Question: What is the difference between making a promise and making a vow or an oath?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
An oath is when you say, ‘By Allah …’. A vow is when you say something that is sunna is now obligatory on you ‘for the sake of Allah’, or ‘due to Allah.’
If there is no mention of Allah in any of His names, it normally cannot become an oath or vow.
In a promise, one says oneself or someone else that promises to do something. There is no expiation or anything else for breaking a promise.
That said, one should keep one’s word, as a point of honor and for fear that one will be asked about it on the Day of Judgment. ‘And be true to every promise, for verily you will be called to account for every promise which you have made’ (Qur’an, 17:34).
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I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language