Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle
Question: As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum,
A few years ago I signed up to read a juz of the Quran as part of a khatm sign up sheet for someone’s passing.. I had forgotten about that for a while and now I don’t even remember what juz number I signed up for.. I feel very worried. What should I do? Do I read the whole Quran with the intention of all of it being towards that same khatm? JazakAllah Khair.
Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
The moral weight of promises
Allah Most High has said:
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous. [2: 177]
And the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘The signs of a hypocrite are three, even if he fasts and prays and claims to be a Muslim: when he speaks he lies, when he gives a promise he breaks it, and when he is trusted he is treacherous.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]
We can learn from these divine teachings that fulfilling one’s promise is of the perfection of faith, and breaking one’s promise is of the signs of hypocrisy.
The believer vs. the hypocrite
That said, there is a big difference between making a genuine promise with full intent to fullfil, and just lying to someone’s face. The latter is what is meant by the hadith.
So, if one makes a promise, one must keep it, but if you unable to or you just happen to forget this is not a sin: ‘Indeed Allah has overlooked for my the mistakes of my nation does, and that which they do forgetfully or under compulsion.’ [al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Majah]
This means that if you generally meant to fulfill the promise but then forgot, you are not sinful, and the hadith of the signs of hypocrisy does not apply to you.
It is however a deficiency in one’s faith, even if it is not sin, to forget about something that you are supposed to do. May Allah forgive us all?
What to do now?
InshaAllah, you are not sinful for forgetting to recite then portion of the Quran you had promised to do, but this is a wake-up call from Allah to raise you to a higher level of trustworthiness with Him and His creation.
What you should do is, this month, when you are reciting Quran intend that the whole khatm is dedicated to whatever the original cause was and when you finish each day make a special dua to Allah to make you a trustworthy slave. Please make that dua for me too, if you remember.
I pray this helps.
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to crafts lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.