In the name of Allah,
One of the three atonements listed in the Qur’an in that order should be used as atonement. He must never proceed to the subsequent one until he is unable to complete the preceding one.
The three options for atonement are: manumitting a slave who is a believer; fasting for two straight months; or feeding sixty needy individuals. Allah says,
(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 Allah is All-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, should feed sixty of Miski’ns (poor). Al-Mujadilah 58:3, 4.
Whether he counts sixty days or two lunar months, fasting must be kept continuously. He must start all over again if the succession is broken for any reason other than illness or other valid reasons because continuousness is a requirement[i].
Ibn Jibreen (may Allah have mercy on him) stated, “The atonement for Az-Zihar or for having sex during the day in the month of Ramadhan is according to sequence, not according to choice.” Therefore, a slave must be liberated; if none can be found, the next step is to fast; if that is impossible, the next step is to provide food for the needy[ii].
Is The Expiation Of Zihaar Waived Due To Inability?
The hadith suggests that not all forms of atonement are to be disregarded when a person is unable. Scholars have conflicting opinions on this issue. It is forbidden to give up it when the individual is unable, according to Ash-Shafi’I and one of the two sayings given concerning Ahmad.
The evidence can be found in the hadith of Abu Dawud that Khawlah Bint Malik Ibn Tha’labah said, “My husband, Aws Ibnus-Samit practiced zihar with me…” until the Prophet (PBUH) said to her, “Let him set a slave free.’ She said, ‘He cannot.’ He said, ‘Let him fast for two consecutive months.” She said, ‘He is an old man who cannot observe fast. ‘ He said, “Let him feed sixty indigent persons.’ She said, ‘He has nothing to offer in charity.’ He said, ‘i will aid him with a ‘irq (some measure) …etc. The Prophet would thus make this clear and refrain from helping him at his own expense if he were to be exempted because of incapacity.
Additionally, according to Ahmad’s second saying and some scholars, it is appropriate to abandon expiation in the event of incapacity, just as it is acceptable to leave obligations in the event of inability[iii].
Ibn Qayyim indicates in Zaad al Maad that according to prophetic tradition if someone is helped because of their incapacity, their atonement may come back to them and their family[iv].
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If a person is required to make amends for violating an oath but is unable to afford to feed (ten needy people) or fast, Allah states that in that person’s instance, the penalty is lifted. (interpretation of the meaning):
“So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can”
“Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope”
and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If I order you to do a thing, do as much of it as you can.” He is under no need to perform any further actions because one of Islam’s principles is that if someone is unable to perform a duty, they may perform the alternative if one exists. If he is unable to fulfill the alternative, it is completely dropped. End quote from Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb[v].
Ibn Jibreen stated, ‘The responsibility is removed from him if he is unable to pay it and cannot find a lender[vi]’.
He had sex before the expiation
Regarding the man having a sexual relationship with a woman before atonement, scholars have differing views. Some scholars claim that he needs to perform three expiations in that situation.
According to Ibn ‘Umar (R.A), “He has to pay the expiation twice: once for the simple act of zihar following which they are to return, and the second due to the illegal intercourse exactly as having intercourse on the day of Ramadan. This opinion is unsound[vii].
Imam Shawkaani stated, ‘Another perspective, however, maintains that there is no atonement. However, the vast majority of scholars believe that only one atonement is required. According to the aforementioned evidence, that point of view is the most accurate one[viii].
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Until you do what you are told to by Allah the Almighty,” therefore if he had had sex with her, the expiation could neither be disregarded nor duplicated. According to As-Salt Ibn Dinar, “I asked 10 jurists about him who performs zihar with his wife and has sexual relations with her before paying the expiation, and they responded, “He shall pay a single expiation,” which is likewise the view of the four chief jurists.”
Ibn Qayyim stated that the guidance of Allah’s Messenger (may He grant him peace and salutations) does not state that one needs to atone twice or three times, and Allah knows best[ix].
Complied from the sources:
[i] Encyclopedia of Islam (Concerning Muslim Women) Volume – 2, Yusuf Al-Hajj Ahmad, Published By: Darussalam Publishers, Page-146
[ii] Fatwa Islamiyah (Islamic Verdicts) Vol 6 From the noble scholars Abdullah bib Baaz, Shaikh Uthaymeen, Ibn Jibreen ( May Allah have mercy on them) along with the permanent committee. Darussalam Publications Page 80
[iii] Fiqh of the Muslim family, A manual book in Islamic jurisprudence Hassan Ayub Al Falah staff members. Islamic inc publications. Page 304
[iv] Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya (ZAD AL M AA’D) PROVISIONS OF THE AFTERLIFE, WHICH LIE WITHIN PROPHETIC GUIDANCE, Translation Ismail Abdus Salaam, Dar Al-Kotob Al-llmiyah Publication, 2010, Page 798
[vi] Fatwa Islamiyah (Islamic Verdicts) Vol 6 From the noble scholars Abdullah bib Baaz, Shaikh Uthaymeen, Ibn Jibreen ( May Allah have mercy on them) along with the permanent committee. Darussalam Publications Page 80
[vii] Fiqh of the Muslim family, A manual book in Islamic jurisprudence Hassan Ayub Al Falah staff members. Islamic inc publications. Page 304
[viii] Shawkani, Muhammad bin Aliy, (2019). Comprehensive Islamic jurisprudence, According to the Quraan and authentic Sunnah, trans: Abu Aisha Murtadha Salahuddin. Malaysia: Dakwah Corner Bookstore. Page 369
[ix] Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya (ZAD AL M AA’D) PROVISIONS OF THE AFTERLIFE, WHICH LIE WITHIN PROPHETIC GUIDANCE, Translation Ismail Abdus Salaam, Dar Al-Kotob Al-llmiyah Publication, 2010, Page 802