Should I Fulfill a Conditional Vow Even If The Condition Has Not Been Fulfilled?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As-salaamu alaikum,

Is saying: “if I get such and such I will offer sadaqaah” invalid or even sinful in Islam?
If you don’t get such thing shouldn’t you nonetheless carry out this vow?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

​​​No, if the condition d​​oes not occur, you do not have to carry out the vow.

Vows: What are they?​​​

Allah Most High said, “Fulfil any pledge you make in God’s name and do not break oaths after you have sworn them, for you have made God your surety: God knows everything you do.” [16.91]

A vow (nadhr) is an act of worship which a morally responsible Muslim makes binding upon himself, verbally. [Salah Abu’l Haj, al-Bayan fi al-Ayman wa al-Nudhur wa al-Hazr wa al-Ibaha]

​For example, saying “if X happens, I will do Y [= act of worship]” would be considered a vow.

​Though i​n general, you should avoid ​vows and ​oaths as it can often lead to ​undue ​hardship, and instead focus on expressing your need through the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah) [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?] and supplication. [see: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a]

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Do not make vows, for indeed vows avail nothing of destiny; they only serve to extract from a miser.” [Muslim]

Please see: How Does Making an Oath or Vow Differ from Simply Saying You’ll Do Something?

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.