Should I Fulfill a Promise I Made in My Mind?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan


Should I fulfill a promise I made in my mind?


Thank you for your question.

Imam Suyuti and others clarified when a person who breaks a promise is guilty of hypocrisy. They explained that the person who has an intention of breaking his promise at the time of making it will be guilty of hypocrisy. However, the person who originally intended to fulfil his promise and then breaks it, due to whatever reason, is not guilty of hypocrisy. Further, the fulfilment of a promise is not compulsory and therefore the one not able to fulfil a promise is not sinful. [Dalil al-Falihin]

Nonetheless, it is desired to fulfill a promise if the promise does not include a reprehensible or unlawful act. From the qualities of the believers are that they fulfill their promises. Allah described and praised Prophet Ismail for this quality. Allah says, “And mention in the Book, Ismail. Indeed, he was true to his promise, and he was a messenger and a prophet.” [Quran, 19:54]

Lastly, the fulfillment of an oath or a vow is compulsory. However, oaths and vows will not come into effect if it is merely a thought and not an utterance. [Bajuri, Hashiyah al-Bajuri ‘ala Ibn Qasim]

And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijaza ‘amma from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib ‘Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.