Abandonment of the Prayer

A collection of evidences regarding the apostasy of the one who intentionally abandons salaah.

Then there succeeded them a posterity who have neglected the salaah and have followed lusts, so they will be thrown in hell. Except those who repent and believe and work righteousness, such will enter paradise and will not be wronged.

The prayer, dear reader is a very important pillar of Islaam. In an authentic narration, the Prophet (sallaalahu 'alayhi wa sallam) told us that this very prayer will be the thing which we wil be brought to account for firstly on the Day of Resurrection, saying: "If it is good then he will be successful, and if not will be a loser."

There is an abundance of benefit in the prayer as Allaah says:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

"Succesful indeed are the believers, those who offer their prayers with khushoo' (humility, solemnity)" [Sooratul-Muminoon, 23:1-2]

He the Most High also says:

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ أُولَـٰئِكَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ مُّكْرَمُونَ

"And those who guard their prayers well, such shall dwell in the gardens (paradise), honoured." [Sooratul-Ma'arij, 70:34,35]

At the same time the one who doesn't pray runs the risk of missing out on all of this benefits which Allaah has in store for him, he will plunge into a state of disbelief and apostasy and if he doesn't repent and change his neglectful ways will be amongst the dwellers of the Fire, wa na'oodhu billah! Thus we warn the Muslims with what Allaah, His Messenger (sallaalahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and the Salaf of this ummah have warned with.

Allah said:

فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ ۖ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا

"Then there succeeded them a posterity who have neglected the salaah and have followed lusts, so they will be thrown in hell. Except those who repent and believe and work righteousness, such will enter paradise and will not be wronged."

[Soorah Maryam, 19:59]

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) commented:

"In the verse from Soorah Maryam, Allaah has said in reference to those who abandoned salaah and followed their desires; "Except those who repent and believe" which is evidence that when they abandoned salaab and followed their desires, they were not believers," (Hukmu Taarikis-Salaah)

So Shaykh 'Uthaymeen felt that neglecting the salaah meant they abandoned it which would have made them kuffaar. About the same verse, Al-Waleed bin Muslim said: "I heard aI-Awzaa'ee say on the authority of aI-Qaasim bin Mukhaymirah: 'They neglected the prescribed times (for the salaah) and they did not abandon them (altogether) and had thy abandoned them (the salaah) they would've become kuffaar." (Kitaabush-Sharee'ah)

The point to be noted here is this, although they interpreted the meaning of "neglected the prayers" differently, what they agreed upon however, is the fact that abandoning the prayer makes an individual a kaafir.

The Prophet (sallaalahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Between a man and polytheism and disbelief is the abandonment of the salaah." (Muslim)

He (sallaalahu 'alayhi wa sallam) also said: "The covenant (which distinguishes) between us and them is the salaah, so 'whoever abandons it has disbelieved." (Ahmad)

Umar Ibn aI-Khattaab said: "There's no portion of Islaam for the on who abandons the salaah," (Bukhaaree)

Ma'qil bin Ma'qil al-Khathma'ee said: "A man approached 'Alee while he was in the public square, then he said: 'O Leader of the believers, what is your opinion about the woman who doesn't pray?" Thereupon he ('Alee) replied, "Whoever doesn't pray is a kaafir'" (Kitaabush-Sharee'ah)

Sa'd and 'Alee bin Abee Taalib both said: "Whoever abandons it (salaah) has disbelieved," (Al-Marwazee, Jaami'ul-Uloomi wal-HIkam)

Abdullah Ibin Mas'ood said: "Disbelief is abandonment of the salaah" (Kitaabush-Sharee'ah)

Abdullah bin Shaqeeq said:" The Companions of the Messenger of Allaah did not deem the abandonment of any action to be disbelief except for (the abandonment of) the salaah," (At-Tirmidhee)

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said: "Whoever abandons the salaah has disbelieved, There is nothing from the action, the abandonment of which constitutes disbelief except for the salaah, whoever abandons it is a kaafir and Allaah has made killing him permissible (i.e. that would be due to it being considered apostasy and therefore subject to the Islamic laws and legal system accordingly [in the Islamically governed country])" (Usoolus-Sunnah)

Abu Daawood said: "I heard Ahmad bin Hanbal saying: "If (a person) says; "I don't pray - then he is a kaafir!" (Kitaabush-Sharee'ah)

Ayyoob as-Sakhtiyaanee said: "Abandonment of the salaah is disbelief and there is no difference of opinion in this regard," (Jaami'ul-Uloom wal-Hikam)

Ibn Rajab aI-Hanbalee said: "Ahmad and Ishaaq have concluded that the abandonment of the salaah is disbelief based on the disbelief of Iblees (Shaytaan), which was due to his abandonment of prostration to Aadam - the abandonment of prostration to Allaah is greater!!! (Jaami'ul-Uloom wal-Hikam)

After mentioning an abundance of narrations proving the disbelief of the one who abandons the prayer, Muhammad bin Husayn AI-Aajurree said: "These are the narrations and traditions regarding the abandonment and neglect of the salaah, in spite of what we didn't mention which would have made the book too long, like Hudhayfah' s hadeeth and 'his saying to a man who didn't perfect his salaah (he didn't pray): "if he dies upon this, surely he dies upon other than the fitrah of Muhammad (sallaalahu 'alayhi wa sallam). " (Bukhaaree) And similar to this, on the authority of Bilaal and other than him which proved that the salaah is part of eemaan, and whoever doesn't pray then there is no Eeeman nor Islaam for him. (Kitaabus-Shareeah)

Naasirud-Deen bin William Ferron