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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 Many Expiation Are Due When Breaking an Oath More Than Once? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I have made about three oaths earlier in life not to commit some sins. But I have been repeatedly breaking the oaths for a long time. What should I do?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. I pray you’re well inshallah.

An oath that requires expiation is when one swears, by a Name or Attribute of Allah Most High, to do or not do something in the future.

Oaths

To differentiate between the different types of oaths and other forms of vows and promises, please refer to the following answer:

What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow?

Examples of oaths sworn in Allah’s name and that require an expiation are, ‘Wallahi, I will do / will not do such and such’ or ‘Billahi, I will do / will not do such and such’ or ‘Tallahi, I will do / will not do such and such.’ In English, ‘By Allah’ is often used.

Expiation (Kaffara)

One expiation is due when an oath is broken. The expiation does not repeat each time the event occurs after the initial oath was made. For example, if one said, ‘By Allah / Billahi, I will not enter so and so’s house’ and then enters that house, an expiation is due. If they enter the house again after the oath has already been violated, no further expiation is due.

If, however, after breaking the initial oath, they make a new oath not to enter the house, and then enter it, a new expiation is due.

As expiation, one can choose from the following (They are not obligatory to do in order of availability, expect no.3):

1. Feeding 10 poor people a mudd of the main staple food of the area they are in. A mudd is dry measure consisting of a medium handful, amounting to approximately 0.51 litres. Each person gets one mudd.

2. Giving 10 items of clothing to 10 poor people, such as a thobe. The clothes have to be usable but not necessarily new, but better be so. Neither do they have to be the right size or type of clothing for the actual recipient, so a man may receive woman’s clothing and vice versa, and adults can receive a child’s item of clothing.

3. If none of the above are possible, then one must fast for 3 days. It is not obligatory to fast them consecutively.

[Mughni al Muhtaj, al Yaqout al Nafis]

As a final note, it would be advisable not to make oaths. If you are trying to hold onto a promise to Allah and to yourself, then you can set yourself some minor yet consequential forfeit that will make you think twice before doing the act, such as, ‘If I do such and such again, I promise to give $20 in charity.’

May Allah guide you to what is pleasing to Him in all that you do.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

What Are the Conditions that Would Render an Oath Effective? [Shafi’i School]

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Someone thinks in his mind “Ya Allah, I intend to give $ 100 in charity every time I fail to get on time when having an appointment.” When this happens, would this sadaqa then become obligatory on that person?

Answer: Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah,

No, this charity would not become obligatory on that person. This is because the person has not verbalized the oath. Thinking it, or having the intention in one’s mind, is not sufficient in giving the oath legal weight.

For this type of oath to be effective:

-The entire oath would have to be verbal

-The oath does not have to include ‘By Allah’ or ‘For Allah’, because acts of worship are already exclusively for Allah.

-The wording of the oath has to clearly indicate obligation. If it an unclear declaration, a person’s intention that it is obligatory would be sufficient in rendering it obligatory. ‘I will do x’ can indicate the intention of a binding oath, or a mere intention to do something, depending on a person’s intention. The former is binding, the latter not.

Example Scenario

Taking the foregoing into consideration: in your scenario, a person saying aloud “Every time I am late, I will donate in charity $100” would be sufficient in rendering it an effective binding oath.

Ramifications of the Above Scenario

In the above scenario, the person can either do what he said he would do every time he is late (donate the amount), or pay the penance for not doing so (kaffara). This is either freeing a female slave; or feeding ten poor persons; or clothing ten poor persons. If one is unable to do any of the three, he must fast three days.

Source: Mughni al-Muhtaj

Shuaib Ally

Is Expiation Required for Each Instance You Break an Oath?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: If you make an oath to no longer commit a certain sin, and you later commit that sin, would you have to perform expiation once, or for every time you committed that sin after making the oath?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

Expiation would be due only once, as after the first instance of doing the sin the oath would have dissolved. In fact, our Master Qasim ibn Qutlubugha authored an entire treatise on this issue, and he transmits therein consensus of all four imams on the fact that such an oath is dissolved upon the first instance of doing the act. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Break an Oath that is Difficult to Keep?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I took an oath on the Quran that I will share everything with my husband and never hide anything from him. Does sharing everything means I will tell him every moment of my daily routine? This oath is too difficult to maintain.

 

My question is that if I fast for three days as kaffara, will this suffice even if I broke the oath on many days? What do I do to end this oath?

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

In this situation, breaking the oath once causes its dissolution, so it no longer exists. Yet expiation is due.

Expiation is to feed ten poor persons (2 meals each), or to clothe them (1 garment each), or to give them the equivalent monetary value. If unable to do that, one must fast three consecutive days. [Maydani/Quduri, Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Repentance and Expiation for a Broken Oath

Expiation for a Broken Oath

Waking Up with a Spot on Groin and Dealing with Baseless Misgivings (Waswasa)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: (1) I wanted to ask what if someone wakes up in the morning with a small dried white spot [no more then this => ( )] on groin. Don’t really know what it is and I am not certain if its a wet dream or not. There are no spots on my underwear too… So does it makes ghusl obligatory?..

(2) I’m confused and can’t even do ghusl again cause i swore to God [qasam in urdu] i wont make ghusl due to this reason cause i am not sure.

(3) I have so much waswasa about my prayers not being valid..

 

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

(1) You would not need to perform the ritual bath (ghusl) in that situation, since you don’t recall a wet dream. You could simply wash your organ and then make ablution (wudu) and then pray.

(2) With regards to the oath, you should break it so that you may perform ghusl when needed. You would need to do the requisite expiation for breaking the oath.

Expiation is to to feed ten poor persons (2 meals each), or to clothe them (1 garment each), or to give them the equivalent monetary value. If you are unable to do that, you must fast three consecutive days. [Maydani/Quduri, Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

(3) With respect to obsessive misgivings (waswasa), keep in mind that the default assumption of all acts of worship is soundness and validity, and this default is at the level of certainty. Certainty is not lifted by doubts or misgivings, but rather only by another certainty or very high likelihood.

Learn sacred knowledge under qualified instructors, as that is one of the most potent weapons to combat such misgivings. I would suggest the following course, for example:

Absolute Essentials of Islam: Beliefs & Worship

Lastly, please see the following link for more information regarding dealing with waswasa:

A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Fulfilling a Religious Vow (Nadhr) To Avoid a Sin

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My question, specifically, is if you yourself placed terms within your oath to Allah, such as “If I commit such-and-such sin, I will fast 5 consecutive days”, and you happen to break this oath, will you only have to fulfill these terms? Or will you also have to pay kaffarah on top of it?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

Such a statement is a religious vow (nadhr), yet its form is a conditional statement that one does not want to occur (namely, committing the sin).

The ruling for such a statement is that if one does commit the sin, then one must either:

(a) fulfill the vow by fasting 5 consecutive days, or instead

(b) perform the general expiation of breaking an oath (yamin), which is to feed ten poor persons (2 meals each), or to clothe them (1 garment each), or to give them the equivalent monetary value. If one is unable to do that, one must fast three consecutive days.

So one has the choice of either (a) or (b).

[Ala’uddin Ibn Abidin, Hadiyaa Ala’iyya]

And Allah knows best.

wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Violating a Promise to Allah

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: It is a very low point of life but still I am doing well. Some misunderstandings arose between me and my dear friend. I wrote a letter to Allah mentioning the situation and said that I promise you Allah to never to use a social networking site, where me and my friend interacted the most, until things got better between us. My friend has wronged me and I want to teach her a lesson by being totally out of her surroundings. I wanted her to miss me and hopefully, realize the mess she has created for our friendship. I promised this to Allah only to keep myself strong. Few days after, I realized that it is actually nonsensical to do so. Therefore, I started to use that site again. My question here is that: do I need to do Kaffara for breaking the promise that I made to Allah. The guilt is killing me.

Answer: Wa’alaikum assalaam warahamtu Allah,

Promising to Allah is not an explicit oath but may be used to express an oath if coupled with an intention to do so.

Therefore, if you intended by your promise an oath, then it would be an effective oath and you would have to pay kaffarah for violating it. However, if you intended it to be simply a promise, then there is no kaffarah for it. If you had no intention, or are unsure, then it would not be considered an oath either, going back to its original usage. (Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtar)

Kaffarah for a broken oath is 1- to feed ten people, two meals each or 2- to clothe them with decent clothing.

wasalaam,
Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is There a Difference Between Breaking an Oath and Breaking a Promise?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My husband and I are currently expecting our first baby, and at around 6 weeks into my pregnancy, I had a threatened miscarriage. I made a lot of dua and promised that if I had a daughter I’d name her Fatima and if I had a son, I’d name him Muhammad. I fully intended to do that, because I love both names.

 

Alhumdulillah, our baby is doing fine now and we’ve since learned that we’re having a boy. But my husband doesn’t want to name the child “Muhammad”, and wants to name him Adam instead…if we do this, then have I broken an oath to Allah (swt)? If so, how can I make amends for it? Please advise.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

If you verbally pronounced, “By Allah” (wa’Llahi) or a similar phrase of swearing, then your statement would legally be an oath (yamin). In such a case, you are allowed to change your mind: simply break the oath (by naming your son whatever name you desire), and then pay the expiation.

The expiation of a broken oath is to feed ten poor persons (2 meals each), or to clothe them (1 garment each), or to give them the equivalent monetary value. If one is unable to do that, one must fast three consecutive days.

If you did not verbally pronounce, “By Allah” (wa’Llahi) or a similar phrase of swearing, then your statement would legally be a promise (wa`d). In such a case, it is disliked but not sinful to change your mind, yet no expiation is due.

Breaking a promise is sinful only if you made it while intending to later break it.

[Nahlawi, Durar Mubaha; Maydani, Lubab]

Please see this and related answers:

What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow?

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is It Permissible to Lie In Order to Conceal Past Sins?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My mother asked me about things in my past I may have done. To one of the questions, I replied “wallah no” because I couldn’t tell the truth as it may jeopardize my relationship with my family. I lied and swore, and I completely understand that this is sinful, but I did it to protect myself essentially. Am I obliged to perform the kaffarah? And if so, how do I go about it? I understand that I can feed 10 people. Does that mean I can give ten different people maybe like 10 dollars to buy a meal?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

A general principle in Islamic law is that it is sinful to reveal one’s past sins. One must keep them concealed, as sincere repentance wipes them out and so it is as if the person never committed them.

Scholars mention that because of this principle, one may lie when confronted about past sins [assuming doing so does not entail neglect of another’s right, such as not returning stolen money]. Such a lie would not be unlawful.

Yet even when lying is permissible, it would be religiously more precautionary to use misleading words instead of outright lying. [Nahlawi, Durar al-Mubaha]

For example, if asked about a sin in the past that one did commit, one could say, “Alhamdulillah, Allah protected me from that,” intending one’s sincere repentance after the sin, i.e., that Allah protected me from falling into it again…

With respect to your swearing by Allah, because it is not an oath to do or not do something in the future, no expiation (kaffara) is due. [Mawsili, Mukhtar]

And Allah knows best.

wassalam

Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Can We Deny Having Committed Sins After We’ve Repented From Them?

Can One Lie About Past Sins?