Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum. Verse 282 of Sura al Baqara appears to call for all debts to be logged in writing and with witnesses present. However, I am curious if this is a fard obligation or other form of guidance, and if it applies to all scenarios? Oftentimes, family members make small loans or agreements with each other, for example. Would a contract be needed for a loan or dealing of this nature? What other factors come into play when considering this verse?
Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
I pray you are well.
According to the majority of scholars, the injunction in this verse is a recommendation – but, judging from the wording of the verse – it is a strong recommendation. There is much wisdom in this verse, and one should try to implement it whenever possible.
Financial transactions with family can lead to complications that affect the relationships we are told to preserve. If you are not prepared to waive the debt entirely then I suggest you implement the verse to preserve those relationships.
If one is taking something as a deposit, or there is not anyone who can be a witness present, you can skip the documentation. This is the basic gist of the verse. (Tafsir Abi Su’ud)
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.