I was required to make a minor expiation. A Shaykh advised me to pay the equivalent of the food as money. This occurred years ago. Now, I entertain doubts about the validity of what I did. Do I now have to give food in place of the previously paid money? I am in contact with some needy people now. If I give food to needy people now, will the money I paid years ago be counted as charity, even though it was not intended as such?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.
If you mean by 'minor expiation' the expiation for an oath, then according to the basic rule, it is to observe one of the following three procedures: First: feeding ten needy people from the average food which the oath breaker and his family eat. It suffices here to give a Mudd of the common food to each needy person. Second: giving clothes to ten needy people. Third: setting a slave free.
These three procedures are set as options, which means that the oath breaker can do whichever of them he wishes. If he is unable to do any of them, he should move to the fourth option, which is to fast three days. However, it is not permissible to pay the equivalent of food or clothes as money, according to the majority of scholars, including the three Imaams Maalik, Ash-Shaafi‘i, and Ahmad . As the questioner paid its value as money with the intention of expiation, then this is sufficient, Allaah Willing, for Abu Haneefah held that it is permissible to give the value of expiation as money. The same view was also held by Ibn Taaymiyyah if there is need and interest. Accordingly, she is not required to offer the expiation again, unless she wants to give charity to the poor, for which she will be rewarded.
Allaah Knows best.
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