Qualifications of a Competent Witness in Islamic Law

Qualification of a competent witness is mentioned in Islamic law at various points. For the general reason, every noble citizen must come forward and give testimony because a witness is a source through which facts can be identified. Islamic Law provides qualifications and disqualifications for a competent witness to appear as a witness. Qualification of a competent witness can be understood in the following lines.

In this article, you will learn the following steps:

Definition of Witness
Meaning of Competency of Witness
Doctrine of Tazkiya-tu-Shahood
Importance of Testimony According to Quran
Conditions of Giving Testimony
Competency of Woman as Witness
What is Position in Pakistan

Definition of Witness

All individuals who provide evidence in legal proceedings before a court of trial. All persons who give testimony under oath in court, relevant to what they have seen, heard or otherwise observed.

Meaning of Competency of Witness

A witness is competent if he/she lawfully be called to give evidence in criminal proceedings all persons are (whether their age) competent to give evidence.

Doctrine of Tazkiya-tu-Shahood

The “Doctrine of Tazkiya-tu-Shahood” is very important. It means those persons who appear before the court for testimony and court will inquire about the character and background of such witness. So what are the kinds of Tazkiya-tu-Shahood:

It has two kinds:

  • Declared Tazkiya-tu-Shahood
  • Secret Tazkiya-tu-Shahood

Importance of Testimony According to Quran

Important of giving testimony has been provided by Holy Quran:

Who is able to understand the question: A witness should be able to understand the question put to them but due to tender age, old age or disease whether body or mind.

Who is not convicted by a court for perjury (Jhooti Gawahi): The witness should not be convicted by Court for giving false testimony.

Free From Prejudice: A witness must not be prejudice as well as the testimony of the following witness is unacceptable.

  • The father in favor of his son and vice versa
  • Slave in favor of his master
  • Non-Muslim against a Muslim etc.

A Witness Must be Muslim:

  • The witness must be a Muslim for testimony
  • Disbeliever not permitted for testimony
  • Abu Hanifa permits disbeliever testimony upon certain conditions
  • But other schools of thought disagree about the testimony of disbeliever

A Witness must be reliable of Character: 

  • A witness should be clean from deeds which cause Hadd punishment
  • The witness should be free from sins
  • The Witness should be Adil (Just)

A Witness must be a mature person with good mental ability and he must be able to understand the fact related to criminal activity.

The Witness must possess perfect eye-sight and must be capable of being seen in the facts.

A witness must possess the capacity to communicate in Hadood cases

The person has a good memory because a person of a bad memory is unacceptable as witness

Also Read: Suit Against Government or Public Office Holder

Conditions of Giving Testimony

There are certain conditions of giving testimony:

  • There must be the existence of complaint and requirement to the testimony
  • Testimony should be given before the court
  • Witness has the personal knowledge of the fact, hearsay is unacceptable
  • The word Shahadat must be used in the beginning
  • A witness must remember the incident
  • He must be able to identify the parties
  • Conformity (Mutabqat) of the statement with the claim
  • In Hadood Cases (Qadhaf) facts must not occur in the distant part

Competency of Woman as Witness

Competency of woman as a witness is discussed as under:

Competency in Hadood Cases: In Hadood Cases, the competency of a woman is regarded as incompetent

In Tazir Cases: In the case where violation of the right of individuals involved, women’s testimony is accepted. Prescribed Nisab for the testimony of one male and two female witnesses.

Finance Transaction: In a financial matter or future obligation, the testimony of two women is accepted with one male.

In Specific Matter: in such matter where the testimony of a woman is needed are matter generally related to woman. Such as whether a particular child was born by a particular woman can be proved by the testimony of a single woman.

Other Matter: A court may accept and act upon the testimony of one woman after the tazkiya of Women that she has possessed all qualification as a witness.

What is Position in Pakistan

The competency and number of witnesses are provided in Article 3 and 17 of QSO 1984. Article 3 says that witnesses must not be prevented from understanding and is capable of giving evidence. Article 17 says that how many witnesses are required to prove a fact in light of injunction laid down by the Quran and Sunnah.

Also Read: Matters to Be Consider while Appointing Guardian of Minor


In many cases, it is being observed someone has given testimony against someone but later witness denies. There are certain reasons which compel men to teel falsehood or other circumstances which prevent them from giving correct and reliable information that’s why Islamic law has provided certain qualifications for competent witnesses.


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