Sura 83 of the Quran is entitled the The Cheaters (Al-Mutaffifeen). The word مُطَفِّفين (muṭaffifīn) does not just mean to cheat, but to shortchange someone and not pay them what is fully due.
[83:1] Woe to the cheaters.
(١) وَيلٌ لِلمُطَفِّفينَ
This meaning becomes clarified in the following two verses.
[83:2] Who demand full measure when receiving from the people. [83:3] But when giving them the measures or weights, they cheat.
Anyone who knowingly attempts to defraud someone else because they think it will benefit them is showing that they do not believe they will be held accountable for their works and therefore indicating that they do not believe in the Hereafter.
Believing in the Hereafter is one of the three minimum requirements in order for any soul to be able to be redeemed back into God’s kingdom.
[2:62] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
But simply claiming that we believe something is not enough, our actions have to correspond with our claimed belief.
[83:4] Do they not know that they will be resurrected? [83:5] On a tremendous day? [83:6] That is the day when all people will stand before the Lord of the universe.
When individuals cheat each other they are actually making a conscious decision that they think they can cheat God. This is because God is the one who is setting the scales for each and every individual down to the atom.
[99:1] When the earth is severely quaked. [99:2] And the earth ejects its loads. [99:3] The human will wonder: “What is happening?” [99:4] On that day, it will tell its news. [99:5] That your Lord has commanded it. [99:6] On that day, the people will issue from every direction, to be shown their works. [99:7] Whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it. [99:8] And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.
If we continue reading Sura 83, God informs us of a book that each individual will either receive based on if they are destined for Paradise or Hell. For the unrighteous God calls their book the Sijjeen (سِجِّينٍ)
[83:7] Indeed, the book of the wicked is in Sijjeen.
(٧) كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْفُجَّارِ لَفِي سِجِّينٍ
The word Sijjeen in this context is used as a name, but it also has a meaning in Arabic. It comes from the root سجن which means prison, and so Sijjeenin means “ones imprisoned”. This root occurs 12 times in the entire Quran. Twice in Sura 83, nine occurrences in Sura 12 in regards to Joseph’s time in prison, and one time in Sura 26:29 by Pharaoh.
What is the reason that God may have chosen this name for the book of those destined for Hell? When an individual sins they are slowly isolating themselves further and further away from God, additionally their hearts are becoming hardened to God’s message. These two factors is causing the individual to brick by brick set up their own internal prison for all of eternity in the Hereafter.
[18:57] Who are more evil than those who are reminded of their Lord’s proofs, then disregard them, without realizing what they are doing. Consequently, we place shields on their hearts to prevent them from understanding it (the Quran), and deafness in their ears. Thus, no matter what you do to guide them, they can never ever be guided.
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ فَأَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا وَنَسِيَ مَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاهُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَنْ يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا وَإِنْ تَدْعُهُمْ إِلَى الْهُدَىٰ فَلَنْ يَهْتَدُوا إِذًا أَبَدًا
[2:88] Some would say, “Our minds are made up!” Instead, it is a curse from GOD, as a consequence of their disbelief, that keeps them from believing, except for a few of them.
(٨٨) وَقَالُوا قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ بَلْ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَقَلِيلًا مَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
[19:75] Say, “Those who choose to go astray, the Most Gracious will lead them on, until they see what is promised for them—either the retribution or the Hour. That is when they find out who really is worse off, and weaker in power.”
(٧٥) قُلْ مَنْ كَانَ فِي الضَّلَالَةِ فَلْيَمْدُدْ لَهُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ مَدًّا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا رَأَوْا مَا يُوعَدُونَ إِمَّا الْعَذَابَ وَإِمَّا السَّاعَةَ فَسَيَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ هُوَ شَرٌّ مَكَانًا وَأَضْعَفُ جُنْدًا
[19:76] GOD augments the guidance of those who choose to be guided. For the good deeds are eternally rewarded by your Lord, and bring far better returns.
(٧٦) وَيَزِيدُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا هُدًى وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ مَرَدًّا
This is why on the Day of Judgement a person who ends up in Hell will have no one to blame but themselves.
[14:22] And the devil will say, after the judgment had been issued, “GOD has promised you the truthful promise, and I promised you, but I broke my promise. I had no power over you; I simply invited you, and you accepted my invitation. Therefore, do not blame me, and blame only yourselves. My complaining cannot help you, nor can your complaining help me. I have disbelieved in your idolizing me. The transgressors have incurred a painful retribution.”
وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدْتُكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَنْ دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مَا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنْتُمْ بِمُصْرِخِيَّ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِنْ قَبْلُ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
This is how God describes the book of the wicked.
[83:10] Woe on that day to the rejectors. [83:11] They do not believe in the Day of Judgment. [83:12] None disbelieves therein except the transgressor, the sinful. [83:13] When our revelations are recited to him, he says, “Tales from the past!” [83:14] Indeed, their hearts have become shielded by their sins. [83:15] Indeed, they will be isolated, on that day, from their Lord. [83:16] Then they will be thrown into Hell. [83:17] They will be told, “This is what you used to deny.”
Alternatively, for the righteous they will receive their book which is called ‘Elleyyeen (عِلِّيِّين).
[83:18] Indeed, the book of the righteous will be in ‘Elleyyeen.
(١٨) كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْأَبْرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ
The name ‘Elleyeen (عِلِّيِّينَ) also has a meaning in Arabic. It means the elevated ones. So while the unrighteous in the Hereafter will be confined in the prison of their own doing, the righteous will be elevated.
Throughout our lives God is giving us opportunity after opportunity to elevate ourselves to think beyond the vanities of this world, but it is up to us if we choose to listen and take heed or instead opt to stay close to the ground.
[7:175] Recite for them the news of one who was given our proofs, but chose to disregard them. Consequently, the devil pursued him, until he became a strayer. [7:176] Had we willed, we could have elevated him therewith, but he insisted on sticking to the ground, and pursued his own opinions. Thus, he is like the dog; whether you pet him or scold him, he pants. Such is the example of people who reject our proofs. Narrate these narrations, that they may reflect.
[7:177] Bad indeed is the example of people who reject our proofs; it is only their own souls that they wrong. [7:178] Whomever GOD guides is the truly guided one, and whomever He commits to straying, these are the losers.
And this is how God describes the book of the righteous.
[83:21] To be witnessed by those close to Me. [83:22] The righteous have deserved bliss. [83:23] On luxurious furnishings they watch. [83:24] You recognize in their faces the joy of bliss. [83:25] Their drinks will be spiced with nectar. [83:26] Its spice is like musk. This is what the competitors should compete for. [83:27] Mixed into it will be special flavors. [83:28] From a spring that is reserved for those close to Me.
A Numerically Structured Book
Now what I want to point out is that in both the introduction to the Sijjeen and ‘Elleyeen, God asks the reader if we know what it is and in both responses God informs us that “it is a numerically structured book.”
[83:7] Indeed, the book of the wicked is in Sijjeen. [83:8] Do you know what Sijjeen is? [83:9] A numerically structured book.
(٩) كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ
[83:18] Indeed, the book of the righteous will be in ‘Elleyyeen. [83:19] Do you know what ‘Elleyyeen is? [83:20] A numerically structured book.
(٢٠) كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ
In other translations you will often times see this verse translated as “a written book”, but this is not correct.
The word مَرْقُومٌ / marqūmun comes from the root ر ق م which only occurs three times in the Quran, twice in Sura 83 and with the other occurrence in 18:9 regarding the Sleepers of the Cave and the numbers associated with them. The meaning of this word has to do with a counting system, but probably the closest English equivalent is specifically the act of taking tally.
On the Day of Judgement every soul will be presented with their record.
[45:27] To GOD belongs all sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. The day the Hour (Judgment) comes to pass, that is when the falsifiers lose. [45:28] You will see every community kneeling. Every community will be called to view their record. Today, you get paid for everything you have done. [45:29] This is our record; it utters the truth about you. We have been recording everything you did.
It will account for every single good deed they did and every single sin they committed. This is because our entire life everything we think or do God is having it recorded.
[10:61] You do not get into any situation, nor do you recite any Quran, nor do you do anything, without us being witnesses thereof as you do it. Not even an atom’s weight is out of your Lord’s control, be it in the heavens or the earth. Nor is there anything smaller than an atom, or larger, that is not recorded in a profound record.
وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِنْ قُرْآنٍ وَلَا تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْ رَبِّكَ مِنْ مِثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَا أَصْغَرَ مِنْ ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرَ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ
[50:16] We created the human, and we know what he whispers to himself. We are closer to him than his jugular vein. [50:17] Two recording (angels), at right and at left, are constantly recording. [50:18] Not an utterance does he utter without an alert witness.
On the Day of Judgement we are going to be shocked by the contents of our record, because while we forget all these debts and credits we earned God did not and God will allow us to view our entire life instantly with the more clarity than we can image.
[18:47] The day will come when we wipe out the mountains, and you will see the earth barren. We will summon them all, not leaving out a single one of them. [18:48] They will be presented before your Lord in a row. You have come to us as individuals, just as we created you initially. Indeed, this is what you claimed will never happen. [18:49] The record will be shown, and you will see the guilty fearful of its contents. They will say, “Woe to us. How come this book leaves nothing, small or large, without counting it?” They will find everything they had done brought forth. Your Lord is never unjust towards anyone.
Our Record Never Forgets
Imagine if tomorrow you woke up and all your worst deeds that you committed throughout your life was on display for the world to see via social media, how traumatized would you be? Now take that feeling and amplify it manifold to understand the level of disgrace, shame, and humiliation the people who spent their whole life committing evil will feel on the Day of Judgement.
There is a condition called Superior Autobiographical Memory that some people have where they never forget. They have perfect recall to everything that happens. One interesting finding about these people is that many of them have troubles maintaining a relationship or overcoming any kind of tragedy. The reason is because each time they reflect back to the situation they relive the event as if it just happened to them with perfect clarity. So ten years ago they could have gotten into an argument with their spouse but to them they can recall the event as if it was yesterday and all the anger, resentment, and sadness is just as potent today as it was ten years ago when the event actually took place.
[50:19] Finally, the inevitable coma of death comes; this is what you tried to evade. [50:20] The horn is blown; this is the promised day. [50:21] Every soul comes with a herder and a witness. [50:22] You used to be oblivious to this. We now remove your veil; today, your vision is (as strong as) steel.
Fixing Our Record
All of us have committed sin in our lives. We have committed acts that we are not proud of. Many of these shortcomings we probably forgot, but some of them will probably stay with us for our whole lives.
No one wants these sins to come back and haunt them not in this life and definetly not for all of eternity in the Hereafter. So how do we protect ourselves from these sins of ours in the past? God provides us the ability to repent and reform and God will not only transform these sins into credits, but he will wipe these sins off our record.
[25:70] Exempted are those who repent, believe, and lead a righteous life. GOD transforms their sins into credits. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
(٧٠) إِلَّا مَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَٰئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
[13:39] GOD erases whatever He wills, and fixes. With Him is the original Master Record.
(٣٩) يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ وَعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ
We Cannot Abuse God’s System
Repentance is one of the greatest gifts from God, but it is not something to be taken lightly or to be abused. Some people think that they can commit all the sin they want and then just repent and be righteous, but anytime we think we have discovered a loophole in God’s system know that we are only fooling ourselves.
God allows us to repent. God is the one who opens our heart to repentance. Repentance occurs in two steps the first is the genuine remorse for what we have committed, and the second is the reformation that we don’t fall into the same sin again and again.
[3:135] If they fall in sin or wrong their souls, they remember GOD and ask forgiveness for their sins—and who forgives the sins except GOD—and they do not persist in sins, knowingly.
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَنْ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
If we abuse this blessing then best case we will suffer tremendously in this world for the consequence of our actions before we can be redeemed.
[4:62] How will it be when a disaster hits them, as a consequence of their own works? They will come to you then and swear by GOD: “Our intentions were good and righteous!”
(٦٢) فَكَيْفَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ جَاءُوكَ يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلَّا إِحْسَانًا وَتَوْفِيقًا
[7:169] Subsequent to them, He substituted new generations who inherited the scripture. But they opted for the worldly life instead, saying, “We will be forgiven.” But then they continued to opt for the materials of this world. Did they not make a covenant to uphold the scripture, and not to say about GOD except the truth? Did they not study the scripture? Certainly, the abode of the Hereafter is far better for those who maintain righteousness. Do you not understand?
فَخَلَفَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ وَرِثُوا الْكِتَابَ يَأْخُذُونَ عَرَضَ هَٰذَا الْأَدْنَىٰ وَيَقُولُونَ سَيُغْفَرُ لَنَا وَإِنْ يَأْتِهِمْ عَرَضٌ مِثْلُهُ يَأْخُذُوهُ أَلَمْ يُؤْخَذْ عَلَيْهِمْ مِيثَاقُ الْكِتَابِ أَنْ لَا يَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ وَدَرَسُوا مَا فِيهِ وَالدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
Take the of the brothers of Joseph who thought they could kill Joseph and then be righteous.
[12:9] Let us kill Joseph, or banish him, that you may get some attention from your father. Afterwards, you can be righteous people.
(٩) اقْتُلُوا يُوسُفَ أَوِ اطْرَحُوهُ أَرْضًا يَخْلُ لَكُمْ وَجْهُ أَبِيكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا مِنْ بَعْدِهِ قَوْمًا صَالِحِينَ
Despite God ultimately redeeming them for their actions how did such a decision work for them?
[12:88] When they entered (Joseph’s) quarters, they said, “O you noble one, we have suffered a lot of hardship, along with our family, and we have brought inferior goods. But we hope that you will give us full measure and be charitable to us. GOD rewards the charitable.” [12:89] He said, “Do you recall what you did to Joseph and his brother when you were ignorant?” [12:90] They said, “You must be Joseph.” He said, “I am Joseph, and here is my brother. GOD has blessed us. That is because if one leads a righteous life, and steadfastly perseveres, GOD never fails to reward the righteous.”
Alternatively if a person does not take heed despite the consequences they endured the outcome that is even worse is that they become so far astray that they may begin to think their evil deeds are righteous.
[6:43] If only they implored when our test afflicted them! Instead, their hearts were hardened, and the devil adorned their works in their eyes.
(٤٣) فَلَوْلَا إِذْ جَاءَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوا وَلَٰكِنْ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
[35:8] Note the one whose evil work is adorned in his eyes, until he thinks that it is righteous. GOD thus sends astray whoever wills (to go astray), and He guides whoever wills (to be guided). Therefore, do not grieve over them. GOD is fully aware of everything they do.
أَفَمَنْ زُيِّنَ لَهُ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ فَرَآهُ حَسَنًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُضِلُّ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ فَلَا تَذْهَبْ نَفْسُكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسَرَاتٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
Greatest Investment or Regret of Our Life
One of the most painful things for investors to contemplate is the investments they knew about but opted to not take action upon that ended up having a huge success. Any investment in this world is a pittance to the greatest investment of our lives which is the Hereafter.
[17:21] Note how we preferred some people above others (in this life). The differences in the Hereafter are far greater and far more significant.
(٢١) انْظُرْ كَيْفَ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَلَلْآخِرَةُ أَكْبَرُ دَرَجَاتٍ وَأَكْبَرُ تَفْضِيلًا
[3:185] Every person tastes death, then you receive your recompense on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever misses Hell, barely, and makes it to Paradise, has attained a great triumph. The life of this world is no more than an illusion.
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَنْ زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
Therefore, the best thing anyone can do to keep their sins from haunting them for all of eternity and to partake in the greatest investment opportunity of their life is when given the opportunity to do right do not choose to go wrong.
[69:18] On that day, you will be exposed, nothing of you can be hidden. [69:19] As for the one who receives his record with his right hand, he will say, “Come read my record. [69:20] “I did believe that I was going to be held accountable.” [69:21] He has deserved a happy life. [69:22] In an exalted Paradise. [69:23] Its fruits are within reach. [69:24] Eat and drink happily in return for your works in days past. [69:25] As for him who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, “Oh, I wish I never received my record. [69:26] “I wish I never knew my account. [69:27] “I wish my death was eternal. [69:28] “My money cannot help me. [69:29] “All my power is gone.”