The Fiqh of oaths
In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficial and the Most Merciful.
There are three types of oaths;
- Yamin Gamus: is such an oath where a person has done something, and he knows that he has done it, and then he knowingly swears that he has not done it. This is false swearing and it is a major sin in Islam. There is no kaffarah necessary for Yamin Gamus. However, tawbah (repentance) and istighfaar (seeking forgiveness) are necessary.
- Yamin Laghwe (Ineffectual Oath). The second form is that someone declares an oath that a past event was true, as based on his knowledge while it was actually false. This category of oath does not bring a kaffarah and nor a sin.
- Yamin Munaqidah (Binding oath). The third form of oath is that one declares on oath that he would or would not do something in the future. In the event the oath is broken, kaffarah becomes necessary. (Maariful Quran p.242-p.243 v.3)
Oaths can be effected by taking the oath with the word Allah, or by one of his names, such as Ar Rahman or Ar Rahim or by one of his attributes, such as the might of Allah or on his majesty. (Mukhtasarul Quduuri p.202)
Furthermore, an oath is effected by using the swearing letters such as waw, for example- Wallahi or baa for example Billahi or taa for example Tallahi. Similarly, if a persn conceals the name of Allah and says ‘uqsimu’ (I take an oath) or ‘Ahlifu’ (I swear), an oath will be effected. (Mukhtasarul Quduuri p.203)
The Kaffrah (Explation) of breaking an oath is mentioned in the Holy Quran Allah (SWA) says;
“……its expiation is to feed ten poor person 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 your 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)
A final ruling is that a Kaffrah given before breaking of the oath will not be valid. The reason is that the course which makes kaffarh necessary lies in the breaking of the oath. As long as the oath does not break kaffarah will not be necessary. (Maariful Quran p.245 v.3)
From the aforementioned discussion we can conclude that by saying “I swear” without mentioning the word Allah, or by one of his names, such as Ar Rahman or Ar Rahim or by one of his attributes, such as the might of Allah or on his majesty, a valid oath can be effected.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham