Woe to Those Who Give Less In Measure and Weight! [Reminder to Those Who Force Poor Nations to Agree to Unfair Trade Deals- Taking In Full Their Share and Not Giving Others Their Fair Share]


In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestowed of Mercy.

Allah [The Exalted] said:

وَيْلٌ لِّلْمُطَفِّفِينَ

الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ

وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَو وَّزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ

 أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُولَٰئِكَ أَنَّهُم مَّبْعُوثُونَ

لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ

يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Woe to Al-Mutaffifin [those who give less in measure and weight (decrease the rights of others)], those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, demand full measure, and when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due. Think they not that they will be resurrected (for reckoning), on a Great Day, the Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)? [Surah Al-Mutaffifeen. Aayaat 1-7]

[وَيْلٌ- Woe ] is a word of punishment and threat of divine vengeance to those who give less in  measure. [Ref 1] Qaadhi Iyaad [may Allah have mercy upon him] said that the word ‘’Waylun‘’ (Woe) has some of the following meanings: It is used whilst referring to one who has fallen into destruction. It is used whilst referring to one who deserves destruction. It is used to refer to destruction itself. It is used to refer to the difficulty found in punishment. It is used to refer to grief. It is used to refer to a valley in the hell fire. [Ref 2]

Allah explained who the Mutaffifeen are in his statement: [الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ – Those who, when they have to receive by measure from people, demand full measure] -Meaning, they take from them in full what is established to be their due and demand in full without any loss.

[وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَو وَّزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ -And when they have to give by measure or weight to people, give less than what is due] -Meaning, when they give the people what they are entitled to by way of measure or weight, they give them less- either by giving short measure or weight, or by not giving the full measure or weight, or by not filling the measuring or weighing equipment and what is similar that. This is tantamount to stealing the people’s wealth and not being fair to them. If this is the threat of divine vengeance  against those who give short measure and short weight, then those who take people’s wealth by force or by stealing are more deserving of this threat than those who give short measure and short weight.

This noble Aayah shows that just as a person takes from the people what he is entitled to, it is also obligated on him to give them everything they are entitled to – whether related to wealth or mutual dealings; rather included in the generality of this Aayah are proofs and statements, because indeed what usually takes place between those engaged in argumentation and discussion is that each of them is eager to establish his proofs, therefore, it is obligated on a person also to make known the proofs possessed by the other person and examine the proofs of the other person just as he examines his own proofs. In relation to this affair, the justice of a person is known as opposed to whether he is afflicted with bigotry, his humility as opposed to being haughty, his common sense as opposed to foolish behaviour. We ask Allah bestow on us every good.

Then Allah issued a threat to those who give short measure, stated with amazement regarding their state of affairs and their persistence upon what they are doing. Allah said:

أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُولَٰئِكَ أَنَّهُم مَّبْعُوثُونَ

لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ

يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Think they not that they will be resurrected (for reckoning), on a Great Day, the Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of all that exists – Meaning, what makes them dare to give short measure is because they do not believe in the Last Day, otherwise had they believed in it and known that they will stand before Allah to give account – whether related to something small or big, they would stopped and repent. [Ref 3]

Prophet Hud [alayhis salaam] and His People

Allah [The Most High] said in Surah Hud Ayah 88 that Shu’aib [alayhis-salaam] said to his people:

[يَا قَوْمِ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِن كُنتُ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّي – O my people! Tell me, if I have a clear evidence from my Lord]- Meaning: I am upon certainty and tranquillity regarding the correctness of [the Message] I have brought. [وَرَزَقَنِي مِنْهُ رِزْقًا حَسَنًا – and He (Allah) has given me a good sustenance from  Himself]- Meaning: Allah has given me various types of wealth.

[وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ  – I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you]- Meaning: I do not wish to forbid you from [the evil practice of giving lower in weight and Measure by way of cheating in business transactions], yet I myself do the same and eventually you will charge me for doing so; rather I will not forbid you from an affair except that I will be the first person to hasten to abandon it; [إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلَّا الْإِصْلَاحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ – I only desire reform so far as I am able, to the best of my power]- Meaning: I do not have any other intentions [goals or aims] other than to rectify your state of affairs and the things that are of benefit to you. And because this statement of Shu’aib contains something which may indicate that he is attributing piety to himself, he repels it with the statement [وَمَا تَوْفِيقِي إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ – And my guidance cannot come except from Allah]-Meaning: The ability I have to do good and to refrain from evil is a bestowal from Allah [The Most High] and it is neither due to my strength nor power; [عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ – in Him I trust and unto Him I repent]- Meaning: I rely on Allah in all my affairs and suffice myself with Him. I turn to Allah in all the various acts of worship He has commanded me to draw close to Him by performing good deeds. By way of these two affairs- seeking aid and assistance from Allah, turning to Him in repentance, complete submission and obedience-  a person’s state of affairs becomes upright, just as Allah  [The Most High] said in another Aayah: [فَاعْبُدْهُ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَيْهِ– So worship Him (O Muhammad) and put your trust in Him]. [Ref 4]


[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 2: Quoted by Shaikh Abdullaah Al-Bukhaari in Sharh Umdatul Ahkaam: lesson 2]

[Ref 3: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 4: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]

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