Rules Regarding Taking Oaths in Islam

Rules Regarding Taking Oaths in Islam

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Many people swear for any trivial reason, even though Allah says, {But guard your oaths} [Al-Ma-idah: 89] i.e., protect it by not swearing a lot. As when you do this (take oaths) it is a way of glorying Allah. Actually Allah prohibited his slaves from making oaths that stop them from doing good deeds, avoiding bad deeds or making peace between people, as Allah says, {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}[Al Baqarah: 224].

?Is it permissible to take an oath using one of Allah’s characteristics

Rules Regarding Taking Oaths in Islam

Yes, it is permissible. Just as it is permissible to take an oath using Allah’s Name, as when you say, “By Allah,” or, “I swear by Allah that I will do such-and-such,” due to Allah’s saying, {And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths}[Al Nahl: 38], and the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying, «who takes an oath should swear by Allah or be silent»(agreed upon).

It is permissible to take an oath using one of Allah’s characteristics, as when you say, “I swear by His greatness and grandeur.”

Ibn Omar (may Allah be pleased with them both) said, «The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take an oath by saying, ‘No, by the One Who changes the hearts»(Bukhari).

?What are the oaths that are prohibited in Islam

prohibited in Islam

There are many things like :

1)To swear by other than Allah, as when the person says, “(I swear) by your life, by the Amanah (trust given by Allah to us), or by the Prophet” due to the Hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Omar (may Allah be pleased with them) in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, «Who takes an oath should swear by Allah or be silent»(agreed upon).

2)To take an oath that one is free from (the obligations of) Allah or the Prophet (peace be upon him), or that he would be a Jew or Christian if he did such-and-such. This is due to the Hadith narrated by Buraidah from his father (may Allah be pleased with him) in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, «Whoever takes an oath that in such and such case he will be free from Islam and afterwards he turns out to be a liar, he will be as he has sworn; but if he is speaking the truth, he will not revert safely to Islam» (Abu Dawud).

3)To swear by one’s parents or by Taghut (false deities/leaders etc.), due to the Hadith narrated by Abdurrahman ibn Samra (may Allah be pleased with him) in which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, «Do not swear by Taghut or by your fathers» (Muslim).

?What is the ruling for one swearing without meaning to take an oath; he does not mean to take an oath and he does not mean to swear by anything; as when one says, “No, by Allah” or “Yes, by Allah”

Swearing without meaning to take an oath is called an ‘inadvertent oath’. Some inadvertent oaths take the form: swearing that something he thinks is true is actually true, but later it becomes clear that this was not the case. This is all laghwu (idle speech), and Allah says, {Allah will not take you to task for that which is inadvertent in your oaths}[Al Ma-idah: 89]. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “This ayah, {Allah will not take you to task for that which is inadvertent in your oaths,} was revealed concerning a man saying, «No, by Allah,” “Yes, by Allah,” and, “Not at all, by Allah»(Bukhari).

There is no expiation for saying such words, and the oath is not binding on the person, and the person does not earn a sin by saying it.

?What is a binding oath and what is its ruling

A binding oath is a deliberate oath in which the person intends to make an oath and is determined to carry it out. It concerns doing actions in the future and the person has to be physically able to carry out such actions. Such an oath is binding and deliberate (the one saying it intends an oath by it), so an expiation is necessary if it is broken: i.e. the person did not fulfill it, because of Allah’s saying, {Allah will not take you to task for that which is inadvertent in your oaths, but He will take you to task for the oaths which ye swear in earnest}[Al Ma-idah: 89].

?What is the ruling if one takes an oath but later sees that it is better to do something else

Because of Allah’s mercy to His slaves, He legislated expiation for not fulfilling an oath in order to be able to release oneself from its obligation, and as a way of not incurring any blame if one breaks the oath and doesn’t do what he said he would. Allah says, {Allah has already ordained for you [Muslims] the dissolution of your oaths}[Al Tahreem: 2] and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, «Who takes an oath but later sees that it is better to do something else should break the oath and pay an expiation»(agreed upon).

Allah’s mercy to His slaves

Expiation: The person who breaks an oath can choose to feed ten needy people, giving each person a saa’ (four double handfuls) of food, or clothe ten needy people, giving each person an item of clothing which is suitable to pray in. Anyone who hasn’t got enough to do this should fast three days. This is because Allah says,{Allah will not take you to task for that which is inadvertent in your oaths, but He will take you to task for the oaths which ye swear in earnest. 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 it] – then a fast of three days [is required]} [Al Ma-idah: 89].

?Is it true that the oath in which one says “Allah willing” cannot be broken and there is no expiation for not fulfilling it

Yes, this is true. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, «Who makes an oath and says, ‘Allah willing,’ cannot break the oath» This is called stating an exception when making an oath.

?What is the ruling for making al-ghamoos (false/drowning) oath

Al-ghamoos oath is one in which a person makes an oath about something and he knows that he is lying. He takes it to usurp the rights of others or to cheat them, as a form of treason or similar reasons. The ruling about the person who does this is that he has committed one of the major sins, and such an oath is not acceptable.

No expiation can be offered for breaking it as it is too big a sin for any expiation to make up for it and also because the oath itself is a lie. Therefore expiation is not obligatory as it is if one inadvertently makes an oath. A person needs to offer repentance for it (al ghamoos oath) and return any rights to their owners; as such false oaths involve the loss of people’s rights. It is called al ghamoos (literally: drowning) oath as it makes the person who makes it drown first in sin and then in the Hell-fire, may Allah protect us from it.







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