴾

 

(And they say: “Tales of the ancients, which he has written down: and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.”) (25:5) Then Allah continues saying,

﴿كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ ﴾

 

(Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.) meaning, the matter is not as they claim, nor as they say: “Verily, this Qur’an is tales of the ancients.” Rather, it is the Word of Allah, His inspiration and His revelation to His Messenger . The only thing that blocked their hearts from believing in it is the dark covering cast over it from the many sins and wrong they committed that has covered up their hearts. Thus, Allah says,

﴿كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ ﴾

 

(Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.) This dark covering known as Rayn overcomes the hearts of the disbelievers, the covering of Ghaym is for the righteous, and the covering of Ghayn is for those who are near to Allah. Ibn Jarir, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nisa’i, and Ibn Majah all recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,

«إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا أَذْنَبَ ذَنْبًا كَانَتْ نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ فِي قَلْبِهِ، فَإِنْ تَابَ مِنْهَا صُقِلَ قَلْبُهُ، قu

 

uA ay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.) meaning, the matter is not as they claim, nor as they say: “Verily, this Qur’an is tales of the ancients.” Rather, it is the Word of Allah, His inspiration and His revelation to His Messenger . The only thing that blocked their hearts from believing in it is the dark covering cast over it from the many sins and wrong they committed that has covered up their hearts. Thus, Allah says, uuA ? “What is it that your Lord has sent down” They say: “Tales of the men of old!”) (16:24) Similarly Allah says,

﴿وَقَالُواْ أَسَـطِيرُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ اكْتَتَبَهَا فَهِىَ تُمْلَى عَلَيْهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلاً ﴾

 

(And they say: “Tales of the ancients, which he has written down: and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.”) (25:5) Then Allah continues saying,

﴿كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ ﴾

 

(Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.) meaning, the matter is not as they claim, nor as they say: “Verily, this Qur’an is tales of the ancients.” Rather, it is the Word of Allah, His inspiration and His revelation to His Messenger . The only thing that blocked their hearts from believing in it is the dark covering cast over it from the many sins and wrong they committed that has covered up their hearts. Thus, Allah says,

﴿كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ ﴾

 

(Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.) This dark covering known as Rayn overcomes the hearts of the disbelievers, the covering of Ghaym is for the righteous, and the covering of Ghayn is for those who are near to Allah. Ibn Jarir, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nisa’i, and Ibn Majah all recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,

«إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا أَذْنَبَ ذَنْبًا كَانَتْ نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ فِي قَلْبِهِ، فَإِنْ تَابَ مِنْهَا صُقِلَ قَلْبُهُ، قوَإِنْ زَادَ زَادَتْ، فَذلِكَ قَوْلُ اللهِ تَعَالَى:

 

﴿كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ ﴾»

 

(Verily, when the servant commits a sin, a black spot appears in his heart. If he repents from it, his heart is polished clean. However, if he increases (in the sin), the spot will continue to increase. That is the statement of Allah: ((Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.)) At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” The wording of An-Nasa’i says,

«إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا أَخْطَأَ خَطِيئَةً نُكِتَ فِي قَلْبِهِ نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ ، فَإِنْ هُوَ نَزَعَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ وَتَابَ صُقِلَ قَلْبُهُ ، فَإِنْ عَادَ زِيدَ فِيهَا حَتَّى تَعْلُو قَلْبَهُ فَهُوَ الرَّانُ الَّذِي قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَى:

 

﴿كَلاَّ بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ ﴾»

 

(Whenever the servant commits a wrong, a black spot is put in his heart. So, if he refrains from it, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart is polished clean. But if he returns to the sin, the spot will increase until it overcomes his (entire) heart, and this is the Ran that Allah mentions when He says: (Nay, but on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.)) Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿كَلاَّ إِنَّهُمْ عَن رَّبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّمَحْجُوبُونَ ﴾

 

(Nay! Surely, they will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day.) meaning, they will have a place on the Day of Judgement, and lodging in Sijjin. Along with this they will be veiled from seeing their Lord and Creator on the Day of Judgement. Imam Abu `Abdullah Ash-Shafi`i said, “In this Ayah is a proof that the believers will see Him (Allah), the Mighty and Sublime, on that Day.” Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿ثُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ لَصَالُواْ الْجَحِيمِ ﴾

 

(Then verily, they will indeed enter the burning flame of Hell.) meaning, along with this being prevented from seeing the Most Gracious, they will also be among the people of the Fire.

﴿ثُمَّ يُقَالُ هَـذَا الَّذِى كُنتُمْ بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ ﴾

 

(Then, it will be said to them: “This is what you used to deny!”) (83:17) meaning, this will be said to them by way of scolding, rebuking, belittling, and humi- liation.

The Record Book of the Righteous and Their Reward

Allah says that truly,

﴿إِنَّ كِتَـبَ الاٌّبْرَارِ﴾

 

(Verily, the Record of Al-Abrar (the righteous believers)) These people are in a situation that is the opposite of the wicked people.

﴿لَفِى عِلِّيِّينَ﴾

 

(is in `Illiyyin.) meaning, their final destination is `Illiyyin, which is the opposite of Sijjin. It has been reported from Hilal bin Yasaf that Ibn `Abbas asked Ka`b about Sijjin while he was present, and Ka`b said, “It is the seventh earth and in it are the souls of the disbelievers.” Then Ibn `Abbas asked him about `Illiyyin, so he said, “It is the seventh heaven and it contains the souls of the believers.” This statement — that it is the seventh heaven — has been said by others as well. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿كَلاَّ إِنَّ كِتَـبَ الاٌّبْرَارِ لَفِى عِلِّيِّينَ ﴾

 

(Nay! Verily, the Record of Al-Abrar (the righteous believers) is in `Illiyyin.) “This means Paradise.” Others besides him have said, “`Iliyyin is located at Sidrat Al-Muntaha.” The obvious meaning is that the word `Illiyyin is taken from the word `Uluw, which means highness. The more something ascends and rises, the more it becomes greater and increases. Thus, Allah magnifies its affair and extols its matter by saying,

﴿وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا عِلِّيُّونَ ﴾

 

(And what will make you know what `Illiyyin is) Then He says by way of affirming what will be written for them,

﴿كِتَـبٌ مَّرْقُومٌ يَشْهَدُهُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ ﴾

 

(A Register inscribed. To which bear witness those nearest.) They are the angels. This was stated by Qatadah. Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “Those nearest to Allah in each heaven will witness it.” Then Allah says,

﴿إِنَّ الاٌّبْرَارَ لَفِى نَعِيمٍ ﴾

 

(Verily, Al-Abrar (the righteuos believers) will be in Delight.) meaning, on the Day of Judgement they will be in eternal pleasure and gardens that contain comprehensive bounties.

﴿عَلَى الاٌّرَائِكِ﴾

 

(On thrones,) These are thrones beneath canopies from which they will be gazing. It has been said, “This means that they will be gazing at their kingdom and what Allah has given them of good and bounties that will not end or perish. It has also been said,

﴿عَلَى الاٌّرَآئِكِ يَنظُرُونَ ﴾

 

(On thrones, looking.) “This means that they will be looking at Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.” This is the opposite of what those wicked people have been described with,

﴿كَلاَّ إِنَّهُمْ عَن رَّبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّمَحْجُوبُونَ ﴾

 

(Nay! Surely, they (evildoers) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day.) (83:15) Thus, it has been mentioned that these (righteous people) will be allowed to look at Allah while they are upon their thrones and elevated couches. Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿تَعْرِفُ فِى وُجُوهِهِمْ نَضْرَةَ النَّعِيمِ ﴾

 

(You will recognize in their faces the brightness of delight.) meaning, `you will notice a glow of delight in their faces when you look at them.’ This is a description of opulence, decorum, happiness, composure, and authority that they will be experiencing from this great delight. Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿يُسْقَوْنَ مِن رَّحِيقٍ مَّخْتُومٍ ﴾

 

(They will be given to drink of pure sealed Rahiq.) meaning, they will be given drink from the wine of Paradise. Ar-Rahiq is one of the names of the wine (in Paradise). Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd all said this. Ibn Mas`ud said concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿خِتَـمُهُ مِسْكٌ﴾

 

(Sealed with musk,) “This means it will be mixed with musk.” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “Allah will make the wine have a pleasant aroma for them, so the last thing that He will place in it will be musk. Thus, it will be sealed with musk.” Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak both said the same. Then Allah says,

﴿وَفِى ذَلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَـفِسُونَ﴾

 

(and for this let (all) those strive who want to strive.) meaning, for a situation like this, let the boasters boast, compete, and strive to gain more. Let the competitors compete and race toward the likes of this. This is similar to Allah’s statement,

﴿لِمِثْلِ هَـذَا فَلْيَعْمَلِ الْعَـمِلُونَ ﴾

 

(For the like of this let the workers work.) (37:61) Allah then says,

﴿وَمِزَاجُهُ مِن تَسْنِيمٍ ﴾

 

(It will be mixed with Tasnim.) meaning, this wine that is being described is mixed with Tasnim. This refers to a drink called Tasnim, and it is the most excellent and exalted drink of the people of Paradise. This was said by Abu Salih and Ad-Dahhak. Thus, Allah says,

﴿عَيْناً يَشْرَبُ بِهَا الْمُقَرَّبُونَ ﴾

 

(A spring whereof drink those nearest to Allah.) (83:28) meaning, those who are near to Allah, will drink from it as they wish, and the companions of the right hand will be given a drink that is mixed with it. This has been said by Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Masruq, Qatadah and others.

The Wicked Behavior of the Criminals and Their mocking of the Believers

Allah informs that the criminals used to laugh at the believers in the worldly life. In other words, they would mock them and despise them. Whenever they would pass by the believers, they would wink at each other about them, meaning in contempt of them.

﴿وَإِذَا انقَلَبُواْ إِلَى أَهْلِهِمْ انقَلَبُواْ فَكِهِينَ ﴾

 

(And when they returned to their own people, they would return jesting.) meaning, when these criminals turn back, or return to their homes, they go back pleased. This means that whatever they request, they find it. Yet, with this, they still are not grateful for Allah’s favor upon them. Rather they busy themselves with despising and envying the believers.

﴿وَإِذَا رَأَوْهُمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّ هَـؤُلاَءِ لَضَآلُّونَ ﴾

 

(And when they saw them, they said: “Verily, these have indeed gone astray!”) meaning, `because they are upon a religion other than their own religion.’ Allah then says,

﴿وَمَآ أُرْسِلُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ حَـفِظِينَ ﴾

 

(But they were not sent as watchers over them.) meaning, these criminals have not been sent as guardians over the deeds and statements of these believers. These wrongdoers have not been made responsible for them. So, why are they so concerned with them, and why have they made them the focus of their attention This is as Allah says,

﴿قَالَ اخْسَئُواْ فِيهَا وَلاَ تُكَلِّمُونِ ﴾

 

﴿إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِى يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ ءَامَنَّا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الرَحِمِينَ – فَاتَّخَذْتُمُوهُمْ سِخْرِيّاً حَتَّى أَنسَوْكُمْ ذِكْرِى وَكُنْتُمْ مِّنْهُمْ تَضْحَكُونَ – إِنِّى جَزَيْتُهُمُ الْيَوْمَ بِمَا صَبَرُواْ أَنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْفَآئِزُونَ ﴾

 

(He (Allah) will say: “Remain you in it with ignominy! And speak you not to Me!” Verily there was a party of My servants, who used to say: “Our Lord! We believe, so forgive us, and have mercy on us, for You are the Best of all who show mercy!” But you took them for a laughing stock, so much so that they made you forget My remembrance while you used to laugh at them! Verily, I have rewarded them this Day for their patience: they are indeed the ones that are successful.) (23:108-111) Thus, Allah says here,

﴿فَالْيَوْمَ﴾

 

(But this Day) meaning, the Day of Judgement.

﴿الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ يَضْحَكُونَ﴾

 

(those who believe will laugh at the disbelievers) meaning, as retribution for how those people laughed at them.

﴿عَلَى الاٌّرَآئِكِ يَنظُرُونَ ﴾

 

(On thrones, looking.) meaning, looking at Allah as reward for bearing the false claims against them that they were misguided. They were not misguided at all. Rather they were the close Awliya’ of Allah, who will be looking at their Lord in the place of His honor. Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿هَلْ ثُوِّبَ الْكُفَّارُ مَا كَانُواْ يَفْعَلُونَ ﴾

 

(Are not the disbelievers paid for what they used to do) meaning, `will the disbelievers be recompensed for their mockery and belittlement against the believers, or not’ This means that they surely will be paid in full, completely and perfectly (for their behavior).

***

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Mutaffifin, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

Commentary

[83:1] Woe to the curtailers

According to Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ ، Surah Tatfif was revealed in Makkah. Therefore, most of the copies of the Qur’an refer to it as the Makki Surah. According to Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ ، Qatadah, Muqatil and Dahhak رحمۃ اللہ علیہم ، it is a Madani Surah, but only about eight verses are Makki. Imam Nasa’i (رح) transmits a narrative from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ that when the Holy Prophet ﷺ arrived in Madinah, the people of Madinah whose most transactions were based on measurements used to cheat and short measure. For this reason, Allah revealed the Surah. It is reported from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ that this is the first Surah that was revealed as soon as the Holy Prophet ﷺ arrived at Madinah. The reason is that it was a common practice in Madinah that the people used to be very strict in measuring when they had to receive something from others, but when they sold something, they used to cheat the buyers. After the revelation of this Surah, all of them abandoned this bad custom totally, and mended themselves in a way that they are now well-known in their honesty in weighing and measuring. (Reported by Hakim, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah, with sound chain of narrators)

وَيْلٌ لِّلْمُطَفِّفِينَ (Woe to the curtailers…83:1) The word mutaffifin ‘those who give short measure or weight’ is derived from Tatfif ‘to give short measure or short weight’. The Qur’anic expression ‘Woe to the curtailers’ is indicative of the injunction that this practice is prohibited.

Tatjif has a Wider Scope
The Qur’an and Sunnah have prohibited Tatfif which primarily signifies ‘giving short measure and weight’, because generally all transactions are carried out by things that can be measured or weighed. But the basic purpose of weighing or measuring is none else but to give a person what he deserves. It, therefore, indicates that the rule is not restricted to weights and measures only, but it includes all other means through which the rights of someone are evaluated, assessed or appraised. It is obligatory that all rights are given to the deserving persons in full, whether they are assessed by weight, measure, number or any other means. In terms of this concept of Tatfif, it is prohibited to give to any person less than his due.

It is recorded in Muwatta’ of Imam Malik that Sayyidna ` Umar Ibn-ul-Khattab ؓ saw a person curtailing [cutting short] his bowing and prostration postures in prayers, he said to him:
لَقَد طَفَّفتَ
‘You have committed Tatfif (curtailed the right) of Allah.’

Having cited this statement of Sayyidna ` Umar Ibn-ul-Khattab ؓ ، Imam Malik (رح) formulates the following postulate:
لکلّ شیءٍ
‘Everything has a full due and a short measure.’

This postulate can apply even to prayers, ablution, cleanliness and all the rights of Allah and the ways of worship. If someone is deficient in fulfilling these rights of Allah, he is guilty of Tatfif. Similarly if one cuts short human rights [by failing to perform duties imposed upon him or keeping to the terms of agreement duly], he is covered by the rule laid down by the verse regarding Tatfif. For example, if an employee has entered into a contract with the employer that he shall work for specified time, it is imperative for him to work for the stipulated hours. If he curtails the hours, he is guilty of Tatiff. Generally, people – even scholars – are lax in this matter. They do not regard curtailment of their obligations relating to service or labour as sin. May Allah protect us from it!

HADITH: Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas ؓ has narrated that the Holy Prophet ﷺ has said:
حمس بخمس
‘There are five sins, for which there are five punishments.’

[1] He who breaks his covenant, Allah will cause his enemy to subdue him.
[2] The nation that abandons the sacred laws of Allah, and decides cases according to other laws, poverty will prevail commonly among them.
[3] The nation among whom promiscuity and zina (fornication or adultery) becomes rampant, Allah will punish them with epidemics and endemic diseases.
[4] Those who curtail measures and weights, Allah will cause famine to break out amongst them. and
[5] Those who fail to pay their Zakah, Allah will withhold rain from them.
[Cited by Qurtubi who said that Al-Bazzar has narrated the over-all sense of this lzadith, though with different words; and Malik Ibn Anas has also narrated it from Ibn ` Umar ؓ].

Tabarani narrates from Ibn ` Abbas ؓ that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said: “When it becomes rampant in a community to steal from the spoils of war, Allah will cast terror of enemies into their hearts; when usury becomes a common practice in a community, death becomes a frequent occurrence in that society; a community that gives short measure and weight, Allah cuts off their sustenance; those who decide against the truth, murder becomes common among them; and those who betray their agreement, Allah causes their enemies to prevail upon them.” [Malik has also transmitted it, but as a saying of Ibn ` Abbas ؓ . See Mazhari].

Various Forms of Poverty, Famine and Curtailment of Sustenance
The Hadith (cited above) states that people’s ‘sustenance’ may be Cut Off as a punishment to short measuring: This can take different forms. They may be completely deprived of their sustenance; or sustenance may be available, but they may not be able to eat or use it, as it commonly happens nowadays in the case of many diseases. Likewise, ‘famine’ might take different forms: Items of necessity might be lacking; or they might be available abundantly, but it might be difficult to purchase them, because the prices are unbearably exorbitant, as is experienced nowadays. The Hadith says that in certain situations faqr will prevail in the society. Faqr is generally translated as ‘poverty’, but its real meaning in Arabic is ‘being in need’ or ‘being dependent on someone’. Keeping this meaning in view, the situation of faqr pointed out in the Hadith is not confined to lack of money and other necessary things, but it also includes a situation where people depend on others in their business and other necessities of life. The more a person is in need of others, the greater is his degree of faqr. Let us consider the conditions of the present age. Man is bound by the most complicated laws that restrict his living, his movement and his intentions, so that he is unable to eat what he wants to eat, or utter what he wants to utter. He possesses money, but he is not free to buy of his choice from where he wants to. He is not free to undertake a journey [or to travel] as and when he wants to. He is bound so much by these restrictive laws that he has no choice but to follow the official procedure for which he has to flatter the officials [at every level] including the peons. Without this, life is difficult. This entire system of dependence on others is a part of faqr. This elaborate explanation should dispel the doubts that might apparently arise regarding the statement of the Hadith.


[83:2] who, when they measure something to receive from people, take it in full,

[83:3] and when they measure or weigh something to give it to them, give less than due.

[83:4] Do they not think that they have to be raised up

[83:5] on a Great Day,

[83:6] the Day when all the people will stand before the Lord of the worlds?

[83:7] Never! (i.e. they should never forget that Day.) Indeed the Record of Deeds of the sinners is in sijjin.


Sijjin and illiyin

كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْفُجَّارِ‌ لَفِي سِجِّينٍ (Never! [i.e. they should never forget that Day.] Indeed the Record of Deeds of the sinners is in sijjin. [83:71′ The word sijjin is derived from sajana which means to ‘imprison in a narrow place’. According to Qamus, the word sijjin means ‘eternal imprisonment’. Traditions indicate that sijjin is a special place where the souls of the non-believers are kept, and in the same place, the Record of the evil deeds of every wicked person is kept separately. It is also possible that in this there is a consolidated book in which the deeds of all the non-believers of the world are recorded.

Where is this place? According to a lengthy hadith reported by Sayyidna Bara’ Ibn ` Azib ؓ ، the Holy Prophet ﷺ has said that sijjin is beneath the seventh level of the earth, and ` illiyin is in the seventh heaven beneath the Divine Throne. [Baghawi, and Ahmad etc., as quoted by Mazhari]. According to certain Traditions, sijjin is the seventh earth which contains the souls of the disbelievers, and ` illiyin is the seventh heaven which contains the souls of the believers.

The Locale of Paradise and Hell

Baihaqi has recorded a narration from Sayyidna Abdullah Ibn Salam ؓ that Paradise is in the heaven, and Hell is in the earth. Ibn Jarir cites in his commentary on the authority of Sayyidna Mu’adh Ibn Jabal ؓ a narrative of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، according to which he was asked about the meaning of the following verse:
وَجِيءَ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِجَهَنَّمَ
‘and Jahannam (Hell), on that day, will be brought forward, [89:23] ‘

The Holy Prophet ﷺ was asked from where the Hell be brought forward? He replied: “From the seventh earth.” These narratives indicate that Hell will be brought forward from the seventh earth. It will suddenly flare up there, and all the oceans will join its blazing fire, and come forward in full view of all. This interpretation is reconcilable with narratives that define sijjin as the name of a place in Hell. [Mahari]. And Allah knows best!


[83:8] And what may let you know what sijjin is?

[83:9] A register, inscribed!

كِتَابٌ مَّرْ‌قُومٌ (A register inscribed!…83:9) The word marqum (translated above as ‘inscribed’ ) signifies here makhtum meaning ‘sealed’. Imam Baghawi and Ibn Kathir say that this statement is not the interpretation of sijjin, but rather the explication of a phrase before that, namely:

كِتَابَ الْفُجَّارِ‌
‘Indeed the record of deeds of the sinners is in sijjin. [83:7] ‘

It is a book inscribed and sealed. No one can add anything to it, nor can anyone remove anything from it, nor is any alteration possible in it. The place where it will be kept for safe-custody is called sijjin, and it is the place where the souls of the wicked unbelievers are gathered.

كَلَّا سکتہ إِنَّهُمْ عَن رَّ‌بِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّمَحْجُوبُونَ (No! But that which they used to commit has covered their hearts with rust…83:14). The word rana is derived from rain and it means ‘rust’ or ‘dust’ or ‘filth’. In other words, the rust of committing many sins has covered up their hearts. Just as rust consumes the iron, and turns it into dust, in the same way, the rust of while he was on the upper horizon….53:7)


[83:10] Woe that day to the deniers,

[83:11] who deny the Day of Requital!

[83:12] And none denies it but every sinful transgressor.

[83:13] When Our verses are recited to him, he says, ” (These are) tales of the ancients.”

[83:14] No! But that which they used to commit has covered their hearts with rust.

sins has destroyed their innate capacity to distinguish right from wrong. Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ narrates that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said: “Surely, when the servant commits a sin, a black dot appears on his heart. If he repents from it, his heart is polished clean. However, if he increases in the sin, the blackness continues to increase. That is the statement of Allah: كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ ۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِم ‘No! But that which they used to commit has covered their hearts with rust. [83:14] ‘.” [Baghawi, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim have recorded it, and Tirmidhi has rated it as sahih, as quoted by Mazhari]. The particle kalla كَلَّا ، in Arabic grammar, is called harf-ur-ra’ d` ‘particle of disapproval, particle of repelling or averting’. In the preceding verses, mention was made of the attitude of the unbelievers towards the Qur’anic verses, in that when they are recited to them, they say, ” (These are) tales of the ancients.” [13]. The present verse uses kalla كَلَّا to repel the false idea of the ignoramus [that Qur’an is the tale of the ancients]. In fact, [the heavy] load of their sins have eclipsed the light and innate capacity to separate the right and the wrong. This capacity is innate and inborn in man. The verse purports to say that their rejection is not based on any logical or intellectual evidence, but their hearts have become blind, as a result they are unable to see the good and the bad.


[83:15] No! Indeed they will be screened off from their Lord on that Day.

إِنَّهُمْ عَن رَّبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّمَحْجُوبُونَ (No! Indeed they will be screened off from their Lord on that Day…83:15). This will be their punishment for their failure to recognise Allah in the world. The unbelievers will remain deprived of seeing their Lord on the Day of Judgment, and a screen will fall between them and their Lord. Imams Shafi` i and Malik said that in this verse is a proof that the believers and friends of Allah will be able to see Him. Otherwise, the wording that the unbelievers will be screened off from their Lord on that Day will have no real sense.

Special Note
According to some of the learned predecessors, this verse is a proof that man, by virtue of his innate nature, is forced to love Allah. Therefore, all unbelievers in the world, no matter how deeply they are steeped in their form of disbelief or hold false beliefs regarding the [Supreme] Being and attributes of Allah, there is a common denominator in their hearts. They love, respect and honour Allah. They worship Him according to their belief system in quest of Him and His pleasure. Because they have taken the wrong road, they are unable to reach their destination, but they are, nonetheless, in search of the same destination of truth. If they did not have the desire to see their Lord, it would not have been said, in their punishment, that they will remain deprived of seeing Allah, because if a person is not desirous [rather he is hateful] of seeing Him, it would be no punishment for him.


[83:16] Then they will have to enter the Hell.

[83:17] Then it will be said, “This is what you used to deny.”

[83:18] No! The record of deeds of the righteous is in ` illiyyun.

كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْأَبْرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ (No! The record of deeds of the righteous is in ` illiyyun….83:18). According to some authorities, ` illiyyun is the plural of ` uluww and it signifies the ‘highest point’. According to Farra’, this is the name of a place. It is not a plural, but on the measure of plural. When analysing the word sijjin in the foregoing paragraphs, the traceable Tradition of Sayyidna Bath’ Ibn ` Azib ؓ was cited to prove that ` illiyyin is a place on the seventh heaven beneath the Divine Throne where the souls of the believers and their registers of deeds are kept. The phrase: كِتَابٌ مَّرْقُومٌ(A register inscribed…83:20) is not the interpretation of illiyyin, but rather an explication their records of deeds, as in the verse that precedes it:


[83:19] And what may let you know what ` illiyyun is?

[83:20] A register inscribed,

[83:21] attended by those (angels) who are blessed with nearness to Allah!

يَشْهَدُهُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ (…attended by those [angels] who are blessed with nearness to Allah!…83:21) The verb yash-hadu is derived from shuhud which means ‘to attend, to witness, to be present, to observe’. The verse purports to say that the record of deeds of the righteous will be in the custody of angels who are blessed with nearness to Allah. [Qurtubi]. If shuhud is taken in the sense of ‘being present’, then the attached pronoun will refer to ` illiyyin instead of kitab or ‘register’ (and ‘those who are blessed with nearness to Allah’ will refer to the righteous people, and not to the angels), and the verse in that case will mean: ‘The souls of those blessed with nearness to Allah will be in the place called ` illiyyin’ because that is the abode of their souls, as sijjin is the abode of the unbelievers. The proof of this is the narrative of ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ recorded in Muslim in which the Holy Prophet ﷺ said that the souls of the martyrs are in the crops of green birds, enjoying the rivers and gardens of Paradise, and their abode will be the lamps suspended from [the Divine] Throne. This indicates that the souls of the martyrs will be under the Divine Throne, and will be able to stroll in Paradise. In Surah Yasin, we came across the incident of Habib Najjar, where it is stated that:

قِيلَ ادْخُلِ الْجَنَّةَ ۖ قَالَ يَا لَيْتَ قَوْمِي يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿26﴾ بِمَا غَفَرَ لِي رَبِّي
He was told, “Enter the Garden!” He said, “If my people only knew how my Lord has forgiven me [36:26] “‘

This indicates that no sooner he passed away than he entered Paradise. Similarly, some Prophetic narratives also show that the souls of the believers are in Paradise. The sum total of these verses and narratives is that the abode of all the souls is in the seventh heaven beneath the Divine Throne. This is the locale of Paradise, and the souls have been given freedom of movement within the Paradise. Here reference has been made particularly to ‘those souls who are blessed with nearness to Allah’ because of the most exalted ranks they will enjoy. [This does not, however, mean that souls at the lower ranks will not be in this abode.] In fact, this will be the abode of the souls of all the believers as is narrated by Sayyidna Ka’b Ibn Malik ؓ that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said:

انما نسمۃ المؤمن طایٔریعلّق فی شجر الجنَّۃ حتَّی ترجع الٰی جسدہ یوم القیٰمۃ۔ (رواہ مالک والنِّسایٔی بسند صحیح)
‘The soul of a believer is a bird that will be hanging in the tree of Paradise, until it returns to its body on the Day of Judgment.’ [Malik and Nasa’i through an authentic chain of narrators. A Tradition of Umm Hani’ to the same effect is recorded in Musnad of Ahmad and in Tabarani. See Mazhari].

The Abode of Human Souls after Death
What is the abode of human souls after death? In answer to this question, reports seem apparently different. Narratives were cited in explanation of sijjin and ` illiyyun above which showed that the souls of the unbelievers are in sijjin which is beneath the seventh earth, and the souls of the believers are in ` illiyyun which is in the seventh heaven beneath the Divine Throne. Some traditions indicate that the souls of the unbelievers will be in Hell, and the souls of the believers will be in Paradise. Some narratives, like the lengthy narrative of Bath’ Ibn ` Azib ؓ ، suggest that the souls of all the deceased, believers and non-believers, will be in the graves. When the angels carry the soul of a believer to the sky, Allah says: ‘Keep the record of deeds of this servant of mine in ` illiyyun and return him to the earth, because I have created him from earth, and to it I shall return him, and from it I shall resurrect him.’ Complying with this command, the angels return his soul to the grave. Likewise, the soul of the non-believer is carried to the sky, but the doors are not opened for him. The angels will be commanded to return the soul to its grave. Imam ` Abdul Barr prefers this narrative and believes that the souls of all [believers and non-believers] remain in their graves. As for the first two sets of traditions, there is no contradiction because, carefully considered, ` illiyyun is in the seventh heaven beneath the Divine Throne, and this is exactly the locale of Paradise, as is clear from the Qur’anic text:

عِندَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنتَهَىٰ عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَىٰ
‘by sidrat-ul-muntaha (the lot-tree in the upper realm), near which there is Jannat-ul-ma’wa (the Paradise of Abode), [53:14-15] ‘

This clearly states that Paradise is near the lot-tree in the upper realm, and ahadith confirm that the lot-tree is in the seventh heaven. Thus it may be argued that since the abode of the souls is ` illiyyun, Paradise must be near it. These souls will stroll in and along the Gardens of Paradise. Therefore, their abode may be said to be Paradise.

Similarly, the souls of the unbelievers remain in sijjin which is situated beneath the seventh earth. It is also proved by ahadith that Hell is beneath the seventh earth, and the dwellers of sijjin will receive the heat and torture of the Hell. Therefore, it would be correct to say that their abode is in Hell.

However, the hadith that informs us that the souls of the unbelievers will remain in the graves is apparently contradictory to the preceding two narratives. The Baihaqi of his time, Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati, in his Tafsir Mazhari, has reconciled them thus: It is not far-fetched to assume that ` illiyyun and sijjin are the real abodes of the souls, but they have a special connection with their graves. None, besides Allah, knows the actual nature of the connection. However, there is the sun and the moon in the sky, but their rays fall on the earth and provide to it light and heat. Similarly, the souls of ` illiyyun and sijjin may have some spiritual connection with the graves. The scholarly view of Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati has just been discussed in Surah Nazi’ at, the sum total of which is as follows: There are two types of soul: The one is a subtle substance that permeates the human body. Despite being a material substance, it is too subtle to be visible, and its other name is nafs. The other soul is abstract and non-material, pure essence. The pure, abstract and non-material soul is the life of the first soul, and therefore it is called the ‘soul of soul’. Both the categories of souls are connected to human body, but the first type of soul resides in the human body. When the soul leaves the body, death occurs. The second type of soul is connected with the body more closely than the first type, but Allah alone knows the nature of the connection. The first soul, after death, is taken to the heaven, and then returned to the grave. Grave is its abode where it is rewarded and punished. The abstract soul remains in ` illiyyun or sijjin [as the case might be]. Thus we have several views on the issue. The final destination of souls is Paradise or ` illiyyun, or its opposite Hell or sijjin. The abode of the abstract souls is ` illiyyun or sijjin. The souls of the first type, the nafs, or the body, remains in the grave after death. And Allah knows best!


[83:22] Indeed the righteous will be in absolute bliss.

[83:23] While (sitting) on thrones, they will be watching (the scenes of Paradise).

[83:24] You will recognize on their faces the glamour of bliss.

[83:25] They will be served with a pure sealed wine to drink,

[83:26] the seal of which will be of musk. And in aspiring for this, the competitors should compete.

وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ (and inaspiring for this, the competitors should compete….83:26) The word تَنَافَسِ tanafus means for a few people ‘to try or strive to gain some desirable things before others can get them.’ Having mentioned the bounties of Paradise, the attention of heedless people are drawn to the fact that they are thinking that certain material things are desirable, and therefore they are competing one another to obtain them before others. They are told that the material blessings [after which they are running] are perishable. They should not be made the ultimate goal of life, nor the object of racing. Man should be content with what he has for the comfort of the fleeting period of this life. If he loses the means, it should not hurt him much, because it is not a loss that cannot be recovered. However, people with aspiration should aspire, race and compete for the blessings of Paradise that are perfect and eternal in every possible dimension. How aptly the late poet Akbar has put it:
یہ کہاں کا فسانہ ہے سود و زیاں جو گیا سو گیا جو ملا سو ملا
کہو دل سے فرصت عمر ہے کم جو دلا تو اللہ ہی کی یاد دِلا
‘Gain and loss – what fiction is this?
What is lost is lost, what is gained is gained
Say to the mind, the life is little.
If you wish to remind me, remind me of God.’


[83:27] and it will be blended with (a drink from) Tasnim,

[83:28] a spring from which will drink those who are blessed with nearness.

[83:29] Indeed those who were guilty used to laugh at those who believed,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ (Indeed those who were guilty used to laugh at those who believed, 83:29). In these verses, Allah depicts fully the attitudes of the followers of falsehood [non-believers] towards the upholders of truth [the believers]. The non-believers used to laugh at the believers in the worldly life. In other words, they would mock at them and despise them. Whenever they would pass by the believers, they would wink at each other in contempt of them. When the non-believers returned home, they would take great pleasure in describing the mocking manner in which they treated the poor believers, saying that Muhammad has misled the simpletons.

If we review the situation today, [it is no better]. People, whose minds are contaminated with contemporary secular education, are careless about the religion and the Hereafter. Belief in Allah and the Holy Prophet ﷺ is nominal. They treat the [religious] scholars and righteous people exactly in the same manner as the non-believers used to treat the Companions ؓ in the days of the Holy Prophet ﷺ]. May Allah salvage the Muslims from this painful scourge. There is much solace in this verse for the righteous believers. Never bother about their laughter and mockery. How well a poet puts it:
ہنسے جانے سے جب تک ہم ڈریں گے زمانہ ہم پہ ہنسا ہی رہے گا
‘So long as we fear people’s laughter [at us],
the people will continue laughing at us’


[83:30] and when they passed by them, they used to wink at one another,

[83:31] and when they went back to their family, they went enjoying their mockery,

[83:32] and when they saw them, they said, “Surely these are the ones who have gone astray”

[83:33] while they were not sent as watchmen over them.

[83:34] So, today those who believed will laugh at the disbelievers.

[83:35] While (sitting) on thrones, they will be seeing

[83:36] whether the disbelievers have been paid back for what they used to do.

Al hamdulillah
The Commentary on
Surah At-Tatfif
Ends here

Overview

The surah describes the conditions the Islamic message faced in Makkah. Its other objective is to awaken people’s hearts and draw their attention to the new event which would help the Arabs, and mankind in general, to take a new turn in their lives. The event in question is the arrival of the divine message to earth.

A particular aspect of Arabian society is portrayed at the outset, as the surah threatens the stinters with what will befall them on the great day, “the day when all mankind shall stand before the Lord of all the worlds.” (Verse 6) The reason for such a threat is revealed at the end, when the surah sketches the manners of the evildoers, their attitude towards the believers, their scoffing at them, winking to one another as they pass by and their assertion that the believers have gone astray. Moreover, the surah shows the reality of the righteous on the one hand and the transgressors on the other.

The surah can be divided into four parts The first opens with a declaration of war against the stinters: “Woe to the stinters who, when others measure for them, exact in full, but who, when they measure or weigh for others, defraud them. Do such people not think that they will be raised to life on a great day, the day when all mankind shall stand before the Lord of all worlds?” (Verses 1-6)

The second part warns the transgressors and denounces them in strong terms. It threatens them with woe and ruin and establishes their guilt and aggression. It explains the reasons for their blindness and describes the punishment awaiting them on the Day of Judgement. “No indeed! The record of the transgressors is in Sijjin. Would  that you knew what Sijjin is! It is a record inscribed. Woe on that day to the unbelievers who deny the Day of Judgement. None denies it but the guilty aggressors, the evildoers, who, when Our revelations are recited to them, cry: ‘Fables of the ancients! No indeed! Their own deeds have cast a layer of rust over their hearts. No indeed! On that day they shall be shut out from their Lord. They shall enter the blazing fire, and will be told: ‘This is [the reality) which you denied!” (Verses 7-17)

The third part gives an account of the righteous. It describes their high rank, the bliss they will enjoy, the delight on their faces, and the pure drink they will have while they recline on soft couches, and look all around them. It is an image of happiness: “But the record of the righteous is in `Illiyun. Would that you knew what `Illiyun is! It is a record inscribed, witnessed by those who are closest to God. The righteous will surely be in bliss. [Reclining] on couches, they will look around them. In their faces you shall mark the glow of bliss. They will be given to drink of a pure-drink, securely sealed, with a seal of musk, for this let the strivers emulously strive. It is a drink mixed with the waters of Tasnim, a fountain at which those who are closest to God will drink.” (Verses 18-28)

The last part of the surah describes what the transgressors mete out to the righteous in this world of conceit and hollow vanity, harsh treatment, ridicule and bad manners. Juxtaposed are descriptions of the ultimate situation of each group, the transgressors and the righteous, in the world of truth and immortality: “Those who are given to sinful practices scoff at the faithful and wink at one another as they pass by them. When they go back to their folk they speak of them with jests, and when they see them they say: ‘These have indeed gone astray!’ Yet they have not been assigned the mission of being their guardians. So on this Day [of Judgement] the faithful will laugh at the unbelievers, as they recline upon their couches and look around them. Shall the unbelievers be requited for what they were wont to do?” (Verses 29-36)

The surah depicts a social environment. It also provides an account of the Islamic way of dealing with the world as it exists and with the human mind. This is what we shall attempt to explain as we consider the surah in detail.

Giving a Raw Deal

Woe to the stinters who, when others measure for them, exact in full, but who, when they measure or weigh for others, defraud them. Do such people not think that they will be raised to life on a great day, the day when all mankind shall stand before the Lord of all the worlds? (Verses 1-6)

The surah opens with God’s declaration of war against the stinters: “Woe to the stinters”. The Arabic term, way, used for ‘woe’ implies destruction and ruin. The implication is the same whether we consider this verse as a statement of a future  eventuality or a curse, for a curse made by God has the same effect as that of a statement about what is going to happen. The next two verses explain the meaning of the ‘stinters’ or defrauders as intended in the surah. They are those “who, when others measure for them, exact in full, but who, when they measure or weigh for others, defraud them.” (Verses 2-3) They are those who want their merchandise complete and intact when they buy, but who do not give the right amount when they sell. The following three verses wonder at the defrauders, who behave as if they will not have to account for what they gain in this life. “Do such people not think that they will be raised to life on a great day, the day when all mankind shall stand before the Lord of all the worlds?”

The fact that the defrauders’ behaviour is tackled in this manner in a Makkan revelation is very interesting. Makkan surahs generally concentrate on the fundamentals, such as the assertion of God’s unity, the supremacy of His will and His dominion over the universe and mankind, and with assertions about the truth of revelation and prophethood, the truth of the Day of Judgement, reckoning and reward. The Makkan revelations also endeavour to form and develop the moral sense and relate it to the fundamentals of faith. The tackling of a specific issue of morality, such as the stinting of weights and measures, or business dealings in general, is a later concern; it is more characteristic of Madinan revelations, which regulate the life of the community in an Islamic state. The fact that this Makkan surah makes the issue of stinting its focal point therefore deserves careful consideration.

The first point to note is that in Makkah the nobility were very rich, but totally unscrupulous. They exercised a complete monopoly of trade in their business concerns. They organized the export and import trade using caravans which travelled to Yemen in winter and to Syria in summer. They had their seasonal trade fairs such as the ‘Ukaz fair which was held during the pilgrimage season. The fairs were for business dealings as well as literary activities.

The text suggests that the defrauders against whom war was declared belonged to the nobility and wielded much power and influence, enabling them to force others to succumb to their wishes. Several features of the Arabic wording used here connote that for some unspecified reason they were able to impose their will and exact in full. The meaning implied is not that they exacted their full due; for this would not justify a declaration of war against them. What is meant is that they obtained by sheer force what they had no right to demand. But when it was their turn to weigh or measure for others, they exercised their power by giving less than what was due.

Indeed this warning, coming so early in the Makkan period, gives an idea of the nature of the religion of Islam. It demonstrates that Islam embraces all sides of life and aims to establish a firm moral code which accords with the basic principles of divine teachings. At the time when this surah was revealed the Muslim community was still weak. The followers of Islam had not yet won power in order to organize  society and the life of the community according to Islamic principles. Yet Islam demonstrated its opposition to those acts of flagrant injustice and unethical dealings. It declared war against stinters and threatened them with woe and destruction at a time when they were the powerful rulers of Makkah. It declared its uncompromising stand against the injustices suffered by the masses whom it has never sought to lull into a state of lethargy and apathy.

This gives us an insight into the real motives behind the stubborn opposition to Islam by the masters of Makkah. They were undoubtedly keenly aware that what Muhammad (peace be upon him) was calling for was not merely a matter of personal conviction which demanded no more than a verbal assertion of God’s oneness and Muhammad’s prophethood, and a form of prayer addressed to God and not idols. They realized that the new faith would establish a way of life which would cause the very basis of their positions and interests to crumble. They were fully aware that the new religion, by its very nature, did not admit any partnership or compromise with any worldly concepts alien to its divine basis, and that it posed a mighty threat to all jahiliyyah values. This is why they launched their offensive, which continued in full force both before and after the Muslims’ migration to Madinah. It was an offensive launched to defend their way of life in its entirety, not only a set of concepts which have no effect beyond individual acceptance and personal conviction.

Those, in any age or land, who attempt to prevent Islam from organizing and ruling human life also recognize these essential facts. They know very well that the pure and straightforward Islamic way of life endangers their unjust order, interests, hollow structure and deviant practices. Indeed the tyrannical stinters — whatever form their stinting takes and wherever it is, in money and finance, or in rights and duties — are those who fear most the ascendancy of Islam and the implementation of its just methods.

The representatives of the two Arabian tribes of Madinah, the Aws and the Khazraj, who pledged their support and loyalty to the Prophet were also aware of all this. Ibn Ishaq, the Prophet’s biographer, wrote: `Asim ibn `Umar ibn Qatadah told me that when the Madinan Muslims came to give their pledge to the Prophet, al- `Abbas ibn `Ubadah al-Ansari, who belonged to the clan of Salim ibn `Awf, said to them: “You Khazraj! Do you know what your pledge to this man really means?” They answered “Yes, we do.” His rejoinder was: “You are pledging to fight the rest of mankind, white and black alike! So it would be better to leave him alone now if you think you would give him up to his enemies in the event of your sustaining material losses or losing your leaders. If you do such a thing you will bring upon yourselves great humiliation both in this life and in the life hereafter. But if you feel that you will honour your pledges despite any sacrifice in money and men, then go ahead, because this will be best for you here and in the hereafter!” They said: “We offer our loyalty and support and declare our readiness to sustain any sacrifice, material or personal!” Turning to the Prophet, they asked him: “What will be our reward if we honour our pledges?” He said: “Heaven.” They said: “Stretch out your hand.” He did and they gave him their pledges of support.

These supporters, like the Makkan tyrants, were keenly aware of the nature of Islam. They realized that it stands for absolute justice and fairness in the social order it seeks to create. It accepts no tyranny, oppression, conceit, injustice or exploitation. Hence it faces the combined forces of all forms of despotism, arrogance and exploitation.

“Do such people not think that they will be raised to life on a great day, the day when all mankind shall stand before the Lord of all the worlds?” (Verses 4-6) Their attitude is singularly strange. The mere idea of being raised to life again on that great day, when all mankind shall stand as ordinary individuals in front of the Lord of the universe, awaiting His just judgement, without support from any quarter, should be enough to make them change course. But they persist, as if the thought of being raised to life after death has never crossed their minds.

The Inevitable Reckoning

They are called stinters in the first part of the surah; but in the second they are described as transgressors. The surah proceeds to describe the standing of this group with God, their situation in this life, and what awaits them on the great day. “No indeed! The record of the transgressors is in Sijjin. Would that you knew what Sijjin is! It is a record inscribed. Woe on that day to the unbelievers who deny the Day of Judgement. None denies it but the guilty aggressors, the evildoers, who, when Our revelations are recited to them, cry: ‘Fables of the ancients!’ No indeed! Their own deeds have cast a layer of rust over their hearts. No indeed! On that day they shall be shut out from their Lord. They shall enter the blazing fire and will be told: ‘This is (the reality) which you denied!” (Verses 7-17) They think they will not be raised to life after death, so the Qur’an rebukes them and affirms that a record of their actions is kept.

The location of that record is specified as an additional confirmation of the fact, albeit a location unknown to man. They are threatened with woe and ruin on that day when their record shall be reviewed: “No indeed! The record of the transgressors is in Sijjin. Would that you knew what Sijjin is! It is a record inscribed. Woe on that day to the unbelievers.” (Verses 7-10)

The transgressors, as the Arabic term, fujjar, here connotes, are those who indulge excessively in sin. Their book is the record of their deeds. We do not know the nature of this book and nor are we required to know. The whole matter belongs to that realm of which we know nothing except what we are told by God. The statement that there is a record in Sijjin of the transgressors’ deeds, is followed by the familiar Qur’anic form of expression associated with connotations of greatness: “Would that you knew what Sijjin is!” (Verse 8) Thus, the addressee is made to feel that the whole matter is too great to be fully understood.

The surah then gives a further account of the transgressors’ book: “It is a record inscribed.” (Verse 9) There is no possibility of addition or omission until it is thrown open on that great day. When this takes place, “woe on that day to the unbelievers.” (Verse 10) Then we are given information about the subject of unbelief, and the true character of the unbelievers who deny the Day of Judgement. “None denies it but the guilty aggressors, the evildoers, who, when Our revelations are recited to them, cry: Fables of the ancients!” (Verses 12-13) So, aggression and bad deeds lead the perpetrators to deny the Day of Judgement and to take a rude and ill-mannered attitude towards the Qur’an, describing it as “Fables of the ancients!” This description by the unbelievers is, of course, based on the fact that the Qur’an contains some historical accounts of former nations. These accounts are related as a lesson for later generations as they demonstrate with much clarity the working of the divine rules to which all nations and generations are subject.

They are strongly rebuked and reprobated for their rudeness and rejection of the truth. These connotations, carried by the Arabic term kalla, translated here as ‘No indeed’, are coupled with an assertion that their allegations are unfounded. We are then given an insight into the motives of their insolent disbelief and the reasons for their inability to see the obvious truth or respond to it: “Their own deeds have cast a layer of rust over their hearts.” (Verse 14) Indeed the hearts of those who indulge in sin become dull, as if they are veiled by a thick curtain which keeps them in total darkness, unable to see the light. Thus they gradually lose their sensitivity and become lifeless.

The Prophet says: “When a man commits a sin, it throws a black spot over his heart. If he repents, his heart is polished; but if he persists in his practice, the stains increase.” [Related by Ibn Jarir, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah.] Al-Tirmidhi describes this hadith as authentic. Al-Nasa’i’s version differs in wording but not in import. His version may be translated as follows: “When a man commits a sin, a black spot is formed on his heart. If he desists, prays for forgiveness, and repents, his heart will be polished; but if he persists, the spot grows bigger until it has covered his whole heart. This is what God refers to when He says: ‘No indeed! Their own deeds have cast a layer of rust over their hearts.’’’ (Verse 14) Explaining this verse, Imam al-Hasan al-Basri said: “It is a case of one sin on top of another until the heart is blinded and dies.”

Thus, we have learnt the situation of transgressing unbelievers, as well as their motives for transgression and rejection of the truth. Then we are told what will happen to them on that great day, a destiny which befits their evil deeds and denial of the truth: “On that day they shall be shut out from their Lord. They shall enter the blazing fire and will be told: ‘This is [the reality] which you denied!” (Verses 15-17) Because their sins have cast a thick veil over their hearts, they are unable in this life to feel God’s presence, and it is only appropriate that they not be allowed to see His glorious face. They will be deprived of this great happiness, which is bestowed only on those whose hearts and souls are so clean and transparent that they deserve to be with their Lord, without any form of separation or isolation. Such people are described in Surah 75, The Resurrection: “On that day there shall be joyous faces, looking towards their Lord.” (75: 22-23)

This separation from their Lord is the greatest and most agonizing punishment and deprivation. It is a miserable end of a man whose very humanity is derived from only one source, namely his contact with God, his benevolent Lord. When man is torn away from this source of nobleness he loses all his humanity and sinks to a level which ensures hell is his just reward: “They shall enter the blazing fire.” (Verse 16) On top of this, there is something much worse and much more agonizing, namely, rebuke. “And will be told: ‘This is [the reality] which you denied!” (Verse 17)

Faces Radiant with Joy

Then follows an account of the other group, the righteous. This is given in the customary Qur’anic manner of providing two elaborately contrasting images, so that a detailed comparison may be drawn: “But the record of the righteous is in ‘Illiyun. Would that you knew what ‘Illiyun is! It is a record inscribed, witnessed by those who are closest to God. The righteous will surely be in bliss. [Reclining] on couches, they will look around them. In their faces you shall mark the glow of bliss. They will be given to drink of a pure-drink, securely sealed, with a seal of musk, for this let the strivers emulously strive. It is a drink mixed with the waters of Tasnim, a fountain at which those who are closest to God will drink.” (Verses 18-28)

This section of the surah starts with the Arabic term, kalla, which connotes strong reproach and a firm command to the transgressors to desist from their rejection of the truth. It then proceeds to speak about the righteous. Since the record of the transgressors is in Sijjin, that of the righteous is in ‘Illiyun. The term ‘righteous’ refers to the obedient who do good. They are the exact opposite of the transgressors, who indulge in every excess. The name ‘Illiyun connotes elevation and sublimity, which suggests that Sijjin is associated with baseness and ignominy. The name is followed by the form of exclamation often used in the Qur’an to cast notions of mystery and grandeur: “Would that you knew what ‘Illiyun is!” (Verse 19)

The surah then states that the book of the righteous is “a record inscribed, witnessed by those who are closest to God.” (Verses 20-21) We have already stated what is meant by ‘a record inscribed.’ We are told here that the angels closest to God see this book and witness it. This statement gives the feeling that the record of the righteous is associated with nobility, purity and sublimity. The angels closest to God look at it and enjoy its description of noble deeds and glorious characteristics. The whole image provides evidence of the honour the righteous receive.

There follows an account of the situation in which the righteous find themselves. We are told of the bliss they enjoy on that great day: “The righteous will surely be in bliss.” (Verse 22) This contrasts with hell, in which the transgressors dwell. “[Reclining! on couches they will look around them.” (Verse 23) This means that they are given a place of honour. They look wherever they wish. They do not have to look down, out of humility; and they suffer nothing which distracts their attention. The description here represents to the Arabs, who were the first to be addressed by the Qur’an, the highest form of comfort and luxury.

In their bliss, the righteous live in mental and physical comfort. Their faces are radiant with unmistakable joy: “In their faces you shall mark the glow of bliss. They will be given to drink of a pure- drink, securely sealed, with a seal of musk.” (Verses 24-26) Their drink is absolutely pure without any unwanted additions or particles of dust. Describing it as securely sealed with musk indicates, perhaps, that it is ready made in secured containers to be opened when refreshment is needed. All this adds to the impression of meticulous care being taken. The fact that the seal is of musk also adds an element of elegance and luxury. The whole picture, however, is understood only within the limits of human experience in this world.

In the life to come people will have different concepts, tastes and standards which will be free from all the bonds of this limited world.

The description is carried further in the following two verses: “It is a drink mixed with the waters of Tasnim, a fountain at which those who are closest to God will drink.” (Verses 27-28) o, this pure, securely sealed drink is opened and mixed with a measure of the water from a fountain called Tasnim and described as the one from which the favoured who are close to God drink. Before this last part of the description is given we are also given a significant instruction: “For this let the strivers emulously strive.” (Verse 26)

Those stinters who defraud their fellow men pay no regard to the Day of Judgement, and, worse still, deny that such a Day of Reckoning will come. Hardened by their sins and excesses, they strive endlessly for the petty riches of this world. Each of them tries to outdo the others and gain as much as possible. Hence, he indulges in all types of injustice and vice for the sake of ephemeral luxuries. It is the other type of luxury and honour which deserves emulous striving: “For this let the strivers emulously strive.” (Verse 26)

Those who strive for an object of this world, no matter how superb, grand or honourable it is, are in reality striving for something hollow, cheap and temporary. This world, in its totality, is not worth, in God’s view, one mosquito’s wing. It is the hereafter which carries real weight with Him. So, it should be the goal for strenuous competition and zealous striving.

It is remarkable that striving for the hereafter elevates the souls of all strivers, while competition for worldly objects sinks the competitors’ souls to the lowest depths. As man works continuously to achieve the happiness of the hereafter, his work makes this world a happy and pure one for everybody. On the other hand, efforts made for the achievement of worldly ends turn this world into a filthy marsh, where animals devour one another and insects bite the flesh of the righteous.

Striving for the hereafter does not turn the earth into a barren desert, as some transgressors imagine. Islam considers this world a farm, and the hereafter its fruits. It defines the role of the true believer as the building of this world while following the path of piety and righteousness. Islam stipulates that man must look on his task as an act of worship which fulfils the purpose of his existence as defined by God: “I have not created the jinn and mankind to any end other than that they may worship Me.” (51: 56) The statement, “For this let the strivers emulously strive,” inspires man to look far beyond this finite, little world, as he sets out to fulfil his mission as God’s vicegerent on earth. Thus as they work on purifying the filthy marsh of this world their souls are elevated to new heights.

Man’s life on earth is limited while his future life is of limitless duration. The luxuries of this world are also limited while the happiness of paradise is much too great for us to conceive. The elements of happiness in this life are well known to everyone, but in the next world they are on a level befitting a life everlasting.

What comparison can then hold between the two spheres of competition or the two goals, even when we apply the human method of balancing losses against profits? It is, indeed, one race and a single competition: “For this let the strivers emulously strive.” (Verse 26)

Stark Contrast

The beatitude enjoyed by the righteous is discussed at length in order to give a detailed account of the hardships, humiliation and insolence they are made to suffer at the hands of the transgressors. The final comment of the surah taunts the unbelievers as they behold the righteous enjoying heavenly bliss: “Those who are given to sinful practices scoff at the faithful and wink at one another as they pass by them. When  they go back to their folk they speak of them with jests, and when they see them they say: ‘These have indeed gone astray!’ Yet they have not been assigned the mission of being their guardians. So on this Day [of Judgement] the faithful will laugh at the unbelievers, as they recline upon their couches and look around them. Shall the unbelievers be requited for what they were wont to do?” (Verses 29-36)

The images portrayed by the Qur’an of the evildoers’ derision of the faithful, their rudeness and insolence, and their description of the faithful, as having ‘gone astray’ are taken directly from Makkan life at the time. But the same actions happen over and over again in all ages and places. Many people in our own age have witnessed similar actions, and it is as if the surah was revealed to describe what they see with their own eyes. This proves that the attitude of the transgressors and the evildoers to the believers hardly ever changes from one country to another or from one period of time to another.

“Those who are given to sinful practices scoff at the faithful.” (Verse 29) In the Arabic original, the past tense is used here so as to take us away from this world to the hereafter to see the righteous in their bliss while we also hear what happened to them in this world. The believers were made to suffer ridicule and derision by the transgressors, either because they were poor or weak or because their self-respect would not allow them to return the abuse of base evildoers. What a contrast: the evildoers persecute the believers and laugh at them shamelessly while the believers stick to dignified self respect and perseverance.

“And wink at one another as they pass by them.” (Verse 30) They wink at one another or make certain actions intended as mockery and derision. Such behaviour betrays their baseness and bad manners. They try to make the believers feel embarrassed and helpless. “When they go back to their folk they speak of them with jests.” When they have nourished their evil, little minds with such mockery and injurious actions they go back to their own folk to continue their laughter and derision. They are satisfied with what they have done. Although they have sunk to the lowest depths, they cannot imagine how contemptible they are.

“And when they see them they say: ‘These have indeed gone astray!” (Verse 32) This is even more singular! Nothing is more absurd than that those transgressors should speak about right and error, or that they should say that the believers have gone astray. Transgression knows no limits. The transgressors never feel ashamed of what they do or say. Their description of the believers as having gone astray is a clear manifestation of this fact. The Qur’an does not try to defend the believers or refute the evil accusation levelled at them, because it is not worth refuting. It laughs loudly, however, at those who involve themselves impudently in something which does not concern them, “Yet they have not been assigned the mission of being their guardians!” (Verse 33) No one has asked them to look after the believers, or to watch over them, or to assess their situation. So why do they give their unsolicited opinion?

This sarcasm concludes the narration of what the transgressors do in this life. The surah relates it as if it is something of the past, and gives an image of the present, i.e. in the hereafter, when the believers rejoice in their heavenly bliss: “So on this Day [of Judgement] the faithful will laugh at the unbelievers, as they recline upon their couches and look around them.” (Verses 34-35) On that day the unbelievers will be shut out from their Lord, suffering isolation combined with the torture of hell when they are told: “This is [the reality] which you denied!” (Verse 17) At the other end of the scale, the believers recline on couches, in total beatitude, partaking of a pure drink which is secured with a seal of musk and mixed with the waters of Tasnim. As the surah draws the two images, it shows how the tables are turned; for then it is the believers who laugh at the unbelievers.

The surah concludes with another loud, ironic question: “Shall the unbelievers be requited for what they were wont to do.” (Verse 36) Their requital is not a good one, as the term used here connotes. For we have just been given an image of their doom, which is described here sarcastically, as their reward.

Who Laughs at Whom?

The scene of the evildoers’ ridicule of the believers merits further discussion. It is portrayed in considerable detail, in the same way as the earlier scene of the righteous in heavenly bliss. This detailed description is highly artistic. It also has a marked psychological effect which is at once soothing, comforting and reassuring. The Muslim minority in Makkah was facing a sustained, demoralizing onslaught by the unbelievers, but God did not leave the Muslims on their own: He comforted them and urged them to persevere.

They are comforted by the very fact that their sufferings are outlined by God in detail. He sees what the believers suffer and does not ignore what He sees, although He may let the unbelievers do as they wish, if only for a while. He also sees how the transgressors laugh unrepentantly at the sufferings of the faithful. Since He describes all this in the Qur’an then He must take it into account. This, in itself, is enough consolation for the believers.

There are also those scornful remarks about the evildoers. They may go unnoticed by the unbelievers because their indulgence in their sinful practices have made them insensitive. The highly sensitive hearts of the believers, however, are touched and comforted by them.

It must be noted that the only consolation offered by God to the believers who were subjected to harsh treatment and painful ridicule was heaven for the believers  and hell for the unbelievers. This, again, was the only promise the Prophet (peace be upon him) made to the believers when they pledged all their property as well as their lives for the cause of Islam. Victory in this life was never mentioned in the Makkan Qur’anic revelations as a consolation or as an incentive to persevere. The Qur’an was instead cultivating the hearts of the believers, and preparing them to fulfil the task with which they were entrusted. It was necessary that such hearts attain a high standard of strength and self-denial so that they would give everything and suffer all hardship without looking for anything in this life. They were to seek only the reward of the hereafter and to win God’s pleasure. They were prepared to go through life suffering all sorts of hardship and deprivation with no promise of reward in this life, not even victory for the cause of Islam.

Such a group of people must be first established. When this happens and God knows that they are sincere and determined in what they have pledged themselves to do, then He will give them victory in this life. Victory will not be theirs as a personal reward. They will be given power as trustees appointed for the implementation of the Islamic way of life. They will be worthy trustees because neither were they promised nor did they look for any worldly gain. They pledged themselves truly to God at a time when they were unaware of any worldly benefit that may befall them except that they would win God’s pleasure.

All the Qur’anic verses which speak of victory were revealed later in Madinah when this was no longer an issue. Victory was given because God willed that successive human generations should have an actual, definite and practical example of the Islamic way of life. It was not a reward for sacrifices made or hardships suffered.

83. Surah Al Mutaffifin (Those Who Deal in Fraud)

Name
It is derived from the very first verse; Wayl-ul-lil mutaffifin.

Period of Revelation
The style of the Surah and its subject matter clearly show that it was revealed in the earliest stage at Makkah, when surah after surah was being revealed to impress the doctrine of the Hereafter on the people’s minds. This Surah was revealed when they had started ridiculing the Muslims and disgracing them publicly in the streets and in their assemblies, but persecution and manhandling of the Muslims had not yet started. Some commentators regard this as a Madani Surah. This misunderstanding has been caused by a tradition from Ibn Abbas according to which when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) arrived in Madinah, the evil of giving short weight and measure was widespread among the people there. Then Allah sent down Wayl ul-lil mutaffifin and the people began to give full weight and measure. (Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Marduyah, Ibn Jarir, Baihaqi: Shu`ab-il-Iman) But, as we have explained in the introduction to Surah Ad-Dahr, the common practice with the Companions and their successors was that when they found that a verse applied to a certain matter of life, they would say that it had been sent down concerning that particular matter. Therefore, what is proved by the tradition of Ibn Abbas is that when after his emigration to Madinah the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) saw that the evil was widespread among the people there, he recited this Surah before them by Allah’s Command and this helped them mend their ways.

Theme and Subject Matter
The theme of this Surah too is the Hereafter. In the first six verses the people have been taken to task for the prevalent evil practice in their commercial dealings. When they had to receive their due from others, they demanded that it be given in full, but when they had to measure or weigh for others, they would give less than what was due. Taking this one evil as an example out of countless evils prevalent in society, it has been said that it is an inevitable result of the heedlessness of the Hereafter. Unless the people realized that one day they would have to appear before God and account for each single act they performed in the world, it was not possible that they would adopt piety and righteousness in their daily affairs. Even if a person might practice honesty in some of his less important dealings in view of “honesty is the best policy,” he would never practice honesty on occasions when dishonesty would seem to be “the best policy”. Man can develop true and enduring honesty only when he fears God and sincerely believes in the Hereafter, for then he would regard honesty not merely as “a policy” but as “a duty” and obligation, and his being constant in it, or otherwise, would not be dependent on its being useful or useless in the world.

Thus, after making explicit the relation between morality and the doctrine of the Hereafter in an effective and impressive way, in vv. 7-17, it has been said: The deeds of the wicked are already being recorded in the black list of the culprits, and in the Hereafter they will meet with utter ruin. Then in vv. 18-28, the best end of the virtuous has been described and it has been laid that their deeds are being recorded in the list of the exalted people, on which are appointed the angels nearest to Allah.

In conclusion, the believers have been consoled, and the disbelievers warned, as if to say: “The people who are disgracing and humiliating the believers today, are culprits who, on the Resurrection Day, will meet with a most evil end in consequence of their conduct, and these very believers will feel comforted when they see their fate.”

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.


(83:1) Woe to the stinters; [1] (83:2) those who, when they take from others by measure, take their full share; [2] (83:3) but who, when they measure or weigh for others, give less than their due. (83:4) Do they not realise that they will be raised to life (83:5) on a Great Day, [3] (83:6) a Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the Universe? (83:7) No indeed![4] Verily the deeds of the wicked are in the Record locked up in the prison-house![5] (83:8) And how would you know what the Record of the prison-house is? (83:9) It is a Book inscribed. (83:10) Woe, then, to those that give the lie, (83:11) those that give the lie to the Day of Recompense. (83:12) Yet none gives the lie to it except the transgressor immersed in sin; (83:13) who, when Our verses are recited to him,[6] says: “Mere tales of olden times!” (83:14) No indeed! The truth is that their hearts have become rusted on account of their evil deeds.[7] (83:15) No indeed! On that Day they will be screened off from seeing their Lord,[8] (83:16) and then they shall enter Hell, (83:17) whereafter they will be told: “This is what you used to give the lie to.” (83:18) No indeed![9] Verily, the deeds of the virtuous shall be in the record of the exalted ones. (83:19) And what do you know what the Record of the exalted ones is? (83:20) It is a Book inscribed, (83:21) which the angels placed near Allah to safeguard. (83:22) Verily the virtuous shall be in Bliss; (83:23) resting on couches, looking around. (83:24) You shall see upon their faces the glow of bliss. (83:25) They will be served a drink of the finest sealed wine,[10] (83:26) whose seal is musk – so let all aspirants aspire after that – (83:27) a wine whose mixture is Tasnim,[11] (83:28) a fountain at which the chosen ones shall drink.


1. In the original the word mutaffifin has been used, which is derived from tatfif, a word used for an inferior and base thing in Arabic. Terminologically, tatfif is used for giving short weight and short measure fraudulently, for the person who acts thus while measuring or weighing, does not defraud another by any substantial amount, but skimps small amounts from what is due to every customer cleverly, and the poor customer does not know of what and of how much he is being deprived by the seller.

2. At several places in the Quran, giving of short measure and weight has been condemned and measuring fully and weighing rightly has been stressed. In Surah Al-Anaam, it has been enjoined: You should use a full measure and a just balance. We charge one only with that much responsibility that one can bear. (verse 152). In Surah Bani Israil, it has been said: Give full measure when you measure and weigh with even scales. (verse 35). In Surah Ar-Rehman, it has been stressed: Do not upset the balance: weigh with equity and do not give short weight. (verses 8-9). The people of the Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) were punished for the reason that the evil of giving short measure and weight had become widespread among them and in spite of his counsel and advice they did not refrain from it.

3. A Great Day: the Day of Resurrection when all men and jinn will be called to account together in the divine court and decisions of vital importance will be made pertaining to rewards and punishments.

4. That is, these people are wrong in thinking that they will be let off without being called to account when they have committed such and such crimes in the world. .

5. The word sijjin in the original is derived from sijn (a prison) and the explanation of it that follows shows that it implies the general register in which the actions and deeds of the people worthy of punishment are being recorded.

6. Our verses: Those verses in which news of the Day of Recompense has been given.

7. That is, they have no good reason for regarding the meting out of rewards and punishments as unreal. What has made them say is this: Is it that their hearts have become rusty because of their sins; therefore, a thing which is thoroughly reasonable appears unreal and unreasonable to them. The explanation of this rust as given by the Prophet (peace be upon him) is as follows: When a servant commits a sin, it marks a black stain on his heart. If he offers repentance, the stain is washed off, but if he persists in wrongdoing, it spreads over the entire heart. (Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Ibn Jarir, Hakim, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Hibban and others).

8. That is, these people will remain deprived of the vision of Allah with which the righteous will be blessed. (For further explanation, see (E.N. 17 of Surah Al -Qiyamah).

9. That is, they are wrong in thinking that there is going to be no meting out of rewards and punishments.

10. One meaning of the words khtamu-hu-misk is that the vessels containing the wine will carry the seal of musk instead of clay or wax. Accordingly the verse means: This will be the choicest kind of wine, which will be superior to the wine flowing in the canals, and it will be served by the attendants of Paradise in vessels sealed with musk to the dwellers of Paradise. Another meaning can also be: When that wine will pass down the throat, its final effect will be of the flavor of musk. This state is contrary to the wines of the world which give out an offensive smell as soon as the bottle opens and one feels its horrid smell even while drinking and also when it passes down the throat.

11. Tasneem means height. Thus, Tasnim will be a fountain flowing down from a height.


(83:29) Behold, the wicked were wont to laugh at the believers: (83:30) when they passed by them they winked, (83:31) and when they went back to their families, they went back jesting,[12] (83:32) and when they saw the believers, they said: “Lo! These are the erring ones”;[13] (83:33) (they said so although) they had not been appointed watchers over them.[14] (83:34) But today the believers are laughing at the unbelievers; (83:35) seated upon their couches, they are looking around. (83:36) Have the unbelievers been duly rewarded for their deeds?[15]


12. That is, they returned home rejoicing, thinking that they had made fun of such and such a Muslim, had passed evil remarks against him and subjected him to ridicule among the people.

13. That is, they have lost their reason. They have deprived themselves of the gains and enjoyments of the world and have experienced dangers and undergone hardships only for the reason that Muhammad (peace be upon him) has deluded them with the Hereafter, Heaven and Hell. They are giving up whatever is present here on the false hope that the promise of some Paradise has been held out to them after death, and they are enduring the hardships in the present life only for the reason that they have been threatened with some Hell in the next world.

14. In this brief sentence the mockers and jesters have been given an instructive warning to the effect: Even if what the Muslims have believed in, is false, they are not harming you at all. They regard something as true, and are accordingly adopting a certain moral attitude for themselves, for their own good. Allah has not appointed you to be keepers over them so that you may be free to criticize and persecute those who are not harming you in any way.

15. There is a subtle satire in this sentence. In the world, the disbelievers used to persecute the believers, thinking it was an act of virtue. In the Hereafter, the believers will be enjoying life in Paradise, and watching the disbelievers being punished in Hell. They will say to themselves: What a reward they have earned for their acts of virtue.