Surah Mutaffifin in Arabic with English Transliteration and Translation

83. Al-Mutaffifin (Those Who Give Short Measure) – الْمُطَفِّفينَ

Al-Mutaffifin is the 83rd surah (chapter) of Al-Qur’an. It consists of 36 ayat (verses) that were revealed in Mecca and Medina.


MANY AUTHORITIES—among them Suyuti—regard this surah as the last Meccan revelation. However, a number of authentic Traditions make it clear that at least the first four verses were revealed shortly after the Prophet’s arrival at Medina (cf. Tabari, Baghawi, Ibn Kathir): some commentators go even further and ascribe the whole of the surah to the Medina period. If we take all the available evidence into account and disregard all speculations based on no more than theme and style, we may assume that the main body of this surah indeed represents the very last Meccan revelation, while the opening passage (to which the above-mentioned Traditions explicitly refer) belongs to the earliest Medina period. Thus, the surah as a whole stands—like surah 29 (Al-‘Ankabut)—on the threshold between these two periods.

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 1

وَيْلٌ لِلْمُطَفِّفِينَ

Wailul lil mutaffifeen

1. WOE UNTO THOSE who give short measure:


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 2

الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ

Allazeena izak taaloo ‘alan naasi yastawfoon

2. those who, when they are to receive their due from [other] people, demand that it be given in full—


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 3

وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَوْ وَزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ

Wa izaa kaaloohum aw wazanoohum yukhsiroon

3. but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due!1


1 This passage (verses 1-3) does not, of course, refer only to commercial dealings but touches upon every aspect of social relations, both practical and moral, applying to every individual’s rights and obligations no less than to his physical possessions.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 4

أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُولَٰئِكَ أَنَّهُمْ مَبْعُوثُونَ

Alaa yazunnu ulaaa’ika annahum mab’oosoon

4. Do they not know that they are bound to be raised from the dead


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 5

لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ

Li Yawmin ‘Azeem

5. [and called to account] on an awesome Day—


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 6

يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Yawma yaqoomun naasu li Rabbil ‘aalameen

6. the Day when all men shall stand before the Sustainer of all the worlds?


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 7

كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْفُجَّارِ لَفِي سِجِّينٍ

Kallaaa inna kitaabal fujjaari lafee Sijjeen

7. NAY, VERILY, the record of the wicked is indeed [set down] in a mode inescapable!2


2 According to some of the greatest philologists (e.g., Abu Ubaydah, as quoted in the Lisan al-Arab), the term sijjin is derived from—or even synonymous with—the noun sijn, which signifies “a prison”. Proceeding from this derivation, some authorities attribute to sijjin the tropical meaning of da’im, i.e.,
“continuing” or “lasting” (ibid.). Thus, in its metaphorical application to a sinner’s “record”, it is evidently meant to stress the latter’s inescapable quality, as if its contents were lastingly “imprisoned”, i.e., set down indelibly, with no possibility of escaping from what they imply: hence my rendering of the phrase fi sijjin as “[set down] in a mode inescapable”. This interpretation is, to my mind, fully confirmed by verse 9 below.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 8

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا سِجِّينٌ

Wa maa adraaka maa Sijjeen

8. And what could make thee conceive what that that mode inescapable will be?


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 9

كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ

Kitaabum marqoom

9. A record [indelibly] inscribed!


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 10

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُكَذِّبِينَ

Wailuny yawma’izil lil mukazzibeen

10. Woe on that Day unto those who give the lie to the truth—


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 11

الَّذِينَ يُكَذِّبُونَ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ

Allazeena yukazziboona bi yawmid deen

11. those who give the lie to the [coming of] Judgment Day:


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 12

وَمَا يُكَذِّبُ بِهِ إِلَّا كُلُّ مُعْتَدٍ أَثِيمٍ

Wa maa yukazzibu biheee illaa kullu mu’tadin aseem

12. for, none gives the lie to it but such as are wont to transgress against all that is [and are] immersed in sin:3


3 Implying that a denial of ultimate responsibility before God and, hence, of His judgment—is invariably
conducive to sinning and to transgression against all moral imperatives. (Although this and the next verse
are formulated in the singular, I am rendering them in the plural inasmuch as this plurality is idiomatically
indicated by the word kull before the descriptive participles mu’tad and athim, as well as by the use of
a straight plural in verses 14 ff.)


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 13

إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا قَالَ أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

Izaa tutlaa’alaihi aayaatunaa qaala asaateerul awwaleen

13. [and so,] whenever Our messages are conveyed to them, they but say, “Fables of ancient times!”


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 14

كَلَّا بَلْ ۜرَانَ عَلٰى قُلُوْبِهِمْ مَّا كَانُوْا يَكْسِبُوْنَ

Kallaa bal raana ‘alaa quloobihim maa kaanoo yaksiboon

14. Nay, but their hearts are corroded by all [the evil] that they were wont to do!4


4 Lit., “that which they were earning has covered their hearts with rust”: implying that their; persistence
in wrongdoing has gradually deprived them of all consciousness of moral responsibility and, hence, of
the ability to visualize the fact of God’s ultimate judgment.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 15

كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَنْ رَبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَمَحْجُوبُونَ

Kallaaa innahum ‘ar Rabbihim yawma’izil lamah jooboon

15 Nay, verily, from [the grace of] their Sustainer shall they on that Day be debarred;


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 16

ثُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ لَصَالُو الْجَحِيمِ

Summa innahum lasaa lul jaheem

16. and then, behold, they shall enter the blazing fire


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 17

ثُمَّ يُقَالُ هَٰذَا الَّذِي كُنْتُمْ بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ

Summa yuqaalu haazal lazee kuntum bihee tukazziboon

17. and be told: “This is the [very thing] to which you were wont to give the lie!”


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 18

كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْأَبْرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ

Kallaaa inna kitaabal abraari lafee’Illiyyeen

18. NAY, VERILY – the record of the truly virtuous is [set down] in a mode most lofty!5


5 I.e., in contrast to the record of the wicked (see verse 7 above). As regards the term ‘illiyyun, it is said to be the plural of ‘illi or ‘illiyyah (“loftiness”) or, alternatively, a plural which has no singular (Qamus, Taj al-‘Arus); in either case it is derived from the verb ‘ala, which signifies “[something] was [or “became”] high” or “lofty” or—tropically—”exalted”: thus in the well-known idiomatic phrase, huwa min ‘illiyyat qawmihi, “he is among the [most] exalted of his people”. In view of this derivation, the plural ‘illiyyun has evidently the intensive connotation of “loftiness upon loftiness” (Taj al-‘Arus) or “a mode most lofty”.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 19

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا عِلِّيُّونَ

Wa maaa adraaka maa ‘Illiyyoon

19. And what could make thee conceive what that mode most lofty will be?


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 20

كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ

Kitaabum marqoom

20. A record [indelibly] inscribed,


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 21

يَشْهَدُهُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ

Yashhadu hul muqarra boon

21. witnessed by all who have [ever] been drawn close unto God.6


6 I.e., by the prophets and saints of all times as well as by the angels.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 22

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ

Innal abraara lafee Na’eem

22. Behold, [in the life to come] the truly virtuous will indeed be in bliss:


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 23

عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنْظُرُونَ

‘Alal araaa’iki yanzuroon

23. [resting] on couches, they will look up [to God]:7


7 Cf. Surah Al-Qiyamah [75]: 23. As elsewhere in the Qur’an, the “couches” of the virtuous in paradise symbolize complete restfulness and inner fulfilment.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 24

تَعْرِفُ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ نَضْرَةَ النَّعِيمِ

Ta’rifu fee wujoohihim nadratan na’eem

24. upon their faces thou wilt see the brightness of bliss.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 25

يُسْقَوْنَ مِنْ رَحِيقٍ مَخْتُومٍ

Yusqawna mir raheeqim makhtoom

25. They will be given a drink of pure wine whereon the seal [of God] will have been set,


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 26

خِتَامُهُ مِسْكٌ ۚ وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ

Khitaamuhoo misk; wa fee zaalika falyatanaafasil Mutanaafisoon

26. (26) pouring forth with a fragrance of musk.8

To that [wine of paradise], then, let all such aspire as [are willing to] aspire to things of high account:


8 Lit., “the end whereof (khitamuhu) will be musk”. My rendering of the above phrase reflects the interpretation given to it by several authorities of the second generation of Islam, and by Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Muthanna (all of them quoted by Razi). The “pure wine” (rahiq) of the hereafter—which, contrary to the wine of this world, will carry “the seal” (i.e., the sanction) of God because “no headiness will be in it, and they will not get drunk thereon” (Surah As-Saffat [37]: 47)—is another symbol of paradise, alluding, by means of comparisons with sensations that can be experienced by man, to the otherworldly sensations of joy which, in a form intensified beyond all human imagination, are in store for the righteous. Some of the great Muslim mystics (e.g., Jalal ad-Din Rumi) see in that “pure wine” an allusion to a spiritual vision of God: an interpretation which, I believe, is fully justified by the sequence.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 27

وَمِزَاجُهُ مِنْ تَسْنِيمٍ

Wa mizaajuhoo min Tasneem

27. for it is composed of all that is most exalting9


9 Whereas most of the classical commentators regard the infinitive noun tasnim as the proper name of one
of the allegorical “fountains of paradise “, or, alternatively, refrain from any definition of it, it seems to me that the derivation of tasnim from the verb sannama—”he raised [something]” or “made [it] lofty”—points, rather, to the effect which the “wine” of divine knowledge will have on those who “drink” of it in paradise. Hence, the tabi’i ‘Ikrimah (as quoted by Razi) equates tasnim with tashrif, “that which is ennobling” or “exalting”.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 28

عَيْنًا يَشْرَبُ بِهَا الْمُقَرَّبُونَ

‘Ainaiy yashrabu bihal muqarraboon

28. a source [of bliss] whereof those who are drawn close unto God shall drink.10


10 Cf. Surah Al-Insan [76]: 5-6 and the corresponding notes.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 29

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ

Innal lazeena ajramoo kaanoo minal lazeena aamanoo yadhakoon

29. BEHOLD, those who have abandoned themselves to sin are wont to laugh at such as have attained to faith;11


11 In the original, verses 29-33 are in the past tense, as if viewed from the time-level of Judgment Day. However, since the preceding and the following passages (i.e., verses 18-28 and 34-36) are formulated in the future tense, verses 29-33 (which relate to life in this world) maybe adequately rendered in the present tense.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 30

وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ

Wa izaa marroo bihim yataghaamazoon

30. and whenever they pass by them, they wink at one another [derisively];


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 31

وَإِذَا انْقَلَبُوا إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِمُ انْقَلَبُوا فَكِهِينَ

Wa izan qalabooo ilaaa ahlihimun qalaboo fakiheen

31. and whenever they return to people of their own kind,12 they return full of jests;


12 Lit., “to their [own] people”,


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 32

وَإِذَا رَأَوْهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ لَضَالُّونَ

Wa izaa ra awhum qaalooo inna haaa’ulaaa’i ladaaal loon

32. and whenever they see those [who believe,] they say, “Behold, these [people] have indeed gone astray!”


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 33

وَمَا أُرْسِلُوا عَلَيْهِمْ حَافِظِينَ

Wa maaa ursiloo ‘alaihim haafizeen

33. And, withal, they have no call to watch over [the beliefs of] others…13


13 Lit., “they have not been sent as watchers over them”—implying that none who is devoid of faith has the right to criticize the faith of any of his fellow-men.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 34

فَالْيَوْمَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ يَضْحَكُونَ

Fal yawmal lazeena aamanoo minal kuffaari yadhakoon

34. But on the Day [of Judgment], they who had attained to faith will [be able to] laugh at the [erstwhile] deniers of the truth:14


14 Speaking of the righteous, the Qur’an repeatedly stresses that on the Day of Judgment God “shall have removed whatever unworthy thoughts or feelings (ghill) may have been [lingering] in their bosoms” (Surah Al-A’raf [7]: 43 and Surah Al-Hijr [15]: 47). Since an expression of vengeful joy on the part of the blest at the calamity which in the hereafter will befall the erstwhile sinners would certainly fall within the category of “unworthy feelings”, their “laughing” can only have a metaphorical meaning, denoting no more than a realization of their own good fortune.


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 35

عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنْظُرُونَ

‘Alal araaa’iki yanzuroon

35. [for, resting in paradise] on couches, they will look on [and say to themselves]:


Surah Al-Mutaffifin Ayat 36

هَلْ ثُوِّبَ الْكُفَّارُ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ

Hal suwwibal kuffaaru maa kaanoo yaf’aloon

36. “Are these deniers of the truth being [thus] requited for [aught but] what they were wont to do?”


Source: The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss)