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Testimony of Two Just Witnesses for the Final Will and Testament

This honorable Ayah contains a glorious ruling from Allah. Allah's statement,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ شَہَـٰدَةُ بَيۡنِكُمۡ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلۡمَوۡتُ حِينَ ٱلۡوَصِيَّةِ ٱثۡنَانِ

(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 عَدۡلٍ۬

(just men...) thus, describing them as just,

﴿ مِّنكُمۡ

(of your own folk) Muslims.

﴿ أَوۡ ءَاخَرَانِ مِنۡ غَيۡرِكُمۡ

(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,

﴿ إِنۡ أَنتُمۡ ضَرَبۡتُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ

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

﴿ فَأَصَـٰبَتۡكُم مُّصِيبَةُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ‌ۚ

(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,

﴿ تَحۡبِسُونَهُمَا مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ

(Detain them both after the Salah (the prayer),) refers to the `Asr prayer, according to Al-`Awfi who reported it from Ibn `Abbas. This is the same explanation reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, 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,

﴿ فَيُقۡسِمَانِ بِٱللَّهِ إِنِ ٱرۡتَبۡتُمۡ

(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 نَشۡتَرِى بِهِۦ

(We wish not in this) in our vows, according to Muqatil bin Hayyan,

﴿ ثَمَنً۬ا

(for any worldly gain) of this soon to end life,

﴿ وَلَوۡ كَانَ ذَا قُرۡبَىٰ‌ۙ

(even though he be our near relative.) meaning, if the beneficiary be our near relative, we will still not compromise on the truth.

﴿ وَلَا نَكۡتُمُ شَہَـٰدَةَ ٱللَّهِ

(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,

﴿ إِنَّآ إِذً۬ا لَّمِنَ ٱلۡأَثِمِينَ

(for then indeed we should be of the sinful.) if we distort the testimony, change, alter or hide it entirely. Allah said next,

﴿ فَإِنۡ عُثِرَ عَلَىٰٓ أَنَّهُمَا ٱسۡتَحَقَّآ إِثۡمً۬ا

(If it then becomes known that these two had been guilty of sin...) if the two witnesses were found to have cheated or stolen from the money that the will is being written about,

﴿ يَقُومَانِ مَقَامَهُمَا مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱسۡتَحَقَّ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلۡأَوۡلَيَـٰنِ

(let two others stand forth in their places, nearest in kin from among those who claim a lawful right.) This Ayah indicates that if the two witnesses were found to have committed treachery, then two of the nearest rightful inheritors should stand for witness in their place,

﴿ فَيُقۡسِمَانِ بِٱللَّهِ لَشَہَـٰدَتُنَآ أَحَقُّ مِن شَہَـٰدَتِهِمَا

(Let them swear by Allah (saying): "We affirm that our testimony is truer than that of both of them...'') Meaning, our testimony that they have cheated is more truthful than the testimony that they have offered,

﴿ وَمَا ٱعۡتَدَيۡنَآ

(and that we have not trespassed (the truth),) when we accused them of treachery,

﴿ إِنَّآ إِذً۬ا لَّمِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(for then indeed we should be of the wrongdoers.) if we had lied about them. This is the oath of the heirs, and preference is to be given to their saying. Just as in the case with the oath of relative of a murdered person if he attempts to tarnish the case of the murdered person. So his family takes an oath in defense of his honor. This is discussed in the studies of the oaths in the books of Ahkam. Allah's statement,

﴿ ذَٲلِكَ أَدۡنَىٰٓ أَن يَأۡتُواْ بِٱلشَّہَـٰدَةِ عَلَىٰ وَجۡهِهَآ

(That should make it closer (to the fact) that their testimony would be in its true nature and shape (and thus accepted),) means, the ruling requiring the two Dhimmi witnesses to swear, if there is a doubt that they were not truthful, might compel them to admit to the testimony in its true form. Allah's statement,

﴿ أَوۡ يَخَافُوٓاْ أَن تُرَدَّ أَيۡمَـٰنُۢ بَعۡدَ أَيۡمَـٰنِہِمۡ‌ۗ

(or else they would fear that (other) oaths would be admitted after their oaths.) means, requiring them to swear by Allah might encourage them to admit to the true testimony because they respect swearing by Allah and they glorify and revere Him. They also fear exposure if the heirs of the deceased are required to swear instead of them. In this case, the heirs would swear and earn the rightful inheritance that the two witnesses failed to declare. This is why Allah said,

﴿ أَوۡ يَخَافُوٓاْ أَن تُرَدَّ أَيۡمَـٰنُۢ بَعۡدَ أَيۡمَـٰنِہِمۡ‌ۗ

(or else they would fear that (other) oaths would be admitted after their oaths.), then,

﴿ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ

(And have Taqwa of Allah) in all of your affairs,

﴿ وَٱسۡمَعُواْ‌ۗ

(and listen.) and obey,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡفَـٰسِقِينَ

(And Allah guides not the rebellious people.) who do not obey Him or follow His Law.

﴿ يَوۡمَ يَجۡمَعُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلرُّسُلَ فَيَقُولُ مَاذَآ أُجِبۡتُمۡ‌ۖ قَالُواْ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّـٰمُ ٱلۡغُيُوبِ

(109. On the Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together and say to them: "What was the response you received (from men to your teaching)'' They will say: "We have no knowledge, verily, only You are the Knower of all that is hidden.'')

The Messengers Will be Asked About Their Nations

Allah states that on the Day of Resurrection, He will ask the Messengers about how their nations, to whom He sent them, answered and responded to their teachings. Allah said in other Ayat,

﴿ فَلَنَسۡـَٔلَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ أُرۡسِلَ إِلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَنَسۡـَٔلَنَّ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ

(Then surely, We shall question those (people) to whom it (the Book) was sent and verily, We shall question the Messengers.) (7:6), and,

﴿ فَوَرَبِّكَ لَنَسۡـَٔلَنَّهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ عَمَّا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ

(So, by your Lord, We shall certainly call all of them to account. For all that they used to do.) (15:92-93). The statement of the Messengers here,

﴿ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَآ‌ۖ

(We have no knowledge) is the result of the horror of that Day, according to Mujahid, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and As-Suddi. `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ath-Thawri said that Al-A`mash said that Mujahid said about the Ayah,

﴿ يَوۡمَ يَجۡمَعُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلرُّسُلَ فَيَقُولُ مَاذَآ أُجِبۡتُمۡ‌ۖ

(On the Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together and say to them: "What was the response you received'') They will become afraid and reply,

﴿ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَآ‌ۖ

(We have no knowledge. ..) Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded this explanation. `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,

﴿ يَوۡمَ يَجۡمَعُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلرُّسُلَ فَيَقُولُ مَاذَآ أُجِبۡتُمۡ‌ۖ قَالُواْ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّـٰمُ ٱلۡغُيُوبِ

(On the Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together and say to them: "What was the response you received (from men to your teaching)'' They will say: "We have no knowledge, verily, only You are the Knower of all that is hidden.'') "They will say to the Lord, Most Honored, `We have no knowledge beyond what we know, and even that, You have more knowledge of them than us.'' This response is out of respect before the Lord, Most Honored, and it means, we have no knowledge compared to Your encompassing knowledge. Therefore, our knowledge only grasped the visible behavior of these people, not the secrets of their hearts. You are the Knower of everything, Who has encompassing knowledge of all things, and our knowledge compared to Your knowledge is similar to not having any knowledge at all, for

﴿ أَنتَ عَلَّـٰمُ ٱلۡغُيُوبِ

(only You are the Knower of all that is hidden.)

﴿ إِذۡ قَالَ ٱللَّهُ يَـٰعِيسَى ٱبۡنَ مَرۡيَمَ ٱذۡڪُرۡ نِعۡمَتِى عَلَيۡكَ وَعَلَىٰ وَٲلِدَتِكَ إِذۡ أَيَّدتُّكَ بِرُوحِ ٱلۡقُدُسِ تُكَلِّمُ ٱلنَّاسَ فِى ٱلۡمَهۡدِ وَڪَهۡلاً۬‌ۖ وَإِذۡ عَلَّمۡتُكَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةَ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلَ‌ۖ وَإِذۡ تَخۡلُقُ مِنَ ٱلطِّينِ كَهَيۡـَٔةِ ٱلطَّيۡرِ بِإِذۡنِى فَتَنفُخُ فِيہَا فَتَكُونُ طَيۡرَۢا بِإِذۡنِى‌ۖ وَتُبۡرِئُ ٱلۡأَڪۡمَهَ وَٱلۡأَبۡرَصَ بِإِذۡنِى‌ۖ وَإِذۡ تُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰ بِإِذۡنِى‌ۖ وَإِذۡ ڪَفَفۡتُ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ عَنكَ إِذۡ جِئۡتَهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ فَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنۡہُمۡ إِنۡ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحۡرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬ وَإِذۡ أَوۡحَيۡتُ إِلَى ٱلۡحَوَارِيِّـۧنَ أَنۡ ءَامِنُواْ بِى وَبِرَسُولِى قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا وَٱشۡہَدۡ بِأَنَّنَا مُسۡلِمُونَ

(110. (Remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): "O `Isa, son of Maryam! Remember My favor to you and to your mother when I supported you with Ruh - il-Qudus ﴿Jibril so that you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught you the Book, the Hikmah, the Tawrah and the Injil; and when you made out of the clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My permission, and you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed those born blind, and the lepers by My permission, and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from you since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said: `This is nothing but evident magic.''') (111. "And when I Awhaytu ﴿put in the hearts of Al- Hawariyyin to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: `We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.''')

Reminding `Isa of the Favors that Allah Granted him

Allah mentions how He blessed His servant and Messenger, `Isa, son of Maryam, and the miracles and extraordinary acts He granted him. Allah said,

﴿ ٱذۡڪُرۡ نِعۡمَتِى عَلَيۡكَ

(Remember My favor to you) when I created you from your mother, without male intervention, and made you a sign and clear proof of My perfect power over all things.

﴿ وَعَلَىٰ وَٲلِدَتِكَ

(And to your mother) when I made you testify to her chastity and you thus absolved her from the sin that the unjust, ignorant liars accused her of,

﴿ إِذۡ أَيَّدتُّكَ بِرُوحِ ٱلۡقُدُسِ

(when I supported you with Ruh - il-Qudus) the angel Jibril, and made you a Prophet, calling to Allah in the cradle and manhood. I made you speak in the cradle, and you testified that your mother was free from any immoral behavior, and you proclaimed that you worship Me. You also conveyed the news of My Message and invited them to worship Me.

﴿ تُكَلِّمُ ٱلنَّاسَ فِى ٱلۡمَهۡدِ وَڪَهۡلاً۬‌ۖ

(so that you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity;) Meaning you called the people to Allah in childhood and in maturity. And the word Tukallim means invited, because his speaking to people while a child is nothing strange by itself. Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِذۡ عَلَّمۡتُكَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ

(And when I taught you the Book and the Hikmah,) the power of writing and understanding,

﴿ وَٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةَ

(and the Tawrah,) which was revealed to Musa, son of `Imran, who spoke to Allah directly. Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِذۡ تَخۡلُقُ مِنَ ٱلطِّينِ كَهَيۡـَٔةِ ٱلطَّيۡرِ بِإِذۡنِى

(and when you made out of the clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My permission,) means: `you shaped it in the figure of a bird by My permission, and it became a bird with My permission, after you blew into it'. Then, it became a flying bird with a soul by Allah's permission. Allah said;

﴿ وَتُبۡرِئُ ٱلۡأَڪۡمَهَ وَٱلۡأَبۡرَصَ بِإِذۡنِى‌ۖ

(and you healed those born blind, and the lepers by My permission,) This was explained before in Surah Al `Imran (chapter 3) and we do not need to repeat it here. Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِذۡ تُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰ بِإِذۡنِى‌ۖ

(And when you brought forth the dead by My permission,) meaning, you called them and they rose from their graves by Allah's leave, power, lntent and will. Allah said next,

﴿ وَإِذۡ ڪَفَفۡتُ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ عَنكَ إِذۡ جِئۡتَهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ فَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنۡہُمۡ إِنۡ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحۡرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

(and when I restrained the Children of Israel from you since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said: "This is nothing but evident magic.'') Meaning: `remember My favor, when I stopped the Children of Israel from harming you, when you brought them the clear proofs and evidence, testifying to your prophethood and Message from Me to them. They rejected you and accused you of being a magician and tried to kill you by crucifixion, but I saved you, raised you to Me, purified you from their vulgarity and protected you from their harm.' The wording of this Ayah indicates that `Isa will be reminded of these favors on the Day of Resurrection. Allah used the past tense in these Ayat indicating that it is a forgone matter that will certainly occur. This Ayah also contains some of the secrets of the Unseen that Allah revealed to His Messenger Muhammad . Allah said,

﴿ وَإِذۡ أَوۡحَيۡتُ إِلَى ٱلۡحَوَارِيِّـۧنَ أَنۡ ءَامِنُواْ بِى وَبِرَسُولِى

(And when I (Allah) Awhaytu Al-Hawariyyin to believe in Me and My Messenger.) This is also a reminder of Allah's favor on `Isa, by making disciples and companions for him. It is also said that Awhaytu in the Ayah means, `inspired', just as in another Ayah, Allah said;

﴿ وَأَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰٓ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰٓ أَنۡ أَرۡضِعِيهِ‌ۖ

(And We inspired the mother of Musa (saying): Suckle him...) (28:7). Allah said in other Ayat,

﴿ وَأَوۡحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى ٱلنَّحۡلِ أَنِ ٱتَّخِذِى مِنَ ٱلۡجِبَالِ بُيُوتً۬ا وَمِنَ ٱلشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعۡرِشُونَ
﴿ ثُمَّ كُلِى مِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ فَٱسۡلُكِى سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلاً۬‌ۚ

(And your Lord Awha (inspired) the bee, saying: "Take habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you).'') (16:68-69) Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented about the Hawariyyun, "Allah inspired them'', while As-Suddi said, "`He put in their hearts,'' and the Hawariyyun said,

﴿ ءَامَنَّا وَٱشۡہَدۡ بِأَنَّنَا مُسۡلِمُونَ

(We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.)

﴿ إِذۡ قَالَ ٱلۡحَوَارِيُّونَ يَـٰعِيسَى ٱبۡنَ مَرۡيَمَ هَلۡ يَسۡتَطِيعُ رَبُّكَ أَن يُنَزِّلَ عَلَيۡنَا مَآٮِٕدَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ‌ۖ قَالَ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ إِن ڪُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ قَالُواْ نُرِيدُ أَن نَّأۡڪُلَ مِنۡہَا وَتَطۡمَٮِٕنَّ قُلُوبُنَا وَنَعۡلَمَ أَن قَدۡ صَدَقۡتَنَا وَنَكُونَ عَلَيۡہَا مِنَ ٱلشَّـٰهِدِينَ قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبۡنُ مَرۡيَمَ ٱللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَآ أَنزِلۡ عَلَيۡنَا مَآٮِٕدَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ تَكُونُ لَنَا عِيدً۬ا لِّأَوَّلِنَا وَءَاخِرِنَا وَءَايَةً۬ مِّنكَ‌ۖ وَٱرۡزُقۡنَا وَأَنتَ خَيۡرُ ٱلرَّٲزِقِينَ قَالَ ٱللَّهُ إِنِّى مُنَزِّلُهَا عَلَيۡكُمۡ‌ۖ فَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بَعۡدُ مِنكُمۡ فَإِنِّىٓ أُعَذِّبُهُ ۥ عَذَابً۬ا لَّآ أُعَذِّبُهُ ۥۤ أَحَدً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(112. (Remember) when Al-Hawariyun said: "O `Isa, son of Maryam! Can your Lord send down to us a Ma'idah from heaven'' `Isa said: "Have Taqwa of Allah, if you are indeed believers.'') (113. They said: "We wish to eat thereof and to be stronger in faith, and to know that you have indeed told us the truth and that we ourselves be its witnesses. '') (114. `Isa, son of Maryam, said: "O Allah, our Lord! Send us from heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us -- for the first and the last of us -- a festival and a sign from You; and provide us sustenance, for You are the Best of sustainers.'') (115. Allah said: "I am going to send it down unto you, but if any of you after that disbelieves, then I will punish him with a torment such as I have not inflicted on anyone among the `Alamin.'')