English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 83: At-Tatfif — Default in Duty (Revealed at Makkah: 36 verses)



This chapter condemns those who make a default in their duties or cheat others, in particular by giving short measure; hence its name. It teaches the utmost rectitude in one’s dealings. The chapter explains the nature of the two records: that of the wicked and that of the virtuous. The guilty suffer because they defraud and cheat others. The virtuous prosper because they fulfil their duties and are true to their obligations. Its revelation belongs to the very early period at Makkah.



بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

وَیۡلٌ لِّلۡمُطَفِّفِیۡنَ ۙ﴿۱﴾

83:1 Woe to the cheaters,1

الَّذِیۡنَ اِذَا اکۡتَالُوۡا عَلَی النَّاسِ یَسۡتَوۡفُوۡنَ ۫﴿ۖ۲﴾

83:2 who, when they take the measure (of their dues) from people, take it fully,

وَ اِذَا کَالُوۡہُمۡ اَوۡ وَّزَنُوۡہُمۡ یُخۡسِرُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۳﴾

83:3 but when they measure out to others or weigh out for them, they give less than is due!

اَلَا یَظُنُّ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَنَّہُمۡ مَّبۡعُوۡثُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۴﴾

83:4 Do they not think that they will be raised again,

لِیَوۡمٍ عَظِیۡمٍ ۙ﴿۵﴾

83:5 to a mighty day? —

یَّوۡمَ یَقُوۡمُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ؕ﴿۶﴾

83:6 the day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds.

کَلَّاۤ اِنَّ کِتٰبَ الۡفُجَّارِ لَفِیۡ سِجِّیۡنٍ ؕ﴿۷﴾

83:7 No, surely the record of the wicked is in the prison.2

وَ مَاۤ اَدۡرٰىکَ مَا سِجِّیۡنٌ ؕ﴿۸﴾

83:8 And what will make you know what the prison is?

کِتٰبٌ مَّرۡقُوۡمٌ ؕ﴿۹﴾

83:9 It is a written book.

وَیۡلٌ یَّوۡمَئِذٍ لِّلۡمُکَذِّبِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۱۰﴾

83:10 Woe on that day to the rejectors

الَّذِیۡنَ یُکَذِّبُوۡنَ بِیَوۡمِ الدِّیۡنِ ﴿ؕ۱۱﴾

83:11 who call the day of Judgment a lie!

وَ مَا یُکَذِّبُ بِہٖۤ اِلَّا کُلُّ مُعۡتَدٍ اَثِیۡمٍ ﴿ۙ۱۲﴾

83:12 And none calls it a lie but every exceeder of limits, every sinful one;

اِذَا تُتۡلٰی عَلَیۡہِ اٰیٰتُنَا قَالَ اَسَاطِیۡرُ الۡاَوَّلِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۱۳﴾

83:13 when Our messages are recited to him, he says: Stories of the ancients!

کَلَّا بَلۡ ٜ رَانَ عَلٰی قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ مَّا کَانُوۡا یَکۡسِبُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴﴾

83:14 No, rather, what they earned is rust upon their hearts.

کَلَّاۤ اِنَّہُمۡ عَنۡ رَّبِّہِمۡ یَوۡمَئِذٍ لَّمَحۡجُوۡبُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۱۵﴾

83:15 No, surely they are that day debarred from their Lord.3

ثُمَّ اِنَّہُمۡ لَصَالُوا الۡجَحِیۡمِ ﴿ؕ۱۶﴾

83:16 Then they will surely enter the burning Fire.

ثُمَّ یُقَالُ ہٰذَا الَّذِیۡ کُنۡتُمۡ بِہٖ تُکَذِّبُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۱۷﴾

83:17 Then it will be said: This is what you called a lie.

کَلَّاۤ اِنَّ کِتٰبَ الۡاَبۡرَارِ لَفِیۡ عِلِّیِّیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۱۸﴾

83:18 No, surely the record of the virtuous is in the highest places.4

وَ مَاۤ اَدۡرٰىکَ مَا عِلِّیُّوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۱۹﴾

83:19 And what will make you know what the highest places are?

کِتٰبٌ مَّرۡقُوۡمٌ ﴿ۙ۲۰﴾

83:20 It is a written book.

یَّشۡہَدُہُ الۡمُقَرَّبُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۲۱﴾

83:21 Those drawn near (to Allah) witness it.

اِنَّ الۡاَبۡرَارَ لَفِیۡ نَعِیۡمٍ ﴿ۙ۲۲﴾

83:22 Surely the virtuous are in bliss,

عَلَی الۡاَرَآئِکِ یَنۡظُرُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۲۳﴾

83:23 on raised couches, gazing —

تَعۡرِفُ فِیۡ وُجُوۡہِہِمۡ نَضۡرَۃَ النَّعِیۡمِ ﴿ۚ۲۴﴾

83:24 you recognize in their faces the brightness of bliss.

یُسۡقَوۡنَ مِنۡ رَّحِیۡقٍ مَّخۡتُوۡمٍ ﴿ۙ۲۵﴾

83:25 They are given to drink of a pure drink, sealed.

خِتٰمُہٗ مِسۡکٌ ؕ وَ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ فَلۡیَتَنَافَسِ الۡمُتَنَافِسُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۲۶﴾

83:26 The sealing of it is (with) musk. And for that let the aspirers aspire.

وَ مِزَاجُہٗ مِنۡ تَسۡنِیۡمٍ ﴿ۙ۲۷﴾

83:27 And it is tempered with water coming from above5

عَیۡنًا یَّشۡرَبُ بِہَا الۡمُقَرَّبُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۲۸﴾

83:28 a fountain from which drink those drawn near (to Allah).

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اَجۡرَمُوۡا کَانُوۡا مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا یَضۡحَکُوۡنَ ﴿۫ۖ۲۹﴾

83:29 Surely they who are guilty used to laugh at those who believe.

وَ اِذَا مَرُّوۡا بِہِمۡ یَتَغَامَزُوۡنَ ﴿۫ۖ۳۰﴾

83:30 And when they passed by them, they winked at one another,

وَ اِذَا انۡقَلَبُوۡۤا اِلٰۤی اَہۡلِہِمُ انۡقَلَبُوۡا فَکِہِیۡنَ ﴿۫ۖ۳۱﴾

83:31 and when they returned to their people, they returned exulting.

وَ اِذَا رَاَوۡہُمۡ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّ ہٰۤؤُلَآءِ لَضَآلُّوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۳۲﴾

83:32 And when they saw them, they said: Surely these are in error —

وَ مَاۤ اُرۡسِلُوۡا عَلَیۡہِمۡ حٰفِظِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۳۳﴾

83:33 and they were not sent as keepers over them.

فَالۡیَوۡمَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مِنَ الۡکُفَّارِ یَضۡحَکُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۳۴﴾

83:34 So this day those who believe laugh at the disbelievers6

عَلَی الۡاَرَآئِکِ ۙ یَنۡظُرُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۳۵﴾

83:35 on raised couches, gazing.

ہَلۡ ثُوِّبَ الۡکُفَّارُ مَا کَانُوۡا یَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿٪۳۶﴾

83:36 Surely the disbelievers are rewarded as they did.



  1. The cheaters are not only those who cheat others by giving them less than what is their due, but also those who make a default in any of their duties. The taking of the measure and the measuring out, in the next two verses, must also be read in a general sense.
  2. This prison should not be taken as signifying a jail, for in the verses that follow the Quran itself explains what this prison is. In v. 9, it is spoken of as a written book. This written book or record, which preserves the deeds of the evildoers, is called a prison because it keeps their faculties for the doing of good shut up as within a prison, and the very consequences of their evil deeds hamper their progress. See verses 14 and 15, where the actions of the evildoers are spoken of as being rust on their hearts, and they are further referred to as being debarred from their Lord.
  3. The punishment of the wicked is here described as their being debarred from their Lord. They have no consciousness of the Higher Presence and, being thus debarred from their Lord in this life, enter the burning Fire in the next, as plainly stated in the verse that follows.
  4. Like the prison of v. 7, these are not actual places. The highest places are the records of the best deeds, which enable man to soar high and cut off the chains which bind him to low desires.
  5. The “water coming from above” (Arabic: tasnīm) signifies spiritually the knowledge of Allah, because it is from this source that those who are drawn near to Allah (v. 28) are made to drink.
  6. The laughing of the believers is not to be taken literally. It signifies only the brightness of hope in their faces. The laughing in this case simply ex­presses a condition of joy which should make one laugh. The reversal of the con­dition of the believers and the disbelievers is all that is meant.