Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I made a promise that I won’t talk to my friend by saying “If I break this promise it will be considered as shirk.” I broke that promise.
Did I commit shirk by doing this or by being ready to do this?
Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Thank you for your questions.
Your breaking your promise to not to speak to your friend is not considered an oath, nor is it shirk. In fact, promising that you won’t speak to your friend is the more serious concern.
The Prophet ﷺ has told us, ‘It is not permissible for a man to forsake his Muslim brother for more than three days, each of them turning away from the other when they meet. The better of them is the one who gives the greeting of salam first.’ [al Bukhari, Muslim]
Breaking promises and oaths
Breaking a promise or an oath is not shirk either, even with the words you used ‘if I break this promise it will be considered as shirk.’ Shirk is associating others with God. It does not enter into this scenario.
Please leave all doubts and misgivings about whther or not you have made oaths or not in the past. Consider that you have not.
It is a condition of a valid repentance that one resolves not to return to the sin. After making repentance you do your best to not repeat the error. If, however, one falls into the sin again, one makes tawba again, and so on. We may get tired of asking for forgiveness, but Allah in his unlimited Love, Mercy, and Generosity never tires of forgiving us.
As mentioned, in your scenario, the error is not in breaking your promise or whether you should keep up the promise or not, the issue is that you have decided not to talk to your friend. Such a promise is wrong and the solution is that it should be broken.
One should also be careful about making promises generally, and avoid using words / conditions related to shirk and belief. Though in your case it was not valid, it is not a light issue to gamble your faith, which is the most valuable asset a believer possesses, on the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of a paltry promise or oath. It is akin to saying, ‘If I do such and such, then I am a disbeliever.’ Please avoid such situations.
May Allah grant you every good.
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[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.