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My mother was talking on the phone and I heard her say “I swear to my kids” I asked her about it and she said she knows it’s haram but she just wanted the person on the phone to believe her. I told her it was shirk and she said “Astaghfurillah, God forgive me.” Does it count as shirk towards her even if she didn't know? And should she do Tawbah?

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She still need to repent to Allah, regretting that sin, promise to Allah to not do it again and leave the act. However, she needs to recite the Shahadah first.

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She will have to sincerely repent, and say the Shahadah before repenting. You can research the conditions of sincere repentance.

Or she can recite the dua:

"Allahumma ini a'oudho bika un ushrika bika wa ana a'lamu wa astaghfiruka lima la a' lamu" (O Allah I seek refuge In you from knowingly associating partners with you and I seek forgiveness from that which I do not know.) Al Adab Al Mufra 716 ( Sahih - Al Albani)

And Allah knows best.

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