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An Obligatory Statement should be within a Vow

What is the ruling on making a vow to fast but couldn’t fulfill it? Although I had OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and unconsciously used to make many vows and say “When I make sure of something I will fast 100 days” since I were 15 years old, but couldn’t fulfill any of them.

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions.

If a person said “When I make sure of something I will fast 100 days”. This statement doesn’t entail a person to be obliged to fulfill it because obligatory vow gives a person the impression that he is obliged to fulfill, for instance: “I am obliged to do so and so for the sake of Allah if what I think of is going to happen” or “I adhere to do so and so if what I wish took place”…and the like.

In this regard, Al-Imam Ar-Ramli (May Allah have mercy on his soul) said:” The vow might took place through: utterance, writing, intention or gesture by a dumb or any bond that makes a person obliged to fulfill, similar to contracts. Further, a vow is considered as one, even if the purpose of fulfilling it wasn’t for the sake of Allah.” [Nihayat Al-Muhtaj vol.8 pp.219].

Furthermore, if you (Questioner) were certain that some of the utterances you said were as a vow statements and the purpose of them is to prevent yourself from doing something or urging it to do an act of obedience or devotion, then this vow is called, the vow of obstinacy and anger in which the person who made the vow is free to choose whether to fulfill his vow, or to offer oath expiation for each broken vow.

In conclusion, since the vows you made were stated while in state of unconsciousness as mentioned above, then you are free from the liability, but in order to be on the safe side, you should make Ijtehad (Independent reasoning) in order to figure out the number of the broken vows and offer oath expiation for each broken vow. And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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