Quran's Tafhim ( explanation)

*20) Hadrat `A'ishah has stated that after the revelation of verses 11-21 absolving her from the accusation, Hadrat Abu Bakr swore that he would no longer support Mistah bin Uthatha. This was because the man had shown absolutely no regard for the relationship nor for the favours that Abu Bakr had all along been showing him and his family. At this verse 22 was revealed and Hadrat Abu Bakr, on hearing it, immediately said: "By God! we do want that Allah should forgive us." Consequently he again started to help Mistah and in a more liberal manner than before. According to Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Abbas, some other Companions besides Hadrat Abu Bakr, also had sworn that they would discontinue helping those who had taken an active part in the slander. After the revelation of this verse, all of them revoked their oaths and the ill-will that had been created by the mischief was gone.
Here a question may arise as to whether a person, who swears for something and Later on revokes the oath on fording that there was no good in it and adopts a better and more virtuous course, should offer expiation for breaking the oath or not. One group of the jurists is of the opinion that adoption of the virtuous course itself is the expiation and nothing more needs to be done. They base their argument on this verse where Allah commanded Hadrat Abu Bakr to revoke his oath but did not require him to atone for it. They also cite a Tradition of the Holy Prophet in support of their argument, saying: "lf anybody takes an oath for something and later on fords that another course is better and adopts it, his adoption of a better course by itself is the atonement for breaking the oath."
The other group is of the view that there is a clear Commandment in the Qur'an concerning the breaking of oath (II: 225, V: 89), which has neither been abrogated by this verse nor clearly amended. Therefore the earlier Commandment stands. No doubt, Allah commanded Hadrat Abu Bakr to revoke his oath but He did not tell him that expiation was not necessary. As regards the Tradition of the Holy Prophet, it only means this that the sin of taking an oath for a wrong thing is wiped out when the right course is adopted; it does not absolve one from making expiation for the oath itself. Another Tradition of the Holy Prophet clarifies this view. He said: "Whoso swears for something and then finds that another course is better than the one he had sworn for, he should adopt the better course and atone for his oath. " This shows that expiation for breaking one's oath and expiation of the sin for not doing good are different things. The expiation for the first is to adopt the right course, and for the second the same as has been laid down in the Qur'an. For further explanation, see E.N. 46 of Surah Sad.
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