Tafsir Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

Verse 5.106

(O ye who believe! Let there be witnesses between you) in settlement or upon travelling (when death draweth nigh unto one of you, at the time of bequest) of the dead person (two witnesses) should testify, just men from among you) two free men; it is also said: two of your own people, (or two others from another tribe) who adhere to your religion, as it is said that this means: two people from outside your own people. Then, leaving the question in the case of settlement, Allah mentioned the same question in the case of travelling, saying: (in case you are campaigning in the land) if you are out in the land or travelling (and the calamity of death befall you). This verse was revealed about three men who travelled together for trade to Historic Syria. On the way, one of them, Budayl Ibn Abi Mariyah, a client of 'Amr Ibn al-'As, who was a Muslim, died. But before he died, he requested his two companions, 'Adiyy Ibn Bida' and Tamim Ibn Aws al-Dari, who were Christians, to hand over his property to his people. They however betrayed his testament. So Allah said to the custodians of the deceased person: (You shall empanel them both) the two Christians (after the prayer) of 'Asr, (and, if ye doubt) O custodian of the deceased person that they gave back less than the deceased person had with him, (they shall be made to swear by Allah (saying): We will not take a bribe) let them say: we will not exchange our oath for a paltry portion of this world, (even though it were (on behalf of) a near kinsman) even if the deceased person is one of our kinsmen (nor will we hide the testimony of Allah) let them also say: we will not withhold our testimony, if asked, (for then) for if we withhold our testimony (indeed we should be of the sinful) i.e. of the wrong-doers.