What If I Break an Oath and Am Unable to Pay the Expiation?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle


What should I do if I break an oath and cannot afford to pay the expiation?


Thank you for your important question.

If one breaks an oath, one must expiate by feeding or clothing ten of the poor. If one cannot afford to do so, one must fast three days instead.

Allah Most High says, “So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your (own) families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave. But whoever cannot, then a fast of three days.” [Quran, 5:89]

Feeding the poor means giving ten poor persons a mudd (0.51l, or two an a half cups) of the commonly eaten staple of the country one is in. [Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin; Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]

That would be mean giving out approximately 5kg of rice, for example, in total for each expiation.

If you honestly do not have that amount of money, and you cannot sell any of your own possessions to make that amount, then you can fast three days for each expiation instead.

Each expiation should be judged separately, so if you can give grain/rice/wheat for two broken oaths, but not for the others, then you have to give grain for those two, and fast for the others.

I pray this helps.
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle
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.