Atonement for oaths can be done by feeding 10 poor people, giving each of the 10 people a garment, or to set a slave free. If not attainable, the swearer should fast for 3 days.

Atonement for oaths

Allah, in His mercy, has made clear a way to go back on one’s oath and release oneself from its import.

:Allah says

‘Allah has already ordained for you [believers] a way to release you from such oaths.’


:The Prophet (peace be upon him)  says

‘Anyone who swears about something and then discovers that a different thing is better should do the better thing and atone for his oath.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 6,722; Muslim, hadith No. 1,650

Such atonement or release becomes obligatory if the swearer goes back on his oath and does not honour it.

The way Allah has chosen for people to release themselves from their oaths includes a choice between ordered options. The choice is between feeding 10 poor people, or giving each of these 10 poor people a garment that he could wear for prayer, or to set a slave who is a believer, free. If the swearer cannot comply with any of these choices, he fasts for three days.

:Allah says

‘Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for [breaking] what you intended of oaths. So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your [own] families, or clothing them, or the freeing of a slave. But whoever cannot find [or afford] – then a fast of three days [is required].’


Thus, the first three are given as alternatives to choose from, but when these options cannot be met, fasting becomes the way out. [1]


  1.  Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol.8, p. 756.