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On the issue of fulfilling promise, Muslim scholars diversified and pointed out different sayings:
The first opinion is that fulfillment of promise is Mostahab (desirable), and that's the saying of the Shafi'i [Al-Futuhaat Ar-Rabbaniyyah on Nawawy's Adhkaar (6/258)] and the Hanbalites [Al-Mubde'y (9/345)], and the holders  of this opinion say that it is not legally compulsory even it's required to be fulfilled religiously; because it is a favor and charity, Allah says,

(?? ??? ???????? ?? ????)

{ There is not upon the doers of good any cause – for blame - } Surat At-Tauba : 91 [see: the research of Dr Hassan El-Shazly in the Journal of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, the fifth session (4/2649)].


  The second opinion is that promise must be fulfilled if it's under a condition according to the Ahnaaf [See Ghamz Uyu'n Al-Basho'er for Al-Hamawy  (3/237)].
 

The third opinion is that promise must be fulfilled if it is based on a cause, and the promised is the effect of that cause, and this opinion is held by the Maalikis [Tahreer Al-Kalaam Ala Masa'el Al-Iltizam by Al-Hattab, p.154-155 and A-Furu'q (4/25). ]

They based their argument on the legal maxim: "No harm nor counter harm shall be done".

  The fourth opinion is that promise must be fulfilled, and this has been favored by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – May Allah's mercy be on him – [Jurisprudential selections from Fatawa of Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah p. 331)].
 

They argued as follows:
1. Almighty Allah's saying

(?? ???? ????? ????? ????? ???????)

{O you who have believed, fulfill contracts. }- Al-Maaida: 1.
2. Almighty Allah's saying

(?????? ?? ????????? ?????? ?????)

{And they who are to their trusts and their promises attentive}Al-Muminoon: 8.


3. Almighty Allah's saying

(?? ???? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ??????)

{O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do} As-Saff: 2-3.


4. Abu Huraira  - may Allah be pleased with him - said: The Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him - said: (Three are signs of the hypocrite, he lies when he speaks, and he breaches if he promises, and he betrays if he is entrusted), see: [Al-Futuhaat Ar-Rabbaniyyah on Nawawy's Adhkaar (6/258)].

This indicates the prohibition of breaking promises.
The soundest opinion is that fulfillment of promise is required.

 

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