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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

Visiting Christmas Markets

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked about visiting Christmas Markets having promised not to celebrate Christmas.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I study in Europe and I promised by Allah that I will never celebrate Christmas. However will I keep my promise if I visit the Christmas Markets (where candles, food, and alcohol for Christmas is sold) without buying and consuming anything?

Here I never joined my peers to any gatherings therefore now I am always left alone. However I always dreamed of having international friends from all over the world. Last time some people invited me to go with them for simple shops and then later visit a Christmas Market. I really wanted to join them just to make friends. I went there and really did not enjoy the Christmas Market, rather I was happy to be with some international peers. Have I broken my promise?

If not, they again invited me for other Christmas Markets in other regions of Europe. Can I join them just for the reason of making friends? They are also not pure Christians and have no intention to engage me in their religion, they just want to spend a good time.

Thank you for your answer in advance.

If you swore an oath to never celebrate Christmas, you would be bound to this oath and breaking it would require expiation. However, the word “celebrating” is vague. Your oath would, therefore, apply to the type of celebration you intended when making it.

Generally, simply visiting a Christmas market is not considered by people as “celebrating” Christmas. Rather, celebrating Christmas involves partaking in celebratory rituals associated with this holiday, such as erecting a tree with lights or going to church for services etc.

If this is what you had in mind when you swore your oath (and not simply visiting a Christmas market or having dinner with your family on Christmas day), then your oath would be limited to these more formal celebratory aspects of Christmas.

Salman

Must I Pay Expiation for My Broken Promise to Allah?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: I was in love with a girl and we used to talk on phone. In the final semester of my school, I fell short of my attendance and my professor didn’t agree to clear my attendance. So I said to Allah, “O Allah, please bring me out of this problem and I promise that I will stop talking to that girl on phone until our marriage”. Allah responded to my prayer and my problem was solved.And we stopped talking for few days. But soon after that we started talking again.Time has passed on and I have sincerely repented to Allah for breaking my promise. My question is that do I have to pay any expiation to compensate for the breaking of that promise or is the repentance is enough?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

The ruling of “promising to Allah” is that it is considered a promise​,​ nothing more.

In any case, it is important to note that what is considered is a verbal utterance of a phrase. An internal [1] promise (wa`d), [2] vow (nadhr) or, [3] oath (yamin) is of no legal implication.

The Expiation for Breaking an Oath (yamin)

​In any case, t​he expiation (kaffara) for breaking an oath (yamin) is to [a] feed ten poor people (​two meals each) or, [b] to clothe them (​one garment each) or, [c] to give them the equivalent monetary value. If one is unable to do that, one must fast three consecutive days.

[Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha]

Please also see:

Violating a Promise to Allah and:
What is the Difference Between a Promise, an Oath, and a Vow? and:
Is There a Difference Between Breaking an Oath and Breaking a Promise?

And Allah knows best and He alone gives success.

Wassalam

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz A. Khan

Repentance and Expiation for a Broken Oath

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: If someone committed a particular sin and then placed his hand on the Qur’an vowing never to return to that sin but then unfortunately did return to that sin with immense regret, what will happen to this person? Can they still do tawbah? If so, what is required of this person to attain Allah SWT’s forgiveness.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

Alhamdulillah, by Allah’s infinite grace, the door of repentance (tawba) is always open while one is alive. Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Verily Allah accepts the repentance of the servant so long as he has not sounded his death rattle [i.e., so long as he is alive].” [Sunan Tirmidhi]

In general for any sin, repentance entails:

(a) immediately ceasing the sin,
(b) sincere remorse, and
(c) firm resolve to not commit the sin again.

[Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]

As for the oath, expiation is due since it was broken. The 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 one is unable to do that, one must fast three consecutive days.

[Maydani, Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Does Thinking of an Oath Without Uttering It Have Legal Consequences?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Firstly, if someone is thinking an oath, would that count as an oath? Also, is making a covenant the same as making an oath?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.

[1] An oath is a verbal statement conjoined with a phrase of swearing, such as “By Allah”. [`Ala al-Din `Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya] Thinking of an oath has no legal implication.

[2] However, swearing an oath by using the words “By the Covenant of Allah and His Pact” (wa `ahdillahi wa mithaqihi) would count.

The expiation for breaking an oath is: [1] providing decent clothing for ten poor people; [2] or feeding ten poor people two full meals each. If one is financially unable to do either of the above, one would expiate by fasting three consecutive days. [ibid.]

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Does One Have to Do Expiation for Oaths Made When One Was Unaware of Their Ruling?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: My question is that, if you did not know what an oath was, or that it requires expiation, you just thought of it as another way of swearing/ promising, and you broke many oaths, but then realised the importance and expiation, would you still have to do expiation?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

One would still have to do expiation, as ignorance of a ruling is normally not deemed an excuse. However, one should consult a scholar with the specifics — what exactly was said, the wording used, etc. — to confirm if and how much expiation is necessary. There are types of oaths that require no expiation (for details, see below).

Oaths

An oath is a verbal statement conjoined with a phrase of swearing, such as “By Allah” or “I swear by Allah.”

There are three types of oaths:

(1) The Engulfing Oath (yamin ghamus), which is to swear by Allah that one did or did not do something in the past, while deliberately lying about it. This is a major sin, so enormous that no expiation is due, since expiation is not enough to lift the sin. Rather, one must make sincere repentance and seek Allah’s forgiveness.

(2) The Enacted Oath (yamin mun`aqida), which is to swear to do or not do something in the future. If one breaks this type of oath, expiation is due.

The 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 one is unable to do that, one must fast three consecutive days.

(3) The Mistaken Oath (yamin laghw), which is to swear about something in the past, thinking that it is as such, while in reality it is not as such. No expiation is due, and we hope that Allah will not take the person to account for it.

Vows

A vow is to verbally swear that if something happens, one will do some act of worship, like praying, fasting, giving charity and the like. If that thing does take place, then it is mandatory (wajib) for him to fulfill the vow by doing that act of worship.

[Maydani/Quduri, Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

An Oath to Marry Someone, and No One Else

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I made an oath to a person that I’d marry them and only them. They ended up getting engaged to someone else, and now I’m left to following out my oath for the rest of my life. What do I do if I want to get married again without going against my oath, if possible?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

Simply break the oath and perform expiation, and then marry whomever you wish.

Our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Whoever swears an oath and then finds a situation of more taqwa than it, let him do that which entails more taqwa.” [Sahih Muslim]

Your marriage to another woman will inshaAllah be a situation of more taqwa, since marriage is half your religion, and you surely cannot marry the woman of your 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]

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Expiation for a Broken Oath

Answered by Sidi Waseem Hussain

Question: If one breaks an oath, can they delay the payment of kaffara until they have some money? Or should they fast 3 continuous days as soon as possible?

Answer: Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullah,

Allah says in the Qur’an, “For expiation, feed ten poor persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation (kaffara) for the oaths you have sworn.” [5:89]

The above verse outlines how to perform expiation (kaffara) upon breaking an oath, and that it must be done in a specific order..

It is obligatory to perform expiation (kaffara) upon breaking an oath by:

1. Providing decent clothing for ten poor people 2. or feeding ten poor people two full meals each.

3. Free a slave (not possible in our times)

One can choose to do either of the two options above and give the appropriate money in cash instead of doing it in kind.

4. It is only if one is financially unable to do any of the two above, that one can fast for three consecutive days.

With regards to how one determines if one has to pay or fast when making kaffara, one considers one’s state at the time of making the kaffara and not at the time of making the oath or breaking it. Thus, if one wants to make the kaffara now but does not have the financial ability to pay for it, then one must fast instead. If one was to delay making the kaffara until one had the money to pay for it, then one must pay the money instead.

Thus, it is not obligatory to make the kaffara immediately. Howerver it is better to hasten to make the kaffara, as it is part of ones religious duty.

[Ibn Nujaym, Bahr al-Raiq; Kasani, Badai al-Sanai; Abu al-Haaj, al-Jami fi Ahkam al-Siyam]

Wassalam,

Waseem Hussain

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani