“Woe to the defrauders, those who when they take measure from mankind, demand it in full. But if they measure for them (mankind) weigh for them they give them less. Do such (men) not consider that they will be raised again to an Awful Day, the Day when (all) mankind shall stand before Allah, Lord of the Worlds. (Surah Mutaffifeen V.1-6)
In these Aayaat Allah Ta’ala has drawn our attention to a very great sin. That sin consists of giving short measure and short weight. It means that, while selling anything to the customer, the seller gives the customer less than his due. The Arabic word to express this is “tatfeef”. This word has a very broad meaning and is not confines to business transactions only. If a person does not discharge in full anyone’s right, whatever right it maybe, this falls under the purview and ambit of “tatfeef”. In Arabic it is said: “Tatfeef can apply in all situations.”
Pay wages without delay
There is an employer who takes full work from his employee without allowing hi any concession. However, he hesitates to pay the employees their wages in full and in time. All this is unlawful and also falls within the ambit and purview of “tatfeef”. In a Hadith Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) has stated: “Pay the wages of the labourer before the sweat on his forehead dries.” (ibnu Majah, At Targheeb wat Tarheeb, Tabrani)
When the labourer has done it is unlawful to delay the payment of his wages. Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) has stated: “The undue delay in payment of a debt by a debtor who can afford to do so is oppression.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
What quality of food should be given to a servant/employee?
A saintly Aalim of the past has stated:
“You have engaged an employee on a monthly salary with two meals every day. At meal times you enjoy the best dishes and offer the servant only some scraps form your dining cloth which no reasonable man would like to eat. This too falls within the definition of “tatfeef”. According to the terms of employment the employee must receive from you food in adequate quantity and of a reasonable standard. If is unfair to the servant to offer him residue and remnants form the food you ate.”
Not to devote the full working hours to one’s duties
A man has been engaged to work in some office for eight hours. Thus he has sold his eight hours to his employer in return for an agreed amount of salary per month. If this employee draws his full salary but does not put in the full eight hours of work because he remains idle for some time or spends some time in his personal work or he comes in late, then he too comes within the ambit and purview of “tatfeef” and commits a sin. This is because he is drawing his full salary every month but is not giving back full work in return for his salary. He should be paying back his employer for that period of time.
You will have to account for every single minute
There was a time when employees used to their private work during office hours secretly and not openly. Now times have changed and they do it openly. They are ever ready to put forward demands for increase in their salaries, other facilities and allowances. For this purpose they indulge in strikes and launch campaigns to protest against authorities in favour of their demands. They hold public demonstrations in various ways and raise slogans. However, they do not care to think how far they are honest in putting in sincere eight hours service for which they are paid in full. There are warnings of severe punishment for such employees who are not honest in their dealings. When they are brought before Allah they will be asked to account for every single minute without any concession whatsoever.
The professors of Darul Uloom Deoband
Darul Uloom Deoband is an Islamic Institute of higher education situated in a town called Deoband in India. Allah has made this religious institute a beacon of light and mercy for the Muslim Ummah in these latter times. This institute has produced such pious and noble men which reminds one of the Sahabah (Radiyallahu Anhum). There are numerous incidents of the professors and lecturers in the earlier days of this institute when the salaries were quite low (on average 20-30 rupees for the month) that when someone called on them during their teaching hours they would note down the time spent with this person. At the end of the month they would put the time spent in writing to the administration requesting them to deduct from their salaries the amount for the period of time spent in activities besides teaching. One example is given below:
Mufti Zaheerul Islaam (Rahimahullah) described Hazrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi Sahib’s (Rahimahullah) punctuality.
He says, “I joined Hazrat (Rahimahullah) in September 1956 and remained with him until April 1960. Thereafter, I began teaching at several institutions but in all those years, I never saw Hazrat change his routine in any way.”
Madrasah commenced at 6:30 a.m. daily. Hazrat (Rahimahullah) would enter the classroom promptly at 6:00 a.m. Never did the changing of the seasons or even any valid excuse affect his routine in any way.
In 1365 A.H., Hazrat (Rahimahullah) moved to Deoband. He ensured that even on his last day at the Madrasah he completed his time. If Hazrat was delayed from class for a legitimate reason, or he had to speak to someone during class hours, or someone came to ask a Mas’alah, or someone arrived requesting Du`aas, or if someone came to make Mashwarah with him, he would calculate the number of minutes utilised in this way and would record it in his diary. It was his habit that whenever he went to receive his salary he would take this diary with him. He would calculate the time in hours and days not used for the madrasah. Thereafter, Hazrat (Rahimahullah) would repay that amount of his salary back to the madrasah although this directive did not come from the authorities.
Madrasah classes ended at 11:00 a.m. All the asaatizah would leave their classrooms at this time but Hazrat (Rahimahullah) would remain in class until 1:00 p.m. Thereafter, he would have meals and rest for a while. Zuhr Salaah was at 3:00 p.m. and classes commenced again at 3:15 p.m.
Hazrat (Rahimahullah) would complete his Zuhr sunnats and proceed straight to the classroom. He continued with lessons until someone informed him that salaah was about to commence. Asr was at 5:30 p.m. He would only stop teaching just before this time and join the salaah. He would never leave the classroom to relieve himself during lessons but would make all the necessary preparations beforehand. He would also never leave the class to fulfil any of his personal obligations during the madrasah time.
He always advised those asaatizah who were close to him to adhere strictly to the madrasah times and regard every minute as an amaanah.
(Adapted from Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi (rahmatullahi alaih), his life and works p. 55)
Darul Ihsan Centre