بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Period of Revelation: Makkan
Order of Revelation: 86
Theme and Subject Matter:
The theme of this Surah too is the Hereafter. In the first six ayaat the people have been taken to task for the prevalent evil practice in their commercial dealings. When they had to receive their due from others, they demanded that it be given in full, but when they had to measure or weigh for others, they would give less than what was due. Taking this one evil as an example out of countless evils prevalent in society, it has been said that it is an inevitable result of the heedlessness of the Hereafter.
Unless the people realized that one day they would have to appear before Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and account for each single act they performed in the world, it was not possible that they would adopt piety and righteousness in their daily affairs. Even if a person might practice honesty in some of his less important dealings he would never practice honesty in other matters. Man can develop true and enduring honesty only when he fears Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and sincerely believes in the Hereafter, for then he would regard honesty as a duty and obligation, and his being constant in it, or otherwise, would not be dependent on its being useful or useless in the world.
Thus, after making explicit the relation between morality and the doctrine of the Hereafter in an effective and impressive way, it has been said: The deeds of the wicked are already being recorded in the black list of the culprits, and in the Hereafter they will meet with utter ruin. Then in ayaat 18-28, the best end of the virtuous has been described and it has been laid that their deeds are being recorded in the list of the exalted people, on which are appointed the angels nearest to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
In conclusion, the believers have been consoled, and the disbelievers warned, as if to say: The people who are disgracing and humiliating the believers today, are culprits who, on the Resurrection Day, will meet with a most evil end in consequence of their conduct, and these very believers will feel comforted when they see their fate.
Background of Revelation:
An-Nasai and Ibn Majah both recorded from Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu that he said, “When the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to Madina, the people of Madina were the most terrible people in giving measurement (i.e. they used to cheat). Thus Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed Surah al-Mutafifeen.