Delaying an Expiation Fast

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked if it is sinful to delay an expiation fast for breaking an oath.

Is it sinful to delay fast for an oath expiation?

Yes, it is considered to be religiously sinful to delay the mandatory expiation (kaffara) of a nullified oath (yamin), unless you have a reasonable excuse to do so, such as being too poor to make the payment and too sick to fast.

The general basis with duties is that they are to be taken care of as soon as reasonably possible and without undue delay, except if you have a reasonable excuse to do the contrary. At the very least, you should include the expiation (kaffara), in this case, in a document containing any other unfulfilled duties which you owe to Allah Most High.

Allah Most High said, “And hasten towards forgiveness from your Lord and a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those mindful of Allah.” (Sura Aal ‘Imran 3:133) The divine injunction here is to rush to that by which you will attain unto forgiveness, such as by fulfilling your duties (wajibat).

Note that if there is an undue delay, you should repent for your error.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see How to Expiate a Broken Oath? and A Reader on Tawba (Repentance).

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Kaffara for Broken Oath If Genuinely Forgotten

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers a question about expiation for broken oaths.

I have been gaining weight recently. In an attempt to curb that, I made an oath to Allah, saying “Wallahi, I will not drink any soda for the month of December.” However, at work, I just went about my day and having completely forgotten about my oath, went to the deli and purchased a can and drank it. I remembered over a day later that I had indeed made the oath. Am I liable to pay kaffara, feed the poor, or fast?

Maybe this connection is not right, but I know during Ramadan, you can accidentally eat an entire meal and if in your mind, you have truly forgotten that you were fasting, you can stop when you remember and complete your fast with no sin incurring on you. Please let me know if my breaking my oath requires expiation.

Jazak Allah khayr.

No, there is no expiation for someone who breaks their oath forgetfully in the Shafi‘i School. (Asna al-Matalib)

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “My nation has been forgiven their mistakes and that which they do out of forgetfulness or force.” (Ibn Majah, al-Bayhaqi, and others, deemed sound by Imam al-Nawawi)

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Can One Swear an Oath on One’s Honor?

Shaykh Farid Dingle is asked about the permissibility of taking the Boy Scout’s oath or swearing to do something on one’s honor.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am writing to you because I need guidance on something. Bismillah.

I have decided to become a den leader for my daughter’s Cub Scout den for Boy Scouts of America. Our scout pack is with our masjid community with all Muslim members. I feel uneasy about reciting and leading other cub scouts during the Scout Oath which begins with “On my honor I will do my best.”

The scout oath is a very important part of being a scout and is memorized and recited at every meeting. Is it permissible to swear on one’s “honor?” I was taught not to swear on any of Allah’s creation and to be cautious when taking an oath. I have learned that we can only swear on the names and attributes of Allah.

I have emailed our masjid Imam regarding this matter a couple of times because I know he is (to some degree) involved with the scouts. I have not yet heard a response from him regarding this matter. Can you help me?

Jazak Allah khayr, and thank you!

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim.

My knowledge of English language isn’t very good, but what I understand from this oath and saying, “On my honor …” that means that you are willing to forfeit your honor as a decent human being should you fail to keep to your promise.

This is quite different to swearing by the greatness of Allah, because when you swear by Allah, you are saying that Allah is so great that you would never lie or not fulfill your oath. When you make a promise to do something, say, on pain of death or on pain of forfeiting your own honor, you are not saying anything about the greatness of that thing you are going to forfeit. So it doesn’t even count as an oath.

Furthermore, the whole spirit of the Scouts is a very noble thing. Serving your country is a virtuous and Islamic act. Organizing such principled activities for Muslims is perfectly good and moral, especially when it involves the moral education of the young.

In general, Muslims in non-Muslim countries should take part in any non-Muslim organizations or organized efforts to fulfill the general objectives of Islam, as long as there is no sinful actions, no other harm, and no involvement in any specifically religious activity.

Well before his prophethood, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, took part a pact made in Mecca to protect the the wronged and remedy any ill-doings. This was known as Hilf al-Fudul https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilf_al-Fudul. Later during his prophethood, he said of it, “I was present as a youth with my uncles at the Pact of the Perfumed-Ones in the house of Abdullah ibn Judan, and I wouldn’t give that up for the most expensive camels!” (Ahmad)

So we can learn from this that even something before Islam, if it is in keeping with Islamic principles, then it is noble, and so too with any ‘non-Muslim’ effort to do good. Again, this is all on the proviso that it is in keeping with the Sacred Law, there is no fear of any moral or religious confusion, and no direct involvement in any specifically religious activity. And this, as far as I know, is the case with the Scouts.

May Allah give you success in fulfilling the weighty task of giving the next generation of Muslims what they deserve of sincere guidance, clear and authentic knowledge, and practical examples of how to play, have fun and grow physically, mentally and spiritually in a way that pleases Allah.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


What Do I Have to Do After Breaking an Oath?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I made an oath that if commit a certain sin then I will fast 40 days. Due to temptation I have committed that very sin. Do I have to fast for 40 days?

Answer: As-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

You may fast the 40 days, or perform the expiation of an oath; the choice is yours. Normally, if someone swears the he will perform a particular act of worship if a particular situation takes place (nadhr), he must do so if he the condition occurs. However, in your situation, your intention was to avoid a particular sin so this is also considered an oath from one perspective. Therefore, you may perform the expiation of an oath to absolve yourself should you choose to do so (Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar).

Options

You have two options:

1. Fast for 40 days.

2. Perform the expiation of an oath, which is either:

a. Feeding 10 poor people

b. Clothing ten poor people.

If you cannot feed or clothe them, then fasting for three consecutive days will cover it.

Feeding the ten poor people is with two satiating meals on one day, or feeding one poor person for ten days. An alternative is to give them / him the monetary equivalent of the food instead. The amount payable is the value of 2.6 kgs or wheat flour, or 5.2 kgs of dates (al-Lubab, ed. Bashar Barkri ʿArabi). This amount was roughly the same in the past, but with wheat flour being much cheaper in our times it would be superior to give value of the dates, although the former is valid nonetheless.

Clothing them is with a normal set of clothes of medium quality or it’s monetary value.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

I Wasn’t Praying on Time. Were My Good Deeds Valid?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I have fed poor people for the expiation of an oath at a time in which I did not pray properly. Was my expiation accepted?

I am basing my doubt upon the Hadith that states that a person deeds are not accepted if he missed the Asr prayer.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

If you paid the expiation for the oath in an acceptable manner [see: Expiation for a Broken Oath], the duty to expiate would be lifted from you.

As for the tradition (hadith) regarding the nullification of works found in Bukhari and elsewhere, it refers specifically to the loss of reward for missing the ‘Asr prayer.

But you also need to repent for your wrongdoing, namely, for delaying prayers without legitimate excuse, or missing them altogether; and in the latter case, by making them up.

Please also see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance) and: Does Failing to Pray Asr Cancel All Our Good Deeds?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Am I a Disbeliever for Breaking My Oath?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam Aleykum,

I  have been suffering from severe waswasa (baseless misgivings). To stop myself, I swore on Allah’s name that if I do not stop now I will be a disbeliever. I was not able to keep the oath. Am I a disbeliever now? I have also had my nikaah (marriage) done, is my marriage still valid?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, you have not become a disbeliever by breaking your oath of disbelief, namely, and in your case, the resolve to refrain from an action conjoined with an affirmation of disbelief otherwise.

The jurists explain that such an oath is only problematic when it is combined with an acceptance and contentment of falling into disbelief. In the absence of such resolution, it would not take a person outside the faith.

Consequently, your marriage is clearly unaffected. And you would need to pay the expiation (kaffara) for nullifying your oath. Expiation for a broken oath

[‘Ala’ al-Din ‘Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya]

Please also see: A reader on waswasa baseless misgivings and: What are the consequences of an oath of disbelief

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

Ustadh Tabraze Azam.

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

How Can I Become a Believer Again After Breaking a Vow?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I have been ashamed to ask Allah for anything since I broke the promise I made to Him to protect my chastity. I have been seeking for Allah’s forgiveness ever since. But I feel like I can no longer be believer. How can I become a believer again?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

You are a believer, and there is no need to doubt your faith. You made a promise, fell short and repented; the latter is exactly what Allah Most High wanted from you.

As long as your repentance is true, your misdeed will be wiped out of your record by His Grace and Mercy. Have a good opinion of Allah Most High, and busy yourself with the good from now onwards.

Please also see: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

How Can I Start Afresh After Many Broken Oaths?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salamu alaykum,

I have made many oaths/promises to Allah, mostly out of stress after committing a sin or because of other reasons. I don’t even remember how many oaths I made (not even an estimate), and don’t even remember what many of those oaths were.

What can I do to start afresh?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Make a reasonable judgement as to the number of oaths you made, and what exactly you made an oath to do or not do, and then endeavour to fulfil that to the best of your ability.

If any of those require expiation, then for each broken oath you need to (a) feed ten poor persons two meals each or (b) clothe them with a decent piece of clothing. You can also give the monetary equivalent of either of those things. If financially unable, then you would fast three days consecutively.

Please also see: Expiation for a Broken Oath and: What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow? and: How Do I Break an Oath that is Difficult to Keep?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.