“Do not swear by the name of Allah, whether you are speaking the truth or lying.”
I grew up with 2 elder brothers and an elder sister. I survived my childhood with minimal damage by making sure I covered all bases (Well, hey there, title reference). You could say it was my safety blanket. Everybody knows they can’t touch you after they say “Kassam”. And when they break out the “Wallahi”, you know things are getting serious (That’s generally about the time the bargaining can commence).
Eventually, it becomes a habit. It just lies there on the tip of your tongue ready to slip out as the faintest nudge. Is that okay? No! It is irrelevant whether the oath is for something past, present or future. In ordinary situations, for ordinary matters, taking an oath is Makrooh.
It is Wajib to take an oath in a situation where one’s life or integrity, or that of another Muslim, is in danger, and taking the oath can ward off the danger. It is Mustahab to take an oath in a situation where one’s very insignificant property, belonging to oneself or to another Muslim, is at risk. And it is Haraam to take an oath in a situation where one dissociates with Allah and His religion.
Imrul Qays and another man had a dispute regarding some property. Both of them came to Nabi (S.A.W). He (S.A.W) asked Imrul Qays, “Can you provide two just witnesses to substantiate your claim?” Imrul Qays replied, “No!” Nabi (S.A.W) then said, “Then your opponent should take an oath.” Imrul Qays asked, “But what if he swears falsely and acquires my property?” Muhammad (S.A.W) replied, “If he swears falsely he shall be included among people who will not be eligible for Divine Mercy on the Day of Judgment and Allah shall not purify him of sins. There would be a dreadful punishment for such a man!” When the litigant heard these statements he was filled with horror and gave up his false claim to the property of Imrul Qays. [Tafsīr al-Mizan]
Swearing for a false thing is Haraam. If you broke the frame in the lounge (nah, that was my sister xD), you’d better say so. The shouting will only last for 5 minutes. However, the punishment for taking Allah’s name in a false oath is clear. “(As for) those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah and their own oaths-surely-they shall have no portion in the hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them, nor will He look upon them on the Day of Resurrection nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful chastisement.” (Surah Aal-‘Imran 3:77)
When a person takes an oath upon the name of Allah, it will be incumbent upon him to fulfill that oath. If he does not fulfill the oath, it will be compulsory upon him to pay Kaffarah (penance) for misusing the name of Allah.
Kaffarah for breaking an oath:
- Free a slave (not applicable in these times), or
- Feed ten poor people an average two meals, or
- Clothe ten poor people enough clothes to cover the majority of their bodies.
(If one cannot do any of the above three for a valid reason then he may fast for three consecutive days)
Remember, you take one step towards Allah, Allah takes ten steps towards you.
May Allah protect us all and grant us the ability to overcome our Nafs.
Love and Duas,