Expiation for breaking many oaths
Fatwa No: 356647

  • Fatwa Date:2-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 15, 1439
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Question

Dear Shaikh, I have broken many oaths, but I have repented now. My plan is to give expiation through money each day. For example, I will give 2 dollars for to a poor person each day for 10 days for one oath, and then another 10 days for another oath. My questions are:
1. Is it permissible to do this in this way?
2. What if I miss a day or two? Do they have to be consecutive days?
Regards.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Your question included several matters related to Kaffaarah (expiation) for breaking an oath, and we shall clarify them in the following points:

Firstly, the expiation for breaking an oath is to feed ten needy people or clothe them or free a slave. A person who is obligated to expiate has the choice to do any of these three options. If he is unable to do any of them, then he has to fast three days. It is not sufficient to pay expiation to less than ten needy people. Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for (breaking) what you intended of oaths. So, its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your (own) families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave. But whoever cannot find (or afford) – then a fast of three days (is required). That is the expiation for oaths when you have sworn. But guard your oaths. Thus, does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be grateful.} [Quran 5:89]

Secondly, whoever chooses to give food to ten needy people as expiation, he should offer it from the common food of the country; one Mudd for each needy person. The Mudd equals about 750 grams of rice. It is more prudent to offer half a Saa’ (about 1.5 kg of food) in order to be on the safe side in terms of clearing oneself of their liability from this obligation. According to the majority of the scholars, it is not sufficient to pay the monetary value of the food. However, some scholars held that it is sufficient and clears one of his liability, and this is the opinion of Abu Haneefah and the opinion chosen by Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon both of them, as long as this serves the interests of the poor.

Thirdly, it is permissible to offer an expiation in dollars only according to the scholars who allow paying it in money. Moreover, paying it in the manner mentioned in the question would lead to delaying giving it out, which is permissible only according to the scholars who held that giving out an expiation may be delayed and must not be done immediately. Scholars held different opinions in this regard; we believe that the preponderant view is that if the reason for breaking the oath is a sin, the expiation must be paid immediately without any delay; otherwise, it is recommended to hasten to offer the expiation in order to clear one of his liability from this obligation, but it is not obligatory in this case (if the reason for breaking the oath is not a sin).

An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

If the expiation is not entailed on account of aggression (i.e. disobedience), such as the expiation for accidental killing or a broken oath in some situations, there may be some leeway, i.e. the payment of the expiation may be delayed, and there is no scholarly difference of opinion in this regard because he is excused. However, if the expiation is entailed on account of aggression, must the payment of the expiation be immediate or can it be delayed? Scholars held two views in this regard; these were mentioned by Al-Qaffaal and the Shaafi‘is, the more correct of the two is that its payment must be done immediately.” [Al-Majmoo’]

It is advisable that the Muslim refrains from making oaths frequently in abidance by the divine command in the verse: {And do not make (your oath by) Allah an excuse against being righteous and fearing Allah and making peace among people. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.} [Quran 2:224]

Allah knows best.

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