Is the statement "I swear by my mother and father" regarded an oath and does it necessitate kaffarah?

The Details of the Question

People generally say things like "If I do this or that, my name will no longer be Ahmet, Ali, etc." Is such a statement regarded as an oath? Is kaffarah fasting necessary for such an oath?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Since such a statement is not regarded as an oath, kaffarah is not necessary. 

In our daily lives, most of us swear in order to strengthen what we say or to convince our addressees who hesitate to believe.

It is permissible for a Muslim to swear (to vow) in order to strengthen what he says or to convince his addressee.  

As a matter of fact, God Almighty swears in many places in the Quran. One of them is as follows:

“Now I do call to witness the Lord of all points in the East and the West that We can certainly Substitute for them better (men) than they; And We are not to be defeated (in Our Plan).”1

On the other hand, when the Prophet (pbuh) wanted to say something, he would often start by saying, “I swear by Allah in whose hand of power Muhammad’s life is” or “I swear by Allah who changes hearts”.

However, a Muslim should consider some issues when he swears lest he should make a mistake and commit a sin.

It is permissible to swear only by using the names of Allah like saying “Wallahi, Billahi, Tallahi” or “I swear by Rahman, I swear by Rahim” or “I swear by divine power” or “I swear by divine excellence”.

It is not permissible to swear by the names of others like the Prophet (pbuh) and the Kaaba. It is not permissible to swear by saying “By the head of my father” or “I will see the dead body of my son” either, that is, to swear by the head or life of a created being.

As a matter of fact, the Prophet expresses this fact as follows in a hadith:

“Do not swear by your fathers, or by your mothers, or by rivals to Allah; and swear by Allah only, and swear by Allah only when you are speaking the truth.”2

On the other hand, statements like “I swear, I witness, by God Almighty, I swear by myself and, I take an oath by myself” are regarded as oaths.

In addition, rendering something halal as haram like saying “Let it be haram for me to eat this meal” is also regarded as an oath.

If somebody swears by saying, “Let me be an unbeliever if I do this or that” “Let me be a Jew or a Christian,” “Let me be not be a slave of Allah, a member of the ummah of Muhammad (pbuh),” “Let Allah remove my soul as an unbeliever”, his intention is taken into consideration. If he utters those statements only for the sake of an oath and to make his belief strengthen his claim, it is regarded as an oath. However, if he believes that he will be an unbeliever with that statement, it is not regarded as an oath. This person has to renew his belief through repentance and asking for forgiveness and to renew his marriage if he is married. Besides, a Muslim who knows how the Prophet (pbuh) swore will avoid taking such inappropriate oaths.  

If a person says, “Let me punished or damned by God Almighty if I do this or that” or “Let me be a thief and an adulterer”, he is not regarded to have taken an oath. However, such statements do not fit Islamic manners. Muslims should avoid uttering such statements. If they utter them by mistake, they should repent and ask for forgiveness.

Kaffarah is not necessary for a person who says “By the Quran, I will not do this or that” and does that thing. It is necessary for that person to repent and ask for forgiveness. However, according to a view, such an oath is valid since the Quran is the word of God Almighty. In that case, it is necessary to avoid such statements in terms of caution.  

On the other hand, the statement “Let my mother be my wife” uttered in some regions of our country for strengthening one’s words is not appropriate. It is very bad and contrary to Islamic ethics.

Footnotes:

1 al-Maarij, 40 - 41.
2 Abu Dawud, Ayman wan-Nudhur: 5.

(see Mehmed PAKSU, Aileye Özel Fetvalar)

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