The Divine Rules Related to Expiating SinsBy Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad (HA)
Al-Kaffaarah is one of the obligations in Islam which must be fulfilled if a person has done a mistake or error in his ritual acts, such as in fasting.
Linguistically it means to 'cover the sin' or 'heal certain wounds'. In the Sharee'ah it is defined as: "The fine a person is obliged to pay regarding certain commitments, rituals or transactions."
Al-Kaffaarah is the commitment of a person which is offered for the sake of Allah in order to replace and make up for a sin, or violation of ritual or transactional acts. The highest type of kaffaarah is when a person makes qasam (a pledge or oath) not to do good deeds. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'aan:
"And make not Allah's [name] an excuse in your oaths against your doing good and acting piously, and making peace among mankind. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower [i.e. do not swear much and if you have sworn against doing something good then give an expiation for the oath and do good]." (EMQ 2:224)
This is why there are hardly any examples of the Sahaabah or Taabi'een making oaths in general. Imaam ash-Shaafi'ie said: "I would never swear by Allah, whether I'm speaking the truth or lying." The people of Haaroon ar-Rasheed asked Imaam ash-Shaafi'ie to give an oath, but he refused; his reason was, "If I did not speak the whole truth I would have became sinful."
Types of kaffaarah Kaffaarat ul-Yameen – Kaffaarah which must be done for breaking or failing to fulfil an oath. Kaffaarat ul-Ilaa – Kaffaarah you must do for swearing not to sleep with your wife for at least three, four or six months etc. Kaffaarat uz-Zihaar – Kaffaarah you must do for saying to your wife: ‘You are forbidden for me the way my mother is forbidden for me.’ Kaffaarat ul-Jimaa’ wal-Alaqaat wal-Jinsiyyah – Kaffaarah you must do if you have committed any unlawful sexual acts. Kaffaarat ul-Qatlu Khata' – Kaffaarah you must do if you have killed a person by mistake.
The ahkaam (divine rules)Kaffaarat ul-yameen (the kaffaarah of the oath)
You must pay kaffaarah if you made an oath but failed to do it (whether this oath was in a permissible matter or in obedience to Allah).
Allah (SWT) says in His Book: "Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths; for its expiation [a deliberate oath] feed ten masaakeen [poor persons], on a scale of the average of that with which you feed your own families; or clothe them; or manumit a slave. But whosoever cannot afford [that]: he should fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths when you have sworn. And protect your oaths [i.e. do not swear much]. Thus Allah makes clear to you His Aayaat [proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.] that you may be grateful." (EMQ 5:89)
In other words, the kaffaarah for breaking or failing to fulfil an oath is that you must feed ten masaakeen (poor people), and each feed can be half of what you feed your family. If you cannot do this, then you must clothe them. If you cannot clothe ten poor people, you must free a slave. If you cannot do any of these, you must fast for three consecutive days.
The above mentioned kaffaarah is in sequence; therefore, you must fulfil it in this order, unless you have a permit to do otherwise.
2. An-Nadhar (the vow)
Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'aan: "Then let them complete the prescribed duties [manaasik of Hajj] for them, and perform their vows…" (EMQ 22:29)
It is also reported in Saheeh Muslim that the Messenger (SAW) said, ‘Whoever vows to obey Allah in any matter, let him obey.’
An-Nadhar is when a person makes something an obligation upon himself under a vow to Allah. However, this must be on a matter which is mubaah (permissible), not on that which is already an obligation. For example, if one says to Allah: 'O Allah, if you do so-and-so I will do so-and-so.' Or if a person says to someone: 'If you save my son, I will do so-and-so (an act which is permissible).'
It is also reported in Saheeh Muslim: "There is no vow in doing haraam." Therefore, it is forbidden to vow to do a sin, such as to say, 'If you save my son I will walk naked.'
The kaffaarah for failing to fulfil a nadhar (vow) is the same as failing to fulfil a yameen (oath).
3. Kaffaarat ul-ilaa
Al-Ilaa is a type of oath where somebody swears by Allah that he will not approach his wife for three or four months (i.e. he will not sleep with her). This is quite severe as once a person makes this kind of oath, his wife becomes haraam for him (to sleep with) until that time has passed; therefore, he must fulfil it.
The kaffaarah for this is the same as that for the yameen, i.e. he must feed ten masaakeen, clothe them, free a slave or fast three continuous days.
4. Kaffaarat uz-zihaar
This type of oath is quite serious too, just like al-ilaa. It is when a person says to his wife: 'You are haraam for me the way my mother is haraam for me'. Az-Zihaar has been mentioned in the Qur’aan, and like al-ilaa, those who do muzaahirah are dealt with quite seriously. Allah (SWT) says:
"Those among you who make their wives unlawful [az-Zihaar] to them by saying to them, 'You are like my mother's back.' They cannot be their mothers. None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And verily, they utter munkar (an ill word) and a lie. And verily, Allah is Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving."
"And those who make unlawful to them [their wives] [by az-Zihaar] and wish to free themselves from what they uttered, [the penalty] in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch each other. That is an admonition to you [so that you may not return to such an ill thing]. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do."
"And he who finds not [the money for freeing a slave] must fast two successive months before they both touch each other. And for him who is unable to do so, he should feed sixty of miskeen (poor). That is in order that you may have perfect Faith in Allah and His Messenger. These are the limits set by Allah [i.e. if you go out of these boundaries you will become a disbeliever]. And for disbelievers, there is a painful torment." (EMQ 58:2-4)
One must fulfil this kaffaarah in this sequence, this is why Allah (SWT) says, 'And he who finds not [the money for freeing a slave].'
There is a difference among scholars in regards to whether this slave must be a Muslim or not. The Ahnaaf (Hanafis) believe it must be a Muslim in the hands of the Kuffaar. However, the aayah is general; thus, it applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
5. Kaffaarah of doing mahzoor (haraam)
This kaffaarah must be paid when a person has done certain haraam acts. For example, a person who slept with his wife during daylight hours in the month of Ramadaan must expiate this sin the way az-Zihaar is expiated i.e. he must free a slave, or fast for two months, or feed sixty miskeen (in sequence).
Al-Mahzoor is any haraam which has not been specified. Its kaffaarah is derived from the text i.e. Ijmaa' as-Sahaabah or by referring to what the 'Ulamaa of Ahl us-Sunnah have stated. Kaffaarah is either specified by text or is extracted (through ijtihaad) by a mujtahid.
6. Killing by mistake
A person who killed a believer (Muslim) by mistake must free a believing slave and give blood money to the family of the deceased (100 camels). If he is incapable of doing this he must fast two continuous months. If he cannot do either of these he must feed sixty miskeen. Allah (SWT) says:
"It is not for a believer to kill a believer except [that it be] by mistake. And whosoever kills a believer by mistake, [it is ordained that] he must set free a believing slave and a compensation [blood money (diyah) of 100 camels - one camel is approximately £1,000] be given to the deceased's family, unless they remit it. If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you [you thought he was an enemy] and he was a believer [but later came to realise he was a believer]; the freeing of a believing slave [is prescribed], and if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance [i.e. a non-Muslim who was living with a covenant or treaty], compensation [blood money – diyah] must be paid to his family, and a believing slave must be freed. And whoso finds this [the penance of freeing a slave] beyond his means, he must fast for two consecutive months in order to seek repentance from Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise."
"And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him." (EMQ 4:92-93)
This verse shows that killing a disbeliever who has a covenant is not an act of apostasy.
7. Kaffaarat ul-adha bi-farqil mahzoor
Kaffaarah must be paid for anything haraam which involved harm. The kaffaarah for this is to slaughter a sheep or feed six miskeen. For this type of kaffaarah there is a choice (unlike the previous ones). You can either slaughter a sheep or feed six miskeen - else you will face severe punishment from Allah.
Example: The kaffaarah for a person who has masturbated is that he must feed six miskeen (poor people), or slaughter a sheep.
8. Kaffaarat ul-adha bi-farqil waajib
This type of kaffaarah must be paid if a person abandoned an obligatory deed (fard), such as siyaam or salaat. The penalty is to: slaughter a sheep (which must then be given to poor people) and fast ten days – three in Hajj and seven when you have returned back from Hajj
Once you have performed this type of Hajj (Hajj ul-Kaffaarah) you will not need to make up your fasts. However, this type of Hajj can only be done if you have already fulfilled your obligatory Hajj (i.e. you have been before).
9. Kaffaarah of Hajj (fidyah of Hajj)
The fidyah of Hajj is to slaughter a sheep and fast ten days (three in Hajj and seven when you return).
Example: if you killed an animal or had relationship with your wife.
10. Kaffaarah of killing an animal without a permit
This kaffaarah must be paid if a person killed an animal for no good reason; for example, driving over a cat (deliberately) or killing an animal whilst in ihraam.
A person who hunted whilst in ihraam must slaughter the equivalent to what he hunted and feed the poor with what he slaughtered. Furthermore, this meat should be fed to the people of the region (where he hunted); e.g., if he was in Makkah he should feed the poor people of Makkah.
However, there is a choice here. One can either feed the same as what he hunted (e.g. if he shot a bird he must feed a bird to the poor people) or he must give the equivalent in money – or else he will have to fast daily for every miskeen i.e. ten days, three in Hajj and seven outside.
11. Kaffaarah of intercourse before removing ihraam
The penalty of having sexual intercourse (with one's wife) before removing ihraam is to: slaughter a camel, or (if one cannot afford it) fast ten days, three in Hajj and seven later.
12. Cutting trees without need
Anyone who cuts the trees of Makkah or al-Madeenah (outside ihraam for no reason) must see their value and donate it all to the poor people (providing he was not in ihraam).
13. Kaffaarah of hayd
A person who had intercourse with his wife whilst she was on her cycle must also pay kaffaarah. One deenaar must be paid if the blood was reddish, brownish or blackish; or half a deenaar if it was greenish or yellowish.
A person who had anal intercourse with his wife must pay one deenaar (approximately thirty-three pounds) before he can sleep with her again.
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