“Satanic Oaths” (Hadith No. 576)
Narrated Abu ‘Uthman:
‘Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr said, “The Suffa Companions were poor people and the Prophet said, ‘Whoever has food for two persons should take a third one from them (Suffa companions). And whosoever has food for four persons he should take one or two from them. Abu Bakr took three men and the Prophet took ten of them.”
‘Abdur Rahman added, my father my mother and I were there (in the house). (The sub-narrator is in doubt whether ‘Abdur Rahman also said, ‘My wife and our servant who was common for both my house and Abu Bakr’s house). Abu Bakr took his supper with the Prophet and remained there till the ‘Isha’ prayer was offered. Abu Bakr went back and stayed with the Prophet till the Prophet took his meal and then Abu Bakr returned to his house after a long portion of the night had passed. Abu Bakr’s wife said, ‘What detained you from your guests (or guest)?’ He said, ‘Have you not served them yet?’ She said, ‘They refused to eat until you come. The food was served for them but they refused.” ‘Abdur Rahman added, “I went away and hid myself (being afraid of Abu Bakr) and in the meantime he (Abu Bakr) called me, ‘O Ghunthar (a harsh word)!’ and also called me bad names and abused me and then said (to his family), ‘Eat. No welcome for you.’ Then (the supper was served). Abu Bakr took an oath that he would not eat that food. The narrator added: By Allah, whenever any one of us (myself and the guests of Suffa companions) took anything from the food, it increased from underneath. We all ate to our fill and the food was more than it was before its serving.
Abu Bakr looked at it (the food) and found it as it was before serving or even more than that. He addressed his wife (saying) ‘O the sister of Bani Firas! What is this?’ She said, ‘O the pleasure of my eyes! The food is now three times more than it was before.’ Abu Bakr ate from it, and said, ‘That (oath) was from Satan, meaning his oath (not to eat). Then he again took a morsel (mouthful) from it and then took the rest of it to the Prophet. So that meal was with the Prophet. There was a treaty between us and some people, and when the period of that treaty had elapsed the Prophet divided us into twelve (groups) (the Prophet’s companions) each being headed by a man. Allah knows how many men were under the command of each (leader). So all of them (12 groups of men) ate of that meal.”
The story has numerous lessons in it. Taking one aspect of it: ‘satanic oaths’, a few things to be noted:
- Do not take oaths that keep you away from good. As in Abu Bakr’s example, his oath only kept him from eating food.
- Break your oath as soon as you realize it was from Shaytaan.
- When you decide to break an oath, there’s a kaffarah (expiation) you need to pay.
[Allah will not take you to task for that which is unintentional in your oaths, but He will take you to task for the oaths which ye swear in earnest. The expiation thereof is the feeding of ten of the needy with the average of that wherewith ye feed your own folk, or the clothing of them, or the liberation of a slave, and for him who findeth not (the wherewithal to do so) then a three day fast. This is the expiation of your oaths when ye have sworn; and keep your oaths. Thus Allah expoundeth unto you His revelations in order that ye may give thanks.] (Al-Ma’idah 5:89)
- This Hadith does not mention Abu Bakr (RA) paying expiation for breaking his oath. Reason: it was a ‘satanic oath’. So the expiation of a ‘laghw‘ oath, is breaking it.