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Reading Qur’an For A Deceased

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,

Dear questioner,

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.

Should I Fulfill a Conditional Vow Even If The Condition Has Not Been Fulfilled?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As-salaamu alaikum,
Is saying: “if I get such and such I will offer sadaqaah” invalid or even sinful in Islam?
If you don’t get such thing shouldn’t you nonetheless carry out this vow?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
​​​No, if the condition d​​oes not occur, you do not have to carry out the vow.
Vows: What are they?​​​
Allah Most High said, “Fulfil any pledge you make in God’s name and do not break oaths after you have sworn them, for you have made God your surety: God knows everything you do.” [16.91]
A vow (nadhr) is an act of worship which a morally responsible Muslim makes binding upon himself, verbally. [Salah Abu’l Haj, al-Bayan fi al-Ayman wa al-Nudhur wa al-Hazr wa al-Ibaha]
​For example, saying “if X happens, I will do Y [= act of worship]” would be considered a vow.
​Though i​n general, you should avoid ​vows and ​oaths as it can often lead to ​undue ​hardship, and instead focus on expressing your need through the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah) [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?] and supplication. [see: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Do not make vows, for indeed vows avail nothing of destiny; they only serve to extract from a miser.” [Muslim]
Please see: How Does Making an Oath or Vow Differ from Simply Saying You’ll Do Something?
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Dealing With Difficult Parents and Keeping Promises

Answered by Saira AbuBakr

Question: Assalamu alaikum

I find it hard to keep some of my promises and I live with a father who is sometimes cruel. I’m trying to find a way to stay on the right path, but it is hard.  Could you please advise me?

Answer: Walaikum salaam wa RahmatuAllah,

May Allah ease your situation for you and give you well-being in this World and the Next.

Dealing With Your Father

Know that prophets have been tested with difficult families and it is a sign of righteousness and expiation of sins, to be tested with those closest to us, especially parents. Make dua that Allah grants your father righteousness and facilitates ease for you in your patience with him.

Maintaining a Promise

Most of us, at some point or another in our lives, have broken promises, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

If one was sincere at the time of making the promise but was unable to fulfill it due to unforeseen circumstances, then one is not sinful in the matter. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said,

“Actions are by intentions and each person has what he/she intended….” [Imam AlBukhari and Muslim]

If one feels one has intentionally not kept a promise then the sunnah is to follow-up a wrong action with a good one. The former is erased by the latter.

The Prophet (Allah blesse him and give him peace) is reported to have said,

“….follow-up a wrong action with a good one, it will (the good action) erase it (the bad action). [Imam alTirmidhi]

Also,

” All Children of Adam are sinners and the best of sinners are those who repent often”. [Narrated by Imam al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad and others].

And Allah knows best.

Saira

Related Answers:

Ridding Oneself of Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

Dealing With Depression Caused by Unemployment and Loneliness

Breaking Promises and Repentance

Does the Qur’an Mention OCD or Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) Being Caused by Jinn?

Advice to a Young Man with OCD and Struggling with Pornography and Other Major Sins

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

Can a Promise to Allah be Considered an Oath?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: I understand that something is only an oath if you use the words ‘by Allah’ or ‘I swear by Allah’ or something similar. However I’m still not clear on what distinguishes an oath from a promise. For instance, if you are talking to Allah and as you are talking you say ‘I promise Allah I will do such and such’, or ‘I promise to Allah i will do such and such’ or indeed ‘I promise by Allah I will do such and such’ are these considered oaths or promises?

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

The ruling of using the phrase “I promise to Allah” would be considered according to the custom (`urf) of a particular place. Thus, if it is used for oaths (yamin), it would be considered as such. If not, it would be considered a promise (wa`d).

Likewise, if one intended an oath (yamin) by using such a phrase, it would be considered as such. However, if one did not have any intention, intended a promise, or cannot remember, it would not be considered an oath (yamin).

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

[Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha; Haskafi/Ibn `Abidin, al-Durr al-Mukhtar/Radd al-Muhtar]

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 Rabbani

The Difference Between an Oath and an Intention

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I made intention (intending a promise or oath, since I thought an intention is a promise/oath) to eat and drink only certain things for a certain period of time, because I’m struggling with overeating. One day I drank something that I thought was included in my intention, but now I’m not sure anymore. The same day I drank something that was most certainly not included in my intention, but I had forgotten about it.

 

My questions are: (1) Do I have to pay expiation for (a) the instance where I’m not sure anymore (b) the instance where I forgot? (2) Could you clarify the difference between niyat, promise and oath?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Merely intending something, promising something, and swearing an oath are three distinct things.

Intention is resolving to do something, regardless of whether it was uttered or not and regardless of whether it was actually performed or not.

A promise is a verbal statement to do or refrain from something in the future.

An oath, like a promise, is also a verbal statement. However, it is coupled with the phrase “By Allah!” or a similar phrase of swearing.

Expiation for Other Than an Oath

Expiation only relates to breaking an oath. It does not relate to breaking a promise nor to going against what one intended. Since all you did was intend the performance of a specific action without any verbal utterance coupled with a phrase of swearing, you did not actually perform an oath.

As such, you would not have to fulfill any expiation for going against something you merely intended.

A Word on Promises

Lastly, though breaking a promise does not require expiation, it is highly recommended to fulfill it. Making a promise, however, with the intention of not fulfilling it is sinful.

[Main source: Nahlawi, Durar al-Mubaha]

For further answers, please see:

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

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

Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Breaking Promises and Repentance

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: My question/concern is that i constantly break my promise after repenting to Allah on a certain issue and re-act the specific action. What can you advise me?

 

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

A promise is a firm affirmation or commitment to do something.

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said, “There are three signs of a hypocrite: whenever he speaks, he lies; whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it; and whenever he is trusted, he betrays his trust.” [Agreed upon]

Nahlawi explains that breaking one’s promise is a sign of hypocrisy if coupled with the intention of breaking it. Otherwise, it would be deemed improper, and unbecoming of a serious believer. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha]

Allah Most High says, “O you who believe! Turn in sincere repentance to Allah.” [Qur’an, 66:8] The 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]

Enforce something on yourself that will make you think twice about doing it: for example, give $10 in charity if it happens again.

Further, fulfil the conditions of sincere repentance (see link below), strive with sincerity, and ask Allah for assistance — as Ibn `Ata’illah said, “Nothing you seek relying on your Lord will ever be difficult, and nothing you seek relying on yourself will ever be easy.”

Please also see:

[1] A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

[2] Is it Obligatory to Fulfill My Promises?

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Does Making an Oath or Vow Differ from Simply Saying You’ll Do Something?

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: Firstly id like to ask what is the difference between simple saying that you’ll do something, and vowing to do something? For example, if someone says that they are doing 2 fasts, would this count? Also, if one is reading about vows and then he says “yes” aloud, would it count? Also if someone else swears an oath, would anything that you say at the time count? Also, if someone makes a vow in their head that they will drink some water, while looking at it, would looking at it cause it to count?

Answer: Walaikum As-salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

May Allah reward you for your concern regarding the promises you keep with Him!

A Clarification on Oaths and Vows

Before answering your questions, we would be served well to first define the differences between promises, oaths, and vows. Alhamdulillah, Shaykh Faraz Khan has already done this, and his excellent explanation can be found here:

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

For our purposes, we will quote his basic definitions of each term:
“A promise is simply a statement that one will do or refrain from something in the future. There is no expiation due for breaking it”
“An oath is a verbal statement conjoined with a phrase of swearing, such as ‘By Allah’ or ‘I swear by Allah.'”
“A vow is to verbally swear that if something happens, one will do some act of worship”
– Oaths and vows, unlike promises, must be verbally uttered.
– Broken oaths and vows, unlike broken promises, require an expiation (see below answers for details).

Your Specific Questions

1. What is the difference between simple saying that you’ll do something, and vowing to do something? For example, if someone says that they are doing 2 fasts, would this count? Also, if one is reading about vows and then he says “yes” aloud, would it count?

An oath or vow that requires an expiation if broken requires that one verbally utters a phrase of swearing (such as ‘by Allah’). So if someone simply says “I’m going to fast tomorrow,” they will not owe an expiation since they did not say an oath like “By Allah, I will fast tomorrow.” Similarly, simply reading an oath and saying “yes” does not make it a vow; rather, one would have to vocalize the swear itself: “By Allah, I will follow the command I just read.”

Keep in mind, though, that it is bad etiquette to break one’s promises, and sinful to make a promise the one knows they will break. So even if you do not swear but rather simply say “I’m going to fast tomorrow,” you should do what you can to fulfill this statement, as the sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is to keep one’s word.

2. If someone else swears an oath, would anything that you say at the time count?

Unless you also swore out loud, you would not be bound by the oath of someone else, nor would anything you say affect their oath.

3. If someone makes a vow in their head that they will drink some water, while looking at it, would looking at it cause it to count?

If it is only mentioned in one’s head and not vocalized, then that vow would only count as a promise. Therefore, if one says in their head, “By Allah, I will drink water the next time I see it,” they will not owe an expiation if they see water and do not drink it.

Please keep in mind, though, that making frequent promises, vows, and oaths is not good etiquette. Swearing by Allah the Exalted is a weighty matter with serious effects. It should not be light upon our tongues.

For more information, see also the following related answers:

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

Expiation for a Broken Oath

Baarak Allahu Fikum,
-Wasim

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

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

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Is a promise different from a convenant/vow/oath or are they all the same in Islam? e.g. if I make a promise to Allah does this mean I have also made a vow/convenant/oath with Allah or are they different from each other?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

The following is a very basic explanation of promises, oaths and vows, just to appreciate the difference between them. There are other related details and rulings that are not presented here.

Promises

A promise is simply a statement that one will do or refrain from something in the future. There is no expiation due for breaking it, although it is sinful to make a promise with the intention of breaking it. If when making the promise one intends to fulfill it, then breaking it would be disliked. [Nahlawi, Durar Mubaha]

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 wajib for him to fulfill the vow by doing that act of worship.

[Maydani/Quduri, Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

Lastly, there is a difference between making a promise “to Allah” versus “by Allah.” A promise “to Allah” is legally a promise, while a promise “by Allah” is legally an oath.

However, a legal oath or vow is a verbal utterance; making an “internal” oath or vow to Allah (i.e., only in one’s mind) has no legal implications other than those of a promise.

And Allah knows best.

wassalam

Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani