Kaffarah for Breaking an Oath

The Kaffarah (Expiation) for breaking an oath is:

  1. Free a slave, or
  2. Feed ten poor people an average two meals, or
  3. Clothe ten poor people enough clothes to cover the majority of their bodies.
  4. If one cannot afford anyone of the above three, then he must fast for three consecutive days.

Affordability

  • The person who can afford any one of the first three types of sadaqaat (financial expiations) and still have sufficient wealth to survive for a day, will be considered well-to-do in this issue.
  • Sufficiency (kafaaf) is a shelter to reside in, whether owned or rented, a pair of cloths to wear, which covers the body and food for the day.
  • If a person was poor and fasted for two days and just before he completed his third fast he became wealthy enough to afford anyone of the above sadaqaat, he must pay it and the fast will be considered insufficient.[i]

General Rules

  • The feeding and clothing should be of moderate economic standard.
  • One can feed or clothe 10 people in one day,
  • Or feed one poor person for 10 days.
  • One cannot feed one person 10 times in one day.[ii]

Feeding:

  • One can either give each poor person one sa’a (3.5kgs) of dates or barley
  • Or give each poor person half sa’a (1.75kgs) of wheat;
  • Or he can feed them two meals a day (i.e. lunch and supper).
    • Simply bread can be counted as a meal on the condition that it is made out of wheat.
    • Otherwise gravy would also be necessary along with other types of bread for the meal to be considered sufficient.
  • A child who has just started eating will not be counted as one person.
  • One can either call the poor people home and feed them
  • Or one can give them the food for them to do as they like.[iii]

 Clothing:

  • Any type of clothing can be given that normally covers the body, and the person wearing it will not be counted as naked or half naked.
  • One should also bear in mind that clothing a woman will not be complete unless it includes something that will cover her head (e.g. a scarf)
  • Giving only trousers will not be counted as clothing a person.
  • Clothes don’t necessarily have to be new; old clothes can also be given on condition they last for three months. This condition also applies to new clothing, meaning they should not be of such inferior quality that they don’t even last three months.[iv]

[i] Rad al-Muhtar Vol.5 Pg.523-526

[ii] Rad al-Muhtar Vol.3 Pg.523-524

[iii] Fath al-Qadeer Vol.4 Pg.365, Tahtawi ala Durr Vol.2 Pg.233

[iv] Rad al-Muhtar Vol.3 Pg.524-525 Askimam.org

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