Close relative observing expiatory fast on behalf of the deceased
Fatwa No: 192211

  • Fatwa Date:16-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 15, 1435
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Are there any conditions for clearing the liability of the deceased who died before expiating for his broken oath? In other words, when the oath-taker breaks his oath and expiation becomes due on him; are there any conditions or excuses that exempt him from offering the expiation or clear his liability? What is the ruling on a person who fasted one day as expiation for breaking his oath and passed away before fasting the other two days?


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.

There are no conditions to clear the person's liability of offering the expiation for breaking his oath except offering it. Whoever breaks his oath is obliged to offer the expiation for breaking it and he can only clear his liability through paying it. The expiation for breaking an oath is to feed ten needy people, clothe them, or free a slave. If one fails to do any of these three options, he should fast three days; otherwise, his liability will not be cleared, unless he was unable to do any of all the aforesaid options. Indeed, Allaah The Exalted Does not Charge a soul with a duty which is beyond its capacity neither Does He Charge a soul except [according to] what He Has Given it.

Concerning the person who fasts some days of the expiation for breaking an oath, if he opted for fasting due to his inability to feed ten poor people, clothe them, or free a slave and passed away before fasting the three days because of continuous illness or the like, then it is not incumbent on him to do anything as long as he did not leave inheritance (from which the expiation can be paid). If he left an inheritance, then the least costing of the three options is to be paid because it is an obligation on him. It is stated in Mughni Al-Muhtaaj, a book on the Shaafi‘i school of Fiqh that: “When a person dies before offering a due expiation, the least costing of the three options should be given as expiation … In such a case, there is no liberty of choice between the three options of expiation unless their values were equivalent.” There is no harm if one of the relatives of the deceased or anyone else paid the expiation on his behalf.

As for fasting on behalf of the deceased (as expiation for his broken oath), Muslim scholars held different opinions in this regard. The preponderant opinion is that it is permissible. An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “The correct opinion is that it is permissible for a close relative to fast on behalf of the deceased whether it was missed fast-days from the month of Ramadan, vows, or the like, based on authentic Hadeeths in this regard and the fact that there are no other Hadeeths in opposition to that.” [Al-Majmoo’]

 Allaah Knows best.

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