Home Quranet Chapter 7 What can we say to someone who swears a false oath?
What can we say to someone who swears a false oath?
Chapter 7

وَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ اللّهَ عُرْضَةً لِّأَيْمَانِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ وَتُصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (سورۃ البقرة, آيۃ 224)

And make not Allah's (name) an excuse in your oaths against doing good, or acting rightly, or making peace between persons; for Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth all things. (Surah 2, Verse 224)

Fifteen-year-old Abed, who is in the tenth grade, often stayed out till late at night. Both his parents are career-oriented and spend many hours away from home. His father is a doctor and his mother an elementary school principal in the village. They return home very late, eat a hasty family meal with Abed and his little sister, Zinab, and then each returns to his occupations: the father goes back to the hospital or takes the opportunity to go to bed early and the mother shuts herself in her study and busies herself with paperwork. It seems that they do not know where he goes and when he goes to bed.

One evening, when they happened to eat supper together, the mother mentioned how difficult it was to rouse Abed in the morning. She suggested taking him to the local clinic for a blood test to discover why he was so tired in the mornings. Then Zinab intervened and said that perhaps Abed found it difficult to get up because he often came home late at night. Now both parents turned to Abed and asked together: "Is that true?" Abed swore by Allah that it was not true and that he went to bed early every night.

Later that same day, Zinab came running to her mother, crying, and told her that Abed had hit her and said she was a tattletale. Again Abed swore by Allah that his sister was inventing the story. His mother decided it was time to intervene. She took him aside for a talk, asked about his evening activities and criticized his tendency to swear solemn oath on every occasion even when he was not telling the truth. She explained to him that God was everywhere and watches our actions, sees and hears everything. To bear out her explanation, she quoted him the verse: "And make not Allah's (name) an excuse in your oaths against doing good, or acting rightly, or making peace between persons; for Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth all things". When Abed heard the verse, he promised his mother that he would never again swear in the name of Allah and would stop going out late at night. His mother noted that this was the first time he had made a promise without swearing an oath.

Explanation: Abed was taking the name of God in vain because he had learned that when he swore, people tended to believe him. But the Quran, which teaches people to tell the truth, tells us that those who take the name of Allah in vain as an excuse may not necessarily be telling the truth. Otherwise, why woultheyd he need to swear so often. An oath in the name of God is of special value. In court Muslims take an oath by laying their hand on the Quran and other religions take oaths on their holy books. We simply want to teach children to tell the truth without needing to swear an oath; a lie damages does not only damage the society in which the individual is a partner, but often when someone lies to another, he is also lying to himself. Then the damage is twofold. For example, if Abed denies that he goes to bed late he is also lying to himself and therefore will not mend his ways. This is also true about his attack on his sister.