What is the ruling for making oaths using the Quran?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We would start our answer defining the meaning of the term oath. The word aiman (الأيمان) is the plural of yamin (اليمين). Literally it means power or authority. Allah SWT states:
لَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُ بِالْيَمِينِ
“We would have seized him by the right hand;”
Surah al-Haqqah (45)
A poet said:
“When the flag is lifted for honor. Surely, 'urabah will find strength in it.”
The word yamin also means the right hand, for strength and authority are related to it. Another meaning for it something that is honored. The reason being, the Arabs would hold out their right hand when they are making an oath. Yamin is used to strengthen words or statements unsupported by evidence, while uttering one of the names or attributes of Allah SWT using certain phrases. It is not used in making meaningless oaths (اليمين اللغو), or oaths that are uttered without any meaning of strengthening or emphasizing something.
For example, someone that always utters the word “no, in the name of Allah (لا، والله)” and no, “indeed, by Allah (بلى، والله)”. Words such as these are not considered as an oath according to syarak. Allah SWT states:
لَا يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللَّهُ بِاللَّغْوِ فِي أَيْمَانِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ يُؤَاخِذُكُمْ بِمَا عَقَّدْتُمُ الْأَيْمَانَ
“Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for [breaking] what you intended of oaths.”
Surah al-Maidah (89)
Aisyah R.Anha said:
نُزِلَتْ فِي قَوْلِهِ: لاَ وَاللَّهِ، وَبَلَى وَاللَّهِ
“The verse was revealed about a man's state men (during his talk), "No, by Allah," and "Yes, by Allah."
Sahih al-Bukhari (6286) and Sunan Abu Daud (3254)
From Aisyah R.Anha, the Prophet PBUH said:
هُوَ كَلاَمُ الرَّجُلِ فِي بَيْتِهِ: كَلاَّ وَاللهِ وَبَلَى وَاللهِ
“It (was sent down about such phrases as) a person in his house saying: 'No, by Allah' and 'By Allah.”
Sunan Ibn Hibban (1187)
Words that strengthen a fact, such as, “By Allah I would one day die,” or “By Allah, indeed, the sun has risen,” when the sun has already risen when he utters it, then it is not considered as an oath.
The reason is, the words themselves are a certainty and it would be impossible for the oath to be untrue. Oaths can, however, be said for something that has happened or is in the past, for example, “By Allah I did not do it,” or “By Allah I did it,”.
This is in accordance with Allah SWT’s statement:
يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ مَا قَالُوا
“They swear by Allah that they did not say [anything against the Prophet],”
Surah al-Taubah (74)
Oaths can also be made for something in the future, such as, “By Allah I will complete it.” This is in line with a hadith from the Prophet PBUH, where he said:
وَاللهِ لأَغْزُوَنَّ قُرَيْشاً
“I swear by Allah, I shall fight against the Quraysh.”
Sunan Abu Daud (447)
Regarding the issue of making oaths using the Quran, it is permissible. The reason is, one of the conditions of making an oath is:
One should only make an oath or swear by one of the following:
- The Essence of Allah SWT. For example, I swear by Allah SWT’s essence or I swear by Allah SWT.
- Specific names of Allah SWT. Such as, I swear by the Guardian (الرب) of the universe or by the Authority (المالك) on Judgement Day or I swear by the Most Forgiving God.
- The attributes of Allah SWT. For example, I swear by the Eminence of Allah SWT, or His Wisdom or His Power.
This is in accordance with a hadith from Abdullah bin Umar R.Anhuma, where Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) met `Umar bin Al-Khattab while the latter was going with a group of camel-riders, and he was swearing by his father. The Prophet (ﷺ) said,
هُوَ يَسِيرُ فِي رَكْبٍ، يَحْلِفُ بِأَبِيهِ، فَقَالَ: أَلاَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَنْهَاكُمْ أَنْ تَحْلِفُوا بِآبَائِكُمْ، مَنْ كَانَ حَالِفًا فَلْيَحْلِفْ بِاللَّهِ، أَوْ لِيَصْمُتْ
"Lo! Allah forbids you to swear by your fathers, so whoever has to take an oath, he should swear by Allah or keep quiet."
Sahih al-Bukhari (6270) and Sahih Muslim (1646)
From Umar RA, he said:
كَانَت يَمِيْنُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: لاَ وَمُقَلِّبِ الْقُلُوبِ
The Prophet's oath (ﷺ) used to be: "No, by Him Who turns (changes) the hearts."
Sahih al-Bukhari (6253)
In another hadith, the Prophet PUH said:
وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ، وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ
“By Him in Whose Hand is my life, and By Him in Whose Hand is Muhammad’s life,”
Sahih al-Bukhari (6254)
Swearing using the Quran is permissible for the Quran is the words of Allah SWT, for Allah SWT directly revealed the verses of the Quran through the angel Gabriel to the Prophet PBUH. One of the attributes of Allah SWT is Al-Kalam (Speech). Hence, swearing using the Quran, truthfully, is swearing using one of Allah SWT’s attributes, thus it is permissible.
Furthermore, anyone who swears with anything other than Allah SWT, his oath would be invalid for two reasons:
- The Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ كَانَ حَالِفًا فَلْيَحْلِفْ بِاللَّهِ، أَوْ لِيَصْمُتْ
“Whoever has to take an oath should swear by Allah or remain silent.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (2679)
- There is nothing that can compare to Allah SWT’s eminence and for Muslims, it is prohibited to honour anything except Allah SWT.
We end our discussion hoping that we would always able to seek knowledge from correct sources in accordance with syarak. May this answer give us a good understanding about our religion and the correct way of making an oath according to syarak. Amin.