What Is the Expiation for Unintentionally Killing a Bird?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam’aleykum,

I was driving on the motorway when a bird suddenly appeared out of nowhere and hit the windscreen. I think he’s dead.

I feel very sad.

Do I need to make an expiation for this?

Answer:Assalamu ‘alaykum,

I pray that you are well.

May Allah reward you for your concern. A heart that feels pain at being involved in wrong, even if unintentional, is a sign of strong faith, and one that is concerned with doing the good and staying away from potential evil.

Are We Responsible for Mistakes?

We are not held responsible for events that occur out of our control. The Qur’an says, “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear: each gains whatever good it has done, and suffers its bad; “Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make mistakes” [Qur’an; 2.286].

Is there an Expiation for Mistakenly Killing a Bird?

There is no expiation for such an occurrence. Some scholars recommend that when a person is involved in or does something for which there is no set expiation, they nevertheless give something in charity or engage in good actions as a way to wipe out any sin they may have accrued for their action.

This is keeping in spirit with the Qur’anic principle that good deeds wipe out bad deeds. The Qur’an says, ‘Keep up the prayer at both ends of the day, and during parts of the night, for good things drive bad away; this is a reminder for those who are aware’ [Qur’an; 11.114].

Shuaib Ally

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