Expiation for non-fulfillment of a vow to do a permissible act
Fatwa No: 55590

Question

A person took a vow that if Allah, the Exalted, blessed him with the opportunity to perform ‘Umrah, he would not take anything with him and would not buy anything from there so as to devote his journey merely to worship and performing the ‘Umrah (without pursuing any other worldly benefit). Allah, the Exalted, blessed him with the chance to perform ‘Umrah, but many of his family members and relatives asked him to buy them things from there. Should he fulfill his vow and abstain from buying anything during his journey, or should he bring them some gifts and expiate for breaking his vow?

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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Buying things during the journey of Hajj or ‘Umrah, even if it is for the purpose of trade, is permissible and does not affect one's Hajj and ‘Umrah (in terms of validity or rewards). Allaah, the Exalted, says (what means): {There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord [during Hajj]…} [Quran 2:198] Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

"This verse proves that it is permissible for a pilgrim to engage in trade during the Hajj journey along with performing the rituals of the Hajj. Having the intention to engage in trade and pursue worldly benefits during the Hajj journey does not constitute Shirk (polytheism) nor does it undermine the obligatory Ikhlas (i.e. devoting one's deeds and intentions exclusively to Allaah, the Exalted) of the pilgrim."

He  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him added that it is better for the pilgrim to devote his Hajj journey solely to worship and not to engage in trade as this guarantees that his intention will be pure from any traces of seeking worldly benefits and that his heart will then be exclusively attached to Allaah, the Exalted. When you come to know that buying commodities during the Hajj is permissible, even if it is for the purpose of trade, then you should also know that buying gifts is permissible for a greater reason. In fact, Muslim jurists stated that it is recommended for the pilgrim to bring some gifts for his relatives and neighbors so as to bring happiness to their hearts.

You vowed not to take anything with you in your Hajj journey or buy anything from there. Such a vow is to do a permissible act and you have the choice either to fulfill it, though you were in no need of making such a vow, or break it and buy them the gifts. In the latter case, you should offer an expiation like that of breaking an oath.

Allaah Knows best.

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