Tafseer (Explanation) of Surat Al-Mutaffifin (The Defrauding)
Verse[1-5] In the name of the merciful and compassionate God.
Verse [6-10] At the mighty day? the day when men shall stand before the Lord of the worlds!.
Verse [11-15] Woe on that day for those who say it is a lie!.
Verse [16-20] From their Lord on that day are they veiled; and then, verily, they shall broil in hell. then it shall be said, ‘This is what ye once did call a lie!’.
Verse [21-25] A book inscribed! those nigh to God shall witness it.
Verse [26-30]They shall be given to drink wine that is sealed, whose seal is musk; for that then let the aspirants aspire!.
Verse [31-34] And when they pass by they wink at one another. and when they return to their family they return ridiculing them. and when they see them they say, ‘Verily, these do go astray!’.but they are not sent as guardians over them!
Verse [35-36] Upon couches shall they gaze; are the misbelievers rewarded for what they have done?.
What Surat is All about?
This Surah is about “Increasing and decreasing in the Measure and Weight will be a Cause for Regret and Loss”.”The Record of the Wicked and some of what happens to Them”. “and “The Wicked Behavior of the Criminals and Their mocking of the Believers”.
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 the people of Madinah had started ridiculing the Muslims and disgracing them publicly in the streets and in their assemblies. but persecution of the Muslims had not yet started. According to Ibn Abbas which when the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) arrived in Madinah. the evil of giving short weight and measure was wide spread 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).
The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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.
Dealing in Fraud’ is One of the Factors of Mischief in the Land.
The Holy Qur’an frequently condemns fraud, for example, in the story of Shu’ayb in Sura Shu’ara No.26, verse 181 to 183 it says:
“Give just measure, and cause no loss (to others by fraud).” “And weigh with scales true and upright”. “And withhold not things justly due to men, nor do evil in the land, working mischief”.
Hence, dealing in fraud unjustly, with measure or weight, is counted as working mischief in the land. This is an evidence for the idea that shortchanging is one of the aspects of social evils.
For the same reason, the great leaders of Islam have paid much attention to it. For example, Asbaq-iln-Nabatah has quoted from Hazrat Ali that when he was on the pulpit, he said:
“0 tradesmen! ‘practical theology’ is first then trade.” And he repeated it thrice. then finally added: “A tradesman is a wicked man and a wicked man will be in Hell except for those who take their right in justice and give people’s right (in full).” Al-Kafi, vol. 5, Chapter: ‘Trade’.
It has been emphasized even in Islamic traditions about business behaviors that believers should give others a bit more when measuring or weighing something. and take from others a bit less than that which is due. This is opposite to what is mentioned in these verses about the treatment of the defrauders.
”Who when they take a measure from people, take it in full,”. “But when they give by measure or weight to men, they cause loss (give less than what is due.).”
On the other hand, as it was mentioned before. ‘fraud’ has such a broad meaning that envelops any shortchanging in any business or problem or responsibility whether they are personal or social or Divine.