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Surah Al-Mutaffifin

Ayat/pg: 5 | 10 | 15 | 20 | All

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah Al-Mutaffifin

Mecca Mecca (86)
36Total Ayat: 36
1Total Ruku: 1

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 wasrevealed in the earliest stage at Makkah, when surah after surah wasbeing revealed to impress the doctrine of the Hereafter on thepeople's minds. This Surah was revealed when they had startedridiculing the Muslims and disgracing them publicly in the streets andin their assemblies, but persecution and manhandling of the Muslimshad not yet started. Some commentators regard this as a Madani Surah.This misunderstanding has been caused by a tradition from Ibn Abbasaccording to which when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) arrivedin Madinah, the evil of giving short weight and measure was widespreadamong the people there. Then Allah sent down Wayl ul-lil mutaffifinand 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 haveexplained in the introduction to Surah Ad-Dahr, the common practicewith the Companions and their successors was that when they found thata verse applied to a certain matter of life, they would say that ithad been sent down concerning that particular matter. Therefore, whatis proved by the tradition of Ibn Abbas is that when after hisemigration to Madinah the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) saw thatthe evil was widespread among the people there, he recited this Surahbefore 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 versesthe people have been taken to task for the prevalent evil practice intheir commercial dealings. When they had to receive their due fromothers, they demanded that it be given in full, but when they had tomeasure or weigh for others, they would give less than what was due.Taking this one evil as an example out of countless evils prevalent insociety, it has been said that it is an inevitable result of theheedlessness of the Hereafter. Unless the people realized that one daythey would have to appear before God and account for each single actthey performed in the world, it was not possible that they would adoptpiety and righteousness in their daily affairs. Even if a person mightpractise honesty in some of his less important dealings in view of"honesty is the best policy", he would never practise honesty onoccasions when dishonesty would seem to be "the best policy". Man candevelop true and enduring honesty only when he fears God and sincerelybelieves in the Hereafter, for then he would regard honesty not merelyas "a policy" but as "a duty" and obligation, and his being constantin it, or otherwise, would not be dependent on its being useful oruseless in the world.

Thus, after making explicit the relation betweenmorality and the doctrine of the Hereafter in an effective andimpressive way, in vv. 7-17, it has been said: The deeds of the wickedare already being recorded in the black list of the culprits, and inthe Hereafter they will meet with utter ruin. Then in vv. 18-28, thebest end of the virtuous has been described and it has been laid thattheir deeds are being recorded in the list of the exalted people, onwhich are appointed the angels nearest to Allah.

In conclusion, thebelievers have been consoled, and the disbelievers warned, as if tosay: "The people who are disgracing and humiliating the believerstoday, are culprits who, on the Resurrection Day, will meet with amost evil end in consequence of their conduct, and these verybelievers will feel comforted when they see their fate."

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