83 - Al Mutaffifin (The cheats)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 83.1


Woe (waylun: a term entailing chastisement; or [it is the name of] a valley in Hell) to the defrauders:


Woe to the defrauders!He said:They are the hypocrites and those who take on their characteristics, stinting in their prayer. Thus did Salmān [al-Fārisī] say, "The prayer is the balance (mikyāl); whoever deals faithfully will be rewarded his due, but as for whoever stints " you already know what God, Exalted is He, has said concerning the defrauders (muṭaffifūn): Will you bid others to piety and forget yourselves...? [2:44]. You vilify them for the slips they make that are typical of the faults of men, and yet you commit similar misdeeds and those which are more abominable still." No one looks upon the slips of [other] people except an ignorant wrongdoer, and no one [may] make known that which he has looked upon [of the faults of others] except God. Indeed it has been related that God spoke to David through inspiration the words, "I complain of My servants to you, O David!" He asked, "And why is that, my Lord?" He replied, "It is because they sin in secret and repent in public, and truly I do not wish anyone to look upon the sin of my servant besides Me."ʿUmar b. Wāṣil said that he had asked Sahl about God"s words, Nay, on that day they will be veiled from their Lord [83:15]. He replied:In this life they are veiled from the Commander (al-Āmir) and the Restrainer (al-Zājir). Thus it was related in a report, "Happy is the one whose heart acts for him as an admonisher and whose intellect as a restrainer." So if a person wants something from which God is absent, they [the heart and intellect] will hold him back from it. " [But as for those mentioned in the verse], in the Hereafter they are veiled from the [divine] mercy, and from being able to behold God, Mighty and Majestic is He, and are deprived of His looking upon them with His good pleasure (riḍā) and satisfaction (riḍwān) when He questions them. Just as He has said, But [first] stop them, for they must be questioned [37:24] about [their] religion (diyāna), and they will not be able to shake off the evidence against them, so He will put them into the Hellfire.

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(Woe unto the defrauders) [83:1]. Abu Isma"il ibn al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Naqib> his grandfather Muhammad ibn al-Husayn> Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Hafiz> "Abd al-Rahman ibn Bashir> "Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Waqid> his father> Yazid al-Nahwi> "Ikrimah> Ibn "Abbas who said: "When the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, first moved to Medina, its inhabitants were the worst kind of defrauders, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Woe unto the defrauders: Those who when they take the measure from mankind demand it full). After the revelation of this verse, they became honest in their weighing". Al-Qurazi said: "There were some merchants in Medina who defrauded others. Their transaction were like gambling: buying by means of throwing a pebble on a specific merchandises (Munabadhah) without stipulating any terms or agreeing a contract or by touching the merchandise without looking at it (Mulamasah) or engaging in transactions which involve the risk of losing on both sides (Mukhatarah). And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, went then to the marketplace and recited it". Al-Suddi said: "When the Messenger of Allah arrived at Medina, there was there a man called Abu Juhaynah. This man had two scales: he used one scale when he sold things to people and the other when he bought from them. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse".

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

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.

At several places in the Qur'an giving of short measure and weight has been condemned and measuring fully and weighing rightly has been stressed. In Surah Al-An'am, 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." (v. 152). In Surah Bani Isra'il it has been said: "Give full measure when you measure and weigh with even scales." (v. 35). In Surah Ar-Rehman it has been stressed: Do not upset the balance: weigh with equity and do not give short weight." (vv. 8-9). The people of the Prophet Shu`aib 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.

"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.”

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying: (Woe unto the defrauders): '(Woe) severe punishment (unto the defrauders) in weighing and measurement; this refers to the people of Medina who used to cheat in weighing and measurement before the coming of the Prophet (pbuh) and so this surah was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) on his way when he was migrating to Medina: