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What Qur’an and Sunnah Say about Those Who Ignore Their Prayers

By: Sayyid Saabiq

Prayer is one of the most important acts in Islam, and thus it requires a special guidance. Ibrahim asked his Lord to give him descendants who abided by their prayers:

What Qur’an and Sunnah Say about Those Who Ignore Their Prayers

Not praying and denying its obligation is seen as disbelief.

My Lord! Cause me and (some) of my offspring to remain constant in prayer. And O our Lord! Accept my supplication. (Ibrahim 14:40)

Those Who Tamper with Their Prayers

Allah also strongly warns those who tamper with their prayers or are heedless. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Now there has succeeded them a later generation who have ruined their prayers and have followed lusts. But they will meet deception. (Maryam 19:59)

Ah, woe unto worshipers who are heedless of their prayers. (Al-Ma`un 107:4-5)

One Who Ignores His Prayers

Not praying and denying its obligation is seen as disbelief and places the person outside the religion of Islam. All scholars agree on this point. They base their opinion on several hadiths, some of which are:

Jabir reports that the Prophet (peace be on him) said, “Between a person and disbelief is discarding prayer.” (Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

Buraidah reported that the Prophet (peace be on him) said, “The pact between us and them is prayer. Whoever abandons it is a disbeliever.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nas’i and Ibn Majah)

`Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas reported that the Prophet one day mentioned the prayer and said, “Whoever guards and observes his prayer, they will be a light and a proof and a savior for him on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever does not guard and obvserve them, they will not be a light or a proof or a savior for him. On the Day of Resurrection, he will be with Qarun (Korah), Fir`awn, Haman and Ubay ibn Khalaf.” (Ahmad, At-Tabarani and Ibn Hibban)

That one who does not pray will be with the leaders of the unbelievers in the Hereafter makes it evident that such a person is an unbeliever. Says Ibn Al-Qayyim,

“The one who does not pray may be preoccupied with his wealth, kingdom, position or business. If one is kept away from his prayers by his wealth, he will be with Qarun. One whose kingdom keeps him away from the prayers will be with Haman, and one whose business keeps him away from the prayers will be with Ubay ibn Khalaf.”

Says `Abdullah ibn Shaqiq Al-`Aqeely, “The Companions of Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not consider the abandonment of any act, with the exception of prayer, as being disbelief.” (At-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim, who said it met Al-Bukahri’s and Muslim’s conditions)

Says Muhammad ibn Nasr Al-Mirwazi, “I heard Ishaq say, ‘It is authentic (that) the Prophet (said or ruled): One who does not pray is an unbeliever.” It is from the Prophet himself that one who intentionally does not pray until the time for the prayer is over is an unbeliever.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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