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If he feeds one poor person on one day for ten expiations (kaffaarah), is that valid?

Question: 287040

I have many expiations to offer for breaking oaths (kaffaarat yameen), which I must complete, if Allah wills. For example, if I owe 10 expiations, can I give to the same poor person 10 times in one go, for different expiations, then on another day give the same thing to another poor person, but for different expiations, and so on, until I have given to 10 poor persons?

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family.

What is required in the case of expiation for breaking an oath (kaffaarat yameen) is to feed or clothe ten poor persons, or to free a slave. The one who is not able to do that must fast for three days, because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for [breaking] what you intended of oaths. So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your [own] families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave. But whoever cannot find [or afford it] – then a fast of three days [is required]. That is the expiation for oaths when you have sworn. But guard your oaths. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be grateful} [al-Maa’idah 5:89].

The one who chooses to feed people must feed ten poor persons for each expiation; it is not acceptable to feed one poor person ten times for one expiation.

But if there are a number of expiations to be offered, then for one who owes ten expiations, for example, it is permissible to feed each poor person ten times, or to give him food for ten meals, by way of offering ten expiations. So if he feeds ten poor persons, feeding each person ten times, then he has done what is required of him, because it may be truly said of him that he fed ten poor persons for each expiation.

It says in Sharh Muntaha al-Iraadaat (3/175): And it is valid to give it to one poor person on one day to cover two expiations or more, because giving the amount required to the number of people required is like giving it to one person over two days. End quote.

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If he feeds one poor person on one day to cover two expiations, then there are two scholarly views. The first view is that this is valid, because he gave food to ten poor persons for each expiation, and therefore it is valid, just as if he gave him food over two days. Moreover, if it is permissible for the poor person to accept [food given in expiation] from two people, it is permissible for him to accept it from one person, just as he may receive the zakaah that is permissible for him all in one go.

The second view is that it is not valid to count one person as anything except only one. This is the view of Abu Haneefah and Abu Yoosuf, because he has given to one poor person in one day the food of two, so it can only be regarded as giving one expiation to one person, so it is as if he gave only one expiation.

But if he fed two people to cover two expiations on one day, that is permissible, and we do not know of any difference of opinion concerning that.

Similarly, if he feeds one person to cover two expiations over two days, that is also permissible, and there is no difference of scholarly opinion of which we are aware.

So if someone owes ten expiations, and he has ten poor people whom he feeds every day for one expiation that he divides among them, that is permissible, because he has done what he was commanded to do, and is thus absolved.

What is meant by his having done what he was commanded to do, is that he fed ten poor persons for each expiation, giving them the average type of food that he gives to his family. The ruling regarding clothing is the same as the ruling on giving food, according to what we have explained above." (Al-Mughni  9/544).

For more information, please see the answer to question no. 89677 .

And Allah knows best.


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