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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

A Trustworthy Worker and Taṭfīf

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Islām is a complete system that guides us in every facet of life. Therefore, Islām is not restricted to acts of worship as many presume. Unfortunately, due to this misunderstanding, many people feel their privacy is being invaded when you advise them about their religious duties. They think you are ‘getting in their business’ if you remind them about essential qualities every Muslim should have, including trustworthiness.

I want to bring to the reader’s attention a significant error the majority of us are involved in– not being faithful at work. Allah (ﷻ) mentions a specific category of people who do not fulfill the rights of others. In Sūrah Taṭfīf, Allāh (ﷻ) begins the Sūrah by saying, ‘Destruction be for those who do taṭfīf!’ In the following two āyats of this Sūrah, Allāh (ﷻ) describes the muṭaffif (one who gives less): ‘Those who when they take the measure from people, they take it in full. However, when they give measure or weight to them, they give less.’ In short, taṭfīf refers to stealthily lessening the (required) weight or measure in a small amount.

In this Sūrah, Allāh (ﷻ) is not blaming the people for taking their rights. However, he blames them for not giving others their due right, whereas they expect to get paid in full. Measure and weight are mentioned explicitly in this Sūrah because, during the time of Rasūlullāh (ﷺ), they were an essential means to execute business transactions. Before this verse was revealed, the businessmen of Madīna would practice taṭfīf, i.e., when they would weigh or measure an item for the person inclined towards buying it, they would not give the entire amount due to him to save an extra amount for themselves. Nevertheless, when it came to acquiring the item they desired, they would obtain their right in full. 

A muṭaffif does not like for others what he wants for himself. One should not think that taṭfīf is restricted to measuring and weighing. Instead, the warnings and consequences of taṭfīf apply to anyone who does not give the entitled person his exclusive right. This includes a common form of taṭfīf, which occurs in the employment and is widespread today in every corner of the world. When someone or an organization employs you, you have agreed to carry out specific work for a certain amount of hours. Working fewer hours, e.g., coming late, leaving early, or extending your lunch break passed the allotted time, will also be regarded as taṭfīf. In addition, one who slacks in carrying out his duty during work hours in an acceptable manner is also considered a muṭaffif. For example, instead of attending to his work, he occupies himself with his phone, social media, games, chatting with coworkers, etc. 

In conclusion, it is incorrect to put in fewer work hours and acquire a full salary. We must reflect that we will be resurrected and stand before Allāh (ﷻ) on the day of judgment, and the taṭfīf which we committed in this world and considered to be light will be shown to us. Hence, I remind myself and the respected readers that we should perform our jobs in an honest, punctual manner by arriving and leaving on time, executing the tasks given to us in the best fashion, and not doing anything unrelated to work during work hours. We will experience great blessings in our wealth by acting per this advice and be saved from Allāh’s (ﷻ) displeasure and punishment. Thus, may Allāh (ﷻ) enable us to seek His sustenance according to the way He is pleased.

(al-Tafsīr al-Kabīr, Ma’ārif al-Qur’ān)

Ml Ahsan Osmani,

Al-Hikmah Institute

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