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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

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141 replies on “Oaths in Islam”

salaam brother thank you so much for the wonderfull blessing information i just want to know i want to break my oath so inorder to that do i follow about the Atonement breaking the oath Inshallah relpy soon Salaam Brother USman

Walaikum assalam wr wb brother,

Sorry for getting back to you so late.

As far as I understand, breaking an oath means doing something that you promised not to do. If you made a promise that you will fast 40 consecutive days and but you only fasted 39, then you broke your oath and you have to expiate for it.

Or, let’s say you took an oath to not talk to another muslim brother and break all ties and you talked to him after saying that then you broke your oath.

If you took an oath to do something then you realized doing something else will be more beneficial, then it is recommended that you break your oath and expiate for it. Having said that, breaking an oath without a valid reason is one of the major sins in Islam (as I have mentioned in my post)

hello dear i have read this topic from the top to the end i was so searchfull about this and i finaly got it and answer has found so far and oth means shirk to allah

jazak allah

salaam brother. I just wanted to know is it possible to take an oath saying I swear by Allah that If I pass my exam I will fast for 5 days.

Walaikum assalam wr wb Sister,

Yes, it is possible to take an oath saying that. And, you must fulfill those those fasts.

To the best of my knowledge, there are 8 types of fasts and one of them is : fasting because you promised to fast when something happens (in your case it is passing your exam)

As I have stated in my article, islam does not permit you to take an oath by anyone (even your mother). You cannot say “i swear on my mother ..”. You should always take an oath by Allah or his attributes (for example: “i swear by Allah ..” or “By Allah I will ..”)

One of the conditions for an oath to be valid, is that it has to be in Allah’s name or His attributes. Since you didn’t swear by Allah, your oath is not valid. So, if you were to speak to this non-muslim person, you would not be breaking an oath since it was not a valid oath to begin with.

This is to the best of my knowledge. Allah knows best.

Assalaam aalikum…i have taken an oath saying i wont be talking to someone as i was deeply hurt..now i would like to break my oath so for that as said by you i should fast for 3 consecutive days?

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

If you broke your oath, fasting three days for the kaffara can only be done if you are unable to do any of the following:

1. Freeing a slave

2. Clothing ten poor people, giving each of them one garment or more. [Please review previous answers for more details on this]

3. Feeding ten poor people two meals each.

Only when incapable of observing the above can one resort to fasting three days.

Please go to the link below for more information.

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=470&CATE=12

Allah knows best

Assalamalaikum brother,

I took an oath in the name of Allah not do a particular act , that is to recall the past memories, I broke my oath once and repented in salah that not to commit the sin of recalling my past useless memories and hurting others. But still I could not keep up my promise. It happens with me once in a month or so. What is the Kaffara for this? Shall I have to pay the kaffara once or twice. Plz do help.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, brother:

According to an article I found on sunnipath, you will have to give a kaffara (expiation) for every time you break an oath. This is, of course, assuming that your oath was a valid oath. Please refer to the link below and my blog post for the conditions of a valid oath.

If you took an oath to not do something then you broke your oath by doing it, then you have to give kaffara once. If you made the same oath again, and broke it again, then you will have to give kaffara twice.

Please refer to the links below for more information:

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=3353&CATE=12

Dear Brother

referring to the subject, what if the oath was broken again and again and again, what would be the Kaffarra then. Taking an oath to Allah, that if so and so happens, a particular act will not be comitted.

but what is one fails to keep the oath and commits the act again and again how should the Kaffara be given then

can performing OMRA OR HAJ helps in this regards anyway

please help

thanks and regards

Assalamu alaikum brother,

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.

To the best of my knowledge, hajj or umrah cannot be used as kaffarah for breaking an oath.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you didn’t understand anything. I have also added this question to the article since quite a few people have asked me the same question

Is there anything written in the Holy Quran to prove that taking oath on your children or parents is not a valid oath?..
I want an urgent reply.

Salam brother, i have taken an oath saying that I won’t do something personal between me and Allah that I won’t ever do it again and I had done it again more than once and I had took another oath saying the same thing and I had done it again I think I had done about 4 times I don’t really remember I feel really bad about it that I have broken my oath and let my self down in front of Allah I hope Allah will forgive me but I just want to know what can I do so Allah can forgive me thnx brother

Walaikum assalam wr wb,

Assuming that your oath was valid, you will have to give kaffarah for breaking it. Since you took the oath 4 times and broke it 4 times, you will have to give the kaffarah 4 times.

Please read the post above for details on kaffarah. I would also recommend reading the links I provided in it, at the end.

i am 13 and i made an oath, i broke it.
do i have to make kaffara (3 days fasting since i can’t cook of clothe 10 people) or do just ask allah (SWT) for forgiveness because in your article it says that oaths taken by children are in vain.

please reply urgently

i took an oath to Allah that is valid oath, but somehow now i think that maybe i ll broke that oath someday and i took that oath due to one of my mistakes , and inshaAllah i won’t make that mistake again but that oath is a burden on me now im day and night tense about that , please help me if i broke that oath one day , what i have to do ?

Assalamu alaikum,

Sorry for my delayed response.

Shiraz and Uswa: Please refer to a local scholar who can better guide you. I am not a scholar of fiqh and don’t have detailed knowledge of it.

The scholars at sunnipath.com might be able to help you guys out :).

Assalam ailaikum,

what if im not sure if I took an oath..a long time ago i said i would do something ..but I said it talking to Allah…I didnt swear though but I said “I will do…” to Allah

does that make sense?
thank you!

Asalaam Alaikum

I just read your post and it is very informative. May Allah bless you for spreading the word of Islam.
A question- you mentioned the name of Allah has to be used in the oath. What if someone said, “I promise to pray nafl prayer every night”—– there is no mention of Allah so is this a valid oath? My friend made a promise after he prayed one of the 5 prayers and IN HIS DUA (after finishing the prayer) he made a promise (mentioned above) but he broke it. I’m not sure if he used he said “Allah, I promise to do [something]”. He is going to fast for 3 days continuous but since I read your post I need to know if his oath was a valid one after all?

Thank you.

Assalamu alaikum,

Faisal : I apologize for the long delay in my response. I remember reading something about that a little while back. I will, inshallah, try to find out the correct information and let you know.

Mou: I am sorry I don’t understand your question (if you are asking one)

Asalamu3alaykom

if a person’s age is 10-13 and he made an oath ,is it valid ? does he have to give kaffarh ?And if not can he do the action which he has promised not to do in his oath ? please urgent response !

Sometimes people taking oath for citizenship or other purposes. Like as follows:

“ I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.[9] ”

Is is contrdict Islamic Law ? Whether a Muslim can take this oath to get Citizenship ?

Waiting for reply please.

salam Brother,Thank you for such good information.i have a question though.

can i take an oath like i will pray 200 nafl prayers if all the disesases in my body is cured.
or i will pray so and so nafl prayers if i allah will give me 1 million dollars .

my main point is about praying nafl.how much nafl is important or how can i know 200 nafl is less or too much .i mean is it acceptable by allah,

jazakallah

Assalum u alikum!

my friend took a false oath on quran twice just to conceal something she did in past but after that repented it and did a lot of tubbah. she didnt want to tell her wrong doings which she had already left. what will be her kuffara? please do answer.

Assalamu alaikum,

I am sorry for taking a long time time reply. I was busy with some other things.

Farwa:

You would have to be more specific regarding how you took the oath. Did you say “I swear on the quran” or “I swear on the book of Allah” or did you say I swear on Allah. Just be a little bit more specific because it reallty matters on what you exactly said.

Yaseen:

I don’t know the answer to your question but I will try to find out.

Wahidul Islam:

I really don’t know much about Canada or the oath you have to take. You may want to ask a local scholar regarding the matter.

Assalamauykum brother….

What is the procedure of making an oath.. i mean i have heard from many people,when they are angry….By allah i will drag you to the masjid and then I will make an oath not to speak to you….So i was wondering is there something like an oath that has more weightage when we just say Wallah compared to the oath we take in masjid and stuff.. and also if you have to take an oath is there a special procedure like cleaning yourself making the Niyah and stuff…Jazak Allahi kahire

Salaam,

I would like to know what is the punishment of breaking a kasam of the qurran?? My friend put her hand onto the quran and took the kasam of the qurran that she will not mention anything to anyone what I will tell her. But all of a suddent act of jeiously as i see it and with out any other reason she broke the kasam… Whta will be her punishment in this duniya and in the hereafter…?

Jazak’Allah Khair.

Assalamu alaikum Sisters Arshiya and unknown,

Unknown: I don’t know of any rule which says taking an oath at a mosque carries more weight but I will find out and let you know

Arshiya: Your friend will have to pay kaffarah (mentioned in the post) if she took an oath in the name of Allah but not on the Qur’an (because it is a valid oath only if it’s taken in the name of Allah).

Unknown: Taking an oath at a mosque (or any other place) doesn’t make it more sacred. An oath is an oath regardless of where it’s taken.

asa! brother i have a question regarding false oath taken in good faith. If suppose there is a teacher who is involved in criminal activity (e.g taking money from students in order to pass them in an examination) and none of the students have enough courage to come and testfify against tht teacher. Suppose one student agrees to testify against tht teacher (but he was not asked by tht specific teacher to pay money in order to be passed) and has taken an oath upon the Quran (with the hand not touching the Quran but hovering above it slightly) stating ‘May the Qahar and Azaab of Allah be upon me if i am lying’ tht the concerned teacher had done as stated above. Is this still considered as a false oath? As the teacher is, for sure, guilty of tht act but it was just tht no one was willing to testify becasue they were too scared to go to court and get involved in legal procedures and tht too with a senior teacher. Does the concerned student need to expiate for his ‘false’ oath in any way? How grave is a situation like this?

JazakAllah

AssAlamu alakuim brother I have a question say if you said walahi to lie will Allah forgive you if you beg him for forgiveness and repent from doing that sin again? Also do I have to do what you said about the 10people and other stuff please reply asap

i am 16 and i took an oath with my hand on the holy quran of not doing something but i want to do it.what is my kafara,because i cant feed or cloth 10 people.please answer back as soon as possible
thank you

I took a false oath, for the sake of hiding something that I did in past, and that oath was of the Quran.

I know well that the Quran is THE HOLY BOOK OF THE ALMIGHTY ALLAH, and i was taking oath on Allah’s Book. shall I expiate for this oath?
i did not name Allah neither i said that i swear on Allah’s Book, but i knew it in my mind that the book, on which i am taking the oath is Allah’s book. Shall i expiate for this Oath?

Brother,
My brother swore once on the Quran and once without it both in the name of Allah, to our parents about something he had done but he was lying. Our parents are very strict and unreasonable even making up things that are haram to scare us..he is very sorry and doesn’t know what to do..can you help brother?
Thank you!

salam i took a oath on a prayer mat that i would not mention something that my mother in law said about my family but i broke that oath and told my mother what can i do to gain Allahs forgiveness

Walaikum asslam Sis Aisha,

It doesn’t matter where you took the oath. If you broke it then you have to expiate for it. Please look at the article for what to do to expiate your oath.

Assalamu alaikum, brother Muzzammil and Mohammed

I apologize for the delay in my reply. I have been a bit busy with some other things and I don’t know the answer to our question. Inshallah, will try to find out and let you guys know.

Assalamu Alaikum brother,

I wanted to know something. I made a conditional vow to Allah that if Allah gives me something i promise not to do something for a specific period of time. I got that thing but was not able to keep my vow. The thing i said i would not do for a specific period of time, i did that. I have asked Allah for forgiveness again and again. What i want to know is that, is there anything i can do to seek forgiveness from Allah or any penalty i have to pay for breaking this conditional promise? Please tell me as soon as possible. Thank you. Salam

salam

i took an oath, but it was during the time of my exams and i was very stressed, and it was to not undertake a particular deed, but now i did do it, and now i am going very crazy and i think allah will punish me by giving me bad results! i am going insane. i am only 16. was my oath valid? do i have to do atone for it? plz help!

salaam,

i took an oath on the quran when i was 16 not to do several things now im 26 and married and i want to do these things for my husband and for myself because in not happy in my self what should i do plz reply asap
jazakallah khair

Asalaam alekum,

I had a fight with a friend and in anger i took an oath by Allah that I wouldn’t talk to him unless he apologizes but later i realized that it was my fault n i should be the one apologizing. Is the oath still binding on me ?

Thank you.

Assalamu Alaikum brother,
I wanted to know something. I made a conditional vow to Allah that if Allah gives me something i promise not to do something for a specific period of time. I got that thing but was not able to keep my vow. The thing i said i would not do for a specific period of time, i did that. I have asked Allah for forgiveness again and again. What i want to know is that, is there anything i can do to seek forgiveness from Allah or any penalty i have to pay for breaking this conditional promise? Please tell me as soon as possible. Thank you. Salam

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