The beauty in the longest verse of the Qur’an
Have you ever experienced going through the process of reading any judicial document or legal judgement? If yes, you must have noticed the legal language to be so confusing, right? At some point, you must have gone dizzy reading it! The court and judiciary’s legal jargon make things worse!
The Qur’an is a miracle in human language. You read. You think. You get enlightened. You start loving your Creator!
Aayatud-Dayn is the longest verse in the Qur’an.
This verse addresses the Believers – Yaaa Ayyuhal Lazeena Aamanu – and speaks of legal matters yet in a miraculously understandable language. This one verse is sufficient proof for any inquisitive mind to submit to the glory of Qur’an being the true Word of Allah.
The glory and beauty of the Qur’an is that it expounds complicated things in an easy way without compromising on its linguistic miracle. It uses rich vocabulary that baffles the linguists yet remaining profoundly simple to understand.
This ayah speaks about financial transactions, the rights of the debtor, the approach of the creditor, justice and equity, documentation, witness and evidence, fear of Allah and being conscious of Him.
The longest aayah in the Qur’an comes in the longest Surah of the Qur’an. Verse No. 282 of Surah al Baqarah:
“O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down.
And let a scribe write [it] between you in justice.
Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write
and let the one who has the obligation dictate.
And let him fear Allah, his Lord, and not leave anything out of it.
But if the one who has the obligation is of limited understanding or weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate in justice.
And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men.
And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her.
And let not the witnesses refuse when they are called upon.
And do not be [too] weary to write it, whether it is small or large, for its [specified] term.
That is more just in the sight of Allah and stronger as evidence and more likely to prevent doubt between you, except when it is an immediate transaction which you conduct among yourselves.
For [then] there is no blame upon you if you do not write it.
And take witnesses when you conclude a contract.
Let no scribe be harmed or any witness. For if you do so, indeed, it is [grave] disobedience in you.
And fear Allah.
And Allah teaches you.
And Allah is Knowing of all things.” (Surah al Baqarah 2: 282)
As Sayyid Qutub says, “In these highly legalistic discussions, the Qur’ān maintains the same quality of literary excellence and beauty as in those passages that deal with moral or religious exhortations. Indeed, it is even more so, because precision is of the essence in these cases and one inappropriate word could affect the whole meaning with unfortunate consequences”.
Some points to learn from the longest verse of the Qur’an:
1. More than 14 centuries ago the Qur’an insisted on putting things in writing should you borrow money.
2. A third party, that is an independent document writer, must do the recording in order to ensure total impartiality and fairness.
3. The document writer must be a man of integrity.
4. The document writer must be honest in his writing, and not play with words. He is required to record the agreed terms of the loan faithfully, without interference, bias or prejudice.
5. The writer is obliged to do his job fully and competently as a duty to the One Who has blessed him with the ability to write, and for which he will be appropriately rewarded.
6. No eligible person must refuse to write.
7. The borrower must dictate. (Contrast this with today’s conventional banks which dictate terms to the borrowers, and dictate in a mischievously lop-sided way!)
8. If the borrower is feeble-minded, under aged, or unable to dictate through ignorance or an impediment of speech, or any other reason, his guardian, attorney or trustee, may do so on his behalf, showing the same, if not greater, scrupulous fairness.
9. The document must be witnessed and signed by two guarantors from among known people.
10. If two men witnesses are not available, then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her.
11. The witnesses must not refuse if they are called upon.
12. Witnesses must carry out their duty willingly, honestly and without any condescension or deference towards either of the parties.
13. Whether the sum of money borrowed is small or large, it must be written down for its specified term.
14. It is in all fairness that the transaction must be written down. A written contract gives greater force to the testimony of the witnesses, since a written statement carries more weight than one based totally on memory, and it “is more likely to spare you any doubt”. Thus, the wisdom underlying these instructions becomes clear and they appear more convincing, practical and reassuring.
15. Writing the document is more just in the sight of Allah and stronger as evidence and more likely to prevent doubt between the debtor and creditor.
16. In spot trading, executed immediately and frequently, there is no need for writing down the details and the mere presence of witnesses will suffice.
17. The rights of contract writers and witnesses must be protected. No harm must come either to the document writer or to the witnesses.
18. Bullying and threatening the witnesses and contract writers is a great sin which smacks of lack of faith, obedience and Allah-consciousness.
19. All persons involved in the transaction must fear Allah and remember His grace upon them and act in a grateful manner.
20. Allah is the Greatest Teacher of mankind. He teaches even in matters of financial dealings so that man is rightly guided in every walk of life.
21. Intention, that is purity of motive, is of vital importance as Allah has knowledge of everything.
Jazakallaahu Khayra for reading this post.