Expiating for breaking oath several times regarding only one thing
Fatwa No: 332521

  • Fatwa Date:19-9-2016 - Thul-Hijjah 17, 1437
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaah. I used to think one was to offer an expiation for every single broken oath made to Allaah, The Exalted, irrespective of whether they have to do with the same action or not, but according to fatwa no 311782 and after some recent reading and research, it seems to me that one only has to offer one expiation if the multiple oaths involved doing the same action as long as an expiation has not already been made for previously broken oaths before renewing the oath and breaking it again. I broke many vows to Allaah, The Exalted, in the past to stop a particular sin and carry out different actions, so much so that I have lost count as to how many times I broke these vows (which was wrong and which I now truly regret), and thinking one is supposed to expiate for every single broken oath irrespective of whether they involved the same action or not, I tried to work out the number of oaths that I broke in the past to the best of my ability and then expiate for that approximate number. Every time I offered a new expiation, however, I did so with a general intention to expiate any one broken vow from my past oaths without any particular one in mind. Now that I know that only one expiation is required if multiple broken oaths have to do with the same action and that most of the broken vows that I made in the past have to do with giving up a particular sin, do I have to offer a new expiation with the correct intention this time, or are the ones that I offered in the past sufficient as expiation even though they were done with the wrong belief? Please note that according to my approximate number, I still have some more expiations to offer before I complete the amount of expiations that I am supposed to offer. May Allaah reward you.

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.

We have previously highlighted in fatwa 252454 that when a person makes multiple oaths regarding different things, he has to offer an expiation for breaking the oath for each thing, but if he makes multiple oaths regarding only one thing, then he is only required to offer one expiation, according to the view adopted at Islamweb, except if he offered the expiation and then made a new oath.

If you mean that you had broken multiple oaths that you had made regarding one thing and you thought that you had to offer an expiation for each time that you broke your oath, then this conforms to the view of some scholars who held that expiation must be offered for each broken oath even if all the oaths were regarding the same thing. However, the view that we adopt at Islamweb is as we have mentioned above (only one expiation is required). Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them said, "If you repeatedly make an oath, then one expiation is required." [‘Abd Ar-Razzaaq and Al-Bayhaqi]

Hence, the expiation that you had already offered is sufficient for the past broken oaths that you made regarding one thing before offering the expiation. However, if you were to offer an expiation for each broken oath, then it would be good and more prudent in terms of clearing yourself of your liability from this obligation.

Allaah knows best.

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