O you who believe ... and Allah-SWT knows everything.
In today's world of technical education and invention, information can be fed in computers and stored. But fourteen centuries ago it was only Islam, which taught human beings to document their financial transactions and dealings, as it is the financial dealings that generate conflicts and threaten the peace of the entire society. Islam pioneered the method of documentation and witnessing in dealings, to prevent any possible feuds as well as protect the rights of all parties. All methods of writing business contracts in practice today are only forms of the original given by Islam. The basic content of these contracts is essentially the same; the advancement is only in the manner these are drawn.
The believers are directed to put into writing all details of a debt. First of all proper contract deed must be drawn and secondly the duration of the debt is to be fixed, in which there should be no ambiguity. It is not correct to say that the debt will be returned at the time of the next harvest, but the exact date and month must be fixed. It is important that the scribe writes down the terms justly without being partial and should not jeopardise his own Akhirah for the worldly benefit of any side. An educated person must not refuse to write the deeds as Allaah-SWT has blessed him with the skills of reading and writing, and by helping His-SWT creation he can show his gratitude to Him-SWT . The debtor must dictate the wording of the contract deed and must fear Allaah-SWT while doing so. He should not toy to create any ambiguity or misunderstanding in these terms of contract. If the debtor is insane senile due to old age, deaf and dumb, minor or a woman in veil, or in case of a foreigner not knowing the language of f the country, the contract will be dictated by the guardian of such person, or a council who can be hired for this purpose It must be remembered that this injunction is not obligatory and its omission is not a sin.
Until here, the matter was confined to writing. Now in order to prove the authenticity of the contract it should be testified by two adult male Muslims of unquestionable integrity, as a ‘Fasiq’ is not acceptable as a witness in Islam. And if two men are not available, a man and two women may be called as witnesses, who must be acceptable to both parties. The reason for calling two women in place of one man is that if one forgets, the other would remind her. Besides, it is not proper for a lone woman to attend a congregation of men.
Women as Witness
Neither a single man suffices as a witness, nor only two women. Rather there should be one man and two women. The best course of action is, however that the witness should be male. This Divine Injunction has been exactly adopted as Islamic Law of Evidence in our county. A certain class of women raised hue and cry over it and took out processions, which had to be dispersed by force. The commotion still prevails. It is strange that they do not protest against their being women in the first place! Perhaps the women who roam the markets, dressed up like men with a masculine haircut, are practically protesting against it! On the other hand there are men who are weary of being masculine. They are seen in the streets, markets, clad in colourful feminine attire, with jewelery and makeup, as if in protest, against being created as men. All such behavior is the result of ignorance, lack of knowledge about His-SWT Greatness and aversion towards Deen. Equality does not mean that men and women are intermingled, pruned and fashioned into beings, equal in all respect. It actually means that both man and woman get their due rights, given to them on the basis of gender. Allaah-SWT has preferred men as witnesses in the first place, and if there is no other alternative then two women may be called, but not one. The television programmes in order to convince the women presented the argument that it is tedious for them to go to the courts, therefore, for their own comfort men have been preferred. This is also true, but why not broadcast what Allaah-SWT has said, that a woman by nature is weaker and less capable as compared to a man. And He-SWT commands to call two women so that if one forgets the other can remind her and together they give each other company.
Talking of capability, it must be clearly understood that the real knowledge is that of Prophethood, which is the fountainhead of all knowledge, for mankind. Although all the Prophets-AS were nursed by women, except Prophet Aadam-AS who was directly created from clay, but never was Prophethood conferred upon a woman. She has been spared this great burden of responsibility. Shall women protest against this too? According to ‘Hadith’, nothing blinds a wise man more than the one lesser in wisdom and Din i.e. a woman. A woman listener enquired, "O Prophet-SW of Allah-SWT ! Are we weaker in both wisdom and Din?" The Holy Prophet-SW replied that the evidence of two women against one man endorses the fact that women have lesser wisdom. And their incapability to offer Salat and fast during their menstruation periods every month shows a deficiency in their Din.
So now will our progressive ladies take out processions demanding that in future men should also bear children or the husband and wife should do it in turn, in order to maintain equality? This is utter nonsense! Equality means that a woman must carry out the duties entrusted to her and the rights she enjoys as a woman must be safeguarded. And a man must fulfill the duties assigned to him and should enjoy his rights. The witnesses when called upon must not refuse to come without a valid excuse, as this is vital for upholding the truth and removal of the doubts. And do not hesitate to draw contract deeds, whether the matter is trivial or important and do write down the period agreed upon as this document and the witnesses are the best way of avoiding doubts.
In case of transactions concluded on the spot, like ready merchandise, there is no need for writing. However, it is better to call witnesses, lest one of the parties revokes the deal in future, causing a conflict. Neither the witnesses nor the scribe be inconvenienced in any way, as it is a great sin. Allaah-SWT must be feared at all times. To cause any harm to the scribe or the witness is unlawful. If the scribe demands wages or the witness asks for traveling expenses for the purpose of attending the proceedings, they must be paid, as this is their right. Failure to do so amounts to harming them, which is not allowed and is a grave sin.
To sum it all up, Islam orders firstly to draw a contract deed of every transaction and to have witnesses over it. The scribe is ordered not to refuse writing, when requested. And a Muslim must not refuse to give evidence when called upon to do so. And lastly it safeguards the rights of the scribe and the witnesses. They should neither be harmed financially, nor disgraced, nor made to visit the courts unnecessarily. All this is to help reduce conflicts and disputes and to ensure speedy justice.
Unfortunately the prevailing conditions are exactly opposite. The witness is seen with such suspicion by the police officer as if he is the real criminal. He is ordered to appear in the police station every now and then, only to be insulted and threatened. After that, he has to go round the courts. Especially the civil suits can drive anyone to insanity. This is why every respectable citizen tries to avoid being a witness, making room for touts, who in fact control the justice as the courts are forced to depend on them.
The Quran has spelled everyone's rights and expects Muslims to fear Allah-SWT , as they believe in the ‘Akhirah’ when they shall return to Him-SWT . Moreover it is by His-SWT Magnanimity that they have been guided. They must also remember that Allaah-SWT is well Aware of everything. The jurists have extracted twenty important injunctions from this ‘Ayah’. The whole issue has been discussed in detail in Tafsir-e-Mazhari. The fear of Allah-SWT and the belief in the accountability in ‘Akhirah’ are vital, as any rule can be adhered to only if the heart is filled with faith. Failing this, every offence can be committed when nobody is watching.
And if you are on a journey... And Allah-SWT has knowledge of what you do.
If during a journey one fails to find a scribe, it is allowed to take something in pledge or mortgage. But the trustee cannot derive any benefit from what has been pledged. If it yields any profit, it will belong to the real owner.
In our system it is customary to pledge land. If such land is cultivated, the share of the owner must either be deducted from his debt or given to him. Failure to do so would be unlawful. Every possible effort must be made to uphold mutual trust . The one in possession of the pledged property must return it at the promised time. Be mindful of Allah-SWT , Who-SWT provides you everything and do not engage in misappropriation of any sort. And to possess information pertaining to any issue is also like a trust. Therefore, evidence must be given when required and not concealed under any circumstances. Anyone who conceals would be sinful at heart. Such concealment is not only a verbal misconduct, but a sin that directly affects the heart. Just as the heart is polluted by sin, it is illuminated by piety. The heart indeed is the monarch while the limbs just carry out its instructions.
If the heart is acquainted with Allaah-SWT and is engaged in His-SWT Zikr; when it contains the Personal Name of Allah-SWT , it never issues a command contradicting His-SWT Injunctions. When it does not give such orders, the limbs do not indulge in disobedience. This is why Sufi saints target the heart and teach the seekers how to practise Zikr-e-Qalbi. Once the heart becomes enlightened with the Divine Lights, the entire body will turn to virtue. Mind, eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet are all pawns to this monarch and dare not act against its desires. This exactly is the crux of a ‘Hadith’ that, ‘a lump in the human body is such that when it goes astray the entire body is misguided, and if it is reformed the entire body is reformed. Know that this lump is the heart.'
So whatever you do Allaah-SWT is well Aware of it and requites accordingly. Reformation of human life is impossible without believing in this reality.