The Status of Prayer in Islam

Since 2012-11-29

The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) has said, “The pledge between us and them is prayer, whosoever leaves it has rejected faith.”

All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of mankind, jinn and all that exists, and prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.

Verily, prayer is the greatest and most affirmative pillar of Islam after the two testimonies. It is the label of the Islam of a person and an evidence of his belief. The one who neglects it becomes unbeliever. He –Almighty- said, {“What has caused you to enter Hell?” (42) They will say: “We were not of those who used to offer the Salât (prayers)} [Surat Al-Muddaththir 74:42-43]
{مَا سَلَكَكُمْ فِي سَقَرَ (42) قَالُوا لَمْ نَكُ مِنَ الْمُصَلِّينَ} المدثر: 42-43
Transliteration: Ma salakakum fee saqara (42) Qaloo lam naku mina almusalleena
The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) has said, “The pledge between us and them is prayer, whosoever leaves it has rejected faith.” [Narrated by At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by al-Albani]
«العهد الذي بيننا وبينهم الصّلاة، فمن تركها فقد كفر» رواه التّرمذي وصححه الألباني
The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) has also said, “Verily between man and between polytheism and unbelief is the negligence of prayer.” [Reported by Muslim]
«بين الرّجل وبين الشّرك والكفر ترك الصّلاة» رواه مسلم
No deeds are accepted from the one who neglects prayers. He is not allowed to marry a Muslim woman. He does not inherit or bequeath. He does not have a custodianship over his Muslim children. His sacrifice is not eaten. When he dies he is not to be washed, shrouded, prayed upon or buried in Muslim cemeteries. He is to be got out to the desert to be buried there. His abode is Hell, and worst, indeed is that destination! There is no disgrace, shame and torture greater than such torture –We seek refuge with Allah.
For the great status of prayer, it is the only thing which was obligated from above seven heavens. It is the first thing a person is to be asked about on the Day of Resurrection. If it is right, all the deeds are right. If it is void, all the deeds are void. It is obligated for each rational Muslim of age, whether male or female. It is obligated at any case during good health, illness, staying, traveling, security or fear as possible. So, observe it well, O Muslim, along with its stipulations, pillars and obligations if you are sincere in your Islam and your deeds are not contradictory to your words lest you become a hypocrite and you fall out of the observation and care of Allah –Glorified and Exalted. Do not ever be one of the false Muslims who are characterized by Islam without applying its provisions or be one of those who pray a prayer and neglect many prayers. These are not the characteristics of a true Muslim. A true Muslim is characterized by submitting, yielding and obeying Allah for whatever He orders, which includes performing and observing prayers in their due fixed times.
The Obligation of Congregational Prayer
Allah –Almighty- has enjoined, in His Noble Book, the performance of group prayers with Muslims. He, Glorified and Exalted has said, {And perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât and bow down (or submit yourselves with obedience to Allâh) along with Ar-Raki’ûn} [Surat Al-Baqarah 2:43]
{وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَارْكَعُوا مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ} البقرة: 43
Transliteration: Waaqeemoo alssalata waatoo alzzakata wairkaAAoo maAAa alrrakiAAeena
This verse is a provision for the obligation of praying in groups and for participating with the praying persons in their prayers. He –Almighty- has said, {When you (O Messenger Muhammad) are among them, and lead them in As-Salât (the prayer), let one party of them stand up [in Salât (prayer)] with you taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you taking all the precautions and bearing arms. Those who disbelieve wish, if you were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to attack you in a single rush, but there is no sin on you if you put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill, but take every precaution for yourselves. Verily, Allâh has prepared a humiliating torment for the disbelievers.} [Surat An-Nisâ’ 4:102]
{وَإِذَا كُنْتَ فِيهِمْ فَأَقَمْتَ لَهُمُ الصَّلاةَ فَلْتَقُمْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا أَسْلِحَتَهُمْ فَإِذَا سَجَدُوا فَلْيَكُونُوا مِنْ وَرَائِكُمْ وَلْتَأْتِ طَائِفَةٌ أُخْرَى لَمْ يُصَلُّوا فَلْيُصَلُّوا مَعَكَ وَلْيَأْخُذُوا حِذْرَهُمْ وَأَسْلِحَتَهُمْ وَدَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْ تَغْفُلُونَ عَنْ أَسْلِحَتِكُمْ وَأَمْتِعَتِكُمْ فَيَمِيلُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ مَيْلَةً وَاحِدَةً وَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنْ كَانَ بِكُمْ أَذًى مِنْ مَطَرٍ أَوْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَى أَنْ تَضَعُوا أَسْلِحَتَكُمْ وَخُذُوا حِذْرَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا} النّساء: 102
Transliteration: Waitha kunta feehim faaqamta lahumu alssalata faltaqum taifatun minhum maAAaka walyakhuthoo aslihatahum faitha sajadoo falyakoonoo min waraikum waltati taifatun okhra lam yusalloo falyusalloo maAAaka walyakhuthoo hithrahum waaslihatahum wadda allatheena kafaroo law taghfuloona AAan aslihatikum waamtiAAatikum fayameeloona AAalaykum maylatan wahidatan wala junaha AAalaykum in kana bikum athan min matarin aw kuntum marda an tadaAAoo aslihatakum wakhuthoo hithrakum inna Allaha aAAadda lilkafireena AAathaban muheenan.
Allah Almighty imposes praying in congregation during war, so what about the time of peace! If any are allowed to neglect congregational prayer, so they are the ones who are facing enemies and are threatened of being attacked. As this does not happen, it is known that congregation prayer is one of the most important obligations. It is not permissible to neglect it unless with a legitimate excuse. The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) affirmed the obligation of congregational prayer unless there is a legitimate excuse. He has said, “whoever hears the call to pray, and does not respond, then there is no prayer for him unless he has a valid excuse.’’ [Authenticated by al-Albani]
«من سمع النّداء فلم يجبه؛ فلا صلاة له إلا من عذر» صححه الألباني
In Sahih Muslim, Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “a blind man came to the Prophet and said, ‘‘Oh Messenger of Allah! I have no one to guide me to the mosque.” And he requested the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) to give him permission to pray at home. The Prophet did that, when the man turned away, he called him back and asked him, “Do you hear the call for prayers?’’. The man answered, “Yes”. The Prophet said, “Then you must respond”. [Narrated by Muslim]
«يا رسول الله! إنّه ليس لي قائدٌ يقودني إلى المسجد. فسأل رسول الله -صلّى الله عليه وسلم- أن يرخص له فيصلّي في بيته. فرخص له. فلمّا ولي دعاه فقال: هل تسمع النّداء بالصّلاة؟ فقال: نعم. قال: فأجب» رواه مسلم
O you who have neglected congregational prayer, this was a blind man. His house was away from the mosque. There was no guide for him. In his way there were trees, palms, vermin and beasts. The Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) obligated him to pray in congregation. Above all, Allah has imposed it to the fighters who face the enemies. Just imagine, O you who are of good health, secure and live near the mosque, how can you pray at home? Do you not fear Allah? Are you not shame from Allah? Do you not fear that He may take such graces which He has bestowed upon you?
How strange you are! How can you rest while you know that you have neglected the order of your Lord? How strange you are, how can you enjoy sleeping or living while you know that you have disobeyed your Master in Whom graces you roll in, where is the glorification of Allah? Where is the sincerity of belief? Where is the response to the Most Merciful? What is such religion when you make your ears deaf from the truth and you do not respond to the Caller of Allah? On the other hand, if you are called for the crumbles of this worldly life, you will rise to it in submission and fear that you may lose anything of its pleasures and crumbles! Fear Allah for the sake of yourself, pray with Muslims in congregation and praise Allah for the good health, the vigor and the activity you enjoy.
Remember that there are brothers of you who are in tombs. They have left their families and lovers and are facing reckoning. The one of them wishes that he could return to this worldly life to pray one prayer unit or gain one good deed.
Remember also the ill brothers who lie on beds. They may not be able to pray even by nodding!! However, you who enjoy good health, vigor and activity neglect and turn away from the order of Allah and commit what He forbids. Fear Allah and observe congregational prayers. By Allah, matters and consequences may change and you will be in that dark pit and the gloomy grave. What will you say to your Lord at such time if He asks you about your health and youth? Would you say that “I have spent my good health and youth in neglecting prayers and committing sins?!
The Verdict of Delaying Prayer After its Fixed Due Time
Neglecting congregational prayers is one of the major reasons of delaying the time of prayer. Delaying the time of prayer is forbidden and is not allowed. Prayer has a fixed time at which it must be performed. If the time ends, it becomes void unless there is an excuse. Allah Almighty has said, {Verily, As-Salât (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.} [Surat An-Nisâ’ 4:103]
{إِنَّ الصَّلاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَوْقُوتًا} النّساء: 103
Transliteration: inna alssalata kanat AAala almumineena kitaban mawqootan
If the prayer of a person is void, he becomes infidel and becomes as the one who neglects it completely.
Following are some evidences of the prohibition of delaying the prayer out of its fixed time and how it is considered as infidelity, and the severe threat of the one who does that. Allah Almighty has said, {Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salât (the prayers) [i.e. made their Salât (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] and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell.} [Surat Maryam 19:59]
{فَخَلَفَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا} مريم: 59
Transliteration: Fakhalafa min baAAdihim khalfun adaAAoo alssalata waittabaAAoo alshshahawati fasawfa yalqawna ghayyan
Ibn Mas’ûd, may Allah be pleased with him, and others said, “The meaning of “given up” is not deserting it completely, but delaying it after its fixed time, like the one who prays the dawn prayer only after the sunrise, or pray the afternoon prayer only after the sunset.”
Mohamed ibn Nasr al-Marwazi said: “I heard Isaac saying,’ it has been proven about the Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) that the one who neglects prayer is considered as unbeliever. This is also the opinion of the scholars since the Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) that the one who neglects prayer on purpose until its time ends is considered as unbeliever”.
Abu Mohamed ibn Hazm said, “It has been narrated from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abdul Rahman ibn Auf, Mu’az ibn Jabal, Abu Huraira, and other companions, may Allah be pleased with them, that the one who neglects one prayer on purpose until its time is over is unbeliever and apostate. We do not know any dissenting persons to those companions”.
His Eminence Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Baz was asked about the one who adjusts the alarm clock at the time of work and does not pray the dawn prayer until the sun rises. He, may Allah have mercy on him, answered by saying, “the one who adjusts the alarm clock at the time of work and does not pray the dawn prayer until the sun rises, if this person neglects prayer on purpose, he is then an unbeliever according to the opinion of a number of scholars.’’ He also said, ‘‘a number of scholars said that by doing that he is committing the greater disbelief; this opinion is narrated from the companions, may Allah be pleased with them.”
Allah Almighty has said, {So woe unto those performers of Salât (prayers) (hypocrites) (4) Those who delay their Salât (prayer from their stated fixed times).} [Surat Al-Mâ’ûn 107:4-5].
{فَوَيْلٌ لِلْمُصَلِّينَ (4) الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ صَلاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ} الماعون: 4-5
Transliteration: Fawaylun lilmusalleena (4) Allatheena hum AAan salatihim sahoona
Heedless of their prayers means delaying it until its time is over and they do not neglect it completely. Allah threatens them by such a great word (Wayl) which is a valley in Hellfire with severe heat and far bottom. If the mountains in this worldly life had been put in it, they would have melted from its severe heat.
Some Muslims of this time, who on purpose delay the dawn and afternoon prayers until their times are over and think that they are among the Muslims who observe prayers, have to pay attention.
O you who is heedless amidst ignorance and desire
Felled and turning over the bed of ruin
You will now on the Day of Resurrection which trade
You lost when those balances are set up
O you who completely desert prayers or neglect congregational prayers, haste to repent before it is too late. By Allah, no one will avail you against Allah at all. None will not bear your sins, or dispute Allah for you or push His wrath away from you if it afflicts you. You will repent of your deeds on a day on which repentance is of no use. Repent to Allah as you are able to before you say {“My Lord! Send me back, (99) “So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!”} [Surat Al-Mu’minûn 23:99-100]
{رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ (99) لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ} المؤمنون: 99-100
Transliteration: rabbi irjiAAooni (99) LaAAallee aAAmalu salihan feema taraktu
Or before the gate is closed against you and dust becomes over you. By Allah I am an advisor and compassionate for you.
May Allah grant us success to do what He loves and what pleases Him. Prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions. And Allah knows best.
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