In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS AND FUTURE OBLIGATIONS
All praise is for Allah, the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever Allah guides, cannot be lead astray and whomever Allah does not guide, none can guide him. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone without associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his household, his companions and all those who follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
Allah, the Exalted, says:
O you who believe! When you deal with each other in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate but let him fear his Lord Allah and not diminish aught of what he owes. If the party liable is mentally deficient or weak or unable himself to dictate let his guardian dictate faithfully. And get two witnesses out of your own men and if there are not two men then a man and two women such as you choose for witnesses so that if one of them errs the other can remind her. The witnesses should not refuse when they are called on (for evidence). You should not become weary to write it (your future obligation), whether it be small or big, for its fixed term, that is more just with Allah; more solid as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts among yourselves, except when it is a present trade which you carry out on the spot among yourselves, then it is no blame on you if you do not write it down. But take witnesses whenever you make a commercial contract; and let neither scribe nor witness suffer harm. If you do (such harm) it would be wickedness in you. So fear Allah; for it is Allah that teaches you. And Allah is well acquainted with all things. Q2:282
Many of us are usually very careful when we transact business or lend money to someone we are not familiar with very much. We usually take every step to ensure that we are not cheated. However, some of us take things for granted when dealing with an acquaintance, friend or relative. Perhaps because of the confidence we have developed in them, we usually relax and do not follow the instruction of Q2:282. We should note that the verse is addressing believers in general, no exception is made. We should also know that a person that is disappointed by an acquaintance will experience two things: (1) the agony that someone you have confidence in cheated/deceived/disappointed you, this is more painful. (2) The accompanying financial loss. We should follow Q2:282 in all our transactions and future obligations with others regardless of their relationship with us.
Allah, the All-Knower, the Wise, knows us more than ourselves Should He not know He that created? And He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well-acquainted (with them). Q67:14. He gave us laws that are most suitable but some of us are reluctant to follow Allahs commandments. Allah commands us to be sincere, to abstain from telling lie and cheating others, to render back trust, to be just and not to be suspicious of one another. In fact, Allah says:
Woe to those that deal in fraud. Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, demand exact full measure. But when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due. Q83:1-3.
O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not? Grievously odious is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not. Q61:2-3.
The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up.
1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays.
2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.
4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith 1.33)
Despite all these admonitions and many others in the Holy Quran and ahadith, it is unfortunate that there are some Muslims that observe solat, fast, etc yet they believe that business involves lying, cheating, deceit, etc. This set of Muslims do not have mark on their faces for identification, the only way to avoid their mischief is to follow Q2:282 when we engage in any transaction or future obligation with anybody. Doing this does not mean we do not trust or we doubt the sincerity of anybody, documenting future obligations is Allahs commandment that all Muslims must follow.
On the other hand, there are some Muslims who are sincere, who know the implication of lie and cheating, and they will never engage in them. When they are entrusted or make covenant they are not treacherous. This category of Muslims should not fail to document their liabilities according to Q2:282 in order to safeguard the interest of the lender. No one knows when he/she will die, if it happens that the borrower dies before the fixed day of payment, the lender will have no evidence to get his money and the borrower will have a case to answer on the Day of Judgment.
We should note that Allah says: except when it is a present trade which you carry out on the spot among yourselves, then it is no blame on you if you do not write it down . This means that whoever engages in future obligation without documentation is a blameworthy person; he/she is not following the injunction of Allah, the Exalted. May Allah forgive those of us who have been making this mistake. Furthermore, whoever follows Q2:282 while engaging in future obligation will be rewarded for (1) following the commandment of Allah (2) helping another Muslims to follow Allahs commandment.
Brothers and sisters in Islam, Allah has perfected His religion and every commandment of Allah is for our own good. Therefore, we should be conscious of Allahs commandments and follow them accordingly. May Allah forgive our sins and have mercy on us.