Vows and Oaths

28 Jun 2019 Ref-No#: 2018

Question: Assalum Alaikum shiekh,
I have a major problem troubling me right now. So basically, in the past months i used to repent alot of times. On each repentance i used to say” I promise you, O Allah, that i wont commit those sins again” or “I promise you, O Allah, that i will try my best not to commit those sins again”, thinking like this Allah would accept my repentance. I do not know how much repentances i did, also i do not know if this is a vow or an oath. The sins are very very hard to avoid, such as not lying, not wasting time and many more. This is causing me lots of hardships. I always cry that because i broke my oath or vow (I dont know which) and that i didnt obey Allah etc. I also need to mention that i did not know the ruling of vows, (i think they are that you need to fulfill the vow,) but i always thought that those promises i did to Allah are oaths not vows, so the easiest kafarrah (expiation) for me is fasting 3 days. I was already ready to expiate those oaths, but now i do not know if it is a vow (Nadhr) or a convenant or an oath… So if it turned out that they were vows, meaning I messed up, because it is hard to avoid. I know Allah doesnt want hardships to his servants.
So question is.. Are those oaths or vows or convenants? and what are there expiations? What do i have to do now?

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

If you verbally uttered the promise, it will be considered as a Yameen (oath).

Although from amongst the conditions of Tawba is that a person should have firm conviction never to commit the sin again, if a person takes an oath, he will have to give Kaffarah.

You need to pay Kaffarah for the first time you committed the sin after breaking the oath.

If you used the word ‘try’ in the sentence, you do not have to pay Kaffarah at all.

The Kaffarah for breaking an oath is:

  1. Free a slave (not applicable in these times), or
  2. Feed ten poor people an average two meals, or
  3. Clothe ten poor people enough clothes to cover the majority of their bodies.

If  a person is unable to do any of the above due to a valid reason, then he may fast for three consecutive days as an atonement.

References

وهي في وجوب الحفظ أربعة أنواع نوع منها يجب إتمام البر فيها وهو أن يعقد على أمر طاعة أمر به والإمتناع عن معصية وذلك فرض عليه قبل اليمين وباليمين يزداد وكادة…ومن حنث في هذا اليمين فهو كفارة (المبسوط للسرخسي  – 127/8)

منها ما يجب فيه البر كفعل الفرائض ومنع المعاصي (المختار للموصلي – 383/3 )