In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
Swearing by other than Allah is among that which the texts have come successively in prohibition of. There is no dispute among the scholars concerning its prohibition, as long as the one who swears intends to venerate what he is swearing by like he venerates Allah Almighty. This is what Ibn `Abd al-Barr’s statement can be interpreted as. He said, “It is impermissible to swear by other than Allah Almighty in any matter, or under any circumstance. This is something agreed upon.” [Al-Tamhid (14/366)]
However, if one does not intend veneration by his oath, but rather he merely intends to emphasize his point, or he intends veneration but not like venerating Allah, then this is something wherein there has been disagreement among the scholars, while they agreed that it is prohibited. Ibn `Abd al-Barr (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “The scholars have unanimously agreed that taking an oath by other than Allah is disliked and prohibited; it is impermissible for anyone to swear by it.” [Al-Tamhid (14/367)]
The scholars differed concerning this prohibition. The first opinion states that the prohibition takes the ruling of being haram. This is the chosen opinion of the Hanafis, Hanbalis and Dhahiris. It has also been chosen by some Shafi`is and Malikis concerning an oath by that which is generally not venerated Islamically, such as the heads of states and nobles. They consider this as haram.
The second opinion states that the prohibition takes the ruling of being makruh. This is the chosen opinion of the Malikis concerning one who swears by something that is generally venerated Islamically, such as the Prophet, the House (Ka`bah) and the Kursi (Footstool). It is also the chosen opinion of the Shafi`is. However, the correct view is that it is outright haram due to the general evidences.
And Allah knows best.
Khalid bin `Abdullah al-Muslih
18 / 1 / 1425 AH