Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I understand that you must feed ten needy people if you break an oath. If I donate food that is worth ten meals, is this sufficient?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.
The expiation (kaffara) for a broken oath is to feed ten poor persons two full meals each, and not one, or to provide them with the legal, monetary equivalent of that.
The Expiation for a Broken Oath
Allah Most High says, “The penalty for a broken oath is to feed ten poor people from what you normally feed your own family, or to clothe them, or to free a bondsperson. But if none of this is affordable, then you must fast for three days. This is the penalty for breaking your oaths. So be mindful of your oaths.” [Quran, 5:89]
The above verse outlines how to perform expiation (kaffara) upon breaking an oath and that it must be done in a specific order.
It is obligatory to perform expiation (kaffara) upon breaking an oath by:
1. Providing decent clothing for ten poor people
2. or feeding ten poor people two full meals each.
3. Free a slave (not possible in our times)
One can choose to do either of the two options above and give the appropriate money in cash instead of doing it in kind.
[IbnʿAbidin , Radd al-Muhtar]
Please read the valuable links and answers below for a deeper and wider understanding of oaths.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.