Vow and Covenant
2649. Vow means making it obligatory upon oneself to do some good act, or to refrain from doing an act, performance of which is not preferred, for the sake of, or for the pleasure of Allah.
2650. While making a vow, a formula declaration has to be pronounced, though is not necessary that it should be in Arabic. If a person says, "When the patient recovers from his ailment, it will be obligatory upon me to pay $10 to a poor man, for the sake of Allah," his vow will be in order.
2651. It is necessary that the person making a vow is Baligh and sane, and makes the vow with free will and intention. Therefore, vow of a person who has been coerced to make a vow, or if he makes it owing to anger without any intention or choice, his vow is not in order.
2652. If a person who is feeble-minded, i.e. one who squanders his property for useless purposes, makes a vow to expend his wealth wisely, his vow is not in order.
2653. If a husband disallows his wife to make a vow or if the wife vows without the permission of the husband, her vow will not be valid.
2654. If a woman makes a vow with the permission of her husband, he cannot abrogate her vow, or restrain her from fulfilling her vow.
2655. If a child (son or daughter) makes a vow, with the permission of his/her father, he/she should fulfil his/her vow. Rather, if he/she vows without the permission of his/her father it is obligatory for them to fulfil their vow. However, if the father has forbidden him/her to perform any act or after he/she had vowed forbids it, this vow is void.
2656. A person can make a vow only for an act, which is possible for him to fulfil. If, for example, a person is not capable of travelling up to Karbala on foot, and he makes a vow that he will go there on foot, his vow will not be in order.
2657. If a person makes a vow that he will perform a Haraam or Makrooh act, or that he would refrain from a Wajib or Mustahab act, his vow is not valid.
2658. If a person makes a vow that he will perform or renounce a normal (Mubah) act and performing or renouncing of which has equal merits, his vow is not in order. Moreover, if performing it is better in some respect, and a person makes a vow keeping that merit in view, for example, if he makes a vow that he will eat a certain food to gain strength for worshipping Allah, his vow will be in order. In addition, if its renouncing is better in some respect, and the vow to renounce it is made with that intention, for example, if he finds smoking is harmful and makes a vow not to smoke, his vow is in order.
2659. If a person makes a vow, that he will offer his obligatory prayers at a place where offering does not inherently carry higher spiritual merits. For example, he makes a vow to offer his prayers in a certain room, his vow will be valid, only if, offering prayers there has some merit, like, being able to concentrate better due to solitude.
2660. If a person makes a vow to perform an act, he should perform it in strict accordance with his vow. If he makes a vow to give Sadaqah, or to fast on the first day of every month, or to offer prayers of the first of the month, if he performs these acts before that day or after, it will not suffice. In addition, if he makes a vow that he will give Sadaqah when a patient recover, but gives away before the recovery of the patient, it will not suffice.
2661. If a person makes a vow that he will fast, without specifying the time and the number of fasts, it will be sufficient if he observes one fast. Moreover, if he makes a vow that he will offer prayers, but does not specify its number and particulars, it will be sufficient if he offers a two Rak'at prayer. In addition, if he makes a vow that he will give Sadaqah, not specifying its nature or quantity, and he gives something, which can be deemed as Sadaqah, his vow will be fulfilled. Moreover, if he simply makes a vow that he will perform an act to please Almighty Allah, his vow will be fulfilled if he offers one prayers, or observes one fast, or gives away something by way of Sadaqah.
2662. If a person makes a vow that he will observe fast on a particular day, he should observe fast on that very day. In addition, if he does not observe fast on that day without any excuse such as travelling or illness, he should observe the Qadha for that fast and give its Kaffarah. Preference in Kaffarah of vow for someone, who is unable to free a slave, is to feed sixty poor persons, and if he is unable to do that, he
should perform both of these acts which is to provide clothing to ten poor persons and keep fast for two months. Moreover, if he cannot provide clothes to ten persons he should suffice on fast for two months.
2663. If a person, out of his own choice, violates his vow, he should give Kaffarah, which has been mentioned in the previous rule.
2664. If a person makes a vow to renounce an act for some specified time, he will be free to perform that act after that time has passed. However, if he performs it before that time, due to forgetfulness, or helplessness, there is no liability on him. Even then, it will be necessary for him to refrain from that act for the remaining time, and if he repeats that act before the time period is over it without any excuse, he must give Kaffarah, which is mentioned in the rule no. 2662.
2665. If a person makes a vow to renounce an act, without setting any time limit, and then performs that act because of forgetfulness, helplessness or carelessness, it is not obligatory for him to give its Kaffarah. However, later on, if he repeats the act again at any time out of his own will, he must give Kaffarah, which is mentioned in the rule no. 2662.
2666. If a person makes a vow that, he/she will observe fast every week on a particular day. For example, on Friday, and if Eid ul Fitr or Eid ul Azha falls on one of the Fridays or an excuse like menses springs up for her, he/she should not observe fast on that day, but he should give its Qadha.
2667. If a person makes a vow that he will give a specific amount as Sadaqah, and dies before he has given it away, it is necessary that, that specific amount should be deducted from his estate.
2668. If a person makes a vow that he will give Sadaqah to a particular poor person, he cannot give it to another poor person, and if that poor person dies, as per recommended precaution, he should give the Sadaqah to his heirs.
2669. If a person makes a vow that he will perform the Ziyarat of a particular holy Imam, for example, Ziyarat of Abu Abdillah (A.S.). It will not suffice if later on went for the Ziyarat of another Imam, and if he cannot perform the Ziyarat of that particular Imam because of any excuse, nothing is obligatory on him.
2670. If a person has made a vow that, he will go for Ziyarat, but has not included in his vow that he will do Ghusl or pray after the Ziyarat, it is not necessary for him to perform those acts.
2671. If a person makes a vow that, he would spend some amount of money on the holy shrine of one of the Imams, or the descendants of the Imams, he should spend it on the repairs, lighting, carpeting etc. of the holy shrine or it should be given to the pilgrims and the attendants of the holy shrine.
2672. If a person makes a vow to give something in the name of Holy Imam himself, and has an intention to put it to a specific use, he should spend it for that very purpose only. In addition, if he has not made an intention to put it to any specific use, he should spend it on poor people and the pilgrim of Holy Imam, or he should spend it to build Masjids and the likes of it. In addition, he should bestow its reward upon the Holy Imam. The same rule applies in the case of the descendants of the Imams.
2673. If someone makes a vow that, he would give a sheep as Sadaqah in the name of a Holy Imam, and if it gives milk, or gives birth to a young one, before it is put to use in accordance with the vow, the milk or the lamb will be the property of the person who made the vow. However, the growth of fat on the animal and its wool will be considered as a part of the vow.
2674. If a person makes a vow that, if a patient recovers or a traveller returns home, and if it transpires later that the patient had already recovered or the traveller had already returned before he had made the vow, it will not be necessary for him to fulfil his vow.
2675. If a father or a mother makes a vow that he/she will marry their daughter to a Sayyid, the option rests with the girl when she becomes Baligh, and the vow made by the parents has no significance.
2676. When a person makes a covenant with Allah, that if his particular lawful need is fulfilled, he will perform a good act, it is necessary for him to fulfil the covenant after his wish is fulfilled. Similarly, if he makes a covenant without having any wish, that he will perform a good act, it becomes obligatory upon him to perform that act.
2677. As in the case of vow, a formal declaration should be pronounced in the case of covenant ('Ahd) as well. In addition, the covenant that one makes should be related to either acts of worship, like Wajib or Mustahab prayers, or those acts whose performance is better than its renunciation.
2678. If a person does not act according to the covenant made by him, he should give a Kaffarah for it, i.e. he should either feed sixty poor persons or fast for two months or set free a slave.