Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(If ye be on a journey and you cannot find a scribe) or the means by which to write, (then a pledge in hand (shall suffice)) then let the creditor take from the indebted person a security for his loan. (And if one of you entrusteth another) to give a loan without security (let him who is trusted) with the debt (deliver up that which is entrusted to him) the right of his creditor (and let him observe his duty to Allah, his Lord.) the debtor should fear Allah regarding repayment of his debt, (Hide not testimony) from the judges in court. (He who hideth it) i.e. his testimony, (surely his heart is sinful) his heart is impious. (Allah is Aware of what ye do) in relation to hiding or giving testimony.
And if you are upon a journey, travelling and you contract a debt, and you do not find a writer, then a pledge (ruhun or rihān, plural of rahn) in hand, as a guarantee for you. The Sunna clarifies the permissibility of making pledges in towns, where writers may be forthcoming; but the stipulation is made in the event of travel because in this case it is more important to have a guarantee; God’s reference to it being ‘in hand’ (maqbūda) is a condition for the pledge given to be valid, and to satisfy the pledgee or his representative. But if one of you, the creditor, trusts another, the debtor, over the debt and does not require a pledge, let him who is trusted, the debtor, deliver his trust, the debt; and let him fear God his Lord, when delivering it. And do not conceal the testimony, if you are summoned to give it; whoever conceals it, his heart is sinful: the heart is mentioned because it is the locus of the testimony, and because if it sins, there are other sinful consequences, and so the person will be punished as though he were a sinner; and God knows what you do, nothing of which can be hidden from Him.
(And if you are on a journey) meaning, traveling and some of you borrowed some money to be paid at a later date,
وَلَمْ تَجِدُواْ كَاتِبًا
(and cannot find a scribe) who would record the debt for you. Ibn `Abbas said, "And even if they find a scribe, but did not find paper, ink or pen.'' Then,
(let there be a pledge taken (mortgaging)) given to the creditor in lieu of writing the transaction. The Two Sahihs recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah died while his shield was mortgaged with a Jew in return for thirty Wasq (approximately 180 kg) of barley, which the Prophet bought on credit as provisions for his household. In another narration, the Hadith stated that this Jew was among the Jews of Al-Madinah.
(then if one of you entrusts the other, let the one who is entrusted discharge his trust (faithfully).)
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded, with a sound chain of narration, that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "This Ayah abrogated what came before it (i.e. that which required recording the transaction and having witnesses present).'' Ash-Sha`bi said, "If you trust each other, then there is no harm if you do not write the loan or have witnesses present.'' Allah's statement,
وَلْيَتَّقِ اللَّهَ رَبَّهُ
(And let him have Taqwa of Allah) means, the debtor.
Imam Ahmad and the Sunan recorded that Qatadah said that Al-Hasan said that Samurah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«عَلَى الْيَدِ مَا أَخَذَتْ، حَتَّى تُؤَدِّيَه»
(The hand (of the debtor) will carry the burden of what it took until it gives it back.)
وَلاَ تَكْتُمُواْ الشَّهَـدَةَ
(And conceal not the evidence) means, do not hide it or refuse to announce it. Ibn `Abbas and other scholars said, "False testimony is one of the worst of the major sins, and such is the case with hiding the true testimony. This is why Allah said,
وَمَن يَكْتُمْهَا فَإِنَّهُ ءَاثِمٌ قَلْبُهُ
(For he who hides it, surely, his heart is sinful).
As-Suddi commented, "Meaning he is a sinner in his heart.''
(O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you avoid justice; and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do) 4:135 and in this Ayah 2:283 He said,
(And conceal not the evidence, for he who hides it, surely, his heart is sinful. And Allah is All-Knower of what you do.)
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
It does not mean that a pledge may be held on security only while on a journey. It has been specially mentioned in this connection because such a condition generally occurs on a journey. Moreover, inability to get a scribe is not an essential condition for holding something as a pledge. If a needy person cannot obtain a debt unless he delivers something as security for it, he is allowed to do so. The Qur'an deliberately omits the mention of this latter condition, because it intends to teach generosity to the Believers. It is obviously below the dignity of a man of high character not to lend money to a needy person without having a pledge in hand. It is, however, understood that if the pledge is productive, the creditor should keep a regular account of the produce and deduct it from the debt; otherwise any profit drawn from the pledged property would be interest. In this connection, one should also know that the only object in view of holding a pledge is the security of the repayment of the debt and it does not entitle the creditor in any way to make profit out of it. For instance, if a creditor himself lives in the house which he holds as a pledge for his debt or if he lets it to someone else, he in fact is guilty of taking interest, if he does not credit the rent of the house to the debtor, for there is no difference between taking direct interest on a debt or earning money from it or making use of the property delivered as a pledge. The creditor, however, may benefit from the milk of a pledged head of cattle, or may ride or carry burden on a horse, camel, etc., because that would be the compensation for the fodder given to them.
"Concealing of evidence" applies both to the evasion of evidence and to the concealment of the true facts while giving evidence.
O you who believe when you contract a debt one upon another for a stated term write it down; and let a writer write it down between you justly; and let not any writer refuse to write it down as God has taught him; so let him write and let the debtor dictate; and let him fear God his Lord and not diminish anything of it. And if the debtor be a fool or weak or unable to dictate himself then let his guardian dictate justly. And summon to bear witness two witnesses men; or if the two be not men then one man and two women such witnesses as you approve of so that if one of the two women errs; the other will remind her; and let the witnesses not refuse whenever they are summoned; and be not disdainful to write it down small or great with its term; that is more equitable in God's sight more upright for testimony and nearer that you will not be in doubt unless it be trade carried out there and then that you give and take between you then you will not be at fault if you do not write it down. And take witnesses when you are trading with one another. And let not either writer or witness be pressed; and if you do that is sinfulness in you. And fear God. God teaches you and God knows all things. And if you are upon a journey and you do not find a writer then a pledge in hand. But if one of you trusts another let him who is trusted deliver his trust and let him fear God his Lord. And do not conceal the testimony; whoever conceals it his heart is sinful; and God knows what you do. God سبحانه commands created beings to act with sincerity ṣidq. He teaches them the particulars of their transactions with one another and teaches them to adopt caution and bear witness [as explained in this verse] so that no injury will occur between them. That is in accordance with His mercy toward them and follows from His kindness to them so that they will not be adversaries. He commands that rights be strengthened by writing and taking witnesses and commands [this] witnessing from the outset and through the execution [of the transaction].
Those who make clear today that which will prevent future arguments should have no quarrel among themselves. There is a transmitted tradition: “Give generously to one another for I have generously given My wealth to you. Surely the one who is noble-hearted when he is able forgives.” Compassion for those in need is included in legal injunctions concerning debt because the state of need is a distressing one and compels one to do whatever one can. [The needy person] experiences anguish and yet tries to maintain seemly behavior by avoiding begging and petitioning. God permits [such a one] to incur debt to help him in the present moment and to give him hope of His favor in the end. He has promised a bountiful reward for the lending of money; this is from His kindness.