Is this considered breaking an oath? What do I do?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

If I break my oath, then to expiate I fast for three days, then what if I break my oath again do I fast for three days again? My oath was to read namaz five times a day but I broke this, say I make up for it but I lapse again somewhere along the line and one day miss fajar do I have to make up for it again?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalamu alaykum

In the name of Allah most Beneficent most Merciful

Only the one kaffara is necessary for you in this case. For instance, if your oath was to make your five daily prayers, and you said something like, “By Allah, I will observe my five daily prayers,” then by missing a prayer you would have to make an expiation (kaffara).

Once you have done so then your oath is complete and has ended. Therefore, if you miss any prayer again you would not have to pay another kaffara, even though missing prayers obviously remains a sinful act.

Furthermore, even if your oath was in the negative, for instance you said, “By Allah I will never miss a prayer,” then upon missing a prayer and paying a kaffara your oath will end as well. Any prayers subsequently missed will not necessitate another kaffara, unless you made another oath after the first kaffara.

It states in the al-Durr al-Mukhtar of ‘Allama Haskafi:

“If one took an oath not do such and such…, then he must refrain from it forever.… then if he does what he had [sworn not to do] he will have broken his oath, and his oath will now be ended. What has been mentioned in Sharh al-Majma’ that the oath will not end is an error. Hence, if he was to do the thing again [which he had sworn not to do] he will not be considered as having broken an oath, except in the case of [using the term] kullama [i.e. “every time” or “each time” as part of the oath].…

If one swore that he will surely do such-and-such, and then does it once, he is freed from his oath.” (al-Durr al-Mukhtar 3:135).

One more point to remember is that one can only resort to fasting three days for the kaffara if unable to do any of the following:

1. Freeing a slave

2. Clothing ten poor people, giving each of them one garment or more. [Please review previous answers for more details on this]

3. Feeding ten poor people two meals each.

Only when incapable of observing the above can one resort to fasting three days.

And Allah knows best

Abdur-rahman ibn Yusuf

Faraz: Important clarification: In a previous answer, Shaykh Ilyas was referring to the case when the person said “Everytime I do such an such…”