Ibn Abī Zayd (d. 386/996) on Non-Muslim Witness Eligibility

Ibn Wahb (d. 197/812), an Egyptian student of Mālik (d. 179/795), probes the legal implications of communal bias among Christians and Jews in the commentary. He writes that the presence of enmity between Jews and Christians results in a prohibition of the sale of slaves from one group to the other, as well as the prohibition of members of one group testifying against individuals from the other. In 8:425, Ibn Abī Zayd (d. 386/996) examines the positions of jurists on the admissibility of non-Muslim testimony in court. He relays the strict view of Mālikī jurist Ibn al-Qāsim (d. 191/806), which affirms the view of Ibrāhīm al-Nakhaʿī (d. 96/715), that non-Muslim testimony is wholly barred on the basis of Quranic verse 65:2. Ibn al-Qāsim indicates that the earlier Quranic verse 5:106—which allowed non-Muslims to serve as witnesses for a Muslim’s last will—has been abrogated by the verse 65:2. Ahmed El Shamsy employs this source in Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts to address the broader legal implications of individual or communal biases' influence on the admissibility of courtroom testimony.

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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