Khallāl (d. 311/923) on Evaluating Witnesses in Early Islamic Courts

In this source, al-Khallāl (d. 311/923) echoes the criteria adopted by al-Shāfiʿī (d. 204/820) for determining the credibility of witness. His approach is largely in line with that of Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal (d. 241/855) and the Companion Abū Mūsā al-Ashʿarī (d. between 42 and 53/662–73). However, Khallāl slightly diverges in permitting non-Muslims to testify in the specific case regarding the last wishes of a Muslim who dies while traveling, a scenario explicitly condoned in Qurʾan 5:106. Aḥmad rejects the notion of non-Muslim uprightness forwarded by Ḥammād b. Sulaymān (d. 120/737) and Khayr b. Nuʿaym (in office 120-27/738-45), maintaining that individuals outside the Muslim community could not possibly be considered righteous in an objective sense given that they transgress fundamental commandments, for example they partake in wine and pork.

This source is part of the Online Companion to the book Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (ILSP/HUP 2017)—a collection of sources and other material used in and related to the book.   

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