Ustadh Farid Dingle clears up a misunderstanding about profanity, swearing, oaths, and shirk.
I’d like to ask about swearing (as in taking an oath). I used to have a habit of using English profanity a lot of times. I’m currently working on it, and Alhamdulillah, I’ve made progress. Instead of using vulgar words, I usually use the more toned-down version of them, like “oh man,” “oh boy,” “darn,” etc.
I’ve read from various sources that swearing in the name of someone or something other than Allah is considered shirk. What does it mean by taking an oath not in the name of Allah? Is saying “minced oaths” included? Does saying, for example, “Oh boy, I’m so mad at this” count as one?
I’m having a hard time understanding the link between the connotation of these phrases and how the law should be applied, since English is not my first language. Thank you for your help.
Such words do not constitute oaths. An oath is when you swear by Allah.
Training yourself to be grateful
It is worth trying to force yourself to say things like “alhamdulillah” instead because the tongue teaches the heart, and one should thank Allah for everything, and not object to His decree. Please also see Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life.
Over time, if you strive to force yourself to thank Allah for the calamities that befall one, it because easier and easier as if it were are part of the way you are.
Watching One’s Tongue
The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When the Son of Adam awakes, all of his limbs denigrate his tongue. They say, ‘Fear Allah concerning us (limbs of the body), for we are only with you (after all). If you go straight, we go straight, and if you go crooked, we go crooked.’” (Tirmidhi)
May Allah make our hearts, minds, bodies and tongues pure and true. Amin.
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.