Posted by: alqamardesigns | February 23, 2007

# 7 – Vows, Oaths and Aqiqah

| By sisters UmmAlwiya and Qamar.

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Innal-Hamdulillah was-Salaatu was-Salaam `alaa Rasoolillah

Asalaamu’alaykum waRahmatullah, Insha’Allah sister Umm Alwiya and myself sister Qamar will be doing our group presentation on:

“Keeping Vows and Oaths in Islaam, and the Rulings of an Aqiqah”

We hope to Insha’Allah cover the following aspects today:

• Some rulings related to fulfilling vows and oaths
• What types of vows are forbidden for us to make
• What is the repentance for broken oaths
• And then we will end with discussing what is an Aqiqah and how it is performed


Let’s begin with our first topic, which is Vows and Oaths. So what exactly is a vow and an oath?

A VOW is to pledge and swear by Allah to do a particular thing, it is to make a promise to carry out a certain action. You often hear people use the word “Wallahi” all the time, even for minor thingswell this means they are swearing “By Allah” and this is a major statement, such people need to be very careful when using this word.

This is why the true Muslim, the Believer – takes his vows very serious, because he knows the implications of making such a statement, and the consequences of breaking a vow.

The following Hadith shows the seriousness of breaking promises:

As our Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “There are four characteristics whoever possesses them is a hypocrite and whoever possesses some of them has an element of hypocrisy until he leaves it – and one of the four characteristics the prophet mentioned was – when he promises he breaks his promise.” (Hadith found in Bukhaari and Muslim)

So you see here, the one who breaks his promises – he is one who has a characteristic of a hypocrite.

Also, Allah Subhaana hu wa ta’ala says in the Qur’an, in the interpretation of the meaning: “…surely every promise (covenant) shall be questioned about.” (Surah Al-Isra, 17:34)

As for making an OATH, this is similar to making a vow – and is usually made when having to swear to tell the truth regarding an event or situation; another example of an oath is to swear by Allah that one will not do something, but when people make an oath and break their oath, they must seek Allah’s forgiveness and also make an expiation – which is known as KAFARAH, which sister Umm Alwiya will insha’Allah discuss later.

The next Hadith, talks about making false oaths – ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Apostle (sa) said: “If somebody takes a false oath in order to get the property of a Muslim (unjustly) by that oath, he will incur Allah’s Wrath when he will meet Him.” (Hadith found in Bukhaari)

Making false oaths is amongst one of the major sins in Islaam – which is also known as disastrous swearing – which is to make an oath that involves lying, or to say you will do something that is haram –- our prophet Muhammad (sa) told us why it is so disastrous in a Hadith in Bukhari where he mentioned it along side some of the major sins in Islaam, such as: “Associating partners with Allah, disobedience to parents and murder.” [Bukhari]

So the believer thinks twice before making any oath, in fear of not being able to fulfil it and being held accountable for it by Allah Subhaana hu wa ta’ala.


I will now go over some rulings related to fulfilling vows:

* If one makes a vow and then dies before fulfilling it, then someone should fulfil it for them. This is proven in the following Hadith found in Bukhaari and Muslim:

Where Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: That a woman was travelling in the sea, and she vowed that if Allaah saved her she would fast for one month. Allaah saved her, but she died before fulfilling her vow. Her daughter came to the Prophet (sa) and mentioned this to him. He asked “Had she owed money as debt, wouldn’t you have paid it on her behalf?” She replied, “Yes”. He said: “Allaah’s debt is more worthy of being fulfilled. So fulfill (the vow) for your mother.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

This ruling applies for any vow not just fasting, whether the deceased vowed to give in charity, to make Hajj or do anything – then the vow should be fulfilled on their behalf.

* If one makes a vow before becoming a Muslim, he must still fulfil this vow, as evidence is proven in the Hadith by Bukhaari:

Where Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: That ‘Umar said “O Allah’s Apostle! I vowed to perform I’tikaf for one night in Al-Masjid-al-Haram, before embracing Islam. “The Prophet said, “Fulfill your vow.” (Bukhaari)

From these two Hadith, we can see the importance of fulfilling vows, a vow is like having a debt over your head, and it will be with you until you fulfil it. And to show the seriousness of fulfilling vows, even when you die; with vows un fulfilled; you will still be accountable to them in front Allah subhannahu wa ta a’ala.

So we should all take our vows and oaths serious as The Prophet Muhammad (sa) ordered us to help others to fulfill them. (Bukhaari).

We will now move on to the next section, being:


Each and every one of us must be aware of what vows are haraam (meaning forbidden), in order to never fall into making them.

* We can not make any vow that involves harming yourself or others, to cause trouble and mischief, and the likes.

This is clearly shown in the following hadith found in Maliks Muwatta, where:

Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) saw a man standing in the sun. The Prophet asked, “What’s wrong with him?” The people said, “He has vowed not to speak or to seek shade from the sun or to sit and (during which) to fast.” The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, “Go and tell him to speak, to seek shade, and to sit, but let him complete his fast.” (Maliks Muwatta)

Now, this man was willing to harm himself by standing out in the hot sun all day, whilst fasting – due to a vow he had made, however such a vow is not allowed in Islaam, even though he was doing it for the sake of Allah; as an I’badah (as worship), but even our I’badah must be done the way Allah (SWT) has legislated, so if we make such a vow it should be broken as our Prophet (sa) ordered him to do and requested for him to continue the fast.

* Another vow that is not allowed in Islaam is –- One can not make a vow that involves the disobedience to Allah, if one makes a vow that includes both obedience and disobedience to Allah, the person should complete the vow abandoning all the actions of disobedience from it.

Proof of this can be found in Maliks Muwatta, where A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) related that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said, “Whoever vows to obey Allah, let him obey Him. Whoever vows to disobey Allah, let him not disobey Him.” (Maliks Muwatta)

Clearly indicating that it is an obligation to fulfil your vows in Islaam, but not fulfil any vows if it means disobeying Allah (SWT); as they are to be rejected.

Example: To make an oath to give your children up for adoption is haraam (forbidden) because adoption is haraam in Islaam because adoption involves saying one belongs to a set of parents that are not their parents. And the Prophet (sa) has prohibited one calling themselves by someone who is not their father. But there is nothing wrong with sponsoring/fostering the child, as you are not calling the child your own, you are simply taking care of the child.

* And now the last forbidden vow that I will talk about is a very important one, one that falls under the category of ‘Shirk – which is Associating partners with Allah’. This is to make a vow and to swear by anyone or anything other than Allah Almighty.

This includes swearing by the moon, the sun or the stars, by your father, mother or children; or any of Allahs creation. This is all HARAAM – WHICH IS TOTALLY FORBIDDEN.

There are many Hadith that talk about this, one being in Maliks Muwatta where Umar ibn al-Khattab swore by his father and the Messenger (sa) said, “Allah forbids you to swear by your fathers. If anyone swears, let him swear by Allah or keep silent.” (Maliks Muwatta)

So evidence is clear: we either swear by Allah, or we don’t swear at all — to do so, is one the worst sin one can commit.

However, unfortunately, many ignorant people today swear by other than Allah either through ignorance or from carelessness, yet they still claim to love Allah and His Messenger – Do they not know that all their deeds will be destroyed because of this very act and they will be amongst the loosers – as Allah Subhaana hu wa ta’ala has informed us in the Qur’aan, in surah Az-Zumar.

So we all need to fear Allah and swear by Him alone, like the Prophet Muhammad (sa) and his companions did; they never went around making vows they had no intention of fulfilling, they never went around making oaths that were not true – they were honest people, true to their word – and we should be too. So, before making any vow or oath, we must ask ourselves: Are we 100% determined to fulfil them? If not, we simply shouldn’t make them.

I will now pass you on to sister Umm Alwiya who will discuss when or if Kafarah (repentance) is needed for making particular oaths and vows. Jazaakallahu khair


Inal hamdulillah wasalatu wasalaam ‘ala rasoolilllah, Asalaamu’alaykum waRahmatullah, Now that Sis Qamar has explained to us what an oath or vow is and their rulings about them and what oaths are haraaam, I Umm Alwiya will mention what is the repentance or Kaffarah for a broken oath.

What we shall cover here is:

• When Kafarah is not needed
• What is the kafarah for breaking an oath
• What is the kafarah of swearing by other than Allah
• Which oaths require kafarah

When Kafarah is not needed (don’t read)

There is one situation when a Kaffarah is not needed. For example a person might say ‘I swear by Allah I will do so such and such by tomorrow’ and then adds InshaAllah (Allah Willing) and then does not do what he had sworn to do then his vow is not broken and he does not need a Kaffarah for a broken oath.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar said: “Whoever swears by Allah and then says, ‘Allah willing’ and then does not do what he has sworn to, has not broken his oath.” (This hadith is from the Muwatta.)

What is the kafarah for breaking an oath (don’t read)

So what do we do when we do break a vow.

Allah indicates in the Qur’aan (in the interpretation of the meaning):

” Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths; for its expiation (a deliberate oath) feed ten poor people, on a scale of the average of that with which you feed your own families; or clothe them; or manumit a slave. But whosoever cannot afford (that), then he should fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths when you have sworn. And protect your oaths (i.e. do not swear much). Thus Allah make clear to you His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) that you may be grateful. ” (Surat Al Maeda, 5:89)

One should do what is in ones means to expiate ones broken vows because Allah Subhanahu wataala is most Merciful and does not burden his creation with what he cannot bear.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar used to do kaffara for a broken oath by feeding ten poor people. Each person got a mudd of wheat. He sometimes freed a slave if he had repeated the oath. (This hadith is from Muwatta.)

For those who don’t know what a mudd is, one mudd is equal to the amount held by cupping the two hands together

Thus we see that if a vow is broken, we need to either:

• Feed 10 poor people,
• Or clothe 10 poor people,
• Or free a slave,
• Or if we don’t have the means to do that then we should fast for three days.

What is the kafarah of swearing by other than Allah

As mentioned by Sis Qamar it is not permitted to swear by the Ka’bah, by trustworthiness, by honour, by help, by the blessing of so-and-so, by the life of so-and-so, by the virtue of the Prophet, by the virtue of a wali, by one’s father and mother, by the heads of one’s children, etc.

All of that is haraam, and the expiation for doing it is to say La ilaaha ill-Allaah, as is stated in the saheeh hadeeth: “Whoever swears and says ‘By al-Laat’ or ‘By al-’Uzza,’ let him say ‘La ilaaha ill-Allaah (there is no god except Allaah).’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 11/536).

Which oaths require kafarah – IT IS EXCELLENT TO BREAK THE VOW IF ONE FINDS a BETTER Alternative and then ONE SHOULD EXPIATE IT.

Yahya related to me from Malik from Suhayl ibn Abi Salih from his father from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said, “Whoever makes an oath and then sees that something else would be better than it, should do kaffara for his oath and do what is better.” (This hadith is from Muwatta.)

The example of this can be seen in another hadith where Abu Huraira reported:

A person sat late in the night with Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him), and then came to his family and found that his children had gone to sleep. His wife brought food for him. but he took an oath that he would not eat because of his children (having gone to sleep without food) He then gave precedence (of breaking the vow and then expiating it) and ate the food He then came to Allah s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and made mention of that to him, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace he upon him) said: He who took an oath and (later on) found something better than that should do that, and expiate for (breaking) his vow. (From Sahih Muslim.)

This concludes the discussion on the rulings of vows and oaths and also the kaffara for the broken oaths. I will hand u over back to Sis Qamar to introduce to u all our next topic which is the Aqiqa.


Jazaak’Allahu khair sister Umm Alwiya.

Now we will discuss what is an Aqiqah?

An Aqiqah is a ritual we perform in Islaam on the occasion of new born baby (whether male or female) – this ritual is done to thank Allah (SWT) for blessing us with a child, and to show Allah our gratitude.

When the non-Muslims have a new born baby, they have something called a ‘Baby Shower’; as Muslims we are clearly prohibited in imitating them in any shape or form; and therefore when we Muslims have a new born baby, we celebrate this by having an Aqiqah.

The Aqiqah involves sacrificing an animal as told to us by the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (sa) and it also includes some other rituals which will be later explained by sister Umm Alwiya, such as:

• Shaving the hair of the baby, and giving the equivalent of weight in charity
• Giving the baby a name
• Reciting of the adhaan in the new born babies right ear
• And having the baby boy circumcised

Many people ask the question: “Is the Aqiqah a Fard (an Obligation)?”

Well, the Aqiqah is not a fard, however it is a highly recommended Sunnah. This is proven in the following Hadith in Maliks Muwatta: Where the Prophet (sa) was asked about the Aqiqah, he replied: ‘If anyone has a child born to him, and wants to sacrifice for his child, then let him do it.’ (Maliks Muwatta)

Making the aqiqah an optional/voluntary act of worship. So those who can afford to do an Aqiqah, SHOULD do it – as it will bring about reward, however if you do not or can not – then you will not be SINFUL.

Example – One may not have the finances to do an Aqiqah on the 7th day as recommended to us by the Sunnah, if one later on one now has the means to do so they can do an Aqiqah after the 7th day. This also applies for one who embraces Islaam, they can also have an Aqiqah done for themselves.

The prophet (sa) said: “The Prophet Ibrahim circumcised himself when he was eighty years old and he circumcised himself with an adze.” (Related by Bukhari, Muslim & Ahmad.)

I would also like to clear up a very big misconception about the aqiqah:

The Aqiqah is not done in honour of the child, let me repeat that the aqiqah is not done in the honour of the child!! – the Aqiqah is done for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone, to earn His Pleasure, and to thank Him.

The same applies to the animal sacrifice, we do not sacrifice the animal for the sake of the child, Au’othubillah – we do the sacrifice as with all animal sacrifices for the sake of Allah, and to do otherwise, one would fall guilty of Shirk Al-Akbar – which is the greatest associating partners with Allah.

Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) has told us in a Hadith found in Muslim, that: “Allaah will curse the one who sacrifices to anything other than Allaah.” (Muslim).  This clearly shows us the seriousness of this matter, & we must all make sure we conduct our Aqiqah with the correct manner & intentions.

I will now pass it to sister Umm Alwiya, who will go into detail on how to actually perform an Aqiqah…


Jazaakallahu khair sister Qamar. Having understood what the aqiqa is let us now focus on the rulings or the procedure to be followed.

1.Sacrificing an animal for the sake of Allah, to thank Allah for giving you an baby

So what exactly is done for an aqiqa?

It was reported that Samurah ibn Jundub (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A boy is ransomed by his ‘ aqeeqah. Sacrifice should be made for him on the seventh day, he should be given a name and his head should be shaved.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1522; al-Nasaa’i, 4220 and Abu Dawood, 2838. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, in al-Irwaa’ 4/385).

Also reported from Muwatta (Book 26, Number 26.2.4) Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that if any of Abdullah ibn Umar’s family asked him for an aqiqa, he would give it to them. He gave a sheep as aqiqa for both his male and female children.

The rules regarding the animal sacrificed for the aqiqah are the same rules applied as with all sacrificial animals – one-eyed, emaciated, injured, or sick animals must not be used, and neither the meat nor the skin is to be sold.

The family eat the meat and give some of it away as charity.

2.Shaving the hair of the baby, and giving the equivalent of weight of silver in charity

The shaving of the head is another practice of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Muwatta, Book 26, Number 26.1.2: Yahya related to me from Malik from Jafar ibn Muhammad that his father said, “Fatima, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, weighed the hair of Hasan, Husayn, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum, and gave away in sadaqa an equivalent weight of silver.”

This does not have to be done by actually weighing the hair; if it is too difficult to do that, it is sufficient to estimate the weight and give paper currency equivalent to the price of that amount of gold or silver.

3.Given the baby a name

The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to give the new born a meaningful name as is evident from the following hadith.

From the Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 66, Number 376: Narrated Abu Musa: A son was born to me and I took him to the Prophet who named him Ibrahim, invoked Allah to bless him and returned him to me. (Bukhaari)

4.Reciting of the adhaan in the new borns right ear

Among the Sunnahs for welcoming the newborn, the scholars mentioned that the Adhaan should be recited into the baby’s right ear so that the first thing he hears in this world will be the words of Tawheed, which will have a great and blessed effect on the child (See al-Silsilat al-Da’eefah, 1/491).


Circumcision is part of the Sunan al-Fitrah (practices related to the pure and natural inclinations of man). It is obligatory in the case of boys because it is connected to matters of purity which are essential conditions of prayer.

It was reported from Salmaan ibn ‘Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “For the boy there should be an ‘ aqeeqah. Slaughter (an animal) for him and remove the harmful thing [i.e., the foreskin] from him.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1515; al-Nasaa’i, 4214; Abu Dawood, 2839; Ibn Maajah, 3164. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, in al-Irwaa’, 4/396).

It was reported from Abu Hurayrah: “Five things are related to the Fitrah: circumcision, removing the pubic hairs, plucking the armpit hairs, cutting the nails, and trimming the moustache.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

6. To Summarise the Benefits of ‘aqeeqah

• It is a sacrifice by means of which the child is brought close to Allaah soon after he comes into this world.
• It is a sunnah action
• The ‘aqeeqah is the gathering of relatives and friends for the waleemah or feast.

7.Bida – Innovation

Unfortunately we see that even in this blessed ritual where we try to please Allah Subhanhu wataala, bidda or innovation has crept in and we find that in some places the child is smeared with the blood of the sacrificed animal. This is a pagan practice. And we should stay away from this.

Another bida found in this ritual is with regards to reciting the iqaamah in the child’s left ear, but there is nothing in the sunnah to prove that this is required.
The tahnik was done by the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with the new born babies brought to him where the prophet SAW chewed a date and then applied his saliva in the baby’s mouth.

Narrated by Asma’ bint Abu Bakr: “I conceived ‘Abdullah bin AzZubair at Mecca and went out (of Mecca) while I was about to give birth. I came to Medina and encamped at Quba’, and gave birth at Quba’. Then I brought the child to Allah’s Apostle and placed it (on his lap). He asked for a date, chewed it, and put his saliva in the mouth of the child” (Bukhaari)

There are some opinions to this by the scholars about the Tahnik:

1. Some scholars say you can do the Tahnik, but only from a righteous man.
2. Some scholars say that this action is done exclusively for the Prophet Muhammad (sa), and we should not do it.

I will now pass you onto sister Qamar, who will conclude our presentation…


Masha’Allah. Jazaakallahu khair sister Umm Alwiya. Alhamdulillah we have now come to the end of our presentation. Insha’Allah we hope the information presented has been as beneficial to you all, as it has been for us – and you have a clear understanding of the importance of keeping vows and oaths in Islaam, and the rulings pertaining to an Aqiqah.

I will now conclude with on of my favourite Hadiths of our Prophet Muhammad (sa) where he said: “I have left behind me two things, if you cling to them you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah (The Qur’aan) and my Sunnah” [Hadith found in Al-Hakim]

May Allah have mercy on us all and keep us upon the sunnah. ~ Ameen.

Subhana kallah huma wabi hamdika, ashadu an laa elaha ila anta, astagh fi ruka wa atubu elayk (Perfect are you O Allah, and to you is the Praise. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except you. I seek your forgiveness and repent to you)

Jazaakallahu khair


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