The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 2692

If a person takes an oath to establish that what he is saying is the truth, in the event that his words are indeed true, the act of taking such an oath is disapproved; and if his words are false, it is unlawful. In fact, a false oath taken to resolve a dispute is one of the major sins. However, if one takes such an oath to save himself or another Muslim from the evil of an unjust person, there is no problem; rather, it sometimes becomes obligatory to do so. Furthermore, if someone is able to employ equivocation (tawriyah) while being aware of doing so, then the obligatory precaution is that he must do so. Tawriyah is when a person intends a meaning that is contrary to the apparent meaning of what he says, i.e. what he says does not indicate what he intends [but at the same time, it is not, strictly speaking, a lie]. For example, an unjust person wishes to harass a particular individual, and he asks someone, ‘Have you seen him?’ Now, even though the person being asked saw him an hour ago, he replies, ‘I have not seen him’, and by that he means he has not seen him in the last five minutes.