The Quran

Commentaries for 2.224

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.224 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And make not Allah, by your oaths, a hindrance) a reason by means of which you make your oaths. This was revealed about 'Abdullah Ibn Rawahah who swore not to show kindness to his sister and her husband and not to speak with them or make up between them. But Allah warned him against doing so, saying: do not make Allah a reason by means of which you make oaths, (to your being righteous) that you should not honour your oath (and observing your duty unto Him) and ward off severing ties of kinship (and making peace) and not make peace (among mankind). He says: return to that which is better for you and make amend for your oaths; it is also said that this means: avoid making oaths by Allah about not showing kindness to anyone and your not making peace between people. (For Allah is Hearer) of your oath to stop showing kindness to people, (Knower) of your intentions and the amends that will absolve you from your oaths.
2.224 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Do not make God, by swearing in His Name, a hindrance, a cause of impediment, in your oaths, that is, setting up [such impediments] by swearing in His Name frequently, so as not, to be pious and God-fearing; in such instances oaths are hateful, and result in perjury, which requires a redemption, effected by doing the opposite [of the oath], such as performing righteous deeds and so forth, which constitute an act of obedience; and to put things right between people: this means, do not be prevented from doing righteous deeds, as mentioned, just because you swore against them; nay, do them and make redemption; [this understanding of the verse is] justified by the reason for its revelation, namely, their refraining from such deeds; surely God is All-Hearing, of what you say, Knower, of your circumstances.
2.224-225 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Prohibition of swearing to abandon a Good Deed
Allah commands, `You should not implement your vows in Allah's Name to refrain from pious acts and severing the relations with the relatives, if you swear to abandon such causes.' Allah said in another Ayah:
وَلاَ يَأْتَلِ أُوْلُواْ الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُواْ أُوْلِى الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَـكِينَ وَالْمُهَـجِرِينَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُواْ وَلْيَصْفَحُواْ أَلاَ تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ
(And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, Al-Masakin (the poor), and those who left their homes for Allah's cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you) (24:22)
Continuity in a sinful vow is more sinful than breaking it by expiation. Allah's Messenger said:
«وَاللهِ لَأَنْ يَلَجَّ أَحَدُكُمْ بِيَمِينِهِ فِي أَهْلِهِ آثَمُ لَهُ عِنْد اللهِ مِنْ أَنْ يُعْطِيَ كَفَّارَتَهُ الَّتِي افْتَرَضَ اللهُ عَلَيْه»
(By Allah! It is more sinful to Allah that one of you implements his vow regarding (severing the relations with) his relatives than (breaking his promise and) paying the Kaffarah that Allah has required in such cases.)
This is how Muslim reported this Hadith and also Imam Ahmad.
`Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that what Allah said:
وَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ اللَّهَ عُرْضَةً لاًّيْمَـنِكُمْ
(And make not Allah's (Name) an excuse in your oaths) means, "Do not vow to refrain from doing good works. (If you make such vow then) break it, pay the Kaffarah and do the good work.'' This was also said by Masruq, Ash-Sha`bi, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Mujahid, Tawus, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ata', `Ikrimah, Makhul, Az-Zuhri, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and As-Suddi.
Suporting this view, which is the majority view, is what is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari narrated that Allah's Messenger said:.
«إِنِّي وَاللهِ إِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ، لَا أَحْلِفُ عَلى يَمِينٍ فَأَرَى غَيْرَهَا خَيْرًا مِنْهَا إِلَّا أَتَيْتُ الَّذِي هُوَ خَيْرٌ وَتَحَلَّلْتُهَا»
(By Allah! Allah willing, I will not vow to do a thing and then see a better act, but I would do what is better and break my vow.) Muslim reported that Abu Hurayrah said that Allah's Messenger said:
«مَنْ حَلَفَ عَلى يَمِينٍ فَرَأَى غَيْرَهَا خَيْرًا مِنْهَا فَلْيُكَفِّرْ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ، وَلْيَفْعَلِ الَّذِي هُوَ خَيْر»
(Whoever makes a vow and then finds what is better than his vow (should break his vow,) pay the Kaffarah and perform the better deed.)
The Laghw (Unintentional) Vows
Allah said:
لاَّ يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللَّهُ بِالَّلغْوِ فِى أَيْمَـنِكُمْ
(Allah will not call you to account for that which is unintentional in your oaths,)
This Ayah means, `Allah does not punish or hold you accountable for the Laghw (unintentional) vows that you make.' The Laghw vows are unintentional and are just like the habitual statements that the tongue repeats, without really intending them. For instance, it is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«مَنْ حَلَفَ فَقَالَ فِي حَلِفِهِ بِاللَّاتِ وَالْعُزَّى، فَلْيَقُلْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا الله»
(Whoever swore and (unintentionally) mentioned Al-Lat and Al-`Uzza (two idols) in his vow, should then say, `There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah'.)
The Messenger said this statement to some new Muslims whose tongues were, before Islam, used to vowing by their idol Al-Lat. Therefore, the Prophet ordered them to intentionally recite the slogan of Ikhlas, just as they mentioned these words by mistake, so that it (the word of Ikhlas) may eradicate the word (of Shirk). This is why Allah said:
وَلَـكِن يُؤَاخِذُكُم بِمَا كَسَبَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ
(...but He will call you to account for that which your hearts have earned.) and in another Ayah:
بِمَا عَقَّدتُّمُ الاٌّيْمَـنَ
(...for your deliberate oaths) (5:89)
Abu Dawud reported under Chapter: `The Laghw Vows' that `Ata' said that `A'ishah said that Allah's Messenger said:
«اللَّغْوُ فِي الْيَمِينِ هُوَ كَلَامُ الرَّجُلِ فِي بَيْتِهِ: كَلَّا وَاللهِ، وَبَلَى وَالله»
(The Laghw in the vows includes what the man says in his house, such as, `No, by Allah,' and, `Yes, by Allah'.)
Ibn Abu Hatim reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Laghw vow includes vowing while angry.''
He also reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Laghw vow includes vowing to prohibit what Allah has allowed, and this type does not require a Kaffarah (expiation).'' Similar was said by Sa`id bin Jubayr.
In addition, Abu Dawud related under Chapter: `Vowing while Angry' that Sa`id bin Musayyib said that two Ansari brothers both received inheritance and one of them asked that the inheritance be divided. His brother said, "If you ask me about dividing the inheritance again, then all of what I have will be spent on the Ka`bah's door.'' `Umar said to him, "The Ka`bah does not need your money. So break your vow, pay the Kaffarah and come to terms with your brother. I heard Allah's Messenger saying:
«لَا يَمِينَ عَلَيْكَ وَلَا نَذْرَ فِي مَعْصِيَةِ الرَّبِّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، وَفِي قَطِيعَةِ الرَّحِمِ، وَفِيمَا لَا تَمْلِك»
(Do not make a vow against yourself, nor to disobey the Lord, cut the relations of the womb or dispose of what you do not own.)''
Allah said:
وَلَـكِن يُؤَاخِذُكُم بِمَا كَسَبَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ
(...but He will call you to account for that which your hearts have earned,)
Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and several others said that this Ayah means swearing about a matter while knowing that he is lying. Mujahid and others said this Ayah is similar to what Allah said:
وَلَـكِن يُؤَاخِذُكُم بِمَا عَقَّدتُّمُ الاٌّيْمَـنَ
(...but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths.) (5:89) Allah said (2:225 above):
وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ
(And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Forbearing.) meaning, He is Oft-Forgiving to His servants and Most Forbearing with them.
2.224-225 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
We learn from authentic Traditions that if anyone takes a thoughtless oath to do or not to do a thing and afterwards realizes that fairness demands its abrogation, he should abrogate it and expiate for it. The expiation for breaking an oath is the feeding of ten needy persons or clothing them or the liberation of a slave. If one cannot afford this, he must observe fast for three days. (Please see Al-Ma'idah, V : 89).
There is neither expiation nor any punishment for those oaths that one utters unawares as a by word.
2.224 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Do not make God a hindrance in your oaths to be pious and God-fearing; and to put things right between people; surely God is All-Hearing Knower. Keep the mention of your Lord free of the banality of any worldly concerns. It is said “Do not make the mention of God into a net to catch the debris of this world.”
2.224 Tustari - Al-Tustari
Do not make God’s [name] an excuse in your oaths not to be righteous…Sahl was asked concerning this verse, ‘What is this righteousness (birr)?’ He replied: ‘This means that you do not maintain your family ties [just] because of an oath.’ Then [in this connection] someone mentioned to him the verse: It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West [2:177], and he [Sahl] said:This means: it is not righteousness that you do nothing other than this; [True] righteousness is [that of] the one who believes in God [2:177], to the end of that verse. Do you not notice how He says, Do you bid others to righteousness, while you forget [to practise it] yourselves? [2:44], which is a reference to Jews who were commanding their foster brothers to obey God, Exalted is He, and to follow the Prophet, while they themselves did not do that.
2.224 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(And make not Allah, by your oaths, a hindrance to your being righteous…) [2:224]. Said al-Kalbi: “This was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn Rawahah to warn him against boycotting the husband of his sister, Bashir ibn al-Nu‘man. ‘Abd Allah ibn Rawahah had sworn that he will never visit him, speak to him or reconcile between him and his sister. He said: ‘I swore by Allah that I will not do any of these and it is forbidden for me not to honour my oath’. Allah then revealed this verse”.