Expiation (Kaffaarah] Of Major Sins

Killing a Soul

Allaah has honoured the human soul So much. He swore with it in many places in the Qur'aan and He decrees that the soul of anyone is not taken except for a reason He, the Creator of souls has permitted. Allaah says: 

"And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allaah is Most Merciful to you." (Q4[an-Nisaa]:29).  

It is even worse when the soul is that of a Muslim.


For the killing of a Muslim to be lawful it has to be as the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"The blood of a Muslim who testifies that There is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that I (Muhammad) is the Messenger of Allaah is forbidden except for one of three reasons, a Soul for a soul, the married one who commits Zina (Adultery), the one who abandons his deen breaking the ranks of the congregation. (Muslim).


However, killing can either be deliberate or a mistake. It is the latter when, for example, a gun is shot at a hunted animal and it hits a human being who was not the target. Killing can also only appear to be deliberate; for example, someone uses something that may ordinary not kill (e.g. a cane) to hit someone and the one who was hit dies there from. In each of the cases, Allaah has prescribed atonements.


The Expiation

Allaah says,

"O you who believe! Al-Qisas (the Law of Equality in punishment) is prescribed for you in case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But if the killer is forgiven by the brother (or the relatives, etc.) of the killed against blood money then adhering to it with fairness and payment of the blood money to the heir should be made in fairness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. So after this whoever transgresses the limits (i.e. kills the killer after taking the blood money), he shall have a painful torment." (Q2[Baqarah]: 78)


The Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Whoever kills a believer deliberately the matter is referred to the relatives of the killed. If they so desire he (the killer) is killed and if they so desire, they take the blood money and it is thirty (30) camels in their fourth year, thirty (30) infants of sheep two years old or infants of cows three years old, forty (40) pregnant camels and whatever is agreed upon in addition to this is also for them." (Tirmidhee).


So, when a sensible and matured Muslim kills someone unlawfully deliberately (not his child, not his slave and not a Kaafir since the parent and the master are not killed for their child or Slave respectively and the Muslim is not killed for the Kaafir) and he (the one who killed) either testifies to his committing the act or that the killing was testified to by two just persons, it is for the Waliyy [the one in charge of the affairs] of the deceased to either request retribution that he should also be killed or overlook and be paid the compensation as stated in the above hadeeth.


However, to completely overlook is better. Allaah says:

"And to forego and give is nearer to At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness)." (Q2[Baqarah]:237)

The Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Allaah does not increase for a servant after he overlooks except in honour. (Ibn Maajah)


When The Killing Is A Mistake 

But in the cases where the killing was a mistake or only appears to be deliberate as explained above, the Kaffaarah is:

1. He must set free a believing slave [or in its stead, fast for two consecutive months] and

2. Pay the Compensation 


If the dead is a Muslim who belonged to a people at war with the Muslims then the believing slave is freed as Kaffaarah. But if he belonged to a people with whom the Muslims have treat of peace (like a Muslim in a non-Muslim land), then the blood compensation is paid and a believing slave freed.


Allaah says:

"It is not for a believer to kill a believer, except (then 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)'be given to the deceased's family, unless they remit it. lf the deceased belonged to a people at war with you and he was a believer; the freeing of a believing slare (is prescribed) and if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance, compensation (blood money) must be paid to his family, and 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 Allaah." (Q4[Nisaa]: 92).

Sexual Intercourse In Ramadaan

Fasting in the month of Ramadaan is abstinence from food, drink and conjugal relations from fajr to sunset in the month of Ramadaan. So eating or drinking deliberately for the fasting person breaks his fast. So it is if the fasting person engages in sexual relations with his Wife. Concerning the one who deliberately has sexual interactions with his wife, Abu Hurayrah (RA) related that a man came to Allaah's Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and said "I am ruined!" The Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to him:

"What is the matter?'"

he said, "I have had sexual relations with my wife in Ramadaan (while fasting)."

The Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to him:

"Can you afford to free a slave?" 

He said, "No." The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Can you fast for two months consecutively?"

He said,"No." The Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said to him:]

"Can you feed sixty poor persons?"

He said,"No." Then an Ansaari man came with a big basket full of dates. The Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said (to the man):

"Take this (basket) and give it in charity."

That man said, "To poorer people than we, O Messenger of Allaah?" By him who has sent you with the truth! There is no house in between the two mountains (of the city of Madeenah) poorer than we?" So the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said (to him):

"Go and feed it to your family and fast a day in place". (Bukhaari).


Please note that the one who came upon his wife is not to choose what form of Kaffaarah he likes to make rather he fulfils the subsequent one only when he is unable to come up with an earlier one and so on. This is due to the fact that, "the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) moved, him from one matter, only after that is unavailable, to another. And majority of the reports have come so." (Nayl al-Awtaar).

There is no Kaffaarah on one who forgets that he was fasting in the Month of Ramadaan while he came upon his wife. (Sharh Sahih Muslim)



This is the saying of a man to his wife - 'You are to me like the back of my mother!' When the man likens his wife to his mother with whom he cannot cohabit, he makes cohabitation with his wife prohibited for himself and stops cohabiting with the wife for as long as he wishes. About this, Allaah says:

"... They cannot be their mothers. None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie." (Q58[Mujaadila]:2).

"The fact that Allaah mentions this as 'an ill-word and a lie' indicates a strong prohibition for the act." (Nayl al-Awtaar).


Its Expiation

To atone or expiate for this prohibition, Allaah says;

"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 Allaah is AlI-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 Allaah and His Messenger. These are the limits set by Allaah." (Q58[Mujaadila]:3-4)


Khawlah bint Maalik bn Tha'iabah (RA) said, "Myhusband - Aws bn as-Saamit - likened my back to the back of my mother so Icame to the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) complaining to him. The Messenger (salallahu alayhi Wa sallam) was talking to me about it saying, 'Fear Allaah (concerning your husband) for he is the son of your uncle.' I did not leave until -

'Indeed Allaah has heard the statement of her (Khawlah bint Thalabah) that disputes with you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning her husband (Aws bn as-Saamit),' was revealed up to the ordainments (in the Soorah).

Thus, the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, 'He will free a slave.' She said, 'He cannot afford it.' He said, 'So let him fast consecutively for two months.' She said, 'O Messenger of Allaah! He is a very old man who can't fast.' He said, 'Let him feed sixty poor persons.' She said, 'He does not have anything to do Sadaqah with.'

At that time a basket of dates was brought: I said, 'O Messenger of Allaah I will assist him with another basket. So, he said, 'You have done well. Go and feed sixty poor persons with it and return to the son of your uncle (your husband).'" (Abu Dawood).


So for the one who commits the sin of az-Zibaar, the Kaffaarah before he can resume sexual relations with his wife is to free a believing slave; or in its stead, fast for two consecutive months; or in its stead, feed sixty poor persons. The one who commits the sin of az-Zihaar but stipulates a time frame by saying for example 'You are to me like the back of my mother for a day or week or month or so ... ', he is to make Kaffaarah before he can resume cohabitation with his wife if the time frame he gave has not lapsed. If the time had lapsed and he did not resume cohabitation, then there is no Kaffaarah on him but he is to make 


This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited



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