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She Made An Oath Dependent On Some Matter, And That Matter Is No Longer An Issue; What Is The Ruling?

Nigeria Student Forum / Books/Literature/Writing / Muslim's Forum / She Made An Oath Dependent On Some Matter, And That Matter Is No Longer An Issue; What Is The Ruling?

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.

My mother made an oath that I
should never cut my hair until after
a certain occasion which was to
occur four months later, but after a
while that occasion was cancelled.
Is it permissible for me to cut my


Praise be to Allah.
As with all other commitments that
a Muslim takes upon himself, oaths
are based on the intention and
purpose of the one who made the
oath, because the basic principle is
that matters are judged by their
purpose. From this is derived the
principle that the purpose
(meaning) of the words depends on
the intention of the speaker.
Al-Ashbaah wa’n-Nazaa’ir by as-
Suyooti (1/81).
The basis of this is the hadith of the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and
peace of Allah be upon him):
“Actions are but by intentions, and
each person will have but that
which he intended.” Narrated by al-
Bukhaari (1) and Muslim (1907).
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (may Allah have
mercy on him) said:
The basic principle with regard to
this matter – i.e., oaths – is to pay
attention to what was intended by
the one who swore the oath. If he
did not have any particular
intention, then we should look at
the story behind it [i.e., the reason
why he swore the oath], and what
provoked him to swear the oath,
then judge the matter on the basis
of what is usually the case with his
End quote from al-Kaafi (1/452).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may
Allah have mercy on him) said:
They [the scholars] are unanimously
agreed that with regard to oaths,
reference should be made to the
intention of the one who swore the
oath, if the wording could be
understood in that way.
End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa

Based on that, there are two
possibilities with regard to your
mother’s oath:
The first possibility is that her aim
was that you should attend this
occasion with your hair long,
without having been cut. Based on
that, so long as the occasion was
cancelled, then there is nothing
wrong with you cutting your hair,
and she does not have to offer any
expiation, because the reason for
the oath is no longer applicable.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have
mercy on him) said:
If the Lawgiver made a ruling
dependent on some cause or reason,
then the ruling ceases to apply
when that cause or reason is no
longer applicable… sharee‘ah is
based on this principle.
Similarly, if someone swore an oath
not to do something for a particular
reason, then that reason ceases to
be applicable, then he does not
break the oath by doing it, because
his oath was dependent upon that
reason. Therefore if the reason is no
longer applicable, the oath is no
longer applicable.
End quote from I‘laam al-
Muwaqqi‘een (5/528-529).
The second possibility is that your
mother’s aim was that your hair
should be left long for the duration
of this period, and the aim was not
the particular occasion.
Based on that, you have to look at
the date that was set for the
occasion that was cancelled, and not
cut your hair before that period of
time has elapsed, then after that
you can cut your hair.
And Allah knows best.


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