Question about promises
First of all I'm confused about the differences between oaths, promises,
and vows. In quaran it says that you should keep your promises (including
promises made to God), but in some hadiths it say that you shouldn't make
vows. Please clarify this for me.
Secondly, the reason i asked the 1st question is that I made a promise to
God that I would give a certain " of my income (well above 2.5%) to the poor
if I get a job. And sure enough I got a job, but now if I do that , there is
not much left for myself. I didn't take into account many of my bills. I
have to help my family with money as well,
Could I use a portion of the money set aside to give to the poor (certain "
of my income) to help my family?
Is it possible to modify a promise? For example instead of "of income I
should've said " of what is left for me after taxes and bills.
If the promise was made in the form of a nadhr (solemn vow) i.e. pronounced
outloud with the word "Nadhartu... [I vow that...]" then it is binding
exactly as formulated and cannot be revoked, modified, nor expiated. It must
be fulfilled exactly as spoken and intended. One should know, not only
exactly what one said but also exactly what one intended at the time.
If the promise was not made in the form of a nadhr but rather as a yamin
(solemn oath) i.e. pronounced outloud with the word "I swear" (uqsim) by
Allah or by one of His Names or Attributes such as "I swear by the
All-Knowing that..." then it is also binding just as the nadhr is but with
the difference that unlike the nadhr it can be modified or revoked on pains
of a sin the kaffara (expiation) of which is to feed ten people who are poor
or short of money or to provide clothing of any kind for ten such persons,
or to fast three days, preferably consecutively.
If the words used were: "I resolve (aʿzim) by Allah" or if no words were
pronounced outloud but only a mental intention was formed, then this does
not count as a binding promise. And Allah knows best.
As for the prohibition of swearing oaths, it means that it is detestable to
make them unless one is called upon to do so such as in one's defense or in
witnessing a legal case, or for other good reasons. It is actually among the
grave sins (kaba'ir) to habitually swear oaths even if truthful. How about
when one is not always truthful, as is frequently the case with merchants,
street vendors, or in casual conversations?
GF Haddad ©
"Muhammad is the noblest of the Arabs and ʿAjam.
Muhammad is the best of those who trod the earth."