If a person made a vow but he is unable to fulfil it

CategoriesZakah [234]

Fatwa ID: 01518

Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah


I had made a vow about 3 years ago to Allah and then later realized it was very difficult for me to continue and was becoming harder day by day, I thereafter withdrew (cancelled my vow) after a week, is that accepted or permissible?



In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

There are two ways to look at your question. If the vow was such which entailed you to refrain from something like for example you made a vow that I am not going to speak to someone and now Islamically you cannot continue with this vow then you will be required to give an expiation for this. (Mukhtasar Quduuri p.203)

The Kaffrah (Explation) of breaking an oath is mentioned in the Holy Quran Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says;

“……its expiation is to feed ten poor people at an average of what you feed your family with or to clothe them or to free a slave. And whoever, finds none shall fast for three days. That is expiation for you oaths when you have sworn…”(Surah Maaidah v.89)

In this verse the first expiation used in connection with Kaffarah of oaths is “itam” which could either mean ‘feed’ or ‘give food’ to someone, hence the jurists have said that the individuals can invite ten poor persons and feed them or he can give the food in their possession. In the first situation, it is necessary that he should feed ten poor persons two meals of the day to take their fill and in the second situation he should give to each of the ten poor persons at the rate of one fitrah per person, that is ,

1.      Approximately 1.6kg of wheat

2.      Approximately 3.2kg of barley

3.      Or the equivalent of the above in cash which will be between £1-£3

If a person is unable to feed the poor then he would fasts for three days consecutively according to the Hanafi Fiqh. (Raddul Muhtar p.532 v.2 & Maariful Quran p.244 v.3)

However, if the vow was such that you had to do something like for example, you made a vow to give £10.000 to charity, but you are now unable to fulfil it then in that situation you will still be compelled to fulfil the vow. Gradually, over a period of time you will need to donate a little until you finish paying off the amount which you had made the vow for. (Mukhtasar Quduuri p.114)

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

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