Do Promises Require Expiation (Kaffara) If Vitiated?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I have a habit of pulling hair off my skull. I sometimes do it during recitation of Qur’an uncovering my hair slightly in the process. I promised to Allah in my prayer that I will stop doing it but after awhile I started doing it again.
Do I have to pay an expiation for breaking promise for this?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Promises aren’t considered to be oaths which require expiation (kaffara) if vitiated. If you were unable to uphold your promise, you should repent for falling short, and you can give some charity as a form of remorse. Nothing else would be due from you.

Please also see: What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow? and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

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.