A business contract is drawn. A total of two men and a woman are available to witness the contract. One of the men is illiterate. He’s not only unfamiliar with the modern business transactions but also with the language the contract is written in. The only woman who is available is, both, well versed with the modern business dealings and knowledgeable in the language of the contract. One party of the contract says that Sharia requires two men or one man and two women to be witness. He wants the two men, including the illiterate one, and the woman, as an extra witness, to witness the dealings. The other partner says that the Quranic injunctions are for ordinary situation, not for extraordinary situation. According to him, one woman and one man are acceptable in this extraordinary situation. He says illiterate man’s witness is meaningless; he doesn’t know what he’s witnessing. Who should prevail? Are Quranic injunctions not applicable in the extra-ordinary situations such as above?
1) It has to be remembered after consulting different books on Jurisprudense
and Tafseer that at the time of the transaction, regardless of what type of
transaction it is, there has to be 2 males or one male and two females as
witness. It will not be permissible to have less than this number nor will
it be permissible to have only one woman as witness.
2) As long as the witnessess are honest and just, they will possess the
capacity to be witnessess to the transaction. Also, the transaction will be
complete eventhough ther are no witnesess.
N.B. The purpose of having witnessess at the time of the transaction is for
precaution in the matter that if afterwards there has to be any dispute then
there will be winessess to the transaction upon which a judgement or
decision can be based.
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai