Since this discussion primarily targets clarification of certain questions and objections against the Qur’ānic oaths, I will start with a mention of them. It needs to be appreciated that there are different kinds of objections leveled on the Qur’ānic oaths. They are the following:
i. An oath, by nature, does not behove the glorious Lord. An oath-swearer belittles himself. He puts himself on the stead of an unreliable person. The Qur’ān says: “Do not yield to any mean oath-monger.” (Q 68:10)This verse implies that swearing an oath is condemnable. Jesus Christ (sws) forbade taking an oath altogether. He said to his followers: “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’, never swear an oath.” (Matthew 5:37)
ii. Oaths in the Qur’ān have been used to ratify fundamental beliefs, including the unicity of God, last retribution and the institution of prophethood. Oaths are of no use in affirming these beliefs. An oath neither successfully satisfies believers nor does it convince the rejecters. The rejecters need arguments and evidence, which the oaths lack. The believers, on the other hand, already have faith in these beliefs. Taking an oath serves no purpose.
iii. People never take an oath except by something exalted and glorious. The Prophet (sws) has said: “Whoever swears an oath should swear it by God or keep silence.” (Bukhārī No: 3624) This clearly forbids taking an oath by anything other than God. How is it then becoming of God, the Lord of the world, to swear by His creatures and also by ordinary things like the fig and the olive?
These are the objections leveled on the Qur’ānic oaths. I will first mention the response by Imām Rāzī and other earlier authorities to these objections. I shall then comment on their responses. I shall try to explain their shortcomings so that the reader stands guarded against sticking to obviously weak stances. For relying on weak and untenable stance greatly damages the true position on the religious issues. Besides, in the matter of the religion, such weak standings are vulnerable to the attacks of the opponents. By explaining the weakness of the view of the earlier authorities, I do not mean to disparage their contribution. I only intend to bring the reality of the matter to light. I ask God to reward these scholars for their efforts towards defending what they believed to be true. I beseech God to accept me among the defenders of the truth.