Moazzam's Ramblings

2Mar/0976

Oaths in Islam

I have heard a lot of Muslims say "I swear on my children that .. " or " I swear on my mother .. ". According to Islam, it is unlawful to take an oath by anyone except Allah (SWT). You can only swear by Allah.  So, if you want to take an oath by something then take an oath by Allah ("I swear by Allah" or "wallahi" or "wallahi").

Nafi' related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, met 'Umar ibn al-Khattab while he was proceeding with a group of riders and he was swearing by his father. He said, 'Allah forbids you from swearing by your fathers. If someone swears, should swear by Allah or be silent." (Sahih Bukhari - 6270)

What is an oath?

From what I understand (and may Allah forgive me if I am wrong) an oath (or a vow) is a promise to do something. It can be a promise to stay away from cheese cake or a promise to clean someone's backyard. However, just saying "I will come and clean your backyard" doesn't make it an oath. You have to say "I swear by Allah I will do such and such" or "I make it obligatory on myself to keep away from such and such".

If someone says "Wallahi I will feed 60 people tomorrow, inshallah", then what he said is not a valid oath. "Inshallah" means "If Allah wills it" so if he didn't feed 60 people the next day, then that just means Allah didn't will it so he didn't feed them. However, this is only valid if he says inshallah without a long pause. If someone says "Wallahi I will feed 60 people tomorrow" then gives a pause and says inshallah, then he will have to feed 60 people the next day or he will have broken his oath.

Conditions for an Oath to be valid:

  • It has to be taken in Allah's name or his attributes. Oaths in the name of your children, parents, kabah, etc are not valid.
  • The one taking the oath must be sane and mature. Oaths taken by children are vain.
  • The oath/vow is not on something impossible. If you say "I swear I will grow wings on my back and fly" then it won't be a valid oath.
  • "Inshallah" is not used in it. If someone says "wallahi I will travel to Syria tomorrow inshallah" then it is not a valid oath and the person who said it won't have to atone for not traveling to Syria the next day.

If you take an oath, you MUST fulfil it. And, you should never take a false oath with Allah as a witness. It is one of the major sins in Islam. Quoted below are some proofs :

Do not make your oaths a means of deceiving one another or your foot will slip after it was firmly placed and you will taste evil for barring access to the Way of Allah and you will have a terrible punishment." (16:92) Dakhalan means deceit and treachery.

6298. Ash-Sha'bi related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr that the Prophet*, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The major wrong actions are shirk with Allah, disobeying parents, murder and false oaths."

"Those who sell Allah's contract and their own oaths for a paltry price, such people will have no portion in the Next World, and on the Day of Rising Allah will not speak to them or look at them or purify them. They will have a painful punishment." (3:77)

Atonement for Breaking an Oath:

If you vow to do something and you don't, then you have to atone for it (kaffarah). You can do so by  :

  • Feed 10 people in need. They cannot be from his usul upwards (parent,s grandparents, etc) or downwards (chlildren, grandchildren, etc). You can't feed one person 10 times. It has to be 10 different people and they all have to be fed on the same day
  • Clothing 10 people in need. The same rules as above apply.
  • Freeing a slave.

If you cannot do any of the above because you are poor, then you can fast for 3 days. In hanafi fiqh, they have to be 3 continuous days. If you fasted the first day but didn't fast the second and third day then you have to start over again.

Allah does not take you to task for your inadvertent oaths, but He will take you to task for oaths you make intentionally.The expiation in that case is to feed ten poor people with the average amount you feed your family, or clothe them, or free a slave. Anyone without the means to do so should fast three days. That is the expiation for breaking oaths when you have sworn them. Keep your oaths. In this way Allah makes His Signs clear to you, so that hopefully you will be thankful.(5:89)

What should you do if you break an oath more than once?

A lot of people have asked what should they do if they took an oath and broke it more than once so I decided to include this question in this post.

Let's say you took an oath to pray one nafl prayer every night. And, you you didn't pray a nafl prayer in the night after that, then you would have to give kaffarah for it once. Now, the oath is broken so if you  didn't pray nafl on any night after that,  you would not have to give kaffarah.

However, if you took an oath to pray nafl every night and didn't pray it one night after that (which broke your oath), then took another oath that you will pray nafl prayer every night and broke your oath again, then you would have to give kaffarah twice. Why? because you broke two oaths.

What about taking an oath on the Qur'an, or Ka'bah or the like

A lot of people have asked me what they should do if they took an oath on Ka'bah or Qur'an or their mother, etc. Taking an oath on anything other than Allah is haram. So, you are not allowed to swear on your mother. However, taking an oath on the Qur'an is a bit more complicated than that. Please refer to the link below regarding this issue.

http://spa.qibla.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2847&CATE=32

I have tried to keep this post as brief as possible so it has some details  missing. If you would like to read more on this topic then below are a few links which will help you :

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2847&CATE=32
http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=4028&CATE=12
http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=3&ID=13328&CATE=389
http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=3353&CATE=12

Comments (76) Trackbacks (0)
  1. asalaamu-alaikum brother! There is a muslim girl I felt love for but she fell out of love with me. I told her I love her and I said …”I swear by Allah you are best thing to happen to me” …She was very beautiful and sure enough gave me good advice, helped me when I had problems but so many good things have happened in my life like having good parents, having a good job, being a muslim. I don’t know if what I said is a valid statement or not to swear by Allah to. What should I do – please advice me brother or direct me to someone who has knowledge

  2. Assalamu alaikum Imran,

    You should ask your question at http://sunnipath.com. They have very knowledgeable scholars.

  3. Walaikum assalam Br. Akram,

    Why dont you just do what you vowed to do. Unless you gave yourself a time limit in your oath. If you took an oath to not eat sweets for a week then just dont eat sweets for a week (unless you said in your oath that you will stop eating sweets for a week as soon as that thing happened)

  4. Walaikum assalam Imran,

    Yes, the oath is binding on you. However, you should speak to the brother and then pay the expiation for breaking your oath as that is probably better in this situation. A muslim is only allowed to not speak to his brother for a maximum of three days.

  5. Walaikum assalam Ateeqah,

    I apologize for the late reply. Your situation sounds a bit sensitive and you should speak to an alim. There are knowledgeable people at http://sunnipath.com/

  6. Salam brother,

    few days back, i’ve done something wrong but i dont admit it. and somehow i had been forced to make an oath by someone. is my oath valid? because i was forced to do it

  7. if you someone forced you to take an oath and you dont want to but he/she forced you does it count as an oath to allah

  8. Assalam Alaykum,

    Recently I was asked a question and i was so afraid and embarrassed to tell the truth that i swore on someone who i love very much and lied about it. It has been haunting me ever since because many people say that if you swear falsely taking that persons name (“i swear on her life i am telling the truth”) , the person falls ill or dies or something terrible happens to them. I am truly ashamed of what i have done but i dont know what to do in order to atone my sin. I read up alot on this subject but it says everywhere that a swear is only valid if taken in Allah’s name and everything else is just superstition. Please advise me as soon as possible. Everyday i live in fear of that person being harmed and it being my fault and that Allah will never forgive me.

  9. Assalamu ‘alaikum Fahd,

    I would need more detail than that to answer your question. What was the oath? How were you forced? etc. Also, I am not a scholar so I would encourage you to ask a scholar about your situation.

  10. what is the kaffarah of an oath taken in the name of a deceased parent?suggest me someone whom i could get the right knowledge if possible.

  11. You are not allowed to take an oath in the name of a deceased parent. You can only take oaths in the name of Allah. Oaths taken in the name of anything but Allah are invalid. So, there is no kaffarah. This is to the best of my knowledge. Allahu alam

  12. Salamu alaekum. I recently vowed not to do a particular deed any longer. Later on I decided to stop the vow when I realized I didn’t need to stop it. So I made my intention that so and so that I said I was not going to do again I wish to stop the vow I made for it. Is it allowed because I am not sure any longer. May Allah assist us all

  13. Assalamu alaikum. Iv never heard of this before but I thought i’d ask anyway just incase. I took a kasam in Allah (swt)’s name that I wouldnt talk to someone, of course I hesitated because I knew it would be almost impossible for me to do since this girl is one of my closest friends and I see her all the time. I took this kasam out a fit of anger, does it still count? If so, is there any way I can take it back?

  14. First of all never take an oath in any circumstances, no matter what someone think about you is it good or bad and to clarify your self taking an oath and later you can’t fullfill it so its againts ourselves,Allah the creator of this world and universe is the most gracious and mercifull, just ask forgivness always even you had done something wrong or not but ask for forgiveness surely if we have faith we will be forgived Ameen Sum Ameen

  15. Salam
    Sir mein nay aik ehed kya tha quran pe hath rakh kar lekin ab wo mujh se poora nahi ho raha hei tou mera sawal ye hei kay koi aisa tariqa jaise kuffara ada kar kay us ehed ko khatm kya ja sakke ro kuffara ada kernay say wo ehad permenant khatam hojai ga plz ap mujhe jaldee jawab de kar meri mushkil asan kerdein or ap apna firqa bata dein tou ap kee meherbanee hogi

  16. Assalam-o-alaikum,
    my family has been seeking the advice of a female alim for a few months. She claims that a good deal of black magic has been performed on us. She has made us wear taweez & drink dum wala panni but nothing has made the situation any better. She is from Toba Tek Singh & invited my father to her house for dinner since my father has a construction project there. She convinced him that her son would be a good match for me. Ever since i found out, i have rejected her ilaj. But my entire family dislikes me because they say she is very pious. I have done my research on how to spot imposters who pose as alims. She does not say all her prayers, swears a lot & uses Muawkkil to help her in her family matters. Please advise me.

  17. Assalamu alaikum. A few day ago I made a kasam on my mother’s head that I wouldn’t interrupt my studies with any thing that is not educational. I am ashamed to say I broke it out of bad habit. I don’t believe I made this kasam in the name of ALLAH, I just put my hands on top of my mother’s head. I don’t know if this is valid or not or what I should do. I am only 15 so i can not feed 10 other people or cloth them. Should I fast for three days regardless the kasam valid or invalid. Please help me the guilt is really killing me.

  18. salaam
    is there any significance if someone says that “dont do this otherwise i will face an accident and die” or “i will suffer from cancer”… sir that person is very important for me and if i do that for which he said the above sentence then does it cause any harm to him?
    sir i want to know that these type of sentences have any significance??? sir reply me as soon as possible its very irgent for me…..

  19. hey i said ”i swear to God i wont talk to that person eva” in that person’s absence .. if i talk em i sinful??

  20. I had taken oath by Allah’s name in front of Kabah that i would not smoke again….but the very next day i had broken it by smoking as i couldn’t resist. Surprisingly i continued the oath after an hour i broke it. I cannot control myself anymore what is my expiation (kaffarah) if i continue smoking? Thanks

  21. Assalamu Alaikum Mustafa,

    The expiation for breaking an is in my post. Please also read the post above on how many times you have to pay the kaffarah

  22. salaam
    i had sweard on quran though i dint wantd to bt i had to coz i ws left no option and the very next day i broke it but eventually i continued to stick to my promise bt im scared cz i already broke it plzz advise

  23. Assalam u alikum dear brother kindly mention the circumstances where oath should be taken?

  24. Walaikum assalam Naseem,

    Please refer to this article for the answer to your question: http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=3353&CATE=12

  25. what if you’re forced on taking an oath, is it allowed in islam?

  26. I don’t understand your question Shahiq


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