Acceptable witnesses

Acceptable witnesses

source :Osoul Global Center

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There are certain conditions required in a witness: Islam, adulthood and sanity, speech, accuracy and good memory, probity. Testimony of people of earlier divine religions is acceptable in certain cases.

Acceptable witnesses

Certain conditions must be met by individuals to be acceptable as a witness:

1- Islam: The testimony of an unbeliever is unacceptable,

:as Allah says

‘Call to witness two persons of known probity from among yourselves.’ 

(65:2)

 :He also describes witnesses as ones

‘And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men.’ 

(2:282)

 and an unbeliever does not meet these conditions.

However, testimony by people who follow earlier divine religions are acceptable in cases of making a will when one is on travel. This exception is made for cases of urgent need and when they are the only ones available.

:Allah says

‘Believers, let there be witnesses to what you do when death approaches you and you are about to make bequests: two persons of probity from among your own people, or two others from outside, if the disaster of death come to you when you are travelling through the land.’

(5:106)

 Ibn 'Abbas and many scholars say that the reference in the verse to ‘two others from outside’ means the followers of earlier divine religions.[1]

2- Adulthood and sanity: The testimony of a young person is unacceptable, even if he is known to be a person of integrity. The unacceptability is based on the young person’s mind being incompletely developed. However, the testimony of young persons against one another is acceptable in cases of injuries, particularly before they have dispersed and if they are in agreement. Likewise, the testimony of a madman, a person of impaired mental faculty and a drunk is unacceptable, because their testimony is unreliable.

3- Speech: The testimony of a mute person who cannot speak is unacceptable even though his signals are understood. His signals are only acceptable with regard to rulings that affect him personally, because relying on these is necessary. However, if the mute person gives evidence in writing, it is acceptable.

4- Accuracy and good memory: Testimony is unacceptable when given by one who is known to be simple-minded, or liable to frequent mistakes, because he is unreliable and what he may state in court may be erroneous. Yet, as everyone is liable to make mistakes, the testimony of one who makes few mistakes is accepted.

5-Probity: The testimony of a fasiq, or transgressor, is unacceptable, as Allah says:

‘Call to witness two persons of known probity from among yourselves.’

(65:2)

 Probity is a quality that applies to one who is religious, a person of integrity and who attends to what is required and recommended by Islam and avoids what is forbidden and reprehensible.

references

  1. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 3, p. 211. 

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