In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Dear brother, let us consider the quote of Huzaifa, May Allah be pleased with him, as he used to say:
((People used to ask the prophet PBUH about goodness, whereas I used to ask him about badness lest I involve in it))
Accordingly, I tend to talk about the indecent manners, in these thirty sessions we are going to have, lest we involve in one of them.
Al Tatfeef is one of the indecent manners:“At-Tatfeef” is the indecent manner we are going to tackle this session due to naming a whole Surat by that title and in which that manner was tackled, that is, Surat “Al Mutaffifoon” (those who give less in measure and weight [decrease the rights of sh3er]
1- The title of the Surat from the language aspect:The title of the Surat is “Al Mutaffifeen” and parsing this word in Arabic language should make it “Al Mutaffifeen” but if we consider the title as a title of a story then it should be “Al Mutaffifoon” for it is similar to the other Surat with the title “Al Muminoon”.
2-The definition of Tatfeef:Dear brother, At-Tatfeef as a term means the act of giving less in measure and weight to the person you are selling to (decreasing the rights of sh3er), and it means also to take more if you are the one who is buying (increasing the rights of oneself), and this is the exact meaning of Tatfeef.
3- At-Tatfeef in its wide sense:Usually, we have a specific sense and a wide sense for every term. I, for one and I hope I am right, see that all kinds of cheating are considered as acts of Tatfeef. Hence, the exact meaning of Tatfeef will be to give less in measure or weight to sh3er when they buy, fabric for example, and to take more when you are the buyer of that fabric. Therefore, At-Tatfeef includes weights, measures, lengths, amounts and numbers in its wide sense and thus all kinds of cheating are considered as acts of Tatfeef.
Suppose by way of example that someone imported a commodity of bad quality from an industrial country, then he bought a golden band that says: “Made in France” and he ironed it on the fabric then sold it to people as a European commodity, this kind of act will be considered as an act of Tatfeef though this person didn’t give less or take more, however, it is defrauding when the seller sells some goods of an inferior quality and claims that they are imported from a very advanced country which is superior in making fabrics.
Accordingly, Tatfeef ways are countless, and the prophet PBUH said:
((Whosoever cheats is not one of us))
((…is not one of us))
The word “is not one of us” is the most sever kinds of threats.
Though all the Surats in chapter (Juz’o) 30 in Quran tackle the universe in general like:
((And by the sun and its brightness;))
((By the dawn; By the ten nights (i.e. the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah), And by the even and the odd (of all the creations of Allah))Etc…, Surat Al Mutaffifeen seems to be inserted among these Surats, though it doesn’t talk about universe.
As if Surat “Al Mutaffifeen” was purposely inserted among these Surats to tell us (according to scholars) the following: “If practicing Tatfeef with people is the reason of dooming mankind, what do think the results of practicing Tatfeef with the Creator of heavens and earth will be?”. You will be doomed if you give less to a person, so what will happen if you give less to the Creator?
Dear brother, Tatfeef means giving less in measure and weight or taking more, and this word can’t be used in the negation sense (in Arabic language), namely, we can’t say: this person “Ma Taffaf” (didn’t), because the meaning of the word is to cheat whether in giving less or taking more.
Again, according to the noble Quran, Tatfeef means to give less in measure and weight to people when you sell them something, and take more in measure and weight when you are the buyer, and all sorts of measures are included in this definition.
4- At-Tatfeef is a major sin:Ibn Hajar who is the author of the book entitled “Fateh Al Bari in explaining Sahih Bukhari” considered At-Tatfeef as a major sin.
Therefore it is a major sin to slam the piece of meat on the pan of the balance in order to make it weigh more, also it is a major sin to put a fan close to the gold balance in order to increase the weight of gold. There are countless ways of cheating that may not catch your attention, and they are all considered as acts of Tatfeef.
In general, increasing the amount of weight or measure when you buy and decreasing them when you sell is an act of Tatfeef. Hence, cheating in general is the widest sense of Tatfeef:
((Whosoever cheats is not one of us))At all.
Ibn Hajr considered Tatfeef as a major sin because it is all about devouring of men's substance wrongfully (bribery, etc.) and making money by monopolizing which is Haram. Monopolizing here means that you give the buyer the impression that the market ran out of this commodity in specific, and it is rarely found, and accordingly you increase its price, however the reality is that this commodity is available and in great amounts but you kept it in order to increase its price, thus, you take money that you don’t deserve and this is considered as an act of Tatfeef.
Hence, giving the buyer the impression of false claims in order to increase the price is Tatfeef.
This is why the threats in Quran were sever for those who practice Tatfeef.
At-Tatfeef as mentioned in the Quran:
The first Ayah:
((Woe to Al-Mutaffifin [those who give less in measure and weight (decrease the rights of sh3er)])The Mutaffef (the person who practices Tatfeef) barely takes a little amount every time he weighs or measures, yet it is considered as stealing and betrayal, not to mention the dishonest and dishonorable nature of this act, because the little amount is like the big amount and stealing is still stealing for it is a matter of principle.
The principle doesn’t change according to the quantity. for example a bribe is still a bribe whether it was one thousand or one million, and a person can’t be honest if the bribe is one thousand and dishonest if it is one million.
Allah has threatened the Mutaffif of “Wail” which is the sever kind of torment.
Consider the example of a Taxi driver, who takes the whole ten Syrian pounds saying to you: “May Allah compensate you” though the meter shows only eight Syrian pounds, and this is Tatfeef unless the person willingly gave the change to the driver, but taking the change without his permission trying to embarrass him in front of his wife or relatives is considered as an act of Tatfeef.
“Wail” according to some interpreters is a valley in hell which is so hot to such an extent that all the mountains of earth will melt if they are passed through it, we seek refuge with Allah from it.
The second Ayah:
((And to (the people of) Madyan (Midian), (We sent) their brother Shu'aib. He said: "O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him. [La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah)]." Verily, a clear proof (sign) from your Lord has come unto you; so give full measure and full weight and wrong not men in their things, and do not mischief on the earth after it has been set in order, that will be better for you, if you are believers.))
Suppose by way of example that you want to buy a bedroom you saw which has two beds, but you want only one bed, so the seller says to you, I will take off one thousand Syrian pounds of the whole price and give you this bedroom with one bed only, however, if you saw the same bedroom which has only one bed but you wanted two beds, he will ask you for eight thousand Syrian pounds for the extra bed, this act is Tatfeef because the seller is using double standards with the buyer who is a loser in both cases.
The same goes for cars and the huge difference in the amount of money that is paid if you were a seller or a buyer, and all these sorts of cheating are considered as acts of Tatfeef.
The third Ayah:
(( "Give full measure, and cause no loss (to sh3er).)In the noble Hadith, it was reported that Jaber Ibn Abdullah said: The prophet PBUH said:
((If you weigh for people give full measure and a little more))
The forth Ayah:
((And the heaven He has raised high, and He has set up the Balance.))
The fifth Ayah:
One more thing:
(("And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption.))
There are very smart ways to cheat, like giving the impression to the buyer that a certain sort of commodity is not good enough by throwing it on the ground in order to sell another commodity (of lesser quality) of which the seller is the exclusive dealer, though the other one is better and more expensive, and this is also considered as an act of Tatfeef.
At-Tatfeef as mentioned in the prophetic sunnah:
The first Hadith:Narrated by Ibn Abbas, May Allah be pleased with them both, said: The prophet PBUH said:
((Five versus five (Five sins and their punishments). So people said: O messenger of Allah, what are the five versus five? He said: (There are five types of sins which bring about five types of calamities) When the people of a community break promises and oaths, Allah makes their enemies to reign upon them. When people order against the revealed Divine commands, deadly diseases certainly increase amongst them. When people stop paying Zakat, there will be less rainfall. When people short-weigh and short-measure, then there will be a decrease in agricultural output. (Decrease in livelihood).))I was told by one of the wealthiest merchants in Damascus whose father was in the wool shearing business, that after his father retired, he asked him to take over the business, and on his first journey to the desert, he was told that those Bedouins are naïve and it is fine to cheat them. So the merchant went by car and took with him a scale in order to buy the wool from a Bedouin. They usually consider Kilograms in weighing wool, but this merchant gave him the weight in kilograms and grams to impress the Bedouin who was amazed by the accuracy of the scale. After he finished weighing he told the Bedouin that the weight is 20 Kilograms and eight hundred grams and the payment should be twenty thousand Syrian pounds, but the hunch of the Bedouin told him that it should be more than that, and he couldn’t prove it so he said to the merchant, ‘if you are cheating me then I invoke Allah to punish you in your health’. This person told me that he went in self-judgment, should he go back and give the Bedouin the rest of money and admit his mistake in cheating him, or continue and forget all about it? And the minute he thought to himself that he should forget about it, he found himself in a pool of blood after his car crashed and flipped over, while the wool was scattered and this merchant fractures all over his body and was taken to the hospital.
The moral: when did Allah punish this merchant? The punishment was right after he took his decision. This reminded me of the following Ayah:
((Or have they plotted some plan? Then We too are planning. ))
Dear brother, believe me if I tell you that the person who doesn’t consider Allah in his actions is the most foolish man on earth, for he thinks that he is strong and smart when he cheats people by persuading them of false claims, by threatening them, or by lying to them, and he forgets that Allah’s punishment is awaiting.
Dear brother, Ibn Abbas, May Allah be pleased with him, said:
When the prophet came to Madinah, the people of Madinah were the worst defrauders in weighing and measuring, and for that Allah sent down the following Ayah:
((Woe to Al-Mutaffifin [those who give less in measure and weight (decrease the rights of sh3er)])Buying and selling is a crucial part of your religion.
((O Saad, Make your living in Halal ways, and your supplicating will be answered))
The second Hadith:Narrated by Jaber Ibn Abdullah, May Allah be pleased with them both, he said: the prophet PBUH said:
((If you weigh for people give full measure and a little more))
The third Hadith:Also narrated by Jaber Ibn Abdullah, May Allah be pleased with them both, he said: the prophet PBUH said to people who were in charge for weighing and measuring:
((You are in charge of a matter in which the mistakes of old nations were the reason behind destroying them.))
The one, who is in charge for weighing, is in charge of a matter in which the mistakes of old nations were the reason behind dooming them.
The forth hadith:Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Umar, May Allah be pleased with them both, said: The prophet PBUH said:
((O people of Muhajereen and Ansar, when you are afflicted with five types of sins, I seek refuge with Allah that you don’t. When immorality is practised openly in a community, plague and painful diseases certainly increase in a way that their ancestors have never seen. When people short-weigh and short-measure then there is a decrease in agricultural output, decrease in livelihood and they will be afflicted with rulers’ tyranny. When people stop paying Zakat, there will be less rainfall, and had not it been for animals they will never have rain. When they break promises and oaths, Allah makes their enemies to reign upon them to an extent that they take what they own. When people order against the revealed Divine commands and take some of these commands and leave some, Allah will make their enmity among themselves.))
As if the prophet PBUH meant us in all the calamities we are having as Muslims nowadays.
Dear brother, buying and selling is a crucial part of one’s religion whether you are a buyer or a seller.
A brother who is working in a restaurant told me that the manager’s orders to them is to weigh the “Okyah” (equals 200 grams) as 150 grams only and take its price as 200 grams which is nothing but an act of Tatfeef.
Had not Tatfeef been the prevailed manner among deviators, the negligent and the weak in their faith, an entire Surat wouldn’t be mentioned in the Quran in that respect.
Quotes of prophet’s companions and scholars about Tatfeef:
The first quote:Ibn Mas’ood, May Allah be pleased with him said: <
((Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due;))Dear brother, people are heedless and careless in giving sh3er their rights, but we should remember that people’s rights are subject of justice whereas Allah’s rights are subject of divine forgiveness.
The second quote:
Abullah Ibn Abbas, May Allah be pleased with them both, said: ((when people take illegally a part of booty (Ghulul) this entails throwing fear in their hearts))
Ghulul is the part of booty that is taken illegally before the allotment of booties. Also taking things from the possessions of deceased person before the allotment of inheritance is Ghulul as well, for a person might say: I will take this rug, for it reminds me of my father, and he takes the best rug in the house before the allotment of the inheritance, or a daughter might say: I will take this watch, for it reminds me of my mother, and all of which are nothing but non-Islamic act that is disguised in nice words and it is Ghulul.
((When people take illegally a part of booty (Ghulul) this entails throwing fear in their hearts. When adultery prevails in a community, death certainly increase amongst them. When people short-weigh and short-measure, then there will be a decrease in agricultural output. (Decrease in livelihood). When people order against the revealed Divine commands, deadly diseases certainly increase amongst them. When the people of a community break promises and oaths, Allah makes their enemies to reign upon them.))
The third quote:
A man said to Abdullah Ibn Masood, May Allah be pleased with him,: <
((The Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists))
The forth quote:
Hilal Ibn Talk said once: <
Obai, May Allah be pleased with him said: <
Those who are in charge for weighing are in a critical position, because if any of them short-weighs, he will be included in those who are addressed by Allah’s words:
((Woe to Al-Mutaffifin [those who give less in measure and weight (decrease the rights of sh3er)]))The sixth quote:
Dear brother, Ibn Kuthair said in regard of interpreting the following Ayah:
((and give full measure and full weight with justice.))“Allah has ordained that justice should be carried out in giving and taking, and He threatens in case of abstaining from that in the following Ayah:
((Woe to Al-Mutaffifin [those who give less in measure and weight (decrease the rights of sh3er)]))Dear brother, Allah perished the people of Shu’aib PBUH and destroyed them because they used to give people less in measure and weight, Allah said:
((And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient.))Namely, do not short-weigh but give full weight and measure fairly and justly, Allah said:
((And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight.))Without short weighing and without wronging people in their things.
The seventh quote:
Dear brother, Imam Al Naisaboori said: “Allah has begun Surat Al Mutafifeen by mentioning the people who have chosen the evanescent life over the eternal one, and they were keen on pursuing the means to gain it, till they were labeled of the worst descriptions, which is “At-Tatfeef”.
The eighth quote:
Imam Al Naisaboori also said: “Be aware that the matter of measuring and weighing is very crucial because the entire transactions of people revolve around it, and being careless about it was the reason behind what happened to the people of Shu’aib”
The ninth quote:
Some scholars said: “Refraining from rewarding sh3er (for their services) is an act of Tatfeet”. Hence, if someone gave you a present, offered you a good deed, or served you and you didn’t thank him for it and you didn’t reward him in return, that act is considered as an act or Tatfeef.
You should be thankful to sh3er for any service you are served with.
Abu Huraira reported that the prophet PBUH said:
((He who is not grateful to people cannot be grateful to Allah))
The harmful effects of Tatfeef:The followings are some of the harmful effects of Tatfeef:
- At-Tatfeef is a good reason to deserve the wrath of The Superb Potentate (Allah) and to enter hellfire.
- The divine punishment for Tatfeef in the worldly life is drought and rulers’ tyranny.
- Tafeef indicates stinginess in the soul and the heart’s tendency to earn ill-gotten money.
- Disgrace and contempt await the nation among which Tatfeef prevails.
- Weighing and measuring need a trustworthy person, and whoever practices Tatfeef betrays the trust and will be disdained by the society.
The different countless ways of cheating in our lives are unbelievable.
Some of which is that you see some food products (the one that use Taheenah like Halawah) are very white and expensive, and this process is done by adding a very dangerous substance called “Spidage” which is a whitening substance, however it is very harmful to the stomach.
Hence, if we were to consider Tatfeef in its wide sense, it would include all sorts of cheating.
Using fertilizing Hormones on plants gives bigger fruits with bright colors, this is another kind of Tatfeef, for these Hormones are cancerous and harmful to the body, thus any harmful effect you cause to the customer is considered as an act of Tatfeef, and there are many more senses of Tatfeef.
- Tatfeef corrupts the relations among individuals in the society, and the Mutaffef is setting a bad example for those who follow him in Tatfeef, thus, he will be accountable for all the sins of every person who practices Tatfeef after him.
The religion is all about being righteous in dealing with sh3er:
Dear brother, one’s religion is all about being righteous, for it is manifested in buying, selling, in doctors’ clinics, in lawyers’ offices, in engineers’ offices, in the classroom, and in schools. This is the religion.
((So give full measure and full weight and wrong not men in their things))