Not Performing the Prayer (Salat)
Taken from the book ‘Kitabul Kabayer’ (Major Sin)
Written by : Imam Shamsu ed-Deen, Ad-Dhahabi.
Allah, the Most High, says, “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salat (the prayers) (i.e. made their Salat (prayers) to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times, etc.) and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell. Except those who repent and believe (in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad SAW), and work righteousness. Such will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged in aught.” [Surah Al-Maryum (19) Verse: 59-60]
Commenting on the above verses (Ayat), Ibn 'Abbas said, "Allah's statement, “Who missed Prayers does not mean that they did not perform it at all but rather they did not perform it in its due time.”
Sa'id Ibn AI-Mussaiyyib, Imam of the Tabi'een (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “It is he who postpones the Dhuhr (Early Afternoon Prayer) until the time of Asr Prayer (Late Afternoon Prayer) and so are Maghrib (Sunset Prayer) until' Isha' (Evening Prayer), /sha until Fajr (Dawn Prayer) and Fajr until the sun rises. If someone dies persisting in such habits and does not repent to Allah, Allah promises to make him face Ghayy (destruction). But Ghayy may also be the name of a valley in the Hell whose bottom is so deep and tastes so bitter.
Allah, the Most High, says, “So woe to the worshipers who are neglectful of their Prayer.” [Surah Al-Ma’un (107) Verse: 4-5]
Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas related, “I asked the Prophet (pbuh) about the meaning of "the worshipers who are neglectful of their Prayer.' He said, "It is the delaying of performing the Prayer in its definite time.” The word (Wayl) in the Ayah may refer to severe torture or it may be the name of a valley in the Hell. Were the whole mountains of the world brought in such valley it would melt because of severe heat. This is the abode of those who are not serious in Prayer unless they repent to Allah and regret for what they have done. [By Al-Bazzar]
Allah, the Almighty, says, “O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers” [Surah AI-Munafiqun (63) Verse: 9] The exegetes said, "The remembrance of Allah in the above Ayah means the five daily Prayers. Therefore, whoever preoccupies himself with his property, trade, livelihood or children rather performing Prayer in its definite time will be a loser.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The first of one's works that he shall be called to account for on the Day of Judgment is the Prayer. If he performed it well, he will be prosperous. Otherwise, he will be loser.” [Reported by At- Tirmidhi who said it is authentic hadith but singular]
Allah, the Most High, says, “What has caused you to enter Hell? They will say: ‘we were not of those who used to offer their Salat (prayers) nor we used to feed Al-Miskin (the poor); and we used to talk falsehood (all that which Allah hated) with vain talkers and we used to belie the Day of Recompense until there came to us (the death) that is certain’. So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them.” [Surah Al-Muddathir (74) Verse: 42-48]
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The covenant between us and them consists of the Prayer:Whoever leaves it has disbelieved.” [Reported by At- Tirmidhi]
It was related that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Between a man and unbelief is the nonperformance of the Prayer.”[Reported by Muslim]
“Whoever neglects the Prayer of 'Asr (Late Afternoon Prayer) will have his deeds vain.”[Reported by AI-Bukhari]
“Whoever neglects the Prayer intentionally will be free from Allah's covenant.”[Reported by Al-Haythami and Ahmed]
“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah and perform the Prayer, and pay Zakah. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the right of Islam over them, and their final reckoning is with Allah.”[Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
“Whoever keeps on performing Prayers (in its due time), it will be a light, a proof and redemption for him on the Day of Judgment. Otherwise, he will be assembled with Pharaoh, Qarun Haman and 'Ubai Ibn Khalaf.”[Reported by Ad-Darmi and Ahmad]
'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Whoever neglects the Prayer is beyond the pole of Islam.” [Reported by Malik]
One of the scholars of sacred knowledge said, "He (the one who neglects the Prayer) will be assembled with these four people because he is either preoccupied from performing Prayer by property, kingdom, ministry or trade. If he is preoccupied by wealth, he will be assembled with Qarun. If by kingdom, he will be with Pharaoh. If by ministry, he will be with Haman and if by trade, he will be with Ubai Ibn Khalaf."
Mu'adh Ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever intentionally missed an obligatory Prayer there by becomes an unbeliever.”[Reported before]
'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab said, “A man came to the Messenger of Allah and asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what are most beloved deeds to Allah in Islam?” The Messenger said, “To perform Prayers on time, and whoever neglect Prayers has no religion. Prayers are the pillar of Islam...” [Reported by AI-Baihaqi(It has a weak chain of transmission)]
When Umar was stabbed he was called to Prayer and replied by saying, "Yes, whoever misses Prayer
is non-Muslim." He then prayed while bleeding."
'Abdullah Ibn Shaqiq, one of the Tabi'een, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Prophet's Companions did not view the nonperformance of anything as unbelief besides the Prayers.”[Reported by At- Tirmidhi]
When' Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked about a woman who did not Prayers, he said, "Whoever neglects Prayers is unbeliever." Ibn Mas'ud also said, "Whoever does not pray is an infidel." Ibn 'Abbas stated, "Whoever intentionally missed an obligatory Prayer entails Allah's wrath when he dies."
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Whoever dies neglecting the Prayers, Allah will not regard any of his good deeds.” [It is cited by AI-GhazaIi]
Ibn Hazm said, "The most heinous sins next to Shirk (polytheism) are the delayment of Prayers and taking a life of a believer except for just cause." Ibrahim An-Nakh'i also said, "Whoever leaves the Prayers has disbelieved." Moreover, 'Aun Ibn 'Abdullah said, "When a servant is laid in his grave, he will be asked, first about the Prayers. If it is accepted, his other works will be examined. If not, nothing will be examined any more."
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “When a servant performed a Prayer on time, it will rise skyward enveloped with light until it reaches the Throne. There, it asks forgiveness to its doer up to the Day of Judgment, and says, "May Allah preserve you as you have preserved me." But if the servant performs a Prayer out of its time, it will rise skyward enveloped with darkness. When it reaches the sky, it will be folded as an old cloth and then kicked back to the doer's face and says, "May Allah make you lose as you missed me.”[Reported by A1-Haithami and At- Tabarani]
'Abdullah Ibn 'Amr Ibn AI-As related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah does not accept the Prayers of three people: whoever leads a group of people who dislike him, whoever prays after missing the due time of the Prayer, and he who enslaved someone after freeing him.”[Reported by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah]
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Whoever joins two Prayers together without a legal excuse, he then commits a major sin.”[Reported by At-Tirmidhi and AI-Hakim]
When should a child be ordered to perform the Prayer?
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “When a boy reaches the age of seven years, teach him the Prayers (Salat), and punish him, when he commits a default (in his Prayers) at the age often years.”[Reported By At- Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]
It was related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “When your children attain the age of seven years, ask them to perform the Prayer and chastise them in respect of any fault in this behalf; when they are ten years old, let them sleep in separate beds.” [Reported by Abu Dawud and Ahmad]
Imam Sulyman AI-Khattabi (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "This hadith indicates that the punishment of nonperformance of the Prayer increases when the child reaches puberty. Some disciples of Imam Shafi'i cited the above hadith as an evidence to kill the child if he persisted to neglect the Prayer purposely 'after reaching puberty. They assumed that if he deserves to be struck while still a child thus he should rather face more severe punishment after reaching puberty and nothing can be lost severe than death.
There are differences among Islamic legal scholars as to the judgment of he who neglects the Prayer. Malik, Shafi'i and Ahmed all hold that the one who misses the Prayer is executed. Then they differ as
regards his belief, should they call him an unbeliever or not (incase of neglectil1g the Prayer without a legal excuse)? The opinion that such a person become an unbeliever has been ascribed to Ibrahim AnNakh'iy, AYyub As-Sakhtiyani, 'Abdullah Ibn AI-Mubarak, Ahmed Ibn Hambal and Ishaq Ibn Rahawyah. Those who hold that whoever misses a Prayer becomes an unbeliever adduce the following evidence:
The ProPhet (pbuh) said, “The covenant between us and them consists of the Prayer: whoever leaves it has disbelieved.”[Reported before]
The Messenger also said, “Between a man between unbelief is the nonperformance of the Prayer.”[Narrated before]
The Benefits of Performing Prayers:
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Whoever keeps on performing the prescribed Prayer, Allah will grant him five honorable rewards: he will lead a happy life, avoid the torment in the grave, receive his record by his right hand, cross Sirat (the bridge on Fire) as swift as lightening and enter Paradise without being reckoned. But who is remiss in performing the Prayer, Allah will make him suffer fifteen kind of punishment, five in this world, three when dying, three in the grave, and three when being resurrected. The worldly punishments are: he loses the glamour (the blessing) of his life span, the righteous appearance diminishes from his face, he works in vain, he will not have his supplications answered and he will not make use of the righteous people's supplications. When dying: he dies humiliated, hungry, thirsty even if he drinks all the rivers of the world. In the grave: he will be compressed so tightly that his ribs permute, blazing in fire day and night and will face a baldheaded poisonous male serpent with two black spots over its eyes which are created of Fire and the fingernails of iron; each fingernail is equal to the distance covered in a day. It will address the deceased in a very roaring sound like thunder saying, "I am the baldheaded poisonous male serpent, My Lord commanded me to beat you for missing the Fajr Prayer until sunrise, the Dhuhr until Asr, Asr Prayer until Maghrib, Maghrib Prayer until 'Isha' and Ish until Fajr.” Whoever he strikes him, he sinks in the earth for seventy arms deep and he will keep sinking therein until the Day of Judgment. Eventually, when being resurrected from his grave, he will be risen up with three lines written on his face: 1) You neglect Allah's right 2) You got Allah's wrath 3) As you have neglected Allah's right in the world, you should despair His Mercy on this Day.”[Reported by As-Siuti who said it is a forged hadith]
Ibn 'Abbas said, "On the Day of Judgment, a man is brought before Allah. Then Allah issues a command to cast him into Fire. The man asks Allah, "O My Lord, why? Allah, then, replies, "Because you neglected to perform the Prayer in its time and you swear falsely by Me."
"One day the Prophet (pbuh) said before his Companions: “O Allah, let not any of us wretched or deprived." Then, he said, "Do you know who the wretched and deprived is? “They said, "Who is that, Messenger of Allah?" He said, "The one who neglects the Prayer” [Not found]
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The first faces that will turn dark on the Day of Judgment are the faces of those who neglect the Prayer. In the HellFire.. there is a valley called AI-Malham that contains serpents. Each serpent is as fat as a camel's neck and its length is equal to the distance covered in a day. Then, it stings the one who neglects the Prayer, the poison boils in his body for seventy years then the flesh is torn out.”[Reported by AI-Hakim]
Once, an Israelite woman came to Musa (pbuh) and said, "0 Messenger of Allah, I committed a grievous sin but I repented to Allah. So may you invoke Allah to forgive me and accept my repentance?" Musa said, "What was your sin?" She replied, "I committed adultery and then gave birth to a child whom I killed." Musa (pbuh) said, "Go away corrupt woman lest the fire strike from the sky and bum us." Accordingly, the woman went out with a broken heart. Then, Jibreel (Gabreal) lauded and said, "O Musa, Allah the Almighty asked you, why you rejected the penitent woman. Have not you found anyone worst than her?" Musa asked, "Who is that Jibreel?" He replied, "The one who intentionally neglects the Prayer."
Mas'ud AI-Badri related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “A Prayer is not valid if one's back is not upright after bowing and prostration.” [Reported by Ahmad]
Thus, he who prays should remain motionless for a moment while bowing, prostrating, standing etc.
It was related that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The worst thief is he who steals from his Prayer.” Someone asked, "How?" He answered, "When he does not bow, prostrate or recite therein perfectly.” [Reported by Ad-Darami, Ahmed and AI-Hakim]
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah does not look to a man who does not rise his back upright and prostration.”[Reported by Ahmed]
“This the Prayer of a hypocrite who watches the sun until he finds it about to set, then he stands and performs it as quick as a bird picking the seeds and he hardly remembers Allah in it.”[Reported by Muslim]
Abdullah AI-Ash'ari related, One day the Prophet (pbuh) led the companions in the Prayer. After finishing the Prayer, someone came in to pray. He started to pray so fast that he could hardly remain motionless for a moment while bowing or prostrating. Meanwhile, the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Behold, if this man dies, he dies believing in a religion other than Muhammad's."
'Umar Ibn AI-Khattab related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever prays is surrounded by two angels on right and left. If he performed it properly, they take it and ascend to Allah, the Almighty. Otherwise, they struck his face with it.” [Reported by Ad-Dar Qutni]
'Ubadah Ibn As-Aumit related, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever makes ablution properly and performs properly the integrals of Prayer: bowing, prostration and recitation therein, the Prayer says, "May Allah preserve you as you preserve me.” Then the Prayer is risen up skyward enveloped with light. When approaching the heaven 's gates, it will find it opened. So it keeps on rising up until it reaches Allah. There, it intercedes for the one who performed it. But if he does not perform (its integral) properly: bowing, prostration or recitation therein, the Prayer says, "May Allah neglect you as you neglected me..” Then, the Prayer is risen up skyward enveloped with darkness. Approaching the gates of heaven, it will find it closed. Then, it will be folded as an old cloth and kicked back to the doer's face.”[Reported by Al-Haithami]
Salman AI-Farisi narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The Prayer is a measure. Whoever gives a just measure, he will be rewarded in full. Whoever stints, you know what Allah says about the stinters.” Allah, the Almighty says, “Woe to Al-Mutaffifin (those who give less in measure and weight (decrease the rights of others)” [Surah Al-Mutafifeen (83) Verse: 1] the stinter is he who stints when weighing or measuring out goods or Prayers. Allah promises to punish them with Wail. A valley in the Hell-Fire from its heat the Hell itself seeks refuge. We seek Allah's refuge from it.
Ibn ' Abbas narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever prostrates should place his forehead, nose and hands on the floor, as Allah has revealed upon me to prostrate on five organs: Forehead, nose, the palms of hands, the knees and feet. I have also not to prostrate on hair nor cloths. Thus, .whoever prostrates improperly, the organ that fails to touch the floor will curse him until he completes the Prayer.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
On the authority of Huzayfa Ibn AI- Yamman (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that he once noticed a man praying but he bowed and prostrated improperly. He said to him, "You did not pray. If you die, you will die believing in a religion other than Muhammad's (pbuh).”[Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
In Abu Dawud's narration, the above hadith is reported as following, “How long have you prayed in this manner?" He said, "Forty years ago;" He said, "You did not pray forty years ago and if you died you would die believing in a religion other than Muhammed's (pbuh).”
AI-Hassan AI-Basri used to say, “O son of Adam what is dearer to you of your religion than Prayers. It is the first thing that you will be called to account for on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet (pbuh) said, "The first of people works that they should be called to account for on the Day of Judgment is the Prayer. Our Lord, Holly and Exalted will say to His angels, while knowing better than they, "Look at the Prayer of My servant. Did he perform it in full, or fall short of it?" If it is in order, then he will have prospered ad succeeded; if it is wanting, then he will have failed and lost. While if anything is missing from it, He will say, "Look to see if My servant has any supererogatory worship.” And if he has, Allah will say, "Complete My servant's obligatory Prayers for him from his supererogatory ones. “And he will be dealt with likewise in his other works.”[Reported by Muslim]
Hence, we should increase our supererogatory worshipping to complete the obligatory ones if they fall shorter.
The punishment of he who misses the congregational Prayer though he is able to do, Allah, the Almighty Says, “(Remember) the Day when the Shin shall be laid bare (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) and they shall be called to prostrate (to Allah), but they (hypocrites) shall not be able to do so, their eyes will be cast down, ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate (offer prayers), while they were healthy and good (in the life of the world, but they did not) [ Surah AI-Qalam (68) Verse: 42-43]
Sa'id Ibn AI-Musaiyyib commented, although they were whole in this world, they did not answer the caller to Prayer. On the other hand, Ka'b AI-Ahbar said, By Allah, this Ayah is only revealed concerning those who missed the congregational Prayer. 0' what a severe torture awaiting for those who are able to perform the Prayer in congregation, but they do not."
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “I have considered having a man lead people at Prayer and going myself to those who hang back from attending the Prayer in congregation to burn their houses down upon them.”[Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
Behold, this threat cannot be issued unless there is something obligatory left. It was related that once, a blind man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, “0 Messenger of Allah, I have nobody to lead me to the mosque." Then he asked for a permission to pray at home. Thereby, the Prophet permitted him. But before leaving, the Prophet called him and said, "Do you hear the Call to Prayer?” He said, yes. The Prophet said, "Then you have to respond to it.” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
Once, 'Amr Ibn Umm Maktum came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, "0 Messenger of Allah, in Madina there are numerous number of reptiles and beasts whereas I am a blind man and live far away from the mosque. Further, I have an inconvenient guide. Shall I have a dispension to pray at home? "Then, the Prophet (pbuh) asked, "Do you hear the words of the Call to Prayer?" He said, yes. The Prophet said, "Then, you have to respond to it, I have no dispension to you.” [[Reported by Muslim]
Behold, that is a blind man and faces many hardship in his way to the mosque and has no guide, yet the Prophet does not permit him to pray at home. How about the sightful people who have no excuse? Therefore, when Ibn 'Abbas is asked about someone who fasts the day and prays the night but does not attend the Friday or congregational Prayer. He replied, “If he dies doing that he will enter the Hell-Fire.”[Reported by At- Tirmidhi]
Abu Hurayrah said, "It is better for one's ears to be filled with molten lead than to hear the Call to Prayer without answering it."
Ibn 'Abbas related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever heard the caller to Prayer and did not answer not because of an excuse.” Someone asked,”What kind of excuse is that, Messenger?” He said, “Fear or sickness, he will not have his Prayer accepted.”[Reported by Abu Dawud, AI-Hakim and Ibn Hibban] i.e., the Prayer which he performed at home.
Ibn ' Abbas also related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “There are three people whom Allah cursed: Whoever leads a group of people in Prayer who dislike him, a woman whose husband spends the night angry with her and whoever heard the call to Prayer but he does not answer.” [Reported by At- Tirmidhi]
'Ali Ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "A Prayer of a neighbor of a mosque is only
accepted in the mosque." Someone asked, "Who is a neighbor of a mosque?" He said, "Whoever hears the call to Prayer."
`Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “A person who likes to meet Allah tomorrow (on the Day of Judgment) as a true Muslim, he should then take care of those Prayers where (and when) he is summoned for them. This is necessary as Allah has laid down some practices and rules for us to follow (which have reached us) through our Prophet (pbuh) and these Prayers are among them. If you offer Prayers at your houses as this good for nothing person is doing, you will be guilty of neglecting the way of your Prophet (pbuh) then you go astray. I have seen the people in condition when only known hypocrites used to be out of the lines of congregation. Some of us used to be brought to the mosque with the help of two men on account of their weakness or illness, until they could stand in line.” [Reported by Muslim]
Ar-Rabie Ibn Khutham had a disease in his leg. He used to go out for Prayer leaning on two men. They advised him, "O father of Muhammed, Allah has permitted you to pray at home as you have a legal excuse." He said, "Ok, but I hear the call to Prayer. Whoever could answer even if he creeps or crawl, it is better to do so." Hatim AI-Asam said, "One day, I missed a Prayer in congregation but no one lead me except Abu Ishaq AI-Bukhari. However, if one of my children died, there would be ten thousand people who offer me condolence. This is because a trial in religion is easier than a one at the sight of people. Someone of early Muslims said, a congregational Prayer is missed because of sins. Ibn 'Umar narrated, "Once Umar was in his garden, when coming back, he found that the people had performed the Asr Prayer. Thereby, he said, "We will surely return to Allah! I missed the Asr Prayer in congregation. May you witness that I gave my garden in charity to the needy so as to expiate what 'Umar had done."
It is recommended to pay more attention to 'Isha' and Fajr. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The hypocrites find dawn (Fajr) and night (Isha') Prayers in congregation as very oppressive. If they could know the virtues of these two Prayers, they would certainly join them, even if they had to go crawling.” [Reported by AI-Bukhari]
Ibn 'Umar said, "When missing a man in the congregational Prayer of Isha and Fajr, we might think that he was a hypocrite." 'Ubaydallah Ibn Amr Al-Qawarir said, "I have never missed Isha Prayer in congregation. One night I had a grief which occupied me from performing the' Isha' Prayer in congregation. Thereby, I sought for another mosque allover AI-Basra to realize the Prayer but of no avail all the mosques were closed. Then I went home and decided to apply what is stated in the hadith, “Recompense for Prayer offered along with the congregation is twenty seven times more than the Prayer offered in home or.”[Reported by Muslim]
Therefore, I performed' Isha' Prayer twenty seven times. Afterwards, I slept. I dreamt that I was riding my horse racing some other people who were also riding their horses but I could not catch them. Then one turned to me and said, "Do not get your horse toiled, you would never catch us. I asked him why? He said, we performed the 'Isha' Prayer in congregation but you did alone. Then I got up so sad. We seek Allah's help and guidance for He is the Most Generous, the Most Bounteous. Ameen!