He takes an oath and makes an exclusion in his intention
Fatwa No: 78710

  • Fatwa Date:15-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 14, 1435
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Question

My paternal aunt made me swear on the Quran (Mus-haf) that I should not talk to certain people, who are not close to me. Before I took that oath, I intended to exclude one person from those people, but I did not inform my paternal aunt of that. Is it permissible for me to talk to this person? If I broke this oath and talked to those people again, what will be my punishment, given that she supplicated Allaah to cause me to die if I ever talked to them again?

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 the people or the person to whom the questioner pointed, in the question were non-Mahram men, it is impermissible for her to talk with them or any other non-Mahram men. This is because it is impermissible for a Muslim woman to talk to non-Mahram men except for a need, provided that she avoids softening and sweetening her speech and as long as Tabarruj (impermissible exposure of women's adornment and beauty before non-Mahram [marriageable] men), and khalwah (seclusion between a man and woman who are not Mahram to each other) are avoided.

If those people, to whom the questioner is referring in the question, were women or Mahram men and it is permissible for her to talk to them, then your paternal aunt has no right to ask you to swear not to talk to them or prevent you from talking with them.

Anyway, if you swore the oath and excluded a certain person in your intention, then your intention is what matters in this regard. Muslim jurists stated that an oath is to be interpreted according to the intention of the oath-taker, unless the judge or a person who has right over the oath-taker asks him to take an oath. In this case, the intention of the person who asks for the oath to be taken is what matters; the oath is interpreted according to the intention of the one who requests the oath to be taken. They depended on the Hadeeth that reads: "An oath is to be interpreted according to the intention of the one who asks for the oath to be taken." [Muslim and others]

Moreover, Muslim scholars believed that an oath that is taken under coercion is not considered binding. If your paternal aunt forced you to take that oath and you were coerced in a way that is considerable under Islamic Shree‘ah, then it is not binding and no expiation is due if you did what you had sworn not to do.

 Allaah Knows best.

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