Does Swearing on Something Wrong Throw Me outside the Fold of Islam?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

My brother and I argued, and I called him ugly. He then said, “say, Wallahi, I’m ugly.” Out of anger, I said, “Wallahi, you are ugly” multiple times. He then said, “say ‘ala l-Qur’an” (swear upon the Qur’an, I’m ugly), and then I said it. At that moment, I knew I was doing something wrong, but I was too angry and stubborn to hold myself.

Am I still Muslim? Will Allah still answer/accept the prayers I’ve been making recently?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, Amin.

Your description matches that of a vain or unintentional oath for which there is no expiation unless you intended an oath thereby. However, you should turn to Allah in repentance and strive hard to control your temper and words when you lose your temper, and Allah knows best. [Nawawi, Minhaj Al-Talibin]

There is nothing in your description to indicate that you committed apostasy, but the sin of lying, insulting your brother, and falsely taking the name of Allah is severe and requires sincere repentance (tawba).

Condition for Oaths and Expiations

An oath is a solemn statement to do or refrain from something, or that something is true, such that if things turn out otherwise, the swearer must make an expiation. [Misri, ‘Umda Al-Salik]

An oath is only valid from a person who:
(a) has reached puberty;
(b) is sane;
(c) makes the oath voluntarily;
(d) and intends an oath thereby.

The oath of someone whose tongue runs away with him and who unthinkingly swears an oath, or someone who intends a particular oath but unintentionally swears something else does not count and is an unintentional oath. [ibid.]

Unintentional or Vain Oaths

Unintentional or vain oaths mean to swear when there was no intention of making an oath. Allah speaks about this in the Qur’an when He says: “Allah will not call you to account for that which is unintentional in your oaths, but He will call you to account for that which your hearts have earned. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Forbearing” [Quran, 2:225]

Our mother Sayyida ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) explained that the above verse was revealed concerning saying, “No, by Allah” and “Yes, by Allah.” [Bukhari]

Therefore, it appears that your “oath” was of the above category, and Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.