He fasted three days as expiation for breaking an oath, then became financially able
Fatwa No: 62267

  • Fatwa Date:19-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 18, 1435
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Question

A man fasted three days as expiation for breaking an oath, but afterwards gained enough money to feed ten needy people. Does his fasting count as expiation or should he feed ten poor people?

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.

If someone is unable to expiate for a broken oath by means of any of the three options that are prescribed by the Sharee‘ah for doing this, namely: feeding ten needy person, clothing them or freeing a slave, so he fasts three days, then he is not required to re-offer the expiation through any of the above mentioned options even though he would be financially able thereafter. This opinion is agreed upon by the scholars since the liability of the person has been cleared by fasting three days. This is clearly indicated by the verse that reads (what means): {…But whoever cannot find [or afford it] – then a fast of three days [is required]. That is the expiation for oaths when you have sworn…} [Quran 5:89] Muslim scholars held different opinions regarding a person who starts fasting three days as expiation for breaking his oath and before finishing them gains money and becomes able to do other options (feeding ten needy people, clothing them or freeing a slave). Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Al-Mughni, "If the person started fasting three days as expiation for his broken oath and then became able to free a slave, or feed or clothe ten needy people, he is not required to undertake another means of expiation. This opinion was narrated from Al-Hasan and Qataadah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them. It is also the opinion of Maalik, Ash-Shaafi‘i, Is-haaq, Abu Thawr, and Ibn Munthir  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them. It was reported from An-Nakha‘i and Al-Hakam  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them that in such a case he should do one of the other options of expiation (freeing a slave, or feeding or clothing ten needy people). This is the opinion of Ath-Thawri and the Hanafi scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them. This is because the person became able to do the initial action before completing what replaced it, so it became incumbent upon him to go back to the first options." Then, he  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "The person may opt to shift to a higher option (according to the order of options stated in the verse) to expiate his broken oath, according to the opinion of most of the scholars."

 Allaah Knows best.

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