Did I Make a Binding Promise to Not Swim?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I somehow ended up deciding that I should give up swimming. I made that intention and the only words I recall verbalising were “I won’t go for my own gratification”. I genuinely can’t remember saying “I promise to Allah” and I definitely didn’t say “By Allah”.

I had experienced stress and anxiety in since and my parents suggested I go swimming to help me. I replied “I can’t anymore as I promised to Allah that I wouldn’t go”.

As I’m not that sure I made a vow explicitly in the first place, is this still a binding promise?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Based on your explanation of the events, it’s unlikely that you verbalised a legally binding oath. The same applies to making a promise.

As a consequence, there is no expiation which you need to give by restarting swimming. But in doing so, ensure that you uphold the Sacred Law in your dress and environment.

Please also see: What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.