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“Kaffarah” (كَفّارَة  ) is an expiation within the Islamic tradition that provides individuals for making up of deeds or if they commit a sin.


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Literal Meaning

-atonement ; atoning sacrifice ; expiation ; expiatory gift ; penance ; propitiation

- something you do to show that you are sorry for having done something wrong; expiation

- sacrifice made to expiate one's sins

- a gift is presented to free from the charge of a sin

- a gift that is offered to make amends for wrongdoings

- imposed punishment for regretting for mistakes

- penance' expiation; propitiation [1]


Islamic Meaning

The literal meaning of the Arabic term Kafarah means to remove, or blot out, or wipe out something.


When the term Kaffarah is used in Fiqh or Islamic Jurisprudence it would mean an act of prescribed atonement or penitence one has to do for making an error or mistake one has made, which will wipe out or blot out that evil in the Sight of Allah.


In effect, the kaffarah is but a manifestation of ones sincere repentance for their transgression of a specific mistake. [2]



  1. 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. Surah Maidah 5:89
  2. O you who have believed, do not kill game while you are in the state of ihram. And whoever of you kills it intentionally – the penalty is an equivalent from sacrificial animals to what he killed, as judged by two just men among you as an offering [to Allah] delivered to the Ka‘bah, or an expiation: the feeding of needy people or the equivalent of that in fasting, that he may taste the consequence of his deed. Allah has pardoned what is past; but whoever returns [to violation], then Allah will take retribution from him. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Owner of Retribution. Surah Maidah 5:95


Various Examples of Kaffarah

  1. If one misses an obligatory prayer for any reason, its prescribed kaffarah or atonement is that one pray it later as soon as one remembers it.
  2. If one misses an obligatory fast, its prescribed kaffarah or atonement is to make up the missed fast later; and if one is terminally ill and does not possess the strength to make up the missed obligatory fasts later, then the kaffarah of such a person is to feed one poor indigent person for each fast missed.
  3. If one makes an error in or misses an obligatory rite of the Hajj pilgrimage, then its prescribed kaffarah is that one sacrifice a sheep as atonement.
  4. If one has made a oath in the Name of Allah to do something and for some reason has to break that oath, then the prescribed kaffarah in Shariah is that such a person feed those who are indigent, or clothe them, or free a slave.
  5. If one accidentally kills another person, the Shariah has prescribed that such a person manifest his repentance by paying the blood money and free a slave as the kaffarah; and if one cannot free a slave then they should fast two consecutive months.
  6. If one has sexual intercourse with ones wife during one of the days of obligatory fasting in Ramadan, then Shariah has prescribed that one manifest their taubah for their transgression by either freeing a slave, or fasting two consecutive months, or feeding sixty poor people. [2]


See Also

Sin; Gift; Islamic Shariah; Dates;





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