Majority of Muslim scholars state that swearing by the Qur’an is not considered to be an oath unless the swearing person intends that swearing by the Qur’an is equal to swearing by Allah. In this case, the person has to either fulfill his oath or perform kaffarah (expiation for one’s sins). As for swearing by the Qur’an with the intention of merely honoring the Qur’an, in this case, the oath would be considered null and void according to some scholars. To be on the safe side, Muslim scholars conclude that swearing by the Qur’an obliges the person to pay the kaffarah. They confirm that the latter view is the most correct one.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, states the following: The laws of Islam dictates that swearing by the Qur’an is a form of oath. This is because the Qur’an is the word of God. Anyone who swears by the Qur’an is actually swearing by all that is in the Qur’an. A person who makes an oath and does not fulfill it must atone his misdeed with kaffarah. Kaffarahis an Arabic word that derives from the root verb “k-f-r” which means to cover. In the context of atoning an oath, it carries the connotation of covering the sins that arise from not fulfilling the oath.
If the person who takes an oath is a mukallaf (one who has reached the age of puberty and is fit to take responsibilities) and he or she is not coerced into taking the oath, and furthermore he or she intends to fulfill that oath, then if he or she breaks that oath or does not fulfill it, he or she must atone for it by performing kaffarah. It is compulsory upon the person to perform one of three things mentioned in Surat Al-Ma’idah in which Allah Almighty says the following:
[Allah will not take you to task for that which is unintentional in your oaths, but He will take you to task for the oaths which ye swear in earnest. The expiation thereof is the feeding of ten of the needy with the average of that wherewith ye feed your own folk, or the clothing of them, or the liberation of a slave, and for him who findeth not (the wherewithal to do so) then a three day fast. This is the expiation of your oaths when ye have sworn; and keep your oaths. Thus Allah expoundeth unto you His revelations in order that ye may give thanks.] (Al-Ma’idah 5:89)
The atonement of oaths with kaffarah is not time specific. It can be done as soon as the oath has been broken, later, or up until death.
Besides that, the choice of Kaffarah, either freeing a slave, or feeding or clothing ten poor people, or fasting for three days, depends on one’s financial capability. In other words a person who is financially able to feed or clothe ten poor people should do so before deciding to fast; otherwise he can fast for three days as long as he cannot afford food or clothes for ten persons.