Can One Take an Oath But Have a Different Intention?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


This is a real scenario, and I’ll use made-up names instead.

Aamna’s friends are saying that Aamna’s other friend, Ameera, isn’t her biological sister (she isn’t). They tell Aamna to say, Wallahi, they are sisters (biologically as they are speaking in the biological sense). She says wallahi they are sisters (with the intention that she meant sisters in Islam). Does she have to fast for three days for breaking an oath?


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

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.

Islamically, this is a Mistaken Oath (yamin laghw), which is to swear about something in the past, thinking that it is as such, while in reality, it is not. No expiation is due, and we hope Allah will not take the person to account for it. Also, if she meant she is her sister in Islam, she has not lied.


This is called Tawriya in Islam, where one says something intending other than what is generally understood from; this is a way to refrain from lying.

Oath That Requires Expiation

An oath that requires expiation is an oath in which one swears that they will do or will not do something in the name of Allah, and after that, they do contrary to what they said. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

There are three types of oaths:

  1. The Engulfing Oath (yamin ghamus) is to swear by Allah that one did or did not do something in the past while deliberately lying about it. This is a major sin, so enormous that no expiation is due since expiation is not enough to lift the sin. Instead, one must make sincere repentance and seek Allah’s forgiveness.
  2. The Enacted Oath (yamin mun‘aqida) is to swear to do or not do something in the future. If one breaks this type of oath, expiation is due.
    The expiation is to feed ten poor persons (2 meals each), or to clothe them (1 garment each), or to give them the equivalent monetary value. If one is unable to do that, one must fast for three consecutive days.
  3. The Mistaken Oath (yamin laghw) is to swear about something in the past, thinking it is as such, while in reality, it is not. No expiation is due, and we hope Allah will not take the person to account for it.

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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.