Surah Mutaffifin, Chapter 83
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
Opinions are divided about this Surah on whether it is a Meccan Surah or a Medinan one.
One of the occasions of revelation of the Surah denotes that the beginning verses of the Surah, which are about shortchanging, can be about those tradesmen who dealt in fraud in Medina.
Other verses of the Surah mostly resemble, from the point of tone, the Meccan Surahs, whose short and meaningful verses warn of the Resurrection and the horrible events of the Hereafter. Particularly, the last verses of the Surah, which speak about the mockings of the disbelievers at the believers, match the earlier environment of Mecca where Muslims were in a minority and unbelievers were in a majority.
Perhaps, it is for this reason that some commentators consider a part of the Surah Meccan and another part of it belonging to the Medina period. But, on the whole, this Surah seems chronologically close to the Meccan period.
In any case, the theme of the Surah is divided into five categories:
1. It seriously warns and threatens the defrauders.
2. It points to the lack of strong belief in the Resurrection as being the origin of corruption and great sins.
3. There are some hints in this Surah showing the end of the Wicked on That Great Day.
4. It points to some of the great gifts and delightful blessings of the Righteous in the Garden of Bliss.
5. The unbelievers, foolishly mocking at the believers, in this life, and the reverse situation, in the Hereafter is briefly referred to in the Surah.
There is a tradition from the holy Prophet (S) that says:
“The person who studies Surah Mutaffifin (Defrauders), Allah will make him drink of the pure, sealed drink on That Day 8.”1
And there is also a narration from Imam Sadiq (as) which says:
“The person who recites Surah Mutaffffin (Defrauders) in his obligatory prayers, Allah will keep him safe from fire on the Day of Judgement. Then, neither the fire will meet him nor will he meet the fire.”2
These great rewards are for the one who studies it and acts accordingly, of course.
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ
وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَوْ وَزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ
أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُولَٰئِكَ أَنَّهُمْ مَبْعُوثُونَ
يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
1. “Woe to the defrauders,”
2. “Who, when they take a measure from people, take it in full,”
3. “But when they give by measure or weight to men, they cause loss (give less than what is due)."
4. “Do they not think that they shall be raised (to life again)?"
5. "For a Great Day”
6. “The Day when (all) mankind shall stand before the Lord of the Worlds?"
Ibn-Abbas says that when the Prophet (S) arrived in Medina large group of tradesmen used to deal fraudulently, then Allah sent down these verses and, thereafter, they did not commit further fraud.
Another tradition says that: a large number of the inhabitants of Medina were tradesmen at that time. They used to deal fraudulently and many of their dealings were religiously unlawful. Then, these verses were revealed and the Prophet (S) recited them to the citizens of Medina.
He also added:
''There are five for five.”
They asked him which 'five' were for which ‘five'. And he answered:
“No nation broke their promise but that Allah set their enemies over them.”
“No society passed Judgement without suffering excessive poverty when they were heedless of the laws of Allah."
''No nation fornicated without being faced with abundant fatality"
“No sect committed fraud save those whose crops became rotted and famine plagued them.”
''No community refused paying Alms tax except that they were parched by draught.”3
The late Tabarsi has cited about the occasion of revelation of these verses that there was a man in Medina by the name of Abu -Jahinah who had two scales for measuring: one of them was big, which he used when he wanted to buy things, and the other was small, which was used when he used to sell things. (Then, this Surah was revealed and warned him and the likes of him).4
In these verses, before everything, it addresses the shortchangers and says:
This is a threat, indeed, from Allah to these arrogant, unmanly oppressors who tread on the rights of the people.
The term /muţaffifin/ is based on /taţfif/ derived from /ţaf/ which means 'the edge of something'; and everything which is slight or insufficient has been called /ţafif/ as well as a measure which is not completely full viz., the content is up to the edge, but it is not sufficiently full. Then, the different forms of this term have been used for 'shortchanging'.
The word /wayl/, here, means; 'woe, or a great misfortune, or sorrow, or death, or punishment, or a very hot site in Hell'. It is usually used when it is meant 'an evil and lowly sense or damnation'. The word is very short, but it implies many ideas.
It is noteworthy that a narration from Imam Sadiq (as) says that Allah has not used the term
in the Qur'an, for anyone unless He has called the one a pagan, as He says:
Thus, by this narration we understand that 'dealing in fraud' is akin to 'paganism'.
Some of the commentators have understood from the above verse that /mutaffif/ 'a defrauder' is a person who takes more than his right when he buys something and gives less than what is due when he sells it, and Allah has used the word
against him, in both cases.
However, this idea is wrong because the term /yastaufun/ means that they take their right fully, but, there is nothing in verse 2 which indicates that they take something more than what is their right.
In comparison with these two circumstances of when they buy something they take it in full, but, when they must give in full what is due from them, they do not and cause a loss, Allah curses them.
This is noteworthy, too, that in dealing with others, when they take their own right, it is speaking of 'measure' and they take measure in full, but when they are going to give people's rights to them, it is speaking of both ‘measure and weight' and they give them less than what is their due. This difference in the usage, of the words, may be due to one of the following reasons:
The first is that, in old times when wholesale trades used to occur the buyers mostly used big measures because, scales were not big enough for weighing very heavy loads, but smaller measures were more suitable and easily available. However in selling things they had both wholesale (by measures) and retail (by weights).
The second is that for taking a share, it is more suitable to use 'measure' because, shortchanging is more easy when weighing things and provides a greater possibility to commit fraud.
This point is also notable that though the verses speak about shortchangers, undoubtedly 'fraud' must be taken, here, in a more general sense: It consists of giving short measure and short weight, but it covers much more than that. It includes any shortchanging in numericals, (the countable items which are sold one by one). Or, it may include lazy workers or employees who do their duty insufficiently: so the verses condemn even them.
Some commentators consider a broader scope for the meaning of the verses. They say that any changes in 'limits set by Allah' and any deterioration in social relations and morals may be involved. Although there is no clear implication about them in the verses, the idea is not inappropriate.
Hence, it is narrated from 'Abdullah-ibn–Mas’ud, a companion of the Prophet's (S), who said:
"Prayer is measurable. If one fills its measure completely (and says a prayer perfectly) Allah will give him a complete reward, but if not, Allah's word about Mutafffin (defrauders) will be against him, too.”7
Then, to threaten them (the defrauders) reproachfully, it questions:
On the day whose account, punishment, and primary events and horrors are all great.
That is, if they believed in the Hereafter and they knew an account will be given there, and all their deeds are recorded for the Judgement, before the Lord, and whoever has done an atom's weight of good or evil shall behold it on That Great Day, they would not commit oppression and would never tread on the rights of anyone.
Many of the commentators took the term /yazunnu/, based on the term /zann/, to mean 'conviction'. It resembles Surah Baqarah, No. 2, verse 249 which says:
A tradition from Hazrat Ali (as) for the commentary of the verse attests to the idea.
He said about the meaning of the verse:
That it renders:
"Are they not sure that they will be raised (to life again)?”8
It has also been narrated that he said:
"There are two kinds of /zann/ 'imagination': one is 'of doubt' and the other is 'of conviction'. What are given in the Qur'an about Resurrection are those of the ' imagination of conviction' and what are given about the World are those of the imagination ‘of doubt’.”9
It is notable that, as Raqib has said in his book Mufradat, the term /zann/ basically is a word used for that case which happens in a person's mind where there are some implications in a person's thoughts about something. If they are convincing, the knowledge and confidence rise, but if they are feeble, there will be a mere 'delusion'.
Thus, the term /zann/ 'imagination', inspite of its present day usage, has a broad meaning in the Qur’an that consists of the sense of both 'knowledge' and 'apprehension'. It has been used sometimes with the former meaning and sometimes with the latter one.
The Holy Qur’an frequently condemns fraud, for example, in the story of Shu’ayb in Surah Shu'ara No.26, verse 181 to 183 it says:
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.
And, also, in Surah Rahman, No.55, verse 7-8, justice in weights, which should be applied by people, is counted of the Balance of the firmament which Allah raised high, where it says:
This means that justice and balance of the scale should be observed seriously, because it is an important factor not only in social affairs, but it is, in fact, a part of the balance the regulation in all the world that Allah has created.
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 (as) that when he was on the pulpit, he said:
“O 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)”.10
Another narration from Imam Baqir (as) says that when Amir-al-Moimineen Ali (as) was in Kufa, every morning he used to enter the markets and walk through them carrying a whip with him over his shoulder (for the punishment of the offenders).
He would stand in the middle of the market and call:
"O traders, fear Allah!”.
When people heard his voice they dropped what they were doing and listened to his words carefully.
Then he said:
“Ask Allah for goodness, and be easy in your dealing with people, to be blessed. And approach the customers (in dealing), and make patience a model of decorum for yourself. And restrain from swearing; and avoid telling fies. Stand against cruelty, and treat the oppressed justly.
Do not approach usury. Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people the things that are their due: commit not evi1in the land with intent to do mischief.”
And, also, as it was mentioned for the occasion of revelation of the verses, the Prophet (S) said:
“No sect committed fraud save those whose crops rotted and famine plagued them.”
As a consequence from the above words, we find out that the use of short weights has been one of the great factors of destruction and punishment for some of the past generations, which caused disturbances in their economical order, and the descent of Divine Punishment.
It has been emphasized even in Islamic traditions about business behaviours 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,
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.
كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْفُجَّارِ لَفِي سِجِّينٍ
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا سِجِّينٌ
وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُكَذِّبِينَ
7. “Nay.' Most surely the Record of the Wicked is (preserved) in Sijjin."
8. “And what informs you of what 'Sijjin' is?”
9. “(It is) a Register (fully) inscribed."
10. “Woe, That Day, to the deniers,”
To follow the theme of the former verses about shortchangers, and the relation between sin and the lack of strong belief in the Day of Judgment, a part of the destiny of the Wicked on That Day is mentioned in the next verses.
At first, it says that they, in vain, think that there is no Record of account given in the Hereafter, but,
There are mainly two commentaries for these verses:
1. The meaning of /kitab/, here, is the record of man in which all the deeds, irrespective of great or small, are exactly inscribed.
The term /sijjin/ means a 'register' wherein the deeds of all mankind are recorded. In other words, it is like a ledger where the account of the creditors and the debtors are registered on separate pages, one by one. The thing that is understood, from this verse and the next verses, is that all the deeds of the Wicked are registered in a book by the name of ‘Sijjin’ and all the deeds of the Righteous are registered in another book by the name of ‘Illiyin’.
The term /sijjin/ is based on /sijn/ which has different meanings, such as: 'prison, hard, anything hard, a terrible place in the bottom of Hell'; the place where the records of the Wicked are held, and it is a proper name for the fire of Hell.
Tarihi says in Majma'-al-Bahrain for the root word of /sijn/:
"It is mentioned in the commentary that it is 'a complete work ' comprising the deeds of the Wicked, of Jinn and of mankind.”
(Tarih' has not made it clear as to whose commentary this is).
The symmetries that attest to the above idea are as follows:
1. The term
in cases like this in the Holy Qur’an, means 'Record'.
2. The last verse, which has come as a description for the term 'sijjin', says:
Some commentators have not taken the verse as a description for 'sijjin', but, this idea certainly does not apply to the apparent meaning of the words.
3. Some have said that the term /sijjin/ and /sijjil/ have the same meaning. And we know that /sijjil/ means: 'a grand book'.
4. It is understood, from the verses of Qur'an, that the deeds of all mankind are inscribed, in several books, so that no one will have any excuse for their deeds.
The first 'book' is the personal record of the individuals, which will be given to the hand of its owner: for the Righteous to their right hand, and for the evildoers to their left hand; and there are many verses, in the Qur'an, that verify this idea.
The second is the one that can be called 'The Record of the Sects', as mentioned in Surah Jathiya, No.45, verse 28 which says:
The third one is the Record of all humankind: The Wicked and the Righteous. The 'book' that, in these verses and the following ones, has been called 'Sijjin' for the former and 'Illiyin' for the latter.
In short, according to this commentary, 'Sijjin' is the ledger, the complete work, in which all the deeds of the Wicked are recorded. It is called 'Sijjin’, perhaps for the reason that its contents cause the Wicked to be imprisoned in Hell. Or, the book, itself, is in the bottom of Hell, in contrast with the book of the Righteous, which is in 'Illiyin’ of Heaven.
2. The second commentary says that 'Sijjin' means 'Hell', which is a very big prison for the Wicked, or it is a terrible site in Hell, and the meaning of
is 'the destiny of the Wicked' which is inscribed for them. Therefore, the verse means: surely the destiny of the Wicked is in Hell. There are many examples of the application of the meaning of the term 'book', in the Holy Qur'an, with this sense.
For instance, in Surah Nisa, No. 4 verse 24, after saying that:
And, Surah Anfal, No.8, verse 75 says:
The matter that attests to this commentary is that 'Sijjin' has been commented on as being Hell, the same meaning as the narrations and Islamic works have.
In the commentary of 'Ali-ibn-Ibrahim for the meaning of the verse:
it is said that: their appointed chastisement is in
A narration from Imam Baqir (as) also says:
is the seventh earth and
is the seventh heaven (indicating the lowest and the highest places)”. 11
There are many narrations which say that the deeds which are not fit to be accepted by Allah will descend and fall in Sijjin.
A tradition from the Prophet (S) says that:
“Sometimes it happens that the appointed angel, for gathering up the deeds of a servant, ascends joyfully with a good deed of the servant. Then Allah says: 'Put it in Sijjin, because the servant did not seek My Countenance in it'."12
On the whole, it is understood from the narrations that 'Sijjin' is a very low place in Hell, where the wrong actions or the record of the evil deeds of the Wicked are sent to, or their destiny is for them to be imprisoned therein.
According to this commentary, the verse
is an emphasis on the verse
(not as a commentary for Sijjin). Then the verse means that this is a punishment inscribed for them, surely.
The term /marqum/ is based on /raqm/ 'large, bold writing' and since these writings are clear and unambiguous, the term may refer to the decisiveness and clearness of it.
These two commentaries can be considered together, because in the first commentary 'Sijjin' means 'the ledger of the deeds of the Wicked', and in the second one it means Hell or the bottom of the earth. And it is clear that these are 'causes and effects' for each other. That is, when the record of a person is registered in 'the ledger of the deeds of the Wicked', it results in their being sent to the lowest point of Hell.
In the last verse of this portion, in a startling short sentence, the end to come of those who deny the Resurrection is pointed out.
It is the denial from which the various sins, including dealing in fraud and transgression, originate. In the first verse it says:
and now it says:
which briefly, but meaningfully, points to the kinds of painful and horrible chastisements awaiting them.
It is noteworthy that in the first verse
and then in verse seven,
and in verse ten
are mentioned. This shows that there is a close connection between denying the Resurrection and those deeds. The relationship between these will be dealt with more clearly in the following verses.
الَّذِينَ يُكَذِّبُونَ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ
وَمَا يُكَذِّبُ بِهِ إِلَّا كُلُّ مُعْتَدٍ أَثِيمٍ
إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا قَالَ أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ
كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ ۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ
كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَنْ رَبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَمَحْجُوبُونَ
ثُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ لَصَالُو الْجَحِيمِ
ثُمَّ يُقَالُ هَٰذَا الَّذِي كُنْتُمْ بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ
11. "Those who deny the Day of Judgement”
12. "And none denies it but every Transgressor, the Sinner!”
13. "When Our Signs are recited to him, he says: 'Myths of the ancients’.”
14. "Nay, Rather what they used to do has put rust upon their hearts."
15. “Nay, most surely on That Day they shall be debarred from their Lord,”
16. "Then, they will enter the fire of Hell."
17. "Then it will be said (to them): ‘This is that which you used to deny.”
The previous verses made clear the dreadful end of the unbelievers. The following verses begin with an introduction to unbelievers also.
It means that the denial of the Day of Judgement is not based on reasoning and logical thinking, but those who want to be oppressors, whenever they wish, and to be the sinners of any corruption, take joy in denying the Hereafter.
They want to continue their evil deeds, freely and without thinking about their responsibilities. They do not pay attention to their conscience. They know no laws. The case is similar as can be found in Surah Qiyamat, No. 75, verse 5.
(then he denies the Hereafter).
Hence, as belief has an affect on deeds, the same evil deeds affect on the formation of beliefs. This very idea will be divulged, clearly, in the commentary of the next verses.
Now, the third characteristic of the deniers of the Hereafter is mentioned.
They are not only Transgressors and Sinners, but mock the Signs of Allah and say that they are old myths like a series of ancient stories belonging to the very early periods of man, which have no real value. In this way, and under the pretext of calling them myths, they want to withdraw themselves from the duties that the verses of the Qur'an define for them.
The sinners raise the subject as an excuse to flee from the truth and do not accept Allah’s invitation.
This idea is mentioned not only in this verse, but there are also nine other verses that denote just the same matter, about the sinners, and their excuse of calling these myths including Surah Furqan, No. 25, verse 5, which says:
In Surah Ahqaf, No.46, verse 17 when an ungodly son is being advised by his godly parents that the promise of Allah is true and all will be called to life again, after death, he mocks their words and says:
However, wrong doers always seek some vain excuses to make their conscience content, on the one hand, and to get rid of the just people's protests, on the other hand. It is a wonder how these kind of persons have often had some similar behaviour, as if they had been whispering the same things into each others ears throughout history, matters such as: sorcery, divination, madness, myths and the like.
The Holy Qur'an points to the main origin of their wickedness in the next verse where it says:
What an alarming sense it is! What they do works as rust on their hearts and vanishes the first light and the early brightness that is really from the divine nature which Allah created in them. That is why the characteristic of truth, the shine of Revelation; with its full beaming brightness, does not reflect on their hearts.
The Qur'anic term /ran/ is based on /rayn/ (rust). As Raqib says in Mufradat, it means: 'the coating or film formed on the precious things'. And some other philologists meant it as 'the radish-brown or redish yellow coating formed on iron or steel, and the like, by oxidation'; as occurs during exposure to air and moisture and it is usually a sign of the decay of the metal. Then, as a consequence, naturally its radiance disappears.
There will be a description, under the title of 'Explanation' that you will study later about the destructive effects of sin which dulls the light and radiance of the heart, even to the point of wiping it out.
And this is the most painful punishment of the evildoers in contrast with the spiritual meeting and the presence of the Righteous before their Lord, which is the best of blessings and the highest reward for them.
is usually used to negate a previous statement. For this case, commentators have delivered many probabilities; some of which are as follows:
It is an emphasis on the term
in the former verse, and it is not true what they say about the Hereafter being myths of the ancients.
Or, it is not so that the rust, which sin causes upon their hearts, will be wiped off. They shall be debarred from seeing Allah both in this world and the Next.
Or, as it is said in some other verses of the Qur'an, that they think that even if they are brought back to their Lord, they shall surely be given some kind of blessings there.
It is not as they think, though, and they will have the worst punishments and the most severe tortures in the Hereafter.
Truly, there will be a return, to us, of our worldly actions in the Hereafter. Those who neglect the truth, in this life, and their deeds have affected their hearts like rust, will be deprived from the Mercy of Allah and will never be able to see His appearance in the spiritual world, and they will never meet Him; the Sublime.
This entrance into the fire, is the result of deprivation from Allah, and nothing else. Verily, the heat of this deprivation is hotter then the heat of the fire of Hell, itself.
Not only in this verse, but also in many other verses of the Holy Qur'an it talks frankly about the effect of sin in darkening the heart.
Once, in Surah Mo'min, No.40, verse 35 it says:
Then another time, in Surah Baqarah, No. 2, verse 7 describing a group of stubborn sinners, it says:
And Surah Hajj, No. 22, verse 46 says:
Verily, the worst result of continual sinning is a heart sealed up, which is the extinguisher of the light of knowledge. The substance of sin flows from the limbs to the heart and changes it into something like a stagnant swamp. It is in this condition that man cannot distinguish between good and evil, and commits such horrific wrongs that everyone becomes astonished.
This self-destructive sinner undermines himself and ruins his own happiness by his own hands.
There is a tradition from the holy Prophet (S) which says:
"Abundant sins cause the heart to decay.”13
And another tradition from him (S) says:
"When a servant commits a sin, a black stain appears on his heart. If he repents and leaves off committing the sin and asks for forgiveness from Allah, his heart will be polished. And if he digresses again, the stain will spread until it covers his heart completely.
This is the very rust that Allah has mentioned in the Holy Qurtan in the verse that says:
The same idea has been narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) with a slight difference in Usul-i-Kafi.
And in the same book, there is another tradition from the Prophet (S) that says:
"Speak with each other, and visit each other, and tell of the traditions (of ours). Surely the traditions refine the hearts. Verily, hearts become rusted as a sword does, and the traditions are the polish.”15
It has also been proved psychologically that man's behaviour effects on his soul and gradually varies it to that qualification. It is effective in his thought and Judgment, even.
It is also notable that the more man continues sinning, the thicker the darkness covers his soul until the point where he considers his evil deeds as his good deeds and he is even sometimes proud of them. At this time the back doors are shut and the bridges are broken for him to return. This is the most dangerous position that a person can be in.
Although many of the commentators have tried to insert something into the verse:
and say: the sinners shall be debarred from ‘the mercy' or 'the honour' or 'the reward' of Allah, the verse apparently does not need anything added, but, they are really debarred from Him; While the Righteous will meet with Allah in Heaven and enjoy the greatest possible pleasure there, where the Sinners, the Hellish Disbelievers, are deprived of that (Him); the unmatched blessing.
Some good-doers of the believing people may have the emanation even in this world, but the wrong doers never will.
In one respect, the former are always in front of Allah, but the latter are so far from Him.
The Righteous are so delighted in supplicating to Him that it is indescribable, but the sinners are so entangled with their sins that they cannot be saved.
Amir-al-Mo'mineen Ali (as) says in his supplication called ‘Kumayl’:
“Supposing that I am able to endure Thy chastisement, how can I endure separation from Thee?”
كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْأَبْرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا عِلِّيُّونَ
إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ
عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنْظُرُونَ
تَعْرِفُ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ نَضْرَةَ النَّعِيمِ
يُسْقَوْنَ مِنْ رَحِيقٍ مَخْتُومٍ
خِتَامُهُ مِسْكٌ ۚ وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ
وَمِزَاجُهُ مِنْ تَسْنِيمٍ
عَيْنًا يَشْرَبُ بِهَا الْمُقَرَّبُونَ
18. “Nay, verily the Record of the Righteous is (preserved) In ‘Illiyin’,”
19. "And what explains to thee what ‘Illiyin’ is?"
20 “(It is) a written record,”
21. “(Which is) witnessed by the ones Nearest (to Allah).”
22. “Surely the Righteous will be in Bliss:”
23. “(Sitting) on thrones (of Dignity), they will command a sight (of all things):”
24. "You will recognize in their faces the radiance of Bliss”
25. “Their thirst will be slaked with pure drink sealed”
26. “Whose seal is musk, and for that let (all) those strive who strive (fo Bliss)”
27. “And whose mixture is of 'Tasnim’ “
28. “A spring from which drink the ones Nearest (to Allah).”
In contrast to the destiny of the Record of the Wicked, which was described in the previous verses, the following verses talk about the Righteous, whose honour and merits, compared with those of the Wicked, will make the situations of them, both, more clear.
At first, to negate their false thoughts about the resurrection, it says:
The term /'illiyin/ is the plural form of /‘ulayy /which basically means 'properly, High places or the persons who sit in high places, or the dwellers of high parts of the mountains'. Some commentators have rendered it, here, to mean 'a name of the upper part of the skies or upper part of Heaven'.
Some have also said that the term is mentioned in the plural form for emphasis where it means 'highness over highness'.
Furthermore, similar to the two commentaries we had about 'Sijjin', in the former verses, we have the same about ''Illiyin', as well.
The first commentary says that /kitab-al-abrar/ means 'the Record of the Righteous'. They intend to say that the record of their deeds is registered in a ledger, (a complete work), which shows the whole deeds of all believers, and is in a very high and honourable position.
Or, it means that their record is preserved in the highest and the most honourable abode in Heaven over their places, all of which illustrate that their own rank is extremely high. A tradition from the Prophet (S) says that ' 'Illiyin' is the seventh sky and is below the throne of Allah'. And this is just contrary to the record of the Wicked, which is in the lowest part of Hell.
The second commentary says that /kitab/, here, means 'destiny' and 'the definite end' that Allah has defined for the Righteous in the highest levels of Heaven.
Of course, these two commentaries can also both come together, i.e. their Record is registered in a ledger and the ledger resides totally in heaven. Meanwhile, the Divine command governs high over them concerning the position of the Righteous, themselves, and considers them to be in the highest levels of Heaven.
Then, to make the greatness and the highness of ' 'Illiyin’ clear, it goes on to say:
This means that it is a position beyond the imagination and comprehension, so high that no one, not even the Prophet (S), can know the peak of its highness.
Then, the Qur'an, itself, explains it further and says:
This idea is according to the commentary that means: ''Illiyin’ is a ledger for the righteous deeds, while according to the second commentary the verse means that this is a decisive destiny that Allah has written for the Righteous that their position is in the highest stages of Heaven.
(Note: Therefore, 'a written record' is an interpretation for 'the Record of the Righteous' not for ''Illiyin’).
Some of the commentators have interpreted the meaning of 'the ones Nearest (to Allah) ' mentioned in this verse, as being 'the angels that are close to the throne of Allah’, the guardians for the record or the destiny of the Righteous.
The next verses express clearly, that a special group of the elected believers are 'the ones Nearest (to Allah)' who possess a very high rank and are witnesses to the records of the others from the Righteous.
As Surah Waqi'ah, No. 56, verses 10-11, with the names of the following two groups:
And Surah Nahll, No. 16, verse 89, which says:
Then, concerning a part of the rewards of the Righteous, it says:
The basic meaning of the term /na'im/, as Raqib says, is 'immense blessing'. Besides that, it is mentioned in an 'indefinite form' which, here, denotes to its greatness and importance. That is, they possess the blessings and comforts that are indescribable. And this is a complete and hidden definition referring to the whole material and spiritual blessings of Heaven.
Then, to describe some of them, it says:
The term /ara'ik/ is the plural form of /arikah/ 'throne'. Basically, it is used with the meaning of 'a beautiful royal throne', or 'a couch for the bride in the nuptial chamber', but, here, it means 'highly decorated seats in Heaven where the Righteous sit'.
is mentioned, here, without any object or objects and is to be meant in a broad sense: i.e. they look at Allah's Mercy, His unique essence, the variety of Divine blessings and the surprising beauties in Heaven.
because one of man's pleasures is 'the pleasure of sight'.
Thereafter it says:
It means that a special refreshment and delight is seen on their faces, so that you need not question them. On the contrary, when you look at the Wicked, you can see grief and sorrow together with pain and misery on their faces.
The term /nadrah/, as it was mentioned before, means a special refreshment and happiness resulting from the abundance of blessing and comfort seen on the faces of well-off people.
After discussing about the blessings of 'throne', 'look', and 'ease with happiness', it refers to another blessing: The pure drink of the Righteous.
The pure drink of the Next World is not like the devilish drink of this world. It does not bring alcoholism and madness, for committing sin in them, hut, it increases their wisdom and intelligence safely and with complete joy.
Most of the commentators have interpreted the term /rahiq/ in the sense of 'pure drink', a drink that is not obscene and is not of a polluted mixture; it is flawless.
And the term
is used as an emphasis for its pureness, soundness, and a state of being intact.
Moreover, the use of such complete containers is a high honor and respect to the guests; a sealed container whose lid will be opened only by the guests.
The pure drink of Heaven is not the same as the sealed wine bottles of this world which are closed tightly sometimes with a wafer of molten wax (or clay) into which is pressed the distinctive seal of the sender or the company, that may make the hands dirty when opening them, but it is sealed with musk and, when it is being opened, it smells like the perfume of musk.
At the end of the same verse it says:
Tabarsi, the great commentator, says in Majma'-al-Bayan that the term, /tanafas/, means that two persons long for a worthy thing, each of which tries to obtain the same precious thing that the other one has.
In Majma'-al-Bahrain the term, /tanafas/, is defined in the sense of 'proceeding the other, or friendly competition'. Each of them wishes and tries to own the precious thing that the other has.
Raqib in Mufradat says: /munafasah/ means 'a man's attempt to be associated with the outstanding people and joining them without causing harm to others'.
In fact, the meaning of this verse is similar to that of Surah Hadid, No. 57, verse 21, which says:
Or, it is similar to the meaning of Surah ali-’Imran-, No. 3, Verse 133, which says:
However, the meaning of the verse is the nicest one that can be considered for the encouragement of men, to send them forth for receiving these unmatched blessings by the way of true faith and good deeds. It is a very wonderful evidence to show the eloquence of the Holy Qur'an.
It is understood from these verses that /tasnim/ is the highest drink, among the heavenly pure drinks, which the ones Nearest to Allah drink, only, but the Righteous drink some of /tasnim/, which is mixed with
which is another kind of pure drink in Heaven.
Some commentators believe that this pure drink is called /tasnim /because this spring flows down from Heaven, while some others say that it is a special drink which falls from the sky of Heaven.
The heavenly drinks are different, indeed. Some of them flow in rivers, as many verses of the Qur'an point out, such as is found in Surah Muhammad, No. 47, Verse 15:
And some of them are in sealed containers, like the one mentioned in the former verses. The most important one is the drink which falls from Heaven whose name is 'Tasnim', the one that none of the other drinks, in Heaven, can be compared with. Then, the effect that it has on the soul of the Righteous is, consequently, the deepest and the most attractive, whose spiritual pleasure is indescribable.
It is necessary to make note of this truth, again, that these are only some hints to those heavenly facts, indeed, because our human vocabulary cannot describe the unique blessings of Heavens completely.
And even more than that, no one can imagine them, as Surah Sajdah, No. 32, verse 17 says:
The names of
are frequently highly mentioned in the Holy Qur'an along with their rank and their rewards.
They are so high that as Surah ali-’Imran, No. 3, verse 193 says that
ask Allah that their souls be taken to Himself in the company of the Righteous.
And there are many great rewards mentioned, for them, in the Qur'an including Surah al-Insan, No. 7s6, verses 5-22 and, also, Surah Infitar, No. 82, verse 13 and some other verses in Surah Mutaffifin talk about Allah’s Grace, to them, as well.
is the plural form of /birr/ and they are the believers who have a great soul and a firm belief and do good deeds.
are those who have a close position to Allah.
Then, it seems that all
are among the
but all of the latter,
are not among
There is a narration, from Imam Hassan Mujtaba (the second Imam) which says:
"By Allah, everywhere in the Qur'an where Allah says
He means no one save Ali-ibn-Abu Talib, Fatimah, me, and Hosain" (as). 16
Undoubtedly, the five holy ones, i.e. Muhammad, Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hosain (as) are the most clear examples of the Righteous and
and, as it was mentioned in the commentary of Surah al-Insan, No. 76, the very Surah is mainly about Amir-al-Mo'mineen Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hosain. Eighteen verses of Surah al-Insan are especially about their achievements, though the revelation of the verses about them does not hinder the broadness and generality of the meaning of those verses.
It is clearly understood, from many of the verses of the Holy Qur'an, that there are numerous kinds of pure drink with many names and various qualities, in Heaven, that are entirely different from the worldly impure beverages; which are the origins of enmity, murder, and corruption.
They are offensive, distasteful, and impure. But, the drinks of Heaven are sweet-smelling, perfumed, and purified, so that they increase wisdom, pleasure, and love. Those who drink of them will languor in a kind of spiritual joy and delight that cannot be described.
Two varieties of the drinks of Heaven are named in these verses:
/tasnim/ and /rahiq-i-maxtum/, while some other varieties are mentioned in Surah al-Insan, No. 76, and even other Surahs of the Qur'an, each of which are appropriately explained.
It is interesting to note that the Divine drinks are also the reward for those who avoid drinking the worldly alcoholic drinks, as well as those who quench the needs of the deprived and extinguish the fire of sadness in the hearts of the believers.
Once the holy Prophet (S) told Hazrat Ali (as):
"O Ali! the person who leaves drinking wine, Allah will make him a drink from 'the pure drink sealed,”.17
And, it is even more interesting to find that another tradition from him (S) says that if a person leaves off drinking wine even for the sake of anything besides Allah, He will make him drink from the pure drink.
Hazrat Ali (as) says:
“I questioned him 'the sake of anything save Allah? ",
and he answered:
"Yes, the person who avoids drinking wine for the sake of protecting his life, Allah will make him a drink from the pure drink sealed'".18
Verily, those who avoid drinking wine for the sake of their health are in fact from
And, as it is understood in Surah ali-'Imran, No. 3, verse 193 that
are also among the Righteous, who drink from the pure drinks of Heaven.
A narration from Ali-ibn-Hosain (as) says:
"The person who quenches the thirst of a believer, Allah will make him a drink from 'the pure drink sealed”.19
And, another narration says:
“The person who fasts on a hot day in summer for the sake of Allah, He will make him a drink from 'the pure drink sealed'."20
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ
وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ
وَإِذَا انْقَلَبُوا إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِمُ انْقَلَبُوا فَكِهِينَ
وَإِذَا رَأَوْهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ لَضَالُّونَ
وَمَا أُرْسِلُوا عَلَيْهِمْ حَافِظِينَ
فَالْيَوْمَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ يَضْحَكُونَ
عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنْظُرُونَ
هَلْ ثُوِّبَ الْكُفَّارُ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ
29. "Surely those who committed sin used to laugh at those who believed,”
30. "And when they passed by them, they were winking at one another (in mockery;)"
31. "And when they returned to their people they returned jesting,”
32. "And when they saw them, they said: 'Surely these have gone astray’”.
33. "While they had not been sent as guardians over them!”
34. "So, on this Day (of Judgement) the Believers win laugh at the Unbelievers:"
35."(Sitting) on thrones (of Dignity) they will command (a sight) (of all things)".
36. "Have not the Unbelievers been paid back for what they used to do?"
The commentators have quoted two occasions of revelation for these verses:
The first is that: Once Hazrat Ali (as) and some of the believers, were passing by a number of pagans from Mecca when the pagans laughed at them and mocked them, then the above verses were revealed and made their destiny clear on the Day of Judgment.
Hakim Abu-Qasim Haskani has narrated from Ibn-i-Abbas in Shavahid-al-Tanzil that: The phrase 'those who were guilty' targeted the hypocrites of Quraish and 'those who believed' meant 'Ali-ibn-i-Abutalib and his devotees.
The second occasion of revelation is that the above verse has been revealed about some people such as: 'Ammar, Suhayb, Khabbab, Bilal, and some others of the poor believers who were mocked by some pagans of Quraish like Abujahl, Walid-ibn-Muqayrah, and 'as-ibn-Wa'il.
These two occasions of revelation can both be considered together, too.
The previous verses talked about the great rewards and the blessings of the Righteous, while these verses point to a part of the troubles and the difficulties that the believers may be faced with, in this life, for their Faith and Righteousness, to show that those great rewards are not undue.
These verses speak about the position of the pagans and their revolting treatment against the believers. Four varieties of their revolting behavior are mentioned here.
First, it says:
They arrogantly laughed at them to insult them. And the wicked have always been, in this world, smug against the believers.
By the way, the application of the term
instead of the term /kafaru/ 'those who disbelieved' makes it clear that the disbelievers can be known by their sinful deeds since disbelief is always the origin of mischief.
In the next verse, the second wrong action of the unbelievers is mentioned, where it says:
In this way and by these innuendoes and sarcasm's the unbelievers, having evil motives, want to say that: 'Look! these poor people say that they are the nearest to Allah: and claim that the divine verses are revealed for them. Look! these foolish people say that the dry and rotten bones will be called to life again!’. Unbelievers usually say some unbecoming and nonsensical words like this.
It seems that the unbelievers" laughs were obviously done when the believers passed by them and their mocking sarcasm's were meted out when they passed by the believers. And since they could not laugh at the believers and mock them easily, they winked and made gestures to convey their thoughts to each other. But, when they were in their own gatherings and the believers passed by them they could commit their evils more freely and boldly.
The term /yataqamazun/ is derived from /qamz/ which means: 'to point or wink at anyone or anything which is the object of criticism’. And sometimes this word is used for any fault-finding, even when it is done orally.
This refers to their behavior when they met the believers. But when they went home and they had private meetings with their family members and their relatives they continued mocking in the absence of the believers. They explained happily how they had mocked them.
So the next verse says:
They talked to each other so proudly and boastingly as if they had won a great victory.
The term /fakihin/ is the plural form of /fakih/ which is based on /fakahah/ which means 'to be joyful' and 'to laugh'. It is originally derived from /fakihah /with the meaning of ‘fruit'. It seems that these frivolities and amusements are like sweet juicy fruit of which they find pleasure in. Also, friendly sweet speaking is called /fukahah/.
Though the term /ahl/ usually means ‘family' and 'relatives', it may have a broader meaning, here, and includes 'close friends', too.
Their fourth evil action against the believers was that:
Since the believers had left the belief and the worship of the gods that the unbelievers used to follow, so, the wrongdoers thought of the believers Faith; believing in Allah, as a wrong way and said that they had gone astray.
The type of behavior that the unbelievers had may refer to the early period of Islam, when they did not think of the Divine Religion as a serious and everlasting one. Therefore, they laughed and mocked it.
But, gradually, when groups of people came to Islam and the unbelievers felt threatened, they stood firmly and step by step they intensified their enmity. The verse above depicts the first stage of their enmity against the Muslims; the one that gradually changed into several bloody battles in later stages.
Since the believers were mostly from among the poor people who had not possessed high ranks in their society or a great deal of money, the unbelievers regarded them as lowly and counted their faith unworthy, and, consequently, mocked them and their belief.
With what right and according to what rationale do they find fault with the believers?
The rich and the arrogant, from the sect of Noah, told him:
And he answered:
This is, in fact, an answer to those arrogant braggarts saying that it is none of their business what type of people the believers are. They should notice the message of Allah in the invitation of the Prophet (S) to Islam.
But, in the Hereafter the tables will be turned as in the next verse:
It is because the Day of Judgment is a day that, according to Divine Justice, everyone will receive the results, of his own deeds, which he incurred in this world. All these tricks and falsehoods will be shown or what they really are, and that is why the Believers will laugh at the Unbelievers; which is, itself, a kind of painful punishment for the arrogant ones.
Some narration's, from the Prophet (S), denote that on that Day a door in Heaven will be opened to the disbelievers and they, thinking that they are free from the fire of Hell, go toward it. But, when they reach the door, it will be closed quickly. This will occur several times and the Believers, watching them from Heaven, will laugh.
What will they be looking at? They will be looking at the immense Blessings of Eternity; at the Great Gifts therein; at His endless Grace; at the Dignity and Respect together with the calmness they have n Heaven, and at the painful chastisement that the obstinate arrogant Unbelievers are faced with in Hell.
Finally, in an interrogative sentence, the last verse questions:
This statement, whether coming from the side of Allah, or of the angels, or from the Believers, is a type of sarcasm leveled at the imaginations and the claims of the arrogant Unbelievers, who expected to receive rewards and prizes from Allah for their vices.
To confront the vanity of these wrong imaginations, it says:
Some of the commentators have counted this sentence as a separate and independent sentence while some others have considered it as dependent on the previous verse; i.e. the Righteous are sitting on their decorated thrones and looking to see whether the wicked have received the merit of their wrong actions. Verily, they should get their reward from Satan. Can the cursed Satan give them any reward?
The term /thuwibb/ is based on /thaub/ which basically means 'to return to the original state', or 'to return to a place to which one has come before', and /thawab/ is said for a recompense or the reward which is given to a person for his deeds, since it is the result of his deeds which returns to him.
This term is used for the compensation of a good action and an evil one both, but more specially and more frequently for good ones. Therefore, the above mentioned verse denotes a sort of sarcasm to the Unbelievers, and it must be so, because they used to mock both the Believers and the Messages of Allah, so, on That Day, they should be paid back for their mockeries which they committed in this world.
O Lord! Save all of us from pride, ignorance, and vanity.
O Lord! Grant us the spirit of justice, truthfulness, and humility.
O Lord! Set our Record in ''Illiyin' and take it out from 'Sijjin'.
- 1. Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 451.
- 2. Thawab-ul-a’mal, based on Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 527.
- 3. Tafsir Fakhr-i-Razi, vol. 31, p. 88.
- 4. Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 452.
- 5. Surah Maryam, No. 19. verse 37
- 6. Usul-i-Kafi, based on Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 527
- 7. Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 452.
- 8. Borhan, Commmentary, vol. 4, p. 38.
- 9. Nur-al-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 528.
- 10. Al-Kafi, vol. 5, Chapter: 'Trade'.
- 11. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 530, Tradition 15
- 12. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol, 5, p. 530, Tradition 19
- 13. Durr-al-manthur, vol. 6, p. 326.
- 14. Ibid., p. 325.
- 15. Nur-uth-Theqalayn, vol. 5, p. 531, Traditions 22 and 23.
- 16. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 533 (Tradition 33).
- 17. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 534 (Tradition 35).
- 18. Ibid.
- 19. Ibid.
- 20. Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 456.
- 21. Surah Hud No. 11, verse 27
- 22. Surah Hud No. 11, verse 31