What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: If someone swore an oath in the name of Allāh ﷻ, then broke it [i.e. did not fulfil it], so what should said person do. How many types of oaths are there and in which is there kaffārah [expiation]?

Questioner: A brother from UK


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

There are three types of qasam [oaths]:

  1. Qasam Laghw
  2. Qasam Ghamūs
  3. Qasam Mun’aqidah

1. Qasam Laghw

Swearing an oath, thinking that one is correct regarding a previous or current situation, however the reality being the complete opposite. For example, if someone swears an oath saying that, “I swear an oath by Allāh ﷻ that Zayd did not attend school yesterday”, however [in reality] he did attend; so this is known as qasam laghw, it is forgiven and there is no expiation for it.

2. Qasam Ghamūs

Intentionally swearing a false oath regarding a past or present matter. For example, if someone swears an oath saying that, “I swear an oath by Allāh ﷻ that Zayd did not attend school”, however the person swearing the oath actually knows that he did infact attend school, so this is known as qasam ghamūs. The person who swears such an oath is sinful; repentance is fard upon him, however there is no expiation upon him.

3. Qasam Mun’aqidah

Mun’aqidah is that one swears an oath for a coming (future) matter. For example, if someone said that, “I swear an oath by Allāh ﷻ that I will definitely come to you tomorrow”, and the next day actually passed, so the oath of such a person is broken and he will have to give expiation, and in some cases he will be sinful.

In short, expiation is wājib upon breaking a qasam mun’aqidah, provided that the oath was sworn with the name of Allāh ﷻ. There is sin in only qasam ghamūs and there is neither sin nor expiation in qasam laghw. Just as Allāh ﷻ states,

{لَا یُؤَاخِذُکُمُ اللہُ بِاللَّغْوِ فِیۡۤ اَیۡمٰنِکُمْ وَلٰکِنۡ یُّؤَاخِذُکُمۡ بِمَا عَقَّدۡتُّمُ  الۡاَیۡمٰنَ}

{Allāh ﷻ does not hold you responsible for your oaths taken by misunderstanding; yes, He ﷻ does hold you responsible for oaths which you have made binding (upon yourselves)}

[Sūrah al-Mā’idah, v89]

Furthermore, it is stated in Fatāwā Hindiyyah that,

(الْيَمِينُ بِاَللَّهِ ثَلَاثَةُ أَنْوَاعٍ) (1)غَمُوسٌ، وَهُوَ الْحَلِفُ عَلَى إثْبَاتِ شَيْءٍ، أَوْ نَفْيِهِ فِي الْمَاضِي، أَوْ الْحَالِ يَتَعَمَّدُ الْكَذِبَ فِيهِ فَهَذِهِ الْيَمِينُ يَأْثَمُ فِيهَا صَاحِبُهَا، وَعَلَيْهِ فِيهَا الِاسْتِغْفَارُ، وَالتَّوْبَةُ دُونَ الْكَفَّارَةِ (2)وَلَغْوٌ، وَهُوَ أَنْ يَحْلِفَ عَلَى أَمْرٍ فِي الْمَاضِي، أَوْ فِي الْحَالِ، وَهُوَ يَظُنُّ أَنَّهُ كَمَا قَالَ:، وَالْأَمْرُ بِخِلَافِهِ۔۔۔ فَهَذِهِ الْيَمِينُ نَرْجُو أَنْ لَا يُؤَاخَذَ بِهَا صَاحِبُهَا، وَالْيَمِينُ فِي الْمَاضِي إذَا كَانَ لَا عَنْ قَصْدٍ لَا حُكْمَ لَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا، وَالْآخِرَةِ عِنْدَنَا (3)وَمُنْعَقِدَةٌ، وَهُوَ أَنْ يَحْلِفَ عَلَى أَمْرٍ فِي الْمُسْتَقْبَلِ أَنْ يَفْعَلَهُ، أَوْ لَا يَفْعَلَهُ، وَحُكْمُهَا لُزُومُ الْكَفَّارَةِ عِنْدَ الْحِنْثِ كَذَا فِي الْكَافِي۔

[al-Fatāwā al-Hindiyyah, vol 2, ch 2, pg 58]

If someone swore a mun’aqidah oath, then broke it, so expiation will need to be given for this, and the expiation for [breaking] an oath is the freeing of a slave, or the feeding of ten miskīn [i.e. needy] people or clothing them. In other words, one has the choice from these three options; whichever one someone wants to choose. Just as Allāh ﷻ states,

{فَکَفّٰرَتُہٗۤ اِطْعَامُ عَشَرَۃِ مَسٰکِیۡنَ مِنْ اَوْسَطِ مَا تُطْعِمُوۡنَ اَہۡلِیۡکُمْ اَوْ کِسْوَتُہُمْ اَوْ تَحْرِیۡرُ رَقَبَۃٍ ؕ فَمَنۡ لَّمْ یَجِدْ فَصِیَامُ ثَلٰثَۃِ اَیَّامٍ}

{So the expiation of such oaths is the feeding of ten needy people with the average (food) you feed your family with, or to clothe them, or to free one slave. So the one who does not have the means for any of these, should therefore fast for three days}

[Sūrah al-Mā’idah, v 89]

It can also be the case that instead of feeding, one gives half a sā’ [1.92kg] of wheat, or its flour to each miskīn or makes them the owner of its price, just as it is stated in Bahār-e-Sharī’at.

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Haider Ali

Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0586] How many types of Oath’s are there and in which is there kaffarah [expiation]?

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