Write Down Financial Transactions
[2:282] O you who believe, when you transact a loan for any period, you shall write it down. An impartial scribe shall do the writing. No scribe shall refuse to perform this service, according to GOD’s teachings. He shall write, while the debtor dictates the terms. He shall observe GOD his Lord and never cheat. If the debtor is mentally incapable, or helpless, or cannot dictate, his guardian shall dictate equitably. Two men shall serve as witnesses; if not two men, then a man and two women whose testimony is acceptable to all.* Thus, if one woman becomes biased, the other will remind her. It is the obligation of the witnesses to testify when called upon to do so. Do not tire of writing the details, no matter how long, including the time of repayment. This is equitable in the sight of GOD, assures better witnessing, and eliminates any doubts you may have. Business transactions that you execute on the spot need not be recorded, but have them witnessed. No scribe or witness shall be harmed on account of his services. If you harm them, it would be wickedness on your part. You shall observe GOD, and GOD will teach you. GOD is Omniscient.
*2:282 Financial transactions are the ONLY situations where two women may substitute for one man as witness. This is to guard against the real possibility that one witness may marry the other witness, and thus cause her to be biased. It is a recognized fact that women are more emotionally vulnerable than men.
[2:283] If you are traveling, and no scribe is available, a bond shall be posted to guarantee repayment. If one is trusted in this manner, he shall return the bond when due, and he shall observe GOD his Lord. Do not withhold any testimony by concealing what you had witnessed. Anyone who withholds a testimony is sinful at heart. GOD is fully aware of everything you do.
[2:284] To GOD belongs everything in the heavens and the earth. Whether you declare your innermost thoughts, or keep them hidden, GOD holds you responsible for them. He forgives whomever He wills, and punishes whomever He wills. GOD is Omnipotent.
How do we determine if it would be better to give to charity or providing a loan?
It depends on the person’s circumstances and their ability of being able to pay back a loan. If the likeliness of paying back is low then we should think of it as a charity and this way we won’t be disappointed if we are not able to be repaid. Loans when possible are productive in the way that they create a productive economy and allow people to not feel like they are burdening others.
Interesting that the longest verse in the Quran is also describing financial transactions and not tiring from writing the details. Scribe needs to write will the debtor dictates the terms.
I wouldn’t give more for a loan than I can’t afford to give away as charity.
Why do the witnesses in the case of financial transactions need to be two women for any one man?
According to the verse the witnesses are either two men or one man and two women. This reduces the possibility of their being a bias in the witnessing. This also protects a women from being bullied by the other witness if it was only one man and one women. Unfortunately in society women are more apt of being oppressed and therefore more prone to being made bias to a situation. As stated in the footnote women are also more emotionally vulnerable than men.
Being a witnesses is a a big responsibility to keep the transaction honest and fair.