Qur’an/Tafsir of Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:106

Arabic
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ شَهَٰدَةُ بَيۡنِكُمۡ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلۡمَوۡتُ حِينَ ٱلۡوَصِيَّةِ ٱثۡنَانِ ذَوَا عَدۡلٍ مِّنكُمۡ أَوۡ ءَاخَرَانِ مِنۡ غَيۡرِكُمۡ إِنۡ أَنتُمۡ ضَرَبۡتُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَأَصَٰبَتۡكُم مُّصِيبَةُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِۚ تَحۡبِسُونَهُمَا مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَيُقۡسِمَانِ بِٱللَّهِ إِنِ ٱرۡتَبۡتُمۡ لَا نَشۡتَرِى بِهِۦ ثَمَنًا وَلَوۡ كَانَ ذَا قُرۡبَىٰۙ وَلَا نَكۡتُمُ شَهَٰدَةَ ٱللَّهِ إِنَّآ إِذًا لَّمِنَ ٱلۡأٓثِمِينَ

Topics related to this Ayah
[Disaster] [Heritage] [Inheritance] [Justice (Adl)] [Relatives] [Travel] [Wills] [Witness]

English – Mohsin Khan/Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali
O you who believe! When death approaches any of you, and you make a bequest, then take the testimony of two just men of your own folk or two others from outside, if you are travelling through the land and the calamity of death befalls you. Detain them both after As-Salat (the prayer), (then) if you are in doubt (about their truthfulness), let them both swear by Allah (saying): “We wish not for any worldly gain in this, even though he (the beneficiary) be our near relative. We shall not hide Testimony of Allah, for then indeed we should be of the sinful.”

English – Tafsir ibn kathir
Testimony of Two Just Witnesses for the Final Will and Testament

This honorable Ayah contains a glorious ruling from Allah.

Allah’s statement,

يِا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ امَنُواْ شَهَادَةُ بَيْنِكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ حِينَ الْوَصِيَّةِ اثْنَانِ

O you who believe! When death approaches any of you, and you make a bequest, then take the testimony of two…

meaning that there should be two witnesses in such cases,

ذَوَا عَدْلٍ

just men…

thus, describing them as just,

مِّنكُمْ

of your own folk, (Muslims).

أَوْ اخَرَانِ مِنْ غَيْرِكُمْ

or two others from outside,

non-Muslims, meaning the People of the Book, according to Ibn Abbas as Ibn Abi Hatim recorded.

Allah said next,

إِنْ أَنتُمْ ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الَارْضِ

if you are traveling through the land, (on a journey),

فَأَصَابَتْكُم مُّصِيبَةُ الْمَوْتِ

and the calamity of death befalls you.

These are two conditions that permit using non-Muslims from among the Dhimmis for witnesses when there are no Muslims present:

When one is traveling and needs to write a will, as Sharih Al-Qadi said. Ibn Jarir recorded that Sharih said,

“The witness of the Jews and Christians is not allowed except while traveling, and even then only to witness the dictation of the will.”

Allah’s statement,

تَحْبِسُونَهُمَا مِن بَعْدِ الصَّلَةِ

Detain them both after the Salah (the prayer),

According to Al-Awfi who reported it from Ibn Abbas,

refers to the `Asr prayer.

This is the same explanation reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Qatadah, Ikrimah and Muhammad bin Sirin.

As for Az-Zuhri, he said that;

they are detained after Muslim prayer (i.e., in congregation).

Therefore, these two witnesses will be detained after a congregational prayer,

فَيُقْسِمَانِ بِاللّهِ إِنِ ارْتَبْتُمْ

let them both swear by Allah if you are in doubt.

meaning, if you are in doubt that they might have committed treachery or theft, then they should swear by Allah,

لَا نَشْتَرِي بِهِ

We wish not in this,

According to Muqatil bin Hayyan,

in our vows.

ثَمَنًا

for any worldly gain,

of this soon to end life.

وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَى

even though he be our near relative.

meaning, if the beneficiary be our near relative, we will still not compromise on the truth.

وَلَا نَكْتُمُ شَهَادَةَ اللّهِ

We shall not hide the testimony of Allah,

thus stating that the testimony is Allah’s, as a way of respecting it and valuing its significance.

إِنَّا إِذًا لَّمِنَ الاثِمِينَ

for then indeed we should be of the sinful.”

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