What Should I Do After Breaking an Oath?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam ‘aleykum.

I have a problem. I swore several times by Allah that I would stop doing a bad habit. I always broke my oath (5 times in total).
I wanted to fast three days for each break but a friend told me that this is invalid because I have to feed 10 poor People for each day.
What shoudl I do?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

If you have the financial means, you need to pay the expiation (kaffara). [`Ala’ al-Din `Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]

Allah Most High says, “God does not take you [to task] for what is thoughtless in your oaths, only for your binding oaths: the atonement for breaking an oath is to feed ten poor people with food equivalent to what you would normally give your own families, or to clothe them…” [5.89]

The expiation can be fulfilled by paying the monetary equivalent of feeding ten poor persons two meals each, or clothing them decently, which is the amount of the zakat al-fitr.

Contact your local mosque for a precise figure, but it is unlikely to be more than $20, in total, per expiation.

In general, you should avoid making oaths when you are unlikely to be able to fulfil them, and seek your goals through other means.

Please also see: Expiation for a Broken Oath

And Allah alone knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani