Vowing to Give in Charity: The Need for an Accompanying Intention to Fulfill One’s Vow

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I wanted to know if someone made a vow to give in charity everyday does the intention need to be present in the heart before giving the charity (even if it is something as simple as a good word or smile)?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

Fulfilling a vow is mandatory (wajib or lazim). [Shurunbulali/Imdad al-Fattah]

As such, it would need an accompanying intention. If one made a vow to give charity (sadaqa), for example, then giving charity without intending to fulfill the vow would count only as voluntary charity and would not fulfill the vow.

Furthermore, a vow to give charity would be fulfilled only by actually donating money or something of monetary value; a good word or smile would not fulfill the vow, even if called “charity” in various prophetic reports, since the meaning of those reports is that they are akin to charity in terms of reward, not that they are actual charity for the purposes of vows and the like.

And Allah alone gives success.


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Faraz A. Khan has lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith studies, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar. He translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer “Ascent to Felicity” (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali, recently published by White Thread Press.