Can Unlawful Food Be Given as an Expiation of Sins?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


If a person feeds ten poor Muslim people non-halal food (like meat that is not halal) as an expiation (kaffara) for breaking an oath/vow, is the expiation valid?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

Regardless of the School of Thought or the specific intention, giving non-halal food to anyone, including the poor, is impermissible. Therefore, the kaffara would not be considered valid in the scenario described.

Allah (Most High) says:

“Allah will not call you to account for your thoughtless oaths, but He will hold you accountable for deliberate oaths. The penalty for a broken oath is to feed ten poor people from what you normally feed your own family, clothe them, or free a bondsperson. But if none of this is affordable, then you must fast three days. This is the penalty for breaking your oaths. So be mindful of your oaths. This is how Allah makes things clear to you, so perhaps you will be grateful.” [Quran, 5:89]

The verse above clearly indicates that the food given in expiation should be suitable to feed one’s own family, and Allah knows best.

In conclusion, it is impermissible to feed non-halal food to anyone, including the poor, regardless of the intention, and it would not fulfill the requirement for kaffara. It is recommended to seek forgiveness from Allah for breaking the oath and to give charity in the form of permissible food or money to the poor instead. And Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.