Asalaamu alaykum waRahmatullahi waBarakaatuh
These are personal notes (@LinguisticMiracle.com) from tafseer surah Mutaffifeen (83) by Nouman Ali Khan in his Audio tafseers which can be downloaded for free at Bayyinah.com/podcast
Ayah 29: Allah did not say; the disbelievers laugh at the believers. (present tense - yakuwnu) He said;the Disbelievers USED TO (Kanoo – past tense) used to laugh at the believers. So Allah is showing this in a way as if it is a distant memory, and as if the people of Jannah (Paradise) are remembering their time of this world.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ
Inna alladheena ajramoo kaanoo min-alladheena amanoo yaDhakoon
No doubt those who engaged in Crime had been making fun and laughing at the believers.
Ijraam – have a crime and see its consequences.
Those people laughed at the believers, made fun of their beliefs. The comedian’s main jokes were against Muslims. They attempted to humiliate the believers and then laughed at them. Those who tortured the believers would harm them and laugh at them.
Kaanoo [used to (in past tense)] -
وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ
Wa-idhaa marraw bihim yataghaamazoon
And when they (disbelievers) would pass by them (the believers) – they would wink at each other.
Ghamz – gesture with their eyes. I.e. Roll your eyes, wink, insulting. Allah exposes and focuses on even the smallest of their bodily actions. Just the way they stare at the believers in sarcasm.
Ayah 31: Then they return to their families (this is a repeated theme, even in surah Qiyamah 75:33 – then he returned to his family with full pride of himself) Faqiheen – joyed. From the word Faqiha – fruit. Because when you eat a delicious fruit – you have a sense of joy on your face. They enjoyed making funny of the believers so much – that it is like they are delighted at eating a tastey fruit. They are so happy – it is like they can taste joy when insulting the believers. So they tell their family what they did against the believers. This is a contrast – since the same disbelieving man will be running away from his family on Judgment Day.
وَإِذَا انقَلَبُوا إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِمُ انقَلَبُوا فَكِهِينَ
Wa-idha inqalaboo ilaa ahlihimu inqalaboo faakiheen
And when they returned to their people, they would return jesting.
Ayah 32: The believers want this Paradise, that’s why they’re acting like this. So the Sahabah (Companions) of the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) would compete in spreading Islam, and if one got tortured, another Sahabi would get jealous. I.e. Uthman ibn Maz'un heard about other Sahaba being tortured so he abandoned his protection from the polytheists and spread the Qur'an without tribal (or nowadays legal) protection until someone damaged his eye (and he got blinded from that eye.) Then Uthman was happy.
وَإِذَا رَأَوْهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ لَضَالُّونَ
Wa-idhaa ra’awhum qaaloo inna haa ola-ilaa ad-Daaalloon
and when they saw them – they said these people are the truly lost/misguided (Daaloon)!
So Ustadh Nouman explains that the disbelievers would really think the Muslims had gone insane (majnoon) because they were racing against each other to get tortured! And the more they got tortured, the more they got happy about it (because they got closer to Allah)! The disbelievers look at the Muslims with pity, thinking they’re wasting their lives away for an ‘imaginary’ Paradise.
وَمَا أُرْسِلُوا عَلَيْهِمْ حَافِظِينَ The disbelievers were not sent to guard the believers, so what is your concern if the Muslim is trying to strive for Paradise? Why do you pity him or laugh at him, when it is his concern and not yours? He believes in this Paradise for a reason.
Wa maa orsiloo AAalayhim hafiDheen
and they had not been sent upon them as guardians.
Another opinion is; The criminals are looking at the believers and are saying; who made them (believers) as guards over our matters? I.e. When the Muslim forbids the disbelievers from doing evil, the fujjaar (criminals who tear through Allah’s forbidden laws) – they ask why are Muslims getting involved in our matters? ‘Who gave you such an authority to control what I do in my life?’
Ayah 34: The scene goes back into the future again. Why will the believers laugh? In surah al Baqarah 2:212; Allah says;
فَالْيَوْمَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ يَضْحَكُونَ
Fa al-yawma alladheena amanoo mina alkuffaari yaD-hakoon
then on that Day, the believers will be laughing at those who disbelieved.
Beautified for those who disbelieve was the life of this world, and they made fun of those who believed. But those who guarded against evil when remembering Allah – will be above them (the disbelievers) on the Day of Ressurection. [al Baqarah 2:212]
So Allah continues;
Ayah 35: This description is given for the second time. But now they are looking at the disbelievers, and laughing. Didn’t you find our belief in hellfire funny before? Because now I find your situation funny because of the hardships you caused me.
عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنظُرُونَ
‘Alaa al-araa/iki yanDhuroon
They will be on these high couches, reclining, having full view.
هَلْ ثُوِّبَ الْكُفَّارُ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ
Hal thuwwiba alkuffaru ma kanoo yafAAaloon
Are not the disbelievers paid (fully) for what they used to do?
Thawb – thawwaab – to get a good salary/payback. I.e. You do good work, so you get good salary. Have those who disbelieved now got a good salary for what they used to do? This might be sarcasm from Allah, or sarcasm from the believers in Paradise.
This is the Qur'an Allah has sent as good news to the believers in this life and as a warning to the disbelievers. How eloquent it is in conveying all these emotions and realities of the world we are living in today.
Surah Mutaffifeen – the Defrauding (83) « Linguistic Miracle