Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
Someone swore by Allah’s name that something is true, knowing it is a lie, and then realized his sin. Do they have to pay an expiation?
What counts as transgression in supplication?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide our hearts, tongues, and deeds to that which perpetually pleases Him.
Someone who commits an act of disobedience to Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate, that entails neither a prescribed legal penalty nor expiation, such as bearing false witness, is disciplined to the extent the caliph deems appropriate. [Misri, ʿUmda Al-Salik]
Bearing False Witness
Bearing a false witness is a major sin (kabira), from which one requires sincere repentance (tawba). [Dhahabi, Kitab Al-Kabaʾir] Allah attached the prohibition of false witnessing to that of idol-worship: “Shun the abomination of idols, and shun false testimony.” [Qur’an 22:30]
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “On the Day of Judgement, the feet of the person who bore false witness will not stir from their place before their owner is condemned to hell.” [Hakim, Al-Mustadrak]
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said: “Shall I tell you of the worst enormities (kaba’ir)? – worshipping others with Allah, showing disrespect to parents, giving a false statement, and testifying to the truth of a falsehood.” And he kept repeating it until we were telling ourselves [ out of sympathy for him because of the strain of repeating it], “If only he would be silent.” [Agreed Upon]
Avoiding Transgression in Supplication
The forbidden transgression in supplication is referred to in the Qur’an when Allah says: “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.” [Qur’an 7:55] There are many etiquettes in supplicating to Allah. Observation of these etiquettes should, if Allah wills, avoid transgression herewith follows a few:
Have Certainty – The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Supplicate to Allah while you are certain (yaqin) of a response because Allah does not accept a supplication from a forgetful, distracted heart.” [Tirmidhi]
Be Persistent – The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) taught: “Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him, He becomes shy to return them empty.” [Tirmidhi] Whoever consistently knocks on the door will eventually have it opened for him.
Avoid Sin and Consuming the Unlawful (haram) – The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) narrated a story about a man praying to Allah, saying: ‘O Lord! O Lord!’ but “his food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and he nourished himself with unlawful; so how will his supplication be accepted?!” [Muslim]
Ask for the Lawful – Ensure that your supplication is not inappropriate, involves sin, or bad manners towards Allah, meaning supplicating for that which is not permitted. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “A person’s supplications will be answered as long as he does not pray for something sinful or the breaking of family ties. [Muslim]
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[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. He served as the resident Imam of Masjid al-Munowar in Retreat, Cape Town for several years.
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.