The atonement of an unfulfilled oath is a must if it is a valid one, done deliberately and the swearer did not do what he swore to do, provided that he did not make an exception.

Conditions for atonement

If the swearer goes back on his oath, the atonement becomes obligatory only if the following three conditions are met:

1- It must be a valid oath, intended by the swearer for something to happen. The oath is not valid unless sworn by Allah, or one of His names or attributes.

:He 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.’ 


 This makes clear that the atonement applies only to a valid oath. A swearing formula that is said without any intention to say an oath is an idle one and requires no atonement.

2- The person swearing an oath should do so out of his own choice. If he is compelled to make an oath, his oath is not valid and bears no atonement.

:The Prophet (peace be upon him)  says

‘My community will not be accountable for what they do through a genuine mistake, what they omit to do out of forgetfulness, and what they are compelled to do.’

3- When the swearer goes back on his oath and does what he swore not to do or refuses what he swore to do, remembering his oath all the time and choosing to go back on it. If he does this as a result of forgetting his oath or under duress, no atonement is due from him.

If at the time of saying an oath, the swearer makes an exception, adding to his oath the words, ‘Allah willing’, and then he goes back on his oath, he gives no atonement.[1]


  1. Al-Nadawi, Al-Fiqh al-Muyassar, p. 389.