In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The Rule of Tatfeef

بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ


 Ramadān has started and many of us will be going to work on Monday while fasting. For those of us in the U.K. following the aqrabul-ayyām or nisful-layl timetables the duration of the fast will exceed 20 hours. That is a long time to go without food and drink. It is important that the quality of service (work) we provide while fasting is similar to the quality of service (work) we provide when not fasting. After all we get paid the same amount so we should provide the same level of service, this is the right of our employers and those we provide a service to.

Allāh () says, “Woe unto the Mutaffifeen (the curtailers)!” Who are these “Mutaffifeen”? These are people who give short measure, i.e. they curtail the rights of other people, by deception, by defraud or in some other way. These very people who curtail other peoples rights demand their own due from others in full. These people are guilty of the crime of “tatfeef.”

The crime of tatfeef is such a great sin that a whole surah is named on this subject matter. To reinforce the seriousness of this sin Allāh () has placed surah Mutaffifeen in between surah Infitār and surah Inshiqāq. Both of these latter surahs give details of the Day of Qiyamah and punishments of Hell. The crime of tatfeef is so great that the people of Hadrat Shuaib ( who were guilty of this crime were destroyed by Allāh () .

The scholars have opined that crime of tatfeef is not restricted to just measure and weight but it also includes the concept of time. In fact the rule of tatfeef encompasses all other means through which the rights of someone are denied. Consequently, according to the rule of tatfeef it is prohibited to give to any individual or any organisation less than his/ their due whether it be in terms of weight, measure, number, time, honour or otherwise. Where an organization, such as the government or any public body, is cheated then all stakeholders have a case against the perpetrator.

Sadly, this crime of tatfeef is common place amongst the Muslims of our era. It is so common that we do not give a second thought to this crime. We want to do as little work as possible but get paid in full. We arrive late at work, leave early yet we expect to be paid in full. We dodge paying our taxes yet we demand to have our benefits (unemployment, child benefit, educational benefits etc.) to be paid in full. “It’s my right!”

How many spend their entire adult lives accumulating properties and hiding the rental incomes to avoiding paying taxes, while at the same time their wives get free ante-natal care, free maternity care, their children get free education, free health care and they themselves, as they get older start holding a walking stick to claim more state benefits and then eventually end up using the NHS services, at a cost of around £400 to £2000 a day in some cases, in the final phase of their worldy life. What values have these people installed in their children? Is life all about taking as much as you can out of the system and giving nothing back? What can we expect from children raised on ill-gotten wealth? There is no such thing as "free", somebody has to pay for the so called free NHS care, free education, state benefits etc.

How many businessmen go to extraordinary lengths to falsify accounts so as to avoid paying taxes, some even declare bankrupty to avoid paying their debts. “Woe to the Mutaffifeen (the curtailers)!” We violate the rights of so many people when we do not pay our taxes and when we make false insurance claims. We violate the rights of the buyer when we knowingly sell fake branded goods as genuine goods or defective second hand goods “as seen”, when we claim to be experts or consultants in a trade or business when our experiance is probably about average. Such practices are clear mis-representation and deceit. Earnings acquired by such practices cannot be considered to be halāl. Such violations can be virtually impossible to rectify and only those whom you have wronged can forgive you.

We (the Muslims) have lost our zeal to live our lives according to the Laws of the Almighty. We neglect to ponder over the fact that on the Day of Judgement we shall have to account for each and every one of our deeds. We neglect the fact that on the Day of Judgement we shall have to repay the due of each and very human being we have wronged in whatever manner in this world. Even something as insignificant as a naqira of a date-stone will not be overlooked. The currency for payment will be our Deeds.

The Day of Judgement is a certainty. Let us not put our akhira at risk by making paltry gains in this world. Let us not violate the rights of others in any way, shape or form, and learn from good examples of others.

They asked him," Why the paper bag under the weight?" He replied,"I do not sell the bag, but I sell the tea inside the bag."

وَ‌أَ‍قِ‍‍يمُو‌ا‌ ‌الْوَ‌زْنَ بِ‍الْ‍‍قِ‍‍سْ‍‍طِ ‌وَلاَ‌ تُ‍‍خْ‍‍سِرُ‌و‌ا‌ ‌الْمِيزَ‌انَ

"And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient." (Surah Ar-Rahmān 55:9)