He made a vow that he cannot fulfill
Fatwa No: 249157

  • Fatwa Date:16-4-2014 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 16, 1435
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Question

Salam alakoum, I am currently living with my wife and 2-years old son in UK. After my studies, I was worried for not getting a job on time for taking care of my family. They depend only on me. So I pray Allah that if I get a job, I will give half of my first pay in charity. Allah did answer my du'a as I got one-year contract job. However, between the end of my studies and the starting of the new job I took a credit from my bank in order to take care of my family. And now I am struggling to pay back the credit. My question is: Is it to possible to give expiation for the oath I have taken as I am not able to fulfil it? Thanks. Salam alakoum

Answer

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.

What you had made is a promise to Allaah that takes the ruling of a vow according to the most evident opinion of the scholars, as already stated in Fatwa 243469.

A vow for an act of obedience must be fulfilled as previously stated in Fatwa 87982.

Since this vow is specified with a time, which is the first salary, and you had already taken it, then if the delay was due to a valid excuse, then you are not sinful, and if it is without a valid reason, then you are obliged to repent. Some scholars held that expiation is obligatory along with repentance, which is better in order to be on the safe side.

Therefore, you must fulfill your vow whenever you are able to do so. However, you are not permitted to move to expiation unless you are totally unable in a way that you cannot afford this amount, even if paid out bit by bit. Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Whoever makes a vow that he did not name, then its expiation is the expiation of an oath, and whoever makes a vow that he is not able to fulfill, then its expiation is the expiation of an oath” [Abu Daawood and Ibn Maajah]; in the narration by Ibn Maajah, there is an addition: “…and whoever makes a vow that he is able to fulfill, then he should fulfill it.

Finally, it should be pointed out that it is forbidden to take a loan with Riba (usury/interest) without a necessity; and we have previously explained that in Fatwa 85046. If someone has borrowed money with Riba without necessity, then he is obliged to turn back to Allaah Almighty in repentance and he must not do that again in the future.

Allaah Knows best.

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