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317. Expiation of Oaths

Chapter 317

Expiation of Oaths


Allah, the Exalted, says:


“Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths; for its expiation (a deliberate oath) feed ten Masakin (poor persons), on a scale of the average of that with which you feed your own families, or clothe them or manumit a slave. But whosoever cannot afford (that), then he should observe fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths when you have sworn. And protect your oaths (i.e., do not swear much).” (5:89)

  1. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Ayah: “Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths …” was revealed in respect of those persons who are in the habit of repeating: `No, by Allah’; and `Yes, by Allah.’




  1. From the previous as well as present chapter we learn that there are three kinds of oaths:


First, false oath (Al-Yamin Al-Ghamus).

Second, absurd (Laghw) oath, which is neither sinful nor is there any expiation for its violation.

Third, Al-Mu`aqqadah. It is an oath which one takes wholeheartedly for doing or not doing anything. It is liable for expiation if one violates it. Its expiation is mentioned in this Hadith.


  1. What will be the quantity of the average food that is to be served to the ten person by way of expiation? We do not find any elaboration of this in any Hadith. Some `Ulama’ have stated that it means meals of the day and night. Some scholars have taken support of a Hadith and suggested that it should be one Mudd (about half kilogram) per head because this is the quantity which the Prophet (PBUH) prescribed as expiation for sexual intercourse with one’s wife during fasting. The expiation prescribed by him was 15 Sa` dates which were to be divided among sixty poor fellows. Since one Sa` consists of four Mudd, the quantity of food, without curry, for ten persons would be six kilograms. (Ibn Kathir). This means that it would be six kilograms of flour, or rice, or dates etc. Thus, even if ten poor persons are served with an average meal, it would be a substantial quantity. Allah Alone knows what is correct.



Riyadh ul Saliheen



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