How Do We Deal with Mistakes While Fasting as Expiation for a Broken Oath?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


A person broke an oath and performed the expiation by fasting for three days. While fasting on the third day, he sniffed water while making wudu. If he did this intentionally and water got into his throat, does he have to redo all the days he fasted (three days) or redo the last day’s broken fast?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, forgive us for our shortcomings, and alleviate our difficulties, Amin.

The fasting in question does not require consecutive execution and, therefore, he need only make up the one day, and Allah knows best.

Expiation for Oaths

An expiation is obligatory for someone who swears and breaks an oath. If the swearer is entitled to expiate by property expenditure, it is permissible to do so before or after breaking the oath. But if it consists of fasting, then he may only do so after breaking the oath. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]

The expiation consists of any one of the following:

  1. to free a sound Muslim slave;
  2. to feed ten people who are poor or short of money, each with 0.51 liters of grain (though it is not a condition that it be grain, but rather the type of food payable for the zakat of ‘Id al-Fitr, even if not a grain. The Hanafi School permits giving its value in money:
  3. or provide clothing of any kind for ten such persons, even if it consists of a wraparound or clothing previously washed, though not if ragged.

If one is unable to do any of the above, one must fast for three days. It is better to fast them consecutively, though permissible to do so nonconsecutively. [ibid.]

I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Thumbnail Picture by on Freepik