The Issue: Is Abandoning Salat
(Prayer) Disbelief and Apostasy?
The Evidences of the Quran and Sunnah
and discussions between the Muslim Scholars
قضية فقهية عظيمة مختلفة فيها
هل ترك الصلاة كفر وردة
(أو هل تارك الصلاة كافرومرتد)
دلائل القرآن والسنة ، والمناقشات العلماء فيها
Arrangement by he who seeks
the Mercy and Forgiveness of His Lord Most Merciful
Abu Salman Deya ud-Deen Eberle
أبو ســـــــلمان ضياء الدين ابرلي
Table of Contents
- Salat (Prayer) in the Arabic language and in the Islamic usage of the Quran and Sunnah
- Details of Fiqh (Jurisprudence) in this issue of abandoning Salat, is it disbelief (Kufr) and apostasy (Riddah) or not?
1. Proofs of those who deem abandonment to be Kufr and Riddah
- PROOFS FROM THE QURAN
- PROOFS FROM THE SUNNAH
- PROOFS OF SAYINGS OF SAHABA
- PROOFS OF SAYINGS OF TABA’EEN and others
- PROOFS FROM CONSENSUS
- PROOFS FROM ANALOGY AND REASON
- Some answers given against these proofs
- Some rebuttals to the answerers
2. Proofs of those who deem abandonment not to be Kufr and Riddah
- PROOFS FROM THE QURAN
- PROOFS FROM THE SUNNAH
- PROOFS FROM CONSENSUS
- PROOFS FROM ANALOGY AND REASON
- Some answers given against these proofs
- Some rebuttals to the answerers
- Conclusion and Evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the various proofs, evidences and arguments
- Final Observations
- Resources and references
excerpt pages 3-10
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
إن الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه ونستهديه ونستغفره، ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهده الله فلا مضل له، ومن يُضلل فلا هادي له . وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله
يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله حق تُقاته ولا تموتنَّ إلا وأنتم مسلمون
يا أيها الناس اتقوا ربكم الذي خلقكم من نفسٍ واحدةٍ وخلق منها زوجها وبثَّ منهما رجالاً كثيراً ونساءً واتقوا الله الذي تساءلون به والأرحام إن الله كان عليكم رقيباً
يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولاً سديداً . يُصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم ومن يُطع الله ورسوله
فقد فاز فوزاً عظيماً
أما بعد: فإنَّ أصدقَ الحديثِ كتابُ الله، وخيرَ الهدي هديُ محمدٍ صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وشر الأمور مُحدثاتها، وكل محدثة بدعة، وكل بدعةٍ ضلالة، وكل ضلالة في النار
Indeed, all praise belongs to Allah. We praise Him, seek His Aid and His Forgiveness and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from the evil of our actions. Whomsoever Allah guides, none can misguide, and whomsoever Allah misguides none can guide thereafter. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah (nothing has the right to be worshipped except Him), who is alone without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except that you are Muslims.” [Aal-i-‘Imran 3:102]
“O Mankind! Fear your Lord, Who created you from a single soul (Adam) and from him created his partner (Hawwa, Eve) and from them both sent forth and scattered many men and women. So fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights and by the reverence of the wombs that bore you. For Allah is ever watchful over you.” [Nisa’ 4:l]
“O you who believe! Fear Allah and say a truthful word. He will direct you to do righteous actions and will forgive you your sins. Whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has already attained the highest success.”[Ahzab 33:70-71]
To proceed: Indeed the best speech is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him. The worst of affairs are the invented matters, for every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in Hellfire.
Although books in English about Salat (Islamic prayer) and its virtues and rewards are prolific, I have not seen any book devoted to the issue whether abandoning obligatory Salat is Kufr (disbelief) and Riddah (apostasy) or not. All Muslim scholars agree that denial of the obligation of the five obligatory prayers is Kufr. They all agree that leaving the offering of any one obligatory Salat is one of the greatest of sins. Yet they have differed significantly about whether leaving and abandoning Salat constitutes disbelief and apostasy, and this is one of the major controversial issues of Islamic jurisprudence in our era with many ramifications. Different positions have exited from the emergence of the major schools of jurisprudence in the second and third century of Islam. Each group presents its proofs and rationale for its jurisprudence.
The reputed position and many reports and narrations on the Sahaba (companions), Taba’een, (followers), and the followers after them, is that abandoning Salat is indeed Kufr and Riddah. We conclude this from the many reports of the Muhhadatheen (scholars and reporters of Hadith -traditions), and from what al-Marwazi in his book “Ta’ztheem Qadr As-Salat” (Aggrandizement of the Status of Prayer), and from what Ibn Hazm says in al-Muhala (the Adornment), and what al-Mundthari says in Targheen wa Tarheeb (Encouraging Good Deeds and Inspiring Fear) and from what al-Ishbeeli mentions in his book about Tahajjud, (Voluntary night prayers), and from many others in their books and chapters, that this is the position of the companions Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Bilal al-Habashi, Abdullah ibn Masood, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Mu’adth ibn Jabal, Jabir ibn Abdullah, Abu Darda`, Um Iymin, Anas ibn Malik, Abdullah ibn Umar, Ubada ibn Samit, and others may Allah be pleased with all of them. It is also a the position of Makhool, Al-Hakam ibn Uyyaina, Abdullah ibn Shaqeeq, Sa’eed ibn Jubair Ayyub, and others of the Taba’een (followers after the Sahaba). It also is the documented position of many after them, including many of the reporters of Hadith and Ibn Mubarrik, al-Wake’e, Ibraheem an-Nakhe’e, Ayyub as-Sajastani, Ishaq ibn Rahawai, Ibn Abi Shaiba, Ibn Mandah, Abu Da`ood at-Tayalasi, Abu Khaithama, Zuhair ibn Harb, Abdullah ibn Nasr al-Marwazi, and many others too numerous to name, and a jurisprudence narration on Imam Sahfa’e and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and some of the scholars on the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafa’i and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence.
Imam az-Zuhri, Imam ath-Thauri, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, and a narration on Imam as-Shaf’e, and a narration on Imam Ahmad, and many others like Ibn Bata, at-Tahawi, and a vast number of the reputed and eminent scholars of the four jurisprudence schools, all do not perceive it to be Kufr or Riddah. This more lax position is repeatedly claimed by some to historically be the majority position. Abu Hanifa and others, like what is reported on the Tabi’e at-Tabi’e (follower of follower of the companions) Imam Zuhri, say that the Muslim who abandons Salat should be kept in prison until he returns to offering prayers or dies. Many of the others, like Imam Malik and Imam Shafa’e, say he should be called to offer prayer, and if he refuses, he should be executed as a punishment by Islamic law and then buried in the cemetery of the Muslims. Some say, like Sheikh al-Albani of the contemporary scholars, that after execution for refusal, we know for certain that he really was an apostate since only an apostate would stubbornly persist in refusal to the point of execution and therefore this shows that he was actually in denial of the obligation of Salat which is apostasy .
Included among the many contemporary scholars who declared him a Kafir and Murtad are Sheikh as-Sa’adi, Sheikh Ahmad Shakir, Sheikh Hamid Fiqhi, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Ibraheem, Sheikh Bin Baz, Sheikh Uthaimeen, Sheikh Mubil al-Wada’e, Sheikh al-Jibreen, Sheikh al-Fouzan, Sheikh Mane’e, Sheikh al-Hawali, Sheikh as-Sulaimani (al-Ma`rabi), Sheikh Abu Basir, and many others. There are indeed many contemporary scholars all over the contemporary Muslim world who do not consider the Muslim who leaves and abandons prayer to be disbeliever and apostate, and included among them is Sheikh al-Albani, as is well known in his writings and lessons and by his students.
But many questions pose themselves. Is it possible that this controversy exited at the time of the Prophet himself, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and he spoke about it? Did it exit during the era of the Sahaba (companions) and their followers? When did it appear, and how? How was it decided? What are the proofs in the controversy? Can a decisive judgment be made?
Some of the Salaf as-Salih – our traditional scholars – who have researched this issue in extensive detail include Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazi [d.394 H] in his book “Ta’ztheem Qadr As-Salat” (تعظيم قدر الصلاة) [Aggrandizement of the Status of Prayer] and Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyyah [d. 751H] in his book “as-Salat wa Hukm Tarikiha”
الصلاة وحكم تاركها ) ) [Prayer and the Ruling for Leaving Prayer], and many other eminent scholars in chapters of other books.
Some eminent contemporary scholars who have researched this issue in detail, and written a book or booklet devoted to this issue singularly, include: Sheikh Bin Baz, Sheikh al-Uthaimeen, Sheikh al-Albani, Sheikh al-Jibreen, Sheikh al-Fouzan, Sheikh al-Mane’e, Sheikh al-Ma`rabi, Sheikh Abu Basir, and others, just to mention a few. We as humble students seeking knowledge respect all the traditional and contemporary scholars of Islam and their presentations, and maintain the brotherly Muslim etiquettes of inquiry and evaluation and argumentation, however we may differ with some opinions and statements on the related issues. We are all commanded to seek beneficial knowledge, and to evaluate the evidences and presentations of the arguments of proofs and explanations that our predecessors and scholars give us upon our inquiry. We are all attempting to reach what we believe is the ruling that is intended by Allah and His Prophet in the Qurah and Sunnah, by which we all are guided. We all seek to follow them as sincerely and best as we are able. May Allah give all of us our reward of seeking Allah’s Blessed Countenance by our search, research and/or ”Ijtihad” (striving the utmost to understand and judge correctly), and our struggle in the way of making Allah’s Word Most Supreme. Maintaining brotherly relations with our fellow Muslims, and the conduct of proper respect and etiquette in disagreement, controversy and crisis, is an agreed upon principle of Islam. Only insolent transgressors and extremely deviant innovators and rebels deserve a different attitude and conduct.
The issue at hand is in no way hypothetical. Daily there are real life consequences, not only for those who leave the Salat and thus deserve the punishments mentioned by Allah the Almighty and His Prophet, may the most perfect salutations of peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, in the Quran and Sunnah, but also for the scholars who give “Fatawa” (jurisprudence judgments) and the judges in Share’ah courts who issue “Ahkam” (judicial verdicts) about these issues, and the students of knowledge who mention their judgments and verdicts and apply them as best as possible in their local circumstances.
Let’s cite a few examples, which most certainly have occurred, on how this issue concerns us all in dangerous real life situations. They are not according to past centuries during the strength and ascendancy of the Islamic state, law and courts, but according to our present realities and decadence:
First EXAMPLE: A woman comes to the Masjid or Muslim court asking to be married to a man who wishes to declare his Islam, expressing that this is the known custom of the Muslims, which they as a couple wish to observe respectfully. Upon the most basic of preliminary investigations it is discovered that neither this nominal Muslim women, nor this man who says he will become a Muslim, pray Salat regularly or have any intention to pray Salat after marriage. What is the judgment of these two and marrying them?
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is not disbelief and apostasy, these two are Muslims for their Shahadah (testimony) even thought they will not, and intent never to make Salat regularly, and thus it is permissible for the Imam to marry them and bless their marriage. He may during his time with them explain the importance of prayer and admonish them for their negligence and encourage them to perform this pillar of Islam.
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is disbelief and apostasy, it is not allowed to marry these two, and this women should be admonished and asked to return to her Islam, by explaining the importance of Salat. If she persists stubbornly on the path of refusal, and does not repent, she should eventually be declared an apostate with all the attached verdicts.
Second EXAMPLE: A man or woman is married to a spouse who regularly and habitually or totally abandons Salat. What is the judgment of this person remaining married to this spouse and what should happen to their children and possessions?
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is not disbelief and apostasy these two are legally married and should continue as Muslims by virtue of their Shahada. They remain married and a Muslim couple, albeit the more religious spouse must strive to convince the other one of the dire consequences of abandoning Salat.
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is disbelief and apostasy, this marriage should eventually be dissolved if the negligent spouse refuses to make repentance in this regard and begins to offer prayer regularly.
Third EXAMPLE: Relatives of a deceased man come to have their relative buried by a Muslim burial ceremony. His Christian or Jewish wife (or whatever religion, as unfortunately happens) objects saying she wants burial by her rite since she never saw him make Salat or observe any of the Muslim religious rites. This is proven by all appearances to be true. The case is presented and contested in court or a board of arbitration.
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is not disbelief and apostasy, the man should be buried by Muslim rite since his relatives claim that he made Shahada, even if it is known that he never observed Salat or any other Islamic obligation, and the case should be contested by the Imam and his representatives on his and his relative’s behalf.
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is disbelief and apostasy, he is not a Muslim, should not be buried by Islamic rite, and the case should not be pursued on his and his relative’s behalf.
Fourth EXAMPLE: I was asked once approximately the following question. Can we give our Zakat to a group of nominal Muslims who are helping the poor and needy Muslims in a well-organized NGO, even thought they apparently do not pray or fast, since we see them in Ramadan eating, drinking and smoking their cigarettes and never see them make Salat?
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is not disbelief and apostasy these are Muslims no matter that they never do any worships like Salat and Saum etc, and therefore since they are apparently trustworthy it is allowed to give your Zakat to them to be responsible to distribute it to the other Muslims or whatever.
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is disbelief and apostasy, they are not Muslims, and since they are not trustworthy to Allah about their pillars of Islam in Salat and Saum etc, how can we be sure they will be trustworthy to us and really give it to the specified needy categories of Muslims, and not to some unworthy non-Muslims or apostates from Islam. It may be allowed to give them – under certain conditions — general and voluntary Sadaqat, but not Zakat, which is exact and specific in its conditions.
Fifth EXAMPLE: The ruler of a Muslim country is known to regularly, habitually and/or totally leave and abandon Salat. What is the judgment of this person and obeying him as the ruler, and of not rebelling and replacing him with a Muslim ruler who offers and establishes obligatory Salat?
— According to the position that abandoning Salat is not disbelief and apostasy, if he still proclaims outwardly to be a Muslim, he still is within the ranks, and this is not the “Kufr Bawah” (open and clear disbelief) mentioned in some of the traditions (mentioned below) about when it is obligatory to rebel against a tyrannical ruler.
— According to position that abandoning Salat is disbelief and apostasy, it is obligatory to rebel against this ruler since he is an disbeliever and apostate and there are explicit traditions that say that one should not rebel against unjust tyrannical rulers until they abandon Salat: thus, abandoning Salat is a prime example of the “Kufr Bawah” (open and clear disbelief) mentioned in the traditions. Actually rebelling is contingent upon capabilities and other factors, but the obligation remains for those that are capable and when factors are positive and favorable.
All this, and many more ramifications of this crucial, life threatening issue of eternal consequences, awaits us in the following pages. I ask Allah our Lord Supreme to guide our steps, and forgive us our shortcomings and weaknesses, and have mercy on us for our sins and mistakes from which we continually repent. Indeed, He is the Close One, and the Answerer of prayers
As in all issues in which there is controversy and difference of opinion among the scholars, we are commanded to refer back to the scriptures to determine which opinion is the best, strongest and closest in conformity with the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the basic sources of Islamic jurisprudence.
Allah the Majestic said:
وَمَا اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِيهِ مِن شَيْءٍ فَحُكْمُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبِّي عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ
“And whatever you differ in, the judgment is for Allah. That is Allah, my Lord, I trust on Him, and to Him I return and repent.” [42:10]
Allah the Exalted said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination. [4:60]
And the Messenger of Allah may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
تركت فيكم شيئن لن تضلوا بعدى كتاب الله و سنتي و لن يتفرقا حتى يردا علّى الحوض
“ I have left with you two things, (so that) you will not go astray after me (if you hold firm to them): the Book of Allah and my Sunnah. They will not ever depart from each other until you come to my pool (in the hereafter)” [Reported by al-Hakim and verified by al-Albani]
And he said, peace be upon him:
“…فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين فتمسكوا بها وعضوا عليها بالنواجذ …”
“…and (follow) my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the correctly guided righteous caliphs (after me), hold on to that and cling to it firmly even if by your molar teeth…” [Reported by Abu Da`ood, at-Tirmidthi and others, and verified by Al-Albani]
And the companion Abdullah ibn Masod may Allah be pleased with him, said:
” اتبعوا ولاتبتدعوا فقد كفيتم عليكم بالأمر العتيق”
“Follow and do not innovate, for verily it is sufficient for you. Hold firm to the ancient (i.e. original) ruling.” [Reported by al-Lalika`e and others, and verified as his statement]
I have only tried to follow these instructions and present some preliminary investigations on this great issue. Our manner of citation is a summarized form mentioning from the chapters of Salat in the known Hadith literature, Quranic exegesis, and books of Fiqh (jurisprudence), and the specific books and articles written on the subject and issue at hand. Concerning Hadith (Prophetic traditions), if the tradition is cited from al-Bukhari or Muslim there is no need for further verification since all Muslim scholars accept them as authentic. For other traditions we have especially cited the widely circulating publications of the verifications of Sheikh Muhammad Nasir-ad-Din al-Albani, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, which we mentioned by saying that he “authenticated” or “verified” the tradition, meaning that he declared it either “Sahih” (sound and authentic) or “Hasan” (good), “Hasan li-ghairi” (good for supporting evidence) since they are generally acceptable and used as correct, admissible and strong enough jurisprudence proof. I eventually may produce — with the aid of Allah and his will – a more complete expanded version with full notes of verification according to the sciences of Hadith, and complete jurisprudence documentation. I have sometimes used abbreviations of Sheikh al-Albani’s beneficial books, for instance, SS for as-Silsalah as-Sahihah, SJ for Sahih al-Jami’e as-Saghir, ST for Sahih at-Taghrib, SG for Arwa al-Ghalil, and so on, followed directly by the number of the Hadith cited.
We have preferred to fully write out what we are ordered to do in sending our salutation of peace and blessing of Allah on the Prophet of Allah, may the best salutation of peace and blessing be upon him and his family and followers. As Allah the Almighty says:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
“Allah sends His Salat (Salutations, Graces, Honors, Peace, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet, and His angels also (ask Allah to send his peace, blessings and mercy). O you who believe! Send your Salat on him and greet (salute) him.” [33:56]
Thus the customary Islamic way of greeting the Messenger of Allah is by saying SALL ALLAHU ALAIHI WA SALLAM [صلى الله عليه وسـلم ], may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.
And Allah Most Exalted said:
وَالسَّابِقُونَ الأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُواْ عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
‘And the forerunners to embrace Islam of the Emigrants and the Helpers, and also those who followed them in good faith. Allah is well pleased with them, as they are well pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens (in Paradise) under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [9:100]
And He Most Exalted said:
لَقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُونَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ فَأَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا
“Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave their pledge to you (O Muhammad) under the tree, He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down calmness and tranquility upon them, and He rewarded them with a near victory.” [48:18]
Abu Salman Deya ud-Deen Eberle
أبو ســـــــلمان ضياء الدين ابرلي
May Allah guide us to the truth and forgive us our mistakes, forgetfulness, shortcomings and faults. We supplicate Allah for ourselves and all our brother Muslims as Allah the Most Exalted taught us in the Quran:
رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا واغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَآ أَنتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
“O our Lord, do not take us to task and punish us if we forget or we make a mistake: and do not burden us with binding obligations of the likes of that which you placed on those that were before us, and do not make us to bear that which we do not have the strength and ability to bear. Pardon us and forgive us (our sins) and have mercy upon us, You are our Protector and Supporter, and give us victory over (our enemies) the disbelievers” [al-Baqara 2:286]
And we supplicate:
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“O our Lord forgive us and our brothers who have proceeded before us in faith and do not make any malice to be in our hearts for those that believe, O our Lord verily You are the most Kind most Merciful” [59/10]
And we supplicate as the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, taught us in his Sunnah:
“اللهم رب جبريل وميكائيل وإسرافيل أنت تحكم بين عبادك فيما كانوا فيه يختلفون اهدني لما اختلف فيه من الحق بإذنك إنك تهدي من تشاء إلى صراط مستقيم “
“O Allah, Lord of Jibreel (Gabriel) and Mika`eel (Michael) and Israfeel, Judge between your slave-creatures in that which they differ. Guide me in (all) that which they differ to the truth by Your permission, certainly You guide whoever you will to the Straight Path.”
Allahuma, Ameen (O Allah, accept our supplications)
Forth coming (insha-Allah: God willing)
another excerpt pages 14- 51
Details of Fiqh (Jurisprudence) in this issue of abandoning Salat, is it disbelief (Kufr) and apostasy (Riddah), or not?
All Muslims agree that Salat is a pillar of Islam next in importance to Shahada (testimony) of LA ILAHA ILL-A-LLAH (there is no god except Allah. They all agree that a denial of this obligation is apostasy. Controversy remains whether leaving and abandonment of making prayers is apostasy when one does not deny its obligation.
We will now proceed to present two sides of the issue:
- Proofs of those who deem abandonment to be Kufr and Riddah.
- Proofs of those who deem abandonment not to be Kufr and Riddah.
(1) Proofs of those who deem abandonment
to be Kufr and Riddah
PROOFS FROM THE QURAN
that abandoning Salat is Kufr and Riddah
Allah commands all creation to worship, obey, and prostrate to Him, their Lord Creator, Sustainer, Master and Sovereign, their one and only “God” and Divine Being worthy of total and absolute submission and worship. As we mentioned above, Allah Himself the Exalted One makes “Salat” to chosen ones of His creation, like the Prophets, with special salutations, peace and blessing. The “Salat” of the inanimate creations are according to their matter. The Salat of the angels, humans, animals and birds are according to their makeup and disposition also, and Allah reveals to each kind of creatures their form of Salat and Tasbeeh (Glorification) but we may not understand it.
﴿سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ عُلُوًّا كَبِيرًا () تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدَهِ وَلَكِن لاَّ تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا ﴾
“Glorified, High and Exalted is He from (the great falsehood) that they say! The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him. There is not a thing but glorifies His Praise, but you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.” [17:42-44]
Allah the Exalted and Majestic said of the animals:
﴿ أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالطَّيْرُ صَافَّاتٍ كُلٌّ قَدْ عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُ وَتَسْبِيحَهُ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ ﴾
“Do you not see that it is Allah whom they glorify, whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, and the birds with wings out-spread (in their flight). Each one of them knows indeed his Salat (prayer) and his glorification, and Allah is All-Aware of what they do.” [24:41]
Allah the Exalted and Majestic said of the inanimate objects of creation:
﴿ وَيُسَبِّحُ الرَّعْدُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَالْمَلاَئِكَةُ مِنْ خِيفَتِهِ وَيُرْسِلُ الصَّوَاعِقَ فَيُصِيبُ بِهَا مَن يَشَاءُ وَهُمْ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي اللّهِ وَهُوَ شَدِيدُ الْمِحَالِ () لَهُ دَعْوَةُ الْحَقِّ وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ لاَ يَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُم بِشَيْءٍ إِلاَّ كَبَاسِطِ كَفَّيْهِ إِلَى الْمَاء لِيَبْلُغَ فَاهُ وَمَا هُوَ بِبَالِغِهِ وَمَا دُعَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ إِلاَّ فِي ضَلاَلٍ () وَلِلّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَظِلالُهُم بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالآصَالِ ﴾
“And the thunder glorifies and praises Him, and so do the angels because of His Awe, He sends the thunderbolts, and therewith He strikes whom He wills, yet they dispute about Allah. And He is Mighty in strength and Severe in punishment. For Him (Alone) is the Word of Truth. And those whom they invoke, answer them no more than one who stretches forth his hand with open palms for water to reach his mouth, but (after spilling out) it reaches him not, and the invocation of the disbelievers is nothing but an error. Unto Allah falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons.[13:13-15]
And the Exalted said:
﴿ وَالنَّجْمُ وَالشَّجَرُ يَسْجُدَانِ ﴾
“And stars and the trees both prostrate (to Allah).” [55:6]
And the Exalted said:
﴿ أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَسْجُدُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ وَالنُّجُومُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَابُّ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنَ النَّاسِ وَكَثِيرٌ حَقَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَذَابُ وَمَن يُهِنِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِن مُّكْرِمٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يَشَاءُ ﴾
Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and moving living creatures, and many of mankind? And there are many (men) on whom the punishment is justified. And whomsoever Allah disgraces, none can honor him. Verily, Allah does what He wills.” [22:18]
And as the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him said of the angels.
“أتسمعون ما أسمع ؟ إني لأسمع أطيط السماء و ما تلام أن تئط و ما فيها موضع شبر إلا
و عليه ملك ساجد أو قائم.”
“Do you hear what I hear? I hear the creaking of the sky, and no wonder it creaks, since there is not a little handbreadth of space but an angel is prostrating there, or standing (in attention).” [Reported by at-Tabarani and Deya al-Maqdasi and verified by al-Albani]
And Allah the Exalted commands us Muslims saying;
﴿ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا () وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا () هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيمًا ﴾
“O you who believe! Remember Allah in abundance, and glorify His praises, morning and evening He sends you His blessing and peace (literally makes Salat) and His angels, so that you may go out from the layers of darkness to the light, and He is indeed merciful to the believers.” [33:41-43]
Our Salat to Allah is re-compensated by Allah’s Salat and His angles Salat to us, of guidance, sustenance and protection, and mercy.
Thus every creature and every created thing of Allah is obedient in prostrating and glorifying Allah –as He their Creator revealed and taught them — except the Shaitan (Satan). Iblees (Lucifer, Satan) was the first to refuse prostration, and his followers ape his lead him in rebellion and disobedience. The Shaitan waxed proud and arrogant and was jealous of Adam, may Allah’s peace be upon him, since Allah preferred him with special status, even though he was only made of clay, whereas the Shaitan was made of fire (actually the mixture of smoke and fire). As Allah the Almighty said:
﴿وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلاَئِكَةِ اسْجُدُواْ لآدَمَ فَسَجَدُواْ إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ أَبَى وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ﴾
And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam.” And they all prostrated except Iblees (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).[2:34]
And He the All-Powerful and Wise said:
﴿ قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلاَّ تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ قَالَ أَنَاْ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ ﴾
(Allah) said: “What prevented you (O Iblees) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?” Iblees said: “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.” [7:12]
Here we see that Iblees was the first arrogant racist, hating Adam with raging jealous and all that would proceed from him of the race of mankind. He swore to be the mortal enemy of all of them deceiving them into rebellion also, until the end of time when Allah, after giving men and jinn their freedom to chose monotheism or polytheism, obedience or disobedience, will judge all with perfect justice.
Allah said explaining that the Shaitan was the first to be disobedient:
﴿ وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ بِئْسَ لِلظَّالِمِينَ بَدَلًا ﴾
And (remember) when We said to the angels; “Prostrate to Adam.” So they prostrated except Iblees (Satan). He was one of the Jinn; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord. Will you then take him (Satan) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you? What an evil is the exchange for the wrongdoers.” [18:50]
Man has one of three choices only: 1) To worship and prostrate to Allah. 2) To worship and prostrate to other than Allah. 3) To refuse to worship and prostrate to Allah.
Allah the Exalted said:
﴿ وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ لَا تَسْجُدُوا لِلشَّمْسِ وَلَا لِلْقَمَرِ وَاسْجُدُوا لِلَّهِ الَّذِي خَلَقَهُنَّ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ () فَإِنِ اسْتَكْبَرُوا فَالَّذِينَ عِندَ رَبِّكَ يُسَبِّحُونَ لَهُ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْأَمُونَ ﴾
“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them, if you (truly) worship Him.” [41:37]
Even if he does worship and prostrate to Allah sometimes, if at any other time he worships and prostrates to another besides Allah, he had fallen into Shirk (idolatry and polytheism), number two above, which is the greatest and unforgivable sin if he dies upon it without repentance and returning to the worship of Allah only.
As Allah the Supreme said:
﴿ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَى إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا ﴾
“Allah does not forgive that partners should be set up with him in worship; but He forgives anything else to whom He pleases” [4:48]
And Allah the Almighty says:
﴿ إِنَّهُ مَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللّهِ فَقَدْ حَرَّمَ اللّهُ عَلَيهِ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَأْوَاهُ النَّارُ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ ﴾
“Truly, whosoever sets up partners with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the wrongdoers there are no helpers.” [5:72].
One might ask, why is sometimes worshipping and sometimes refusing not a choice mentioned above? Of course, this is what actually happens to many people and even some Muslims, offering Salat sometimes and refusing and being neglectful at others.
To worship and prostrate to Allah is the natural course for man and for that which he was created, as will be explained below. To refuse to worship and prostrate to Allah is our issue of at hand. The one that makes this choice –and it is a choice — is following the way of the Shaitain, and Allah said of him“…he refused and waxed arrogant and was one of the disbelievers.” This itself is proof in our issue here that leaving and abandoning Salat if Kufr and Riddah.
Allah The Almighty and Sublime said, and it is better to read the entire Sura and the context:
إِنَّمَا يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهَا خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَسَبَّحُوا بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ ()
“Only those believe in Our signs and revelations who, when they are reminded of them, fall down prostrate, and glorify the Praises of their Lord, and they are not proud.” [32:15]
This means that they are not proud by refusing to prostrate as Iblees was, for Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet said, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him:
“إذا قرأ ابن آدم السجدة اعتزل الشيطان فبكى يقول يا ويلي من آدم أمر بالسجود فسجد فله الجنة
وأمرت بالسجود فأبيت فلي النار .”
“If the son of Adam reads (Surat) al-Sajdah  the Shaitan cries and says: ‘Woe to me from Adam, He was ordered to prostate and prostrated and he gets Paradise, and I was ordered to prostrate and I refused so I get the Hellfire.’” [Reported by Muslim]
Salat with its recitations and bowings and prostrations is the first form of worship always mentioned (along with Zakat — alms and charity) in the context of the ultimate reason for our existence, and the reason for our victory, and for our continued firm establishment on the earth as Allah’s worshippers.
Our Lord and Creator, Allah the Most Exalted, said:
﴿ وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ () مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ () إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ ﴾
“And I have not created man and jinn except to worship Me (Alone). I do not seek any provision from them, nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Verily; Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong. [51:56-58]
About ultimate victory over the enemies of Allah and the enemies of the believers, Allah the Most Exalted said:
﴿ وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ () الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلوةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَوةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ ﴾
“Verily Allah helps and gives victory to those one who help and give victory to Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty. Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish Salah and give Zakat and enjoin virtue and forbid evil. And with Allah is the sequel of events.” [22: 40-41]
The Prophet of Allah explained the purpose of money and wealth as related to our worship in the Hadith Qudsi (divine tradition):
قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: “إن الله عز وجل قال : إنا أنزلنا المال لإقام الصلاة ، وايتاء الزكاة ….”
[ رواه أحمد والطبراني]
“Allah the Almighty and Majestic said: ‘I have made wealth to descend for the establishment of prayer and the paying of alms…’” [Reported by Imam Ahmad and at-Tabrani, and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albani]
These proofs above mean that we have one purpose in life, the purpose for which we here created, for which we have our wealth from Allah, for which we strive in our struggles: to worship Him and Him alone by offering Salat to Him the Creator and paying Zakat for benefit of others of the creatures. This Salat and Zakat are always the first and foremost worship in all the revealed messages of Allah to His prophets and messengers. How can abandoning Salat not be the decisive action of rebellion from Islam that is Kufr, similar, to disbelieve by denial?
We find additional proof that Salat is specifically the reason of our creation and existence and is meant by the word “worship” above. Allah has not left us to our own ideas and philosophies to second guess and merely pay lip service to the idea of worship.
Allah the Sublime said about Ibraheem (Abraham) and Isma`eel (Ishmael) peace be upon them, and living in Makkah at the first house of Allah built for His sacred worship only.
﴿ رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُواْ الصَّلوَةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ ﴾
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an valley without cultivation by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), in order, O our Lord, that they may perform Salat, so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.” [14:37]
Salat is the only reason in this supplication for their living in Makkah, and it is the one worship to Allah for thankfulness.
And Allah the Almighty explains about the Prophet of Allah Shu’aib, peace be upon him, and his Salat, when his people criticized him sarcastically:
﴿ قَالُواْ يَا شُعَيْبُ أَصَلاَتُكَ تَأْمُرُكَ أَن نَّتْرُكَ مَا يَعْبُدُ آبَاؤُنَا أَوْ أَن نَّفْعَلَ فِي أَمْوَالِنَا مَا نَشَاءُ إِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ الْحَلِيمُ الرَّشِيدُ ﴾
“They said: “O Shu’aib, does your Salat command you that we leave off what our fathers used to worship, or that we leave off doing what we like with our wealth? Verily, you are the patient forbearer, and the right-minded!” [11:87]
And Allah the most Sublime said:
﴿ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا () إِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزُوعًا () وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الْخَيْرُ مَنُوعًا () إِلَّا الْمُصَلِّينَ () الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ ﴾
“Verily, man was created very impatient; Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him; And niggardly when good touches him – Except those devoted to Salat (prayers), who remain constant in their Salat….” [70:19-23]
Indeed Salat commands Tauheed and all Goodness, since it is the essence of all worship, as we will explain further below. Without Salat man is open to all Kufr, Shirk and evilness.
Additionally, Allah Most Exalted said about Ibraheem (Abraham) and all those who came after and from him of the Prophets, like Ishaq (Isaac) and Yaqoob (Jacob), and those after them:
﴿ وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلوةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَوةِ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ ﴾
“And We made them leaders of men. They guided the people according to Our command, and Our revelation to them the doing of good deeds and right establishment of Salat and giving of Zakat and they were worshippers of Us.” [21:73]
And about the people of Israel, Allah the Most Exalted said:
﴿ وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللّهُ مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَآئِيلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنهُمُ اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ نَقِيبًا وَقَالَ اللّهُ إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ لَئِنْ أَقَمْتُمُ الصّلوةَ وَآتَيْتُمُ الزَّكَوةَ وَآمَنتُم بِرُسُلِي وَعَزَّرْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَقْرَضْتُمُ اللّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا لَّأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَلأُدْخِلَنَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ فَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاء السَّبِيلِ ﴾
“Indeed Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And Allah said: ‘I am with you if you establish Salat and give Zakat and believe in My Messengers, and honor and assist them, and lend to Allah a good loan. Verily, I will remit your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise). Whoever of you disbelieves after this has indeed gone astray from the Straight Path.” [5:12]
About the people of the Book — the Jews and Christians — Allah the Most Exalted said:
﴿ وَمَا تَفَرَّقَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ () وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاء وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ ﴾
“And the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ until after there came to them clear evidence. And they were not commanded except that they should worship Allah making their religion sincere for Him and worshiping none except Him Alone, and establish Salat and give Zakat: and that is the right (straight and best) religion.” [98:5]
These proofs establish the fact that Salat is the foremost universally revealed form of worship of Allah in all His messages by all his Prophets to mankind.
This is also confirmed by many traditions, for example Prophet of Allah, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said:
“إنّا معاشر الأنبياء أمرنا أن نعجل إفطارنا ونؤخر سحورنا ونضع أيماننا على شمائلنا في الصلاة .”
“We the assembly of Prophets have all been commanded to breakfast immediately after the time lapses and to take our mean before fast at the last time and to place our right hands on out left hands in Salat.” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
And the Prophet mentioned
“أفضل الصلاة صلاة داود…”
“The best prayer is the prayer of David…”[Reported by Bukhari and Muslim] meaning the voluntary night prayer in its timings since he would sleep a third of the night, pray a sixth, sleep another sixth, and then pray a sixth.
Is it sensible that a person refusing or abandoning Salat can remain a Muslim, one who surrenders willfully and submissively to Allah in worshipping Him alone without partner? O Allah guide us!
When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, ascended to the very presence of Allah during “Asra` wa Mi’raj” (Night Travel and Ascension), the highest of honors in the Prophet’s life, Allah the Most High and Exalted revealed to him the obligation of fifty (50) prayers in a night and day and then, when he descended he met Musa (Moses), who advised him to seek reduction and ease, and, as we read:
“…فلم أزل أرجع بين ربي و بين موسى حتى قال :يا محمد إنهن خمس صلوات كل يوم و ليلة لكل صلاة عشر فذلك خمسون صلاة و من هم بحسنة فلم يعلمها كتبت له حسنة فإن عملها كتبت له عشرا و من هم بسيئة فلم يعملها لم تكتب شيئا فإن عملها كتبت سيئة واحدة …”
“…and I continued to return to Allah and then to Musa until He (Allah) said: There are five Salat in a night and day, for every Salat ten (rewards), so they are fifty in goodness, and whoever thinks (and intends) to do a good deed gets a reward, and whoever actually does it gets ten rewards of goodness written for him, and whoever thinks (and intends) a evil sin and doesn’t do it has a good deed written for him and whoever does it has one evil sin written against him…” [Reported by Muslim and others]
This tradition mentions the general principle of all worship. The greatest event of the Prophet’s approach and nearness to Allah is related to Salat, may the best peace and blessing be upon him and his family from Allah.
And the command of Salat, in similar fashion, was the greatest event of Moses’ life, may peace be upon him, when he spoke to Allah the Exalted directly, and was ordered to perform Salat, as mentioned above. Allah’s revelation to him at that blessed moment in that blessed place was: “Verily I am Allah LA ILAHA ILLA ANA (there is no god except I) so worship Me and establish regular Salat (prayer) for my Remembrance.” [20:14]
Salat is equated with Iman (faith) in the Quran in an important verse about the changing of the Qibla (prayer direction) from the place of worship in Jerusalem, to the House of Allah in Makkah. Allah the Almighty and Wise said:
﴿ وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُواْ شُهَدَاء عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلاَّ لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلاَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللّهُ وَمَا كَانَ اللّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ
إِنَّ اللّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴾
“Thus We have made you a middle nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger be a witness over you. And We made the Qiblah which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels. Indeed it was great except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah would never make your faith to be lost. Truly, Allah is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind.” [2:143]
All the exegesis of the Quran mention that this verse was revealed in response to the companions who asked about their brothers in Islam who had died while praying to the old Qibla towards Jerusalem before it was changed to Makkah. Therefore the word “Iman” (faith, belief) here means Salat, and this is the only word equated with Iman in this way. Allah promises them that he would not allow their Salat to him be lost whether towards Jerusalem or Makkah. The issue of the Qibla was a test before and after: before, since when the Muslims were in Makkah the Prophet, peace be upon him, would put the Kabba in front of him and then pray towards Jerusalem, but after the Hijra (Emigration) to Madinah he and his companions where then not able. It was a test afterwards since reversing the direction to Makkah after being towards Jerusalem was difficult for some, especially those influenced by the Jews of Madinah. As Allah said, the issue was “only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels.”
The significance of the verse for our issue is that this is the only verse to equate Iman with a specific act of worship of Salat. It indicates that leaving and abandoning Salat is thus equal to leaving and abandoning faith itself, which can only be disbelief and apostasy.
A story is related by al-Lalika`e in his book “Sharh Usul ‘Iriqad,” chapter on Iman, in this context about Salat and its being of Iman (faith, belief):
قال استأذن شريك على المهدي وعنده أبو يوسف القاضي وامتريا فقال المهدي الصلاة من الإيمان وقال أبو يوسف الصلاة ليس من الإيمان واستأذن شريك فقال المهدي قد جاء من يفصل بيننا قال فلما دخل سلم قال فرد عليه فقال يا أبا عبد الله ما تقول في رجلين امتريا فقال أحدهما الصلاة من الإيمان وقال الآخر الصلاة من العمل قال أصاب الذي قال الصلاة من الإيمان وأخطأ الذي قال الصلاة من العمل قال فقال أبو يوسف من أين قلت ذي فقال حدثني أبو إسحاق عن البراء بن عازب في قوله وما كان الله ليضيع إيمانكم قال صلاتكم نحو بيت المقدس قال فالقمه حجرا
“Shuraik (ibn Abdullah) entered upon the (Abbasi Caliph) Mahdi while Abu Yousuf (the famous jurist) was with him. They were arguing, al-Mahdi saying that Salat is of Iman, and Abu Yousuf saying that Salat is of deeds (i.e. and not of Iman). Shuraik asked permission (and entered) so al-Mahdi said: A man has come who will decide between us. When he had entered and greeted then and they returned the greetings, he said: O Aba Abdullah, what do you say about two people who argued, and one said that Salat is of Iman, and the other said Salat is of deeds (i.e. and not of Iman)? He said: the correct one is the one who said that Salat is of Iman. Abu Yousuf said: From where did you get that? He replied: From this: Abu Ishaq narrated to me, on al-Bara`a ibn Azib, about the saying of Allah “Allah would never make your faith to be lost,” (meaning) your Salat to the house of Jerusalem. It was (as if) he had thrown out a stone for him to swallow (i.e. the proof was so effective).”
Another strong proof cited is that Allah made brotherhood in the religion of Islam contingent upon repentance from Shirk, making Salat and paying Zakat. Any Mushrik (pagan polytheist, idolater) who accepts Islam by saying the testimony of faith, and makes Salat and pays Zakat, his waY is left open, and he becomes our brother. Thus we know that the condition of establishing Salat and paying Zakat are necessary for being a Muslim after repentance from worship of another besides Allah.
Allah the Almighty and All-Wise said:
﴿… فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّواْ سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴾
“So if they repent (from their disbelief), establish the Prayer (Salat) and give the obligatory alms (Zakat), then leave their way free. Verily Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.”[9:5]
And He the Almighty Said:
﴿ … فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَاةَ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ ﴾
“So if they repent, establish the Prayer (Salat) and give the obligatory alms (Zakat), then they are your brothers in the Religion.” [9:11]
These two verses prove that: 1) repentance from polytheism and disbelief is not enough for Islam and for leaving their way free, since one must also establish regular Salat and pay Zakat since all three are mentioned as conditions; 2) he who abandons Salat and Zakat are to be engaged and fought and their way is not left open; 3) he who abandons Salat and Zakat are not our brothers in religion.
It is not allowed to deem the conditionality of one or two of the conditions and cancel or neglect the conditionality of the third. All three are equal in their status as conditions, even if we know that they are not equal in all aspects but in order of importance.
If a polytheist accepts Islam by saying the Shahada (testimony of faith), then he is committed to fulfill the other conditions of Salat and Zakat. He is given time to learn about them, but upon his refusal to obey Allah and the Prophet in these pillars, he is fought for noncompliance and refusal. For this reason the scholars mention that Abu Bakr As-Saddeeq was probably thinking of these verses of the Quran when he countered Umar’s hesitation on fighting those who refused to pay Zakat, and when he said his famous words as will be cited below.
Ibn Taimiyyah mentions in his Fatawa [vol. 20] in a section while explaining that the commandments are greater in status then the prohibitions:
“…وذلك أن من الأئمة من يقتله ويكفره بترك كل واحدة من الخمس لأن الإسلام بني عليها وهو قول طائفة من السلف ورواية عن أحمد اختارها بعض أصحابه. ومنهم من لا يقتله ولا يكفره إلا بترك الصلاة والزكاة وهي رواية أخرى عن أحمد كما دل عليه ظاهر القرآن في براءة وحديث ابن عمر وغيره ولأنهما منتظمان لحق الحق وحق الخلق كانتظام الشهادتين للربوبية والرسالة ولا بدل لهما من غير جنسهما بخلاف الصيام والحج ومنهم من يقتله بهما ويكفره بالصلاة وبالزكاة إذا قاتل الإمام عليها كرواية عن أحمد….”
“…And some of the leaders of jurisprudence deem as obligatory to execute and pronounce as a disbeliever (and thus an apostate) anyone that leaves any one of these five (pillars) because Islam is established upon them. This is a saying of a group of the Salaf (predecessors), and a narration on the jurist position of Imam Ahmad, which is chosen as most correct by some of his followers. Some of them say that they are to be executed and pronounced as a disbeliever for only leaving Salat and Zakat, which is another narration of Imam Ahmad, and was chosen by some of his followers, because this is apparent meaning from the verse in surat-al-Bara`a (at-Tauba), and this verdict is also taken from the tradition of Ibn Umar and other traditions. (This is reasonable also) since these two (Salat and Zakat) are the right of the True One (Allah) and the right of the creation, just as the Shahada [testimony that LA ILAHA ILL-A-LLAH MUHAMMAD RASULULLAH – there is no god except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) is both for Allah’s Lordship in Divinity, and for the Messengership (and Prophethood of Muhammad). (Another reason that proves this true) is that performers of Salat and Zakat cannot have anyone substitute for them this worship in the same kind (if they are incapable to perform them), which is not the case for Saum (fasting) and Hajj (pilgrimage, since one may fast and make pilgrimage for another who is not able). And some of them execute and pronounce that one is a disbeliever for leaving Salat and Zakat if they fight for leaving Zakat, which is another (juristic) narration on Imam Ahmad…”
He clearly says here that the open and apparent meaning of the verses of Surat-at-Tauba mentioned above, is that they indicate that whoever leaves intentionally and refuses to perform Salat or Zakat is not our brother in religion, and his way is not to be left open, and that this is the chosen position of some of the eminent jurists.
Even the disobedient sinning Muslim, who commits the ultimately dangerous crime (other than apostasy) of murder or rebellion, is still a brother to us in religion, since Allah says:
﴿ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِصَاصُ فِي الْقَتْلَى الْحُرُّ بِالْحُرِّ وَالْعَبْدُ بِالْعَبْدِ وَالأُنثَى بِالأُنثَى فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَهُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ شَيْءٌ فَاتِّبَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَأَدَاء إِلَيْهِ بِإِحْسَانٍ ذَلِكَ تَخْفِيفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَى بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَلَهُ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴾
“O you who believe! Al-Qisas (the Law of Equality in punishment) is prescribed for you in case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But if the killer is forgiven by his brother (or by his relatives, or another interpretation, by his brother in religion of Islam) of the killed against blood money, then adhering to it with fairness and payment of the blood money, to the heir should be made in fairness. This is alleviation (of hardship) and a mercy from your Lord. So after this whoever transgresses the limits (i.e. by killing the killer after taking the blood money), he shall have a painful torment.” [2:179]
And as Allah says about the Muslims who transgress and who we must fight in order that they return to the ruling of Allah:
﴿ وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَى فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّى تَفِيءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ فَإِن فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ () إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ
وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ ﴾
“And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight against the one which rebels until it complies with the Command of Allah; then if it complies, make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable. The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” [49:12]
By this evidence, and other evidences not cited for lack of space, we know that all Muslims believers are our brothers in religion, in spite of the fact that they may commit murder and rebellion and other crimes of aggression and passion which are crimes of severe punishment Only disbelief and apostasy nullifies this brotherhood. Hypocrisy is essentially hidden and only known when it blurts out in open blasphemous word or deed. Therefore, by this combination of evidences above, we know that the verses about Salat and Zakat above are proofs that one who abandons Salat and Zakat becomes apostate by intentionally and completely leaving them.
This point is reinforced by the traditions that make the condition of not killing someone the fact that they pray, In the famous tradition when someone abuses the Prophet for what he perceives unjust in distribution of the Sadaqat, some of the Sahaba asked to be allowed to kill the abuser. The tradition says near the end:
فقال خالد بن الوليد: يا رسول الله، ألا أضرب عنقه؟ فقال: “لا، لعله أن يكون يصلي” قال خالد: وكم من مصلٍّ يقول بلسانه، ما ليس في قلبه، فقال رسول الله: “لم أومر أن أُنقِّب عن قلوب الناس، ولا أشق بطونهم .”
“…then Khalid ibn Waleed said: O Messenger of Allah, Shouldn’t I strike his neck? He said: No, it may be that he makes Salat. So Khalid said: And how many of those who pray do not have in their hearts what they say on their tongues? So the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: I have not been commanded to delve into the hearts or open the stomachs.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
This tradition gives very important principle of Islam. We can only judge upon the open and apparent, and not second-guess what is in the hearts and minds and stomachs of a person beyond what we have observed and verified with certainty of his words and deeds. Hypocrites hide their disbelief even thought the openly submit and act as Muslims. They remain Muslims and are only punished by the laws as judged, by the ruler and his representatives and the current judges in the current cases of criminal action. Salat and Zakat etc are open acts of worship that are obvious signs of Islam and protect the blood and property of a Muslim.
And in another tradition on this concept:
ما بال هذا؟ فقيل : يا رسول الله، يتشبه بالنساء، فأمر فنفي إلى النقيع، فقالوا : يا رسول الله، ألا نقتله؟ فقال : إني نهيت عن قتل المصلين [أبي داود ]
“A man was brought and he said: What about this guy? They said: O Messenger of Allah, he imitates women. The Messenger commanded him to be expelled to Naqe’e and they said: O Messenger of Allah, shouldn’t we kill him? He said: I have been prohibited from executing those who make Salat. [Reported by Abu Da`ood and verified by al-Albani]
And in another tradition on this concept:
…”أليس يشهد أني رسول الله” قال: بلى، يا رسول الله، ولا شهادة له، قال: “أليس يصلي؟” قال: بلى، ولا صلاة له؟ فقال النبي: “أولئك الذين نهيت عنهم”…. وفي رواية: “عن قتلهم”.
The |Prophet said about one who was accused “…Isn’t he one who makes Shahada (testimony) that I am the Messenger of Allah? They said yes but he has no (correct, or honest) testimony! He said: doesn’t he make Salat. They said yes but he has no (correct, or acceptable) Salat for him. He said: Those are whom I am prohibited from.” [And in another version of the narration] “…on killing them.” [Reported by Imam Malik, Shafa’e, Ahmad and Ibn Habban and verified by al-Wada’e and As-Sulaimani (al-Ma`rabi)]
This all proves this point about those who pray, and we will return to this topic again when we mention more traditions below about this issue.
Another very strong proof of the Quran is the saying of Allah Most Exalted:
﴿ يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَنْ سَاقٍ وَيُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ فَلا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ () خَاشِعَةً أَبْصَارُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ وَقَدْ كَانُوا يُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى
السُّجُودِ وَهُمْ سَالِمُونَ ﴾
“(Remember) the Day when the “Saq” (Lower Leg) shall be laid bare 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 while they were healthy and good (in the life of the world, but they did not).” [68:43-44]
This verse is explained in many traditions that explain that the sign by which the Muslims will know Allah in the Hereafter will be the revealing of His Majestic “Saq” sometimes translated as “Shin” but for us humans our saq is actually the entire lower leg from the knee to the ankle. Allah is the Most High and Exalted, we believe in His attributes as He states of His Majestic Self without detailed interpretation and speculation knowing that He is Greater than our imaginations and abilities and that He does have likeness with his creatures even if he uses terms which we understand from His creation –Glorified be He.
The important point here for us now is that all the sincere Muslims will fall down prostrating except the hypocrites who will have there backs become like a stiff board and will not be able, and as one narration reads: “ …when all the creatures are gathers n the Day of resurrection on one plain a caller will call out let everyone follow that which they used to worship (and they will go follow them) and then the remaining people will stay as they were and it will be said what is it that the people went and you are still here? They will say we are waiting for our God! It will be said
“…يكشف ربنا عن ساقه ، فيسجد له كل مؤمن ومؤمنة ، ويبقى من كان يسجد في الدنيا رئاء وسمعة …”.
“…Allah will reveal the “Saq” (Lower Leg) and every male and female believer will fall prostate and the hypocrites who used to prostrate only to be seen and have a reputation (As Muslims will remain (unable to prostrate)….” [Reported by Bukhari and others]
And in the narration of Muslim:
“…فيقول هل بينكم وبينه آية فتعرفونه بها؟ فيقولون نعم. فيكشف عن ساق. فلا يبقى من كان يسجد لله من تلقاء نفسه إلا أذن الله له بالسجود. ولا يبقى من كان يسجد اتقاء ورياء إلا جعل الله ظهره طبقة واحدة. كلما أراد أن يسجد خر على قفاه…”
“…“…and it will be said is there a sign between you and Him (Allah) by which you know him? They will say yes. (Allah) will then reveal the “Saq” (Lower Leg) and every male and female believer will fall prostate and the hypocrites who used to prostrate only to be seen and have a reputation (as Muslims) will have his or her back become like a straight board every time they try to prostrate they will fall on the backsides (unable to prostrate)….” [Reported by Muslim and others]
If these hypocrites will have this to separate them from the believers how much more alienation and separation from the believers will take place for those who refuse and abandon their Salat? They will not even be among those who will remain since, as we will mention below in the explicit proofs of the Sunnah, the one who leaves and abandons Salat had done Shirk (polytheism and idolatry), and therefore Kufr.
Another proof of the Quran is the saying of Allah Most Exalted:
﴿ فَوَيْلٌ لِلْمُصَلِّينَ () الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ صَلاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ ﴾
“So woe unto those performers of Salat (who are lazy hypocrites), Who are neglectful of their Salat (and from its fixed times).” [107:4-5]
This is for those hypocrites who pray when they are being observed and leave it when they are by themselves, as mentioned by the scholars that interpret the Quran. This warning is for those who are neglectful in their manner of performing prayer, and how much more for those who leave and abandon it?
In the commentary of this verse of Allah’s book Abdullah ibn Mas`ood, may Allah be please with him, was asked:
قيل لابن مسعود ما إضاعتها؟ قال تأخيرها عن وقتها فقالوا ما نا نظن إلا تركها . قال ” لو تركوها لكانوا كفاراً .”
“What is the loss here? He said: Making it late. They said: We thought that it referred to leaving prayer. He said: If they leave Salat they are disbelievers.” [Reported by Ibn Jarir at-Tabari, and others].
We also find in this connection the narration mentioned on the companion Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqas, may Allah be please with him, which reads:
” لو تركوها لكانوا كفارا ولكن ضيعوا وقتها ”
“If they leave Salat they are disbelievers, but they lost its timings.” [Cited by Ibn Qayim in his book on Salat (p.28) as authentic but I have not yet found its original narration or report]
Another proof of the Quran is the saying of Allah Most Exalted mentioning those that came after the Prophets and were negligent about prayers:
﴿ …فَخَلَفَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا ﴾
“Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have lost the Salat (by negligence) and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in “Ghai” of Hell.” [19:59]
This Ghai is horrible place of hellfire, and there is an explanation of the verse by the companion Ibn Mas`ood may Allah e pleased with him:
فقال ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه: ” على مواقيتها، قالوا: ما كنا نوى ذلك إلا على الترك، قال: ذاك الكفر.”
Abdullah ibn Mas`ood interpreted this verse on being negligent about the timings of Salat whereupon they said to him: We didn’t understand it except that it meant leaving it. He said: That is Kufr (disbelief).” [Reported by at-Tabari and others]
These narrations are important since they highlight two major themes of this issue. The first is that leaving Salat is Kufr. The second is that here we have an indication of the beginnings of the idea on the issue, taken from a misunderstanding of the texts, that leaving Salat is not Kufr.
The verse directly after this verse also signifies that leaving Salat is disbelief, since it says:
﴿ إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَأُوْلَئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا ﴾
“Except those who repent and believe and work righteousness. Such will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged in anything” [19:60]
Allah said, “…repent and believe… ” and this indicates that they left Islam, since if it was a great sin but not disbelief it would have sufficed to say, “except those who repent and work righteousness,” as in other verses.
Another proof from the Quran is the saying of Allah Most Exalted:
﴿ فَلاَ صَدَّقَ وَلاَ صَلَّىٰ () وَلَـٰكِن كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ () ثُمَّ ذَهَبَ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ يَتَمَطَّىٰ () أَوْلَىٰ لَكَ فَأَوْلَىٰ () ثُمَّ أَوْلَىٰ لَكَ فَأَوْلَىٰ ﴾
“So he neither believed nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied and turned away! Then he walked arrogantly to his family, admiring himself! Woe to you! And then (again) woe to you! Again, woe to you! And then (even again) woe to you!” [75:31-35]
This is the necessary state of someone who refuses to make prayer to his only God, Lord and Creator: lie to the truth; turn away; act with arrogance against the commands of Allah; to prefer his own business, family and friends over worship of Allah. For all this, of course, Allah issues the dire warning punishment. Muhammad al-Marwazi explained:
يقول محمد بن نصر المروزي: فالكذب ضد التصديق والتولي ترك الصلاة، وغيرها من الفرائض، ثم وعده وعيداً بعد وعيد فقال ( أولى لك فأولى ثم أولى لك فأولى )
“The lying is against the truth, and turning away is turning from the Salat and other obligations, and then Allah warned him of punishments saying: And the Exalted said: “Woe to you! And then (again) woe to you!”
Another verse that proves the point at hand is the saying of Allah Most Great:
﴿ وَإذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ ٱرْكَعُواْ لاَ يَرْكَعُونَ () وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لّلْمُكَذّبِينَ ﴾
“And when it is said to them: “Bow down (in prayer)” they do not bow down. Woe to those who belie.” [77:48]
This equates refusing to make the bowing of Salat with lying and denial, and is like the preceding.
Another proof of the Quran is the saying of Allah Most Exalted:
﴿ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلاةَ وَلا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ﴾
“…and perform Salat and do not be of the idolaters.” [30:31]
Allah Most Exalted said of the hypocrites:
﴿ وَمَا مَنَعَهُمْ أَنْ تُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ نَفَقَاتُهُمْ إِلاَّ أَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَبِرَسُولِهِ وَلا يَأْتُونَ الصَّلاةَ إِلاَّ وَهُمْ كُسَالَى وَلا يُنْفِقُونَ إِلاَّ وَهُمْ كَارِهُون ﴾
“And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger (Muhammad SAW); and that then they come to Salat (the prayer) they come only in a lazy state; and that they offer not contributions but unwillingly.” [9:54]
And Allah the Omniscient said:
إ﴿ ِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ وَإِذَا قَامُواْ إِلَى الصَّلوةِ قَامُواْ كُسَالَى يُرَآؤُونَ النَّاسَ وَلاَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً ﴾
“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.”[4:142]
These are the only two times when Allah mentioned the word “laziness” in the Quran, and they both are connection with the hypocrites and their lazy manner in Salat. Everyone has times when he is tired and exhausted, but one who refuses to even make Salat is even worst than the outward laziness of a hypocrite. How can anyone be tired and neglectful all the time, except by being in a state of Kufr by refusal and abandonment of Salat to Allah?
These hypocrites are the people who forget Allah, so Allah forgets them. Allah the Almighty said:
﴿ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ بَعْضُهُم مِّن بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمُنكَرِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَقْبِضُونَ أَيْدِيَهُمْ نَسُواْ اللّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ
إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ ﴾
“The hypocrites, men and women, are from one another: they enjoin wrongdoing and forbid from the rightful, and they close their hands (from doing good and spending). They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them. Verily, the hypocrites, they are the disobedient.” [9:68]
Forgetfulness in the Quran is of two types: forgetfulness of leaving something, and forgetfulness of not remembering due to inattention and absent-mindedness. Allah is the Omniscient and is exalted above any forgetfulness, lapse, defect, or sleep etc. He leaves them intentionally since they left Him intentionally, as just re-compensation. Someone who falls into absentmindedness about his Salat at one time or another while normally making it with regularity is not intended in this
This forgetfulness is contrasted to remembering Allah as in Salat, as Allah says:
﴿ فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِي وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ () يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلوةِ إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ ﴾
“ Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be grateful to Me and do not be do Kufr (be ungrateful) to Me. O you who believe, seek help in patience and as-Salat. Truly, Allah is with the patient ones.” [2:152-3]
What greater ungratefulness is there than refusing to offer prayers to Allah? When Allah says “wa la takfaroon” here it means ungratefulness and also disbelief.
This same idea is conmatined in the verse of when Allah most Exalted said
﴿ وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ ﴾
“And your Lord said: Supplicate me I will answer you! Verily, those who are arrogant about worshipping me will enter the hellfire (Jahannum) in gloom and despondency.” [40:60]
We cited above that the Prophet mentioned this verse when he said, peace and blessing be upon him: “Supplication is Worship.” The meaning indicates that Allah’s punishment and anger is upon whoever arrogantly leaves supplication and refuses the remembrance and worship of Allah. And this is confirmed in the tradition wherein the Messenger of Allah said, peace and blessing be upon him from Allah:
“إنه من لم يسأل الله تعالى يغضب عليه.”
“He who doesn’t ask Allah the Exalted, Allah will be angry with him.” [Reported by at-Tirmidthi and verified by al-Albani SJ 2418]
And Allah Almighty said:
﴿ اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَأَنسَاهُمْ ذِكْرَ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ الشَّيْطَانِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ الشَّيْطَانِ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ ﴾
Shaitan (Satan) has overtaken them. He has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Shaitan. Verily, it is the party of Shaitan that will be the losers! [58:19]
And Allah Almighty said:
﴿ وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّى يَخُوضُواْ فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ وَإِمَّا يُنسِيَنَّكَ الشَّيْطَانُ
فَلاَ تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ الذِّكْرَى مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ ﴾
“And when you see those who engage in a false conversation about Our Verses (of the Qur’an) by mocking at them, stay away from them till they turn to another topic. And if Shaitan causes you to forget, then after the remembrance, do not sit in the company of those people who are the wrongdoers.” [6:68]
All of these verses about forgetfulness show that it is the Shaitan who causes man to forget and neglect his Salat and this is one of his main strategies to make him disbelieve and become like him eternally in the Hellfire. This will be reinforced below by the many traditions about the Shaitan’s tricks to make man forget Salat.
These are the people described by Allah as the “Ghafaleen” (neglectful and therefore neglected). Allah the Almighty said:
﴿وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالإِنسِ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لاَّ يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لاَّ يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لاَّ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا أُوْلَئِكَ كَالأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ ﴾
“And surely, We have created many of the Jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they do not understand, they have eyes wherewith they do not see, and they have ears wherewith they do not hear. They are like cattle, nay, even more astray; Those, they are the heedless ones.” [7-179]
And Allah the Magnificent said:
﴿ مَن كَفَرَ بِاللّهِ مِن بَعْدِ إيمَانِهِ إِلاَّ مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالإِيمَانِ وَلَكِن مَّن شَرَحَ بِالْكُفْرِ صَدْرًا فَعَلَيْهِمْ غَضَبٌ مِّنَ اللّهِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ () ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمُ اسْتَحَبُّواْ الْحَيَاةَ الْدُّنْيَا عَلَى الآخِرَةِ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ () أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ طَبَعَ اللّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ وَسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ ﴾
“Whoever disbelieved in Allah after his belief, except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith, but such as open their breasts to disbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a great torment. That is because they loved and preferred the life of this world over that of the Hereafter. And Allah guides not the people who disbelieve. They are those upon whose hearts, hearing and sight Allah has set a seal. And they are the heedless!” [16:106-8]
Those who are neglectful and heedless of their prayers habitually, absconding from them, refusing to make them, what can be said about them except that they are the heedless ones who have preferred this Life and their time to be spent as they wished, not considering Allah and the Hereafter
And Allah the Exalted said
﴿ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُلْهِكُمْ أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ
فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُون َ﴾
“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 indeed the losers.” [63:9]
This remembrance of Allah is reported in the exegesis of the Quran to mean the five daily prayers, and what greater diversion can be leaving them entirely.
And Allah reveals to us the amazing affect on Salat on the behavior of a believer:
﴿ اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلوةَ إِنَّ الصَّلوةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ ﴾
“And recite what we have revealed to you from the book and establish regular prayers indeed prayers forbid one to commit monstrous sins and recognized evil, and the remembrance of Allah is greater and Allah knows all that you do.”[29:45]
This is also seen in the sarcastic remark of the people the Prophet Shu’aib, peace be upon him;
﴿ قَالُواْ يَا شُعَيْبُ أَصَلاَتُكَ تَأْمُرُكَ أَن نَّتْرُكَ مَا يَعْبُدُ آبَاؤُنَا أَوْ أَن نَّفْعَلَ فِي أَمْوَالِنَا مَا نَشَاءُ إِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ الْحَلِيمُ الرَّشِيدُ ﴾
“They said: O Shu’aib, does your Salat (prayer) command that we leave off what our fathers used to worship or that we leave off doing what we like with our property? Verily, you are the forbearer, right-minded!” [11:87]
Another proof of the Quran, and possibly the strongest we will present, is the saying of Allah Most Exalted:
﴿ إِلَّا أَصْحَابَ الْيَمِينِ () فِي جَنَّاتٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ () عَنِ الْمُجْرِمِينَ () مَا سَلَكَكُمْ فِي سَقَرَ () قَالُوا لَمْ نَكُ مِنَ الْمُصَلِّينَ () وَلَمْ نَكُ نُطْعِمُ الْمِسْكِينَ ()وَكُنَّا نَخُوضُ مَعَ الْخَائِضِينَ () وَكُنَّا نُكَذِّبُ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ () حَتَّى أَتَانَا الْيَقِينُ () فَمَا تَنفَعُهُمْ شَفَاعَةُ الشَّافِعِينَ ﴾
“Except the people of the right, in the Paradise, asking, about the criminal evildoers. (It will say to them): ‘What has caused you to enter Hell?’ They will say: ‘We were not of those who used to offer their prayer; nor we used to feed the poor; and we used to talk falsehood 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.” [74:42-48]
A famous tradition concerning this, which we will cite as an illustration, is related in connection with Salat and Zakat and the often misunderstood idea of ‘Shafa’a” (intersession). Abu Da`ood reports, and Al-Marwazi in “Tatheem Qadr-as-Salat” [The Aggrandizement of the Status of Salat] [p.1007 no. 1081] gives another, longer version on Habeeb ibn Abi al Malak. He said: “… The (issue of) ‘Shafa’a” intersession was mentioned before the companion Imran ibn al-Husayyin, may Allah be pleased with him. A man of the people present said: Oh Aba Najeed (Imran), You relate to us narrations and we do not find its source and origins in the Quran.” At this Imran got angry and said to the man: “Did you read the Quran? He said yes. He said: ‘Do you find that the sunset prayer is three bows (Raka’at), and that the night prayer is four, the dawn prayer is two, and the midday and afternoon prayer are four? He said no. He said: ‘From where did you get this affair? Didn’t you take this from us? And we took it from the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessing be upon him. And did you find (in the Quran) that for every 40Dinars you should (pay in Zakat) one Dinar? And did you find that for so many sheep and camels you should pay such and such? Did you find that in the Quran?’ The man said no. He said: “From where did you get this affair? We took it from the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessing be upon him. Did you find in the Quran ((…And circumambulate the Ancient House (the Ka’ba in Mecca))) [Hajj 29], and did you find that you should go around (the Ka’ba) seven times, and then pray two bowings at the station of Abraham? Did you find that in the Quran? And on whom did you take this? Didn’t you take it from us, and we took it from the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessing be upon him? He said: ‘Yes certainly (we did)! ‘….And did you hear that Allah said to people on the Quran; ((“About the criminal evildoers (it will say to them): ‘What has caused you to enter Hell?’ They will say: ‘We were not of those who used to offer their prayer; nor we used to feed the poor; and we used to talk falsehood 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.”)) [74:42-48] Habeeb said: ‘I heard Imran, may Allah be pleased with him, say: ‘The intersession is beneficial for everything except for what you hear here (in these verses).’” [Reported also by Tabarani, and al-Ajuri, and by the combination of its many pathways, it is a good narration]
Imran clarifies here, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Quran cannot be understood or its commands practiced correctly, without the explanation and example of the Messenger, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, which only the companions can report to those who come afterwards. The Quran gives general commands and the Sunnah fills in the details and exact meanings of the commands in actual practice. The basis of “Fiqh” is this proper understanding, and then extracting from the combinations of the scriptures of the Quran and Sunnah the correct rules and regulations of Islamic law and jurisprudence. He also indicates in this narration, significantly for our discussion of Zakat, that those who do not practice Salat and pay Zakat with proper faith in the Reward for obedience or Punishment for negligence from Allah in the Hereafter will not have the promised intersession reach and save them.
PROOFS FROM THE SUNNAH
that abandoning Salat is Kufr and Riddah
>Literal, explicit proofs that abandoning Salat is Kufr and Riddah
Rarely do jurists find directly explicit and literal sayings in the scriptures of the Quran and Sunnah on an issue under contention. Here in this issue we find evidence in the Sunnah of the strongest degree of proof possible. These explicit literal proofs include the following authenticated and acceptable traditions.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
“بين الرجل وبين الشرك والكفر ترك الصلاة”
“Between the slave and idolatry (Shirk) and disbelief (Kufr) is leaving Salat.” [Reported by Muslim and others]
And he said, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him:
” ليس بين العبد وبين الكفر إلا ترك الصلاة”
“There is nothing between the slave and disbelief except leaving the Salat.” [Reported by Muslim, At-Trimdthi and others]
And in another wording the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
“العهد الذي بيننا وبينهم الصلاة فمن تركها فقد كفر”
“The covenant between us and them is Salat, and whoever leaves it has done disbelief.”
[Reported by Ahmad, at-Tirmidthi, an-Nisa`e, Ibn Majah, and others, and verified by al-Albani]
And he said, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him:
“بين العبد و بين الكفر و الإيمان الصلاة، فإذا تركها فقد أشرك.”
Between the slave and Kufr and Iman is Salat, so if he leaves it he had done Shirk.” [Reported by Ibn Majah and verified by al-Albani]
And he said, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him:
“ليس بين العبد و الشرك إلا ترك الصلاة فإذا تركها فقد أشرك.”
“There is nothing between a slave and the Shirk except leaving Salat, so whoever leaves it has done Shirk.” [Reported by Ibn Majah and at-Tabari and verified by al-Albani]
All of these are prime pieces of evidence of the highest degree of legal textual clarity possible. These are different manners of expression but they all give the exact meaning in a clear exact way, which makes one conclude decisively that leaving Salat is Kufr. The first and last proof include that leaving Salat is Shirk. What is needed after this definitive declaration of the Prophet, may the perfect salutation of peace be upon him? When he states that the barrier between the Muslim and the non-Muslim is leaving Salat, and that this is the covenant between and Muslim and non-Muslim, and that this is what distinguishes them apart, what else can we understand from these expressions?
>Less explicit, yet convincing proofs that abandoning Salat is Kufr and Riddah
There are traditions that inform us of such dire consequences for intentionally leaving Salat, that this could only be for a disbeliever and apostate. For instance, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
” من ترك الصلاة متعمداً فقد برئت منه ذمة الله ”
“Whoever leaves Salat intentionally has the protection of Allah disassociated (or exempted) from him.” [Reported by Ibn Majah, and Bukhari (in Adab al-Mufrid), and verified by Al-Albani for supporting evidence]
The strong language here is in the word “Bara`a” from the Arabic root (-B-R-`- ) which is exempting, clearing, absolving, disassociating, and freeing oneself from someone or something. If someone is cleared of the accusation of a crime he is called to be “Bare`a” from the accusation. When Ibraheem (Abraham) cleared and disassociated himself from the polytheist’s, this word was used in Surat-al-Mumtahina . This word is used in the beginning of Surat-a-Tauba  or called Surat-al-Bara`a, for the disassociation of Allah and the Messenger of Allah from the pagan Arabs. Thus, this word is one of the strongest terms available in Arabic. And the word “Dthimma” is also another proof since this is a word denoting protection, care and concern.
The following traditions also use this word “Bara`a.” The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him said:
“لا تشرك بالله شيئًا وإن قُطِّعت، أو حُرِّقت، ولا تتركَن الصلاة المكتوبة متعمدًا، ومن تركها متعمدًا؛ برئت منه الذمة، ولا تشربن الخمر، فإنها مفتاح كل شر، وأطع والديك، وإن أمراك أن تخرج من دنياك، فاخرج لهما،ولا تنازعن ولاة الأمر، وإن رأيت أنك أنت، ولا تفرر من الزحف، وإن هلكت، وفرّ أصحابك، وأنفق من طولك على أهلك، ولا ترفع عصاك عن أهلك وأخفهم في الله عز وجل .”
“Do not commit idolatry even if you are cut up and burnt, and do not leave an obligatory Salat (prayer) intentionally, since whoever leaves an obligatory Salat (prayer) intentionally, has the protection disassociated from him….” [Reported by Bukhari in Adab al-Mufrid and Ibn Majah and others, and verified by al-Albani]
And in the narration of Abu Dharr, may Allah be pleased with him
“أوصاني خليلي صلى الله عليه وسلم أن لا تشرك بالله شيئا وإن قطعت وحرقت ولا تترك صلاة مكتوبة متعمدا فمن تركها متعمدا فقد برئت منه الذمة ولا تشرب الخمر فإنها مفتاح كل شر.”
“My most beloved one gave me the final advice and said: Do not commit idolatry even if you are cut up and burnt, and do not leave an obligatory Salat (prayer) intentionally, since whoever leaves an obligatory Salat (prayer) intentionally, has the protection disassociated from him, and do not drink intoxicants since it opens to every evil.” [Reported by Ibn Majah and others, and verified by al-Albani]
And the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, mentioned that leaving Salat makes ones deeds null, wasted and void, when he said:
” من ترك صلاة العصر فقد حبط عمله”
“Whoever leaves the Asr prayer intentionally has had his deeds voided.” [Reported by Bukhari and Nisa`e]
This is also definite proof since certain sins may destroy some deeds, but nothing destroys all deeds except disbelief and apostasy. Since this tradition states that all deeds were destroyed and voided by leaving one Asr prayer intentionally, this proves the point at hand in the most convincing manner.
For instance, Allah Most Almighty said about “Ihbat al-Aml” (nullification of deeds)
﴿ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ ﴾
“And whosoever disbelieves in the Faith then vain and fruitless are his deeds and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.” [5:5]
And He the Exalted said:
﴿ ذَلِكَ هُدَى اللّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَلَوْ أَشْرَكُواْ لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ ﴾
“This is the Guidance of Allah with which He guides whomsoever He will of His slaves. But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.” [6:88]
And He the Exalted said:
﴿ قُلْ أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ تَأْمُرُونِّي أَعْبُدُ أَيُّهَا الْجَاهِلُونَ () وَلَقَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ لَئِنْ أَشْرَكْتَ لَيَحْبَطَنَّ
عَمَلُكَ وَلَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ ﴾
“Say: Do you order me to worship other than Allah, O you fools? And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad), as it was to those before you: If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.”[39:65-66]
Thus, from this and other evidence, we know that only Kufr and Shirk nullifies all deeds. This tradition is conclusive evidence that his deeds were nullified; therefore, we know that leaving Salat is a kind of greater Kufr and Shirk, as the literal tradition mentioned explicitly: “Between the slave and idolatry (Shirk) and disbelief (Kufr) is leaving Salat.” [Reported by Muslim and others]
And in a different tradition, but related to our issue, we read the words of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him:
“الذي تفوته صلاة العصر كأنما وتر أهله وماله”
“Whoever misses the Asr (latter afternoon) prayer it is as if he lost (all) his family and wealth.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
And in another version “Asr” is not mentioned, and it is general for any Salat:
“من فاتته صلاة، فكأنما وتر أهله و ماله “
“Whoever misses a prayer it is as if he lost (all) his family and wealth.” [Reported by Ibn Habban and verified by al-Albani]
Someone who has all his money and family destroyed indeed has suffered the greatest catastrophe, but note that the traditions above says leaves it, and that is understood to mean intentionally, whereas this tradition here it says, “Fatat hu,” meaning that the Salat missed him or lapsed in time. There is a big difference in the two, since this may happen to someone who doesn’t intend to leave it, but falls asleep or gets so involved in some activity that he forgets, and thus misses it for an unintentional reason. If this catastrophe mentioned is for the one who misses unintentionally, how much worst is the one who leaves it intentionally and has all his past good deeds rejected, unless, of course, Allah’s mercy reaches him and He the Most Merciful repents and guides him towards repentance and the recovery of his religion and prayers.
The reason that this is such a great catastrophe is that Salat is the best of deeds that mankind can perform for his Lord God and Cherisher. As the famous tradition explaining this from the revelations of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, as his companion narrates:
أَيُّ الْعَمَلِ أَفْضَلُ؟ قَالَ: “الصَّلاةُ لِوَقْتِهَا” قَالَ: قُلْتُ: ثُمَّ أَيٌّ؟ قَالَ: “بِرُّ الْوَالِدَيْنِ” قَالَ: قُلْتُ: ثُمَّ أَيٌّ؟ قَالَ “الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ “
“I asked: Which deed is best? He replied: “Making prayer on time. I said: Then what? He said Being good and obedient to you parents. I said: Then what? Struggling (jihad) in the way of Allah.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
And we find traditions wherein the sign of being a Muslim is Salat, and leaving Salat makes that Islam of an individual or group suspect, as in the following tradition wherein a man did not make Salat with the Jama’a (group) but stood back, and thus the Messenger asked him, peace be upon him:
“ما منعك أن تصلي مع الناس؟ ألست برجل مسلم؟” قال: بلى، يا رسول الله، ولكني صليت في أهلي، فقال له: “إذا جئت؛ فصلِّ مع الناس، وإن قد كنت صليت” [أخرجه مالك والنسائي في وابن حبان والحاكم وغيره]
“What prevented you from prayers with the people? Aren’t you a Muslim? He said Yes but u had preyed with my family. He said if you come (here then pray with the people, even if you have prayed before.” [Reported by Malik, Nisa`e, Ibn Habban, al-Hakim, and others, and verified by al-Albani]
And for a group or community we find, for instance, the tradition:
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يغير إذا طلع الفجر. وكان يستمع الأذان. فإن سمع أذانا أمسك. وإلا أغار. فسمع رجلا يقول : الله أكبر الله أكبر. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم “على الفطرة” ثم قال : أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم “خرجت من النار” فنظروا فإذا هو راعي معزي.
“The custom of the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would be to attack (an enemy in warfare) after first light of dawn. He would wait and listen if he heard any Adthan (call to prayer), then he would hold back. If he didn’t, he would attack. Then he heard a man say ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is Greatest, Allah is Greatest). He said: He is on the Fitra (natural disposition of Islam). Then he heard him say ‘ASHHADU AL-LA ILAHA ILL-A-LLAH’ (I bear witness that there is no god except Allah). So he said: He has been delivered from the hellfire. Then they looked and saw that he was a shepherd of goats.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others, and this is Muslim’s version]
This is the most convincing proof that shows that establishing prayer with the Adthan (call to prayer) and it’s other essentials is the most obvious sign of Islam in a village. If a village at that time did not do this, they were deemed as disbelievers and polytheists, and deserving of attack during the warfare that was declared between the Muslim and the Arab polytheists.
And Salat and making the particular Muslim Salat with our unique Qibla (direction of prayer) is the sign of the Islam of Abraham and Muhammad, peace be upon them. As the words of the Prophet say, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him
“من صلى صلاتنا واستقبل قبلتنا وأكل ذبيحتنا فذلك المسلم الذي له ذمة الله وذمة رسوله
فلا تُخْفِروا الله في ذمته.”
“He who makes our Salat, prays to our Qibla (direction of prayer), eats our slaughtered meat, than that is a Muslim, who has the protection of Allah and His Messenger, so do not seek to violate Allah’s protection (of him).” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim, and others]
All of the Prophetic traditions explaining the five pillars of Islam, where Salat is the first pillar mentioned after Shahada (testimony), and many other traditions along these lines, can be are cited here as our evidence. For instance, the following are only examples and not intending to be comprehensive.
On the authority of Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab may Allah be pleased with him, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, say
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “بـني الإسـلام على خـمـس : شـهـادة أن لا إلـه إلا الله وأن محمد رسول الله ، وإقامة الصلاة ، وإيـتـاء الـزكـاة ، وحـج البيت ، وصـوم رمضان.” [رواه البخاري وومسلم]
“Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Salat (prayer), paying the Zakat (obligatory charity), making the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (in Mecca), and Saum (fasting) in Ramadan.” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
The exactness of the narrations that we receive from the Sahaba can be judged by the following narration on Abdullah Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, when he narrated that the Prophet, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said:
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “بني الإسلام على خمسة: على أن يوحد الله ، وإقام الصلاة وإيتاء الزكاة وصوم رمضان والحج”. فقال رجل: الحج، وصيام رمضان، قال: لا صيام رمضان، والحج. هكذا سمعته من رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم). [واللفظ لمسلم]
“Islam is built on five (pillars): To establish Tauheed, and to establish Salat, and to pay the Zakat, and to perform the Saum of Ramadan, and to perform the Hajj.” A person said (to the narrator) Pilgrimage or the fast of Ramadan? Upon this (the narrator) replied: No (it is not the pilgrimage first) but the fast of Ramadan (precedes) the pilgrimage, this is how I have heard it from Allah’s Messenger.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and many others and the version here is Muslim’s]
Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, narrated: The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, sent Mu’adh to Yemen and said,
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “إنك تأتي قوما من أهل الكتاب فادعهم إلى شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله فإن هم أطاعوا لذلك فأعلمهم أن الله قد فرض عليهم خمس صلوات في اليوم والليلة فإن هم أطاعوا لذلك فأعلمهم أن الله قد فرض عليهم صدقة تؤخذ من أغنيائهم فترد في فقرائهم . فإن هم أطاعوا لذلك فإياك وكرائم أموالهم واتق دعوة المظلوم فإنه ليس بينها وبين الله حجاب.” [ متفق عليه]
“You will come upon people of the Scripture, so let your first act be to call them to testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and if they obey you to do so, then inform them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in every day and night, and if they obey you to do so, then inform them that Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay the Zakat from their property and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor and be and safeguard yourself against the supplication of who has suffered injustice because there is no veil between his supplication and Allah.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others].
Many traditions mention that we Muslims are commanded fight the non-believers –under the condition of legitimate Jihad — until they become Muslims by saying the Shahada, establishing Salat, and paying Zakat. This is proof that a Muslim that abandons Salat is apostate.
Abu Hurairah, May Allah be pleased with him, narrated:
لما توفي رسول اللَّه صلى اللَّه عليه وآله وسلم وكان أبو بكر وكفر من كفر من العرب فقال عمر: كيف تقاتل الناس وقد قال رسول اللَّه صلى اللَّه عليه وآله وسلم: ” أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يقولوا لا إله إلا اللَّه فمن قالها فقد عصم مني ماله ونفسه إلا بحقه وحسابه على اللَّه تعالى ” فقال: واللَّه لأقاتلن من فرق بين الصلاة والزكاة فإن الزكاة حق المال واللَّه لو منعوني عناقًا كانوا يؤدونها إلى رسول اللَّه صلى اللَّه عليه وآله وسلم لقاتلتهم على منعها قال عمر: فواللَّه ما هو إلا أن قد شرح اللَّه صدر أبي بكر للقتال فعرفت أنه الحق [رواه الجماعة إلا ابن ماجه لكن في لفظ مسلم والترمذي وأبي داود: (لو منعوني عقالًا كانوا يؤدونه) بدل العناق ]
“When the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, passed away, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was appointed as his successor (caliph). Amongst the Arabs some men apostatized. Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, resolved to fight them. Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said to Abu Bakr: “How can you fight them when the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, has declared: ‘I have been commanded to fight people till they testify LA ILAHA ILL-A-LLAH (there is no god except Allah), and if they do it, their blood (life) and property are secured, except when justified by law, and it is for Allah to call them to account.” Upon this Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said: ‘By Allah, I will definitely fight whoever makes distinction between Salat and the Zakat, because it is an obligation upon wealth. By Allah I will fight them even to secure the piece of rope which they used to give to the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I realized that Allah had opened the heart of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, for fighting those who refused to pay Zakat, and thus I recognized that Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him) was right.’” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim, and others]. In another narration it is related that Abu Bakr said: “By Allah! If they (pay me the Zakat and) with-hold even a she-kid which they used to pay during the life-time of Allah’s Apostle, I will fight them for it.” ‘Umar said, “It was nothing but Allah Who opened Abu Bakr’s chest towards the decision to fight, and I knew that his decision was right.”
And in another tradition –which was indicated by Ibn Taimiyyah as mentioned above — narrated by Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said explicitly that Salat and Zakat were conditions for protecting the blood and property:
” أمرت أن أقاتل الناس حتى يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله ، ويقيموا الصلاة ، ويؤتوا الزكاة ، فإن فعلوا ذلك ؛ عصموا مني دماءهم وأموالهم ؛ إلا بحق الإسلام ، وحسابهم على الله . ”
“I have been commanded to fight people till they testify LA ILAHA ILL-A-LLAH (there is no god except Allah) that MUHHAMAD ABDULLAHI WA RASUULIHI (Muhammad is his slave and Messenger) and they establish Salat, and pay Zakat; and if they do this, their blood (life) and property are secured except when justified by law, and it is for Allah to call them to account.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
Al-Bukhai, who is well known have jurisprudence exactness in his chapter headings, made the chapter heading of this tradition read:
“باب قتــل من أبــى قبول الفرائض وما نسبوا إلى الردة”
“The Chapter of killing those who refuse to accept the obligations and what is reported about there being termed as Apostates.” In the book called:
“كتاب استتابة المرتدين والمعاندين وقتالهم”
The “Book of Seeking Repentance of the Apostates and stubborn resisters and fighting them.”
The famous scholar al-Khatabi said about this connection of the issue of Zalat with Salat:
“قايسه بالصلاة ورد الزكاة إليها وكان في ذلك من قوله دليل على أن قتال الممتنع من الصلاة كان إجماعاً من الصحابة.” [شرح النووي لمسلم 2/152]
“(Abu Bakr) used Qayas for the issue of Zakat by referring it to Salat, and his saying is a proof that killing a person who refuses Salat was a consensus of the Sahaba.” [Explanation of Muslim by an-Nawawi 2/152]
Ibn Hajar in his commentary of Sahih-al-Bukari [see Fath al-Bari 1/76, 3/266, 12/277-280 Maktabat-ar-Riyadh], and others, make the observation that when Abu Bakr sought a proof to convince Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, that it was the duty to fight these rebels who refused to pay the Zakat, he made Qiyas (reasoning by legal analogy) upon Salat. This indicates that it was known fact among the Sahaba that if one refused to perform Salat the ruler would be obligated to fight him for his refusal. This shows that the judgment was well known that abandoning Salat is apostasy. His line of argument could only be convincing to Umar and acceptable as sound evidence if the judgment concerning abandoning Salat was very well known and an established judgment, since all jurists say that Qiyas is only to be made upon an established and well know judgment. Since Umar and all the Sahaba agreed to this argument, this proves that leaving Salat and Zakat are worthy of fighting and killing them about, and taking their wealth and children, and thus, apostasy.
These traditions above connect Zakat with Salat as a special status with the Shahada, and prove that abandoning Salat and refusing to pay Zakat are apostasy since it is known that one cannot spill the blood of a Muslim in execution except for three crimes, as mentioned in the well known tradition: 1) adultery; 2) for premeditated murder; 3) apostasy, and rebellion. This is mentioned in the tradition wherein the Prophet said, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon hi::
” لا يحل دم امرىء مسلم يشهد أن لا إله إلا الله ، وأني رسول الله إلا بـإحـدي ثـلاث : الـثـيـب الــزاني ، والـنـفـس بـالنفس ، والـتـارك لـد يـنـه الـمـفـارق للـجـمـاعـة “
“The blood of a Muslim who testifies that LA ILAHA ILL-A-LLAH WA ANNI RASOOL-A-LLAH ( there is no god except Allah and I am the messenger of Allah) is not legal to take except for three: (execution for) adultery, a soul for a soul (murder) and the apostate from his religion and separating form the “Jama’at” (community or group pf believers).” [Reported by Bukhari and Ahmad]
Separating from the “Jama’at” means rebellion. Abu Bakr and the Sahaba did not fight them for premeditated murder or adultery, but for their refusal of Zakat. Therefore, it must be either apostasy and/or rebellion. If it is apostasy then the point is that he made analogy about Zakat upon the known judgment of Salat, and that is the point here. If the rebellion was to refuse to perform a pillar in Islam, then the rebellion here in our issue was to uphold their total refusal, in principle, of paying Zakat, and it follows that this refusal can only be upon a degree of disbelief and apostasy. If the refusal was for some legitimate grievances of injustices, wherein the collector of Zakat was a “Baghi” (transgressor) – then that is another issue. The “Bughat” (transgressors) whoever they may be may be, are fought by the legitimate leader of the Muslims until they return to the commands of Allah, but they are still our Muslim brothers in the ultimate assessment. If it is proven that the refusal of paying Zakat is apostasy, then the judgment about refusing Salat is even more clearly apostasy. All agree that Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, connected Salat and Zakat to prove the necessity of fighting these who refused Zakat. Many scholars have said those who refused to pay Zakat were declared apostates along with the other kinds of apostates — like those who believed in and followed the in false prophets Musailima and the others — without distinction between them. They all were fought and their wealth and children and women were considered war booty for the Muslims and this is only the case for disbelievers.
Anther point to consider here is that Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, may Allah be pleased with them, only fought against disbelievers and Ali ibn abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, was the first to fight against the
Since Salat was the first thing always mentioned upon which one made pledges of allegiance about in personal worship, it follows that any abandonment of that worship amounts to backsliding and apostasy.
Jarir bin ‘Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with them, narrated
وعن جرير بن عبد الله رضي الله عنه قال: ”بايعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على إقام الصلاة وإيتاء الزكاة والنصح لكل مسلم.”
“ I gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet for establishing Salat (prayer) and giving Zakat (alms) and giving good advice to every Muslim. [Reported by Bukhari]
In another narration on Jamra, may Allah be pleased with him, concerning the delegation of the tribe of Abdul Qais that came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, we find therein:
قال أمرهم بالإيمان بالله وحده . وقال ” هل تدرون ما الإيمان بالله .” قالوا الله ورسوله أعلم . قال ” شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله وإقام الصلاة وإيتاء الزكاة وصوم رمضان وأن تؤدوا خمسا من المغنم. ”
“…and he ordered them to believe in Allah Alone and asked them, “Do you know what is meant by believing in Allah Alone?” They replied, “Allah and His Apostle know better.” Thereupon the Prophet said, “It means: To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, to establish the Salat (prayers), to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity), to observe Saum (fast) during the month of Ramadan, and to pay al-Khumus (one fifth of the booty to be given in Allah’s Cause)…” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
This narration proves that Iman and Islam go together and that the pillars of silam are part of the necessary Iman.
وعن أبي هريرة رضى الله عنه قال: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: – ” إن أمتي يدعون يوم القيامة غرا محجلين من آثار الوضوء. “ [ أخرجه البخاري ، ك الوضوء (1/235) . ح (136) ، ومسلم ، ك الطهارة (1/216) ح (246)] وفي رواية المسلم ” قالوا: – كيف تعرف من لم يأت بعد من أمتك يا رسول الله؟ قال: أرأيت لو أن رجلاً له خيل غر محجلة بين ظهري خيل دهم بهم ألا يعرف خيله؟ قالوا بلى يا رسول الله. قال: – فإنهم يأتون غراً محجلين من الوضوء وأنا فرطهم على الحوض. ” وفي رواية المسلم الطهارة (1/218) ح (249)]
يقول ابن تيمية: – فدل ذلك على أن من لم يكن غراً محجلاً، لم يعرفه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فلا يكون من أمته. ” مجموع الفتاوى 7/612
The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him said:
“لتنقضنَّ عرى الإسلام عروةً عروة، فكلما انتقضت عروة تشبث الناس بالتي تليها، فأولهنَّ نقضاً الحكم، وآخرهنَّ الصلاة .” [رواه أحمد، وابن حبان، والحاكم ]
“The firm knot of Islam will unravel bit by bit, every time a section of the knot is unraveled, the people (Muslims) will stand firm to protect the next (section of the knot): the first section is the rule of government and law (Hukm) and the final one is prayer (Salat).” [Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Haban and Hakim, and verified by Sheikh al-Albani, and as-Sulaimani (al-Ma`rabi)]
This tradition indicates that nothing remains of “Deen” religion after leaving and abandoning Salat, which is the very last knot of Islam untied.
And this is also shown by the famous hadith about the deficiency of women wherein he said:
…ما رأيت ناقصات عقل ودين أغلب لذي لب منكن أما نقصان العقل فشهادة إمرأتين تعدل بشهادة رجل وأما نقصان الدين فإن احداكن تفطر رمضان وتقيم أيام لا تصلي …”
“ …I have not seen like these women deficient in mind and religion who are able to overcome an intelligent man. As for the deficiency in mind, the testimony of two women is equal to one man, and as her deficiency in religion, one of them breaks the fast in Ramadan, and she spends days without making Salat…[Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
Of course since a woman is in monthly menses she legally is compelled to leave fasting and prayer without any sin, but the point here is that the Prophet called this deficiency in religion. It follows that deficiency in Salat can occur and it follows that leaving it intentionally is the extreme epitome of deficiency to the point of abandonment of religion.
And in the famous tradition the Messenger of Allan said, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him:
“رأس الأمر الإسلام، وعموده الصلاة، و ذروة سنامه الجهاد”
“The most principle affair is Islam, and its central pillar is Salat, and its pinnacle is Jihad.” [Reported by at-Tirmidthi, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Abi Shaibah and verified by al-Albani]
The “Amood” is a central pillar by which something stands, holding it from falling. This is textual proof thatm after the Shahada (testimony of faith), there is nothing as important to establish Islam as Salat. Religion without the “Umood” is analogous to a destruction that is apostasy. We know about the crucial status of the Shahada from many other texts that are not our concern here.
And he said in another tradition about guarding and protecting Salat the Messenger of Allan said, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him:
“من حافظ عليها كانت له نورًا، وبرهانًا، ونجاة من النار يوم القيامة، ومن لم يحافظ عليها؛ لم تكن له نورًا، ولا نجاة، ولا برهانًا، وكان يوم القيامة مع قارون وفرعون وهامان وأُبيّ بن خلف.”
“If anyone guards it, it will be light, evidence and salvation for him on the Day of Resurrection. But if anyone does not guard it, it will not be light, evidence and salvation for him on the Day of Resurrection, and on that Day he will be associated with Qaroon Pharaoh, Hamaan and Ubayy bin Khalaf.” [Reported by Ahmad, ad-Darami. Ibn Haban and others, and declared weak by al-Albani, since Isa ibn as-Sadafi is in the chain and no one authenticated him except Ibn Habban, who is known for his laxness, but verified as a good tradition by some other scholars]
These people mentioned at the end here were of the worst enemies of Islam, As Ibn Qayim mentioned, the first disbelieved by preferring his wealth, the second by his sovereignty as King, the third by the domain of his ministry, and the fourth by his engagement in business. Thus anyone who leaves Salat is like these people in disbelief and the reason for disbelief because these four reasons are the main excuses one would advance for preferring his own way and business to spending a few minutes of his precious time to prayer to Allah properly in the times as commanded. If this tradition shows the enormity of not guarding the prayers, even while performing them, how much more is the sin for the one that leaves and abandons it?
Another thing that proves our point is that the acceptance of all deeds is dependent for acceptance on the acceptance of Salat, as the traditions say explicitly.
The Prophet said, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him:
“إن أول ما يحاسب الناس به يوم القيامة من أعمالهم الصلاة قال يقول ربنا جل وعز لملائكته وهو أعلم انظروا في صلاة عبدي أتمها أم نقصها فإن كانت تامة كتبت له تامة وإن كان انتقص منها شيئا قال انظروا هل لعبدي من تطوع فإن كان له تطوع قال أتموا لعبدي فريضته من تطوعه ثم تؤخذ الأعمال على ذاكم.”
“The first (act of worship) man shall be taken to account of on the Day of Resurrection is Salat (prayer). The Lord, the Exalted and Majestic One, would say to His Angels -and he is More Knowledgeable –see about my slave’s Salat, has he performed them completely or decreased them. If they were complete it will be written completely for him. If the man’s prayers were incomplete He would say (to His Angels): See if my slave performed Nafl (voluntary, supererogatory) prayers to complete them. If he has Nafl prayers He will say: Complete for my slave the Fard (obligatory) from his Nafl. The rest of man’s deeds will be reckoned in the same manner.” [Reported by Abu Da`ood and verified by al-Albani]
And another variation of this tradition:
“إن أول ما يحاسب به العبد المسلم يوم القيامة الصلاة المكتوبة فإن أتمها وإلا قيل انظروا هل له من تطوع فإن كان له تطوع أكملت الفريضة من تطوعه ثم يفعل بسائر الأعمال المفروضة مثل ذلك.”
“The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called into account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salat, and if not it will be said ‘See if he has supererogatory (Nafl) prayers to complete voluntary Salat so that the obligatory Salat may be completed by it. Then the rest of his actions will be treated in the same manner.” [Reported by Ibn Majah and Ibn Abi Shaibah and others and verified by al-Albani]
In another tradition, which is even more explanatory on this point.
“أول ما يحاسب به العبد يوم القيامة الصلاة فإن صلحت، صلح سائر عمله، و إن فسدت فسد سائر عمله .”
The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called into account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salat. If they are good, all the deeds will be good, if they are corrupted all his deeds will be corrupted.” [Reported by at-Tirmidthi and others and verified by al-Albani]
These traditions all prove that proper and acceptable Salat is crucial for a person on the Day of Reckoning and Accountability. Without proper Salat all other deeds are void and worthless. How much more is the accountability of the one who left and abandoned Salat altogether?
What also proves the point about leaving Salat being Kufr and Riddah is that the Satan — Shaitan, and we all seek the protection of Allah from him, his trickery, and his armies — takes control over the one who forgets and neglects and leaves Salat, as the following traditions prove unequivocally: The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him said:
“إن الشيطان قد ائيس أن يعبدوه المصلون في جزيرة العرب ولكن في التحريش بينهم.” [رواه ومسلم، والترمذى ]
“The Shaitan has despaired that those who make Salat would ever worship him in the Arabian Peninsula, but he (hopes to get them) by instigating them to fight one another.” [Reported by Muslim and at-Tirmidthi]
This tradition indicates, in an indirect manner, that the Shaitan hopes and is encouraged that quite possibly those who do not pray will worship him. This is the idea of Shirk (idolatry and polytheism) that was proven by the explicit proofs above.
And it is confirmed in a report:
ذكر عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رجل، فقيل : ما زال نائما حتى أصبح، ما قام إلى الصلاة، فقال : “بال الشيطان في أذنه.” [البخاري ] و في لفظ مسلم “ذاك رجل بال الشيطان في أذنيه”
“A man was mentioned to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and it was said that he kept sleeping until he woke up after the sunrise. He did not get up for prayer (in the proper time). To which he said: “The Shaitan urinated in his ears.” [Reported by Bukhari and others] In the narration of Muslim he said: “That is a man who the Shaitan has urinated in his two eras.”
This is understood to mean one who was negligent about prolonging sleep and lazy about waking up. If this is the case with a sleeping person, who may have a legitimate excuse of extreme exhaustion from work, then what about a waking person who misses the time intentionally and knowingly? And what about the one who persists in habitually leaving Salat totally?
And a companion asked the Prophet about turning the view away from concentration (to the place of prostration) in prayer, to which he replied:
“هُوَ اخْتِلاسٌ يَخْتَلِسُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنْ صَلاةِ الْعَبْدِ”
“That is the swiping of the Shaitan that he pilfers from a slave (of Allah)” [reported by Bukhari and others]
The reason it is swiping is because when a Muslim stands for prayer he is standing before Allah the Most Almighty and Majestic, as it says in the long tradition about Yahya (John)
“…وإن الله أمركم بالصلاة فإذا صليتم فلا تلتفتوا فإن الله ينصب وجهه لوجه عبده في صلاته ما لم يلتفت….”
صحيح على شرط مسلم الوادعي الجامع الصحيح 5/311
“Allah commands you to prayer and therefore when you pray do not look about for verily Allah is in front of the slave with His (majestic) Countenance, so do not turn away.” [Reported by Ahmad and at-Tabarani and others and verified by al-Albani and Wada’e]
And he said in another tradition about guarding from the satanic tricks:
“إن الشيطان يأتي أحدكم في صلاته فيلبس عليه حتى لا يدري كم صلى فإذا وجد ذلك أحدكم فليسجد سجدتين و هو جالس قبل أن يسلم ثم يسلم.”
“Verily the Shaitan come to one of you and confuses until he doesn’t know how many he has prayed (i.e. Raka’a, bowings] so if this occurs then make two prostrations of while he is sitting and them salutations.” [Reported by at-Tirmidthi and Ibn Majah, and verified by al-Albani]
And in another the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
“يعقد الشيطان على قافية رأس أحدكم إذا هو نام ثلاث عقد يضرب مكان كل عقدة : عليك ليل طويل فارقد فإن استيقظ فذكر الله انحلت عقدة فإن توضأ انحلت عقدة فإن صلى انحلت عقده كلها فأصبح نشيطا طيب النفس و إلا أصبح خبيث النفس كسلان.”
“The Shaitan ties three knots when one of you sleeps at the at the back of you head at the medulla (i.e. which is the concentration of nerves) and says sleep a long night. If he wakes up one knot is untied. If he makes ablution another knot is untied. If he makes prayer all of them are untied and he becomes active and in a good state of his self and otherwise he becomes in a bad state of his self and lazy.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
And leaving Salat in Jama’a (congregation) is a cause of Shaitanic control of people of a village, as the prophetic traditions inform us:
“ما من ثلاثة في قرية ولا بدو لا تقام فيهم الصلاة إلا قد استحوذ عليهم الشيطان فعليك بالجماعة فإنما يأكل الذئب القاصية .”
“There is not a piece of land or desert wherein three people reside and do not establish congressional prayers but the Shaitan takes control of them: so congregate as a group and verily the wolf (attacks and) eats (the stray goat) who is alone and distance (from the flock).” [Reported by Abu Da`ood, an-Nisa`e and others and verified by al-Albani]
These traditions about the Shaitan’s partial control for deficiency in parts of the obligation of Salat, indicate complete control and disbelief for anyone who leaves it completely, since as Allah said:
﴿ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ () إِنَّمَا سُلْطَانُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ ﴾
“Verily! He (Satan) has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allah). His power is only over those who obey and follow him and those who join partners with Him (Allah).” [16:100-121].
And we know that obeying the Shaitan reaches to Kufr and Shirk by the verse of Allah
﴿وَلاَ تَأْكُلُواْ مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ اسْمُ اللّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِسْقٌ وَإِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَى أَوْلِيَآئِهِمْ لِيُجَادِلُوكُمْ وَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ إِنَّكُمْ لَمُشْرِكُونَ ﴾
“Eat not (O believers) of that meat) on which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal), for sure it is Fisq (a sin and disobedience) And certainly the Shaiyatin (devils) do inspire their friends (from mankind) to dispute with you, and if you obey them [by making a dead animal legal by eating it] then you would indeed be Mushrikun (idolaters and polytheists).” [6:121]
This means that since it was the Shayateen who made this unlawful meat lawful to you to eat –even thought you know that Allah has made it unlawful to eat — and you obeyed these Shaiyateen by considering it lawful to eat, you have worshipped them, and worshiping others besides Allah is idolatry and polytheism. Here in our issue, the person has obeyed the promptings of the Shaitan to intentionally leave Salat, which is Kufr and Shirk by proof of the clear and explicit evidences above.
Leaving Salat al-Jum’a on Friday has an especially dangerous consequences, since hypocrisy will eventually be written upon a Muslim for this negligence, as mentioned by the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him:
“من ترك ثلاث جمعات من غير عذر كتب من المنافقين.”
“Whoever leaves three Jum’a without a legitimate excuse will be written as from the hypocrites.” [Reported by at-Tabarani and verified by al-Albani (SJ 6144)]
And in another version he said:
“من ترك ثلاث جمع تهاونا بها طبع الله على قلبه .”
“Whoever leaves three Juma’a prayers (consecutively) by negligence and indifference their hearts will be stamped.” [Reported by Abu Da`ood, at-Tirmidthi, an-Nisa`e, Ibn Majah, Ibn Zuzaimah and verified by al-Albani]
And in another version he said:
“من ترك ثلاث جمع تهاونا من غير عذر طبع الله على قلبه .”
“Whoever leaves three Jum’a prayers consecutively by negligence and indifference without a legitimate excuse their hearts will be stamped.” [Reported by zxzxz and verified by al-Albani (Sharh Tahawi 788)]
And in the version of Ibn Majad [SIM 923]
“… من غير الضرورة ...”
“ …without (condition of extreme) duress…”
If this is the case of one making Salat but being negligent about Jum’a, how much worst will be the consequences and punishment for the one who leaves Salat entirely? This can only be answered by recourse to the explicit traditions above.
And there are many traditions that explain that a person that does not pray properly with adequate bowing and prostrations and correct timings, then these prays will be rejected partially or wholly. For instance, the saying of the Prophet, may the salutations of Allah be upon him:
“إن الرجل لينصرف و ما كتب له إلا عشر صلاته وتسعها وسبعها وسدسها و خمسها و ربعها و ثلثها ونصفها “
“Verily the slave finishes making his Salat (prayer) of which nothing is written down for him except a tenth, ninth, eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth, quarter, third or half of it.” [Reported by Ahmad and at-Tabarani and verified by al-Albani (SJ 1676)]
And in another the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
إن الرجل ليصلى ستين سنة وما تقبل له صلاة و لعله يتم الركوع ولا يتم السجود و يتم السجود و لا يتم الركوع
] رواه الأصبهانى، وحسنه الألباني في سلسلة الصحيحة (2525).]
“A man may make prayer for sixty years, and none of it will be accepted: it may be that he complete the bowing but not the prostration or competes the prostration but not the bowing.” [Reported by al-Asfahani and verified by al-Albani]
These traditions show that the sincerity one claims on his tongue must have actual reality in practice by observing completely and meticulously the details of Salat. As it is said that one does something “religiously.”
This is like the famous hadith of the man who did not make proper Salat so the Prophet said to him
“… إرجع فصلى فإنك لم تصلى ثلاثاً…”
“Go back and pray since you did not pray.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others] After this happened three times he asked the Prophet and then he taught him the prayer with full tranquility in each act of the prayer.
And in another tradition:
وصلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بأصحابه ثم جلس في طائفة منهم فدخل رجل فقام يصلي، فجعل يركع وينقر في سجوده، فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : “أترون هذا، من مات على هذا، مات على غير ملة محمد، ينقر صلاته كما ينقر الغراب الدم، إنما مثل الذي يركع وينقر في سجوده كالجائع لا يأكل إلا التمرة والتمرتين فماذا تغنيان عنه، فأسبغوا الوضوء، ويل للأعقاب من النار، أتموا الركوع والسجود.” [رواه ابن خزيمة والطبرلنى وأبو يعلى و إسناده حسن: الألباني صحيح ابن خزيمة 665]
“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, prayed and then sat with some of his companions and a man came and made prayer and he was making bowings and prostrations pecking at them so the Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him said: Do you see this, whoever dies upon this will die upon other than the “Millah” (way, nation, religion) of Muhammad, he pecks his Salat like the crow pecking for blood. The likeness of this who pecks at his bowing and prostration is like a famished man who eats only one or two dates, so what will it avail him? Make full ablution, and Woe to the (dry) heels from the Hellfire, and make full bowings and prostrations!” [Reported by Ibn Khuzaimah, at-Tabrani, Abu Ya’la and verified by al-Albani]
If the Prophet of Allah, peace be upon him, negated prayer for those who performed it in a deficient manner, how much negation would there be for those who refuse and leave it all together?
Sloppy, lazy, and negligent manners in prayer are of the clear signs of the hypocrite, as Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, made perfectly clear to his companions in various traditions. For instance in the famous statement that for the hypocrites two prayers are especially difficult for them:
“أثقل الصلاة على المنافقين صلاة العشاء و صلاة الفجر و لو يعلمون ما فيهما لأتوهما و لو حبوا و لقد هممت أن آمر بالصلاة فتقام ثم آمر رجلا فيصلي بالناس ثم أنطلق معي برجال معهم حزم من حطب إلى قوم لا يشهدون الصلاة فأحرق عليهم بيوتهم بالنار.”
“Indeed, the heaviest (most difficult) of prayers to bear for the hypocrites, are Ishaa [night] and Fajr (dawn) prayers. If only they knew what they are missing, they would come, even if crawling on their knees, and I thought of commanding the Salat to be performed and then command a man to lead that Salat and then go with some men and loads of wood and then burn down the houses of those who do not come to the Salat.”
[Reported by Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, and others]
This shows the obligation of making congregational prayer, so how much more proof about totally leaving and abandoning the prayer?
And the Salat of the hypocrite is made at the last time of obligation, right before it lapses, as the Prophet said:
“تلك صلاة المنافقين تلك صلاة المنافقين تلك صلاة المنافقين يجلس أحدهم حتى إذا اصفرت الشمس فكانت بين قرني شيطان أو على قرني الشيطان قام فنقر أربعا لا يذكر الله فيها إلا قليلا .”
“That is the prayer of a hypocrite! That is the prayer of a hypocrite! That is the prayer of a hypocrite! One of them sits until the sun is yellow and almost setting between the two horns of the Shaitan, or on the two horns of the Shaitan, and then he stands and pecks four Raka’at (portion of two bowings) and doesn’t remember Allah in them except a little.” [Reported by Bukhari, and others]
This hypocrite ruined Salat by not being sincere in outward action nor in the inward, so how much more one who doesn’t have any action of prayer?
Then we know that the one who does remember Allah is like the dead on as the Prophet said:
“مَثَلُ الذي يذكُرُ ربَّهُ والذي لا يذكُرُ ربَّهُ مَثَلُ الحَيِّ والميِّت.” [رواه البخاري و مسلم وغيرهما]
“The similitude of who remembers and one who doesn’t remembers Allah is like the alive and the dead.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
This is because he is spiritual dead since the beginning of worship and crux upon which it revolves is remembrance. For that reason the trait of the hypocrite’s prayer is that he is lazy and sloppy externally and he doesn’t remember Allah internally, as mentioned above. Anyone who truly remembers Allah the Exalted, by necessity, becomes attentive and awe inspired with the fear of Allah’s anger and punishment and with the hope for His pleasure and reward.
And a house that doesn’t have the Nawafil (voluntary) prayers made in it is like a grave since no Salat is made in a graveyard lawfully.
“صلوا في بيوتكم و لا تتخذوها قبورا”
“Pray in your houses and do not make them like graves.” [Reported by Abu Da`ood, at-Tirmidthi, An-Nisa`e, Ibn Majah and Deya al-Maqdasi, and verified by al-Albani]
This is because he commanded \:
“لا تصلوا إلى القبور ولا تجلسوا عليها .”
“Do not pray to the graves nor sit on them.” [Reported by Muslim]
Also we know that making Salat is a major form of “Kaffarah” (expiation for sins).
“الصلوات الخمس و الجمعة إلى الجمعة و رمضان إلى رمضان مكفرات لما بينهن إذا اجتنبت الكبائر .”
“The five Salawat and Friday prayer to Friday prayer and Ramadan (fast) to Ramadan expiates what happens between them, as long as one stays away from the great and grave sins.” [Reported by Ahmad, Muslim and at-Tirmidthi]
And in the famous authentic tradition:
“أرأيتم لو أن نهرا بباب أحدكم يغتسل منه كل يوم خمس مرات. هل يبقى من درنه شيء؟” قالوا : لا يبقى من درنه شيء. قال ” فذلك مثل الصلوات الخمس. يمحو الله بهن الخطايا .”
“What do you see, that if a river were before your door, and five times a day you washed in it, would any dirt remain on you? They said: No dirt would remain. He said: That is the likeness of the five prayers that wipe away the sins.” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim and others]
A question becomes critical here: What will the one who leaves Salat bring to expiate his or her sins? He will have no good deeds, and thus he will be worst than the “Muflis” (bankrupt one) that the Messenger of Allah warned us about, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him:
“أتدرون ما المفلس؟” قالوا : المفلس فينا من لا درهم له ولا متاع. فقال “إن المفلس من أمتي، يأتي يوم القيامة بصلاة وصيام وزكاة، ويأتي قد شتم هذا، وقذف هذا، وأكل مال هذا، وسفك دم هذا، وضرب هذا. فيعطى هذا من حسناته وهذا من حسناته. فإن فنيت حسناته، قبل أن يقضى ما عليه، أخذ من خطاياهم فطرحت عليه. ثم طرح في النار “
“The bankrupt among my Ummah is the one who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, fasting and charity, and yet has abused this one, slandered that one, taken another’s money illegally, and shed someone’s blood, and beaten someone. Each of these people will be given of his good deeds (by way of compensation). If his good deeds finish before judgment is passed on him, some of their sins will be thrown on him, and then he will then be cast into Hellfire.” [Reported by Muslim]
This leads us to another line of evidence. We know that a Muslim doing major sins is not a in a state of belief during the actual time of perpetration of that crime and sin, by the proof of the following tradition of the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, in which he says:
“لا يزني الزاني حين يزني وهو مؤمن، ولا يشرب الخمر حين يشرب وهو مؤمن، ولا يسرق حين يسرق وهو مؤمن، ولا ينتهب نهبة، يرفع الناس إليه فيها أبصارهم، وهو مؤمن.” [رواه البخاري و مسلم وغيرهما]
“The fornicator (or adulterer) does not fornicate but at that time is not a believer, and the one who drinks intoxicants does not drinks intoxicants but at that time is not a believer, ” until the end of the tractions, the thief does not steal but at that time is not a believer, and the robber does not rob violently anything which people raise their eyes to see but at that time is not a believer, [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
The proper understanding of this tradition is that his faith leaves him and yet he remains a Muslim by virtue of his basis Islamic characteristics since he still has his Shahada, Salat, Zakat, Saum, and Hajj. But what if he doesn’t have anything but Shahada, since he has left all worship of Allah by action. All scholars agree that leaving Salat is of the greatest of the great sins. It follows, logically, that if he is perpetually in the state of abandonment of Salat, he faith is perpetually lifted from him.
The reality of this person is that he or she will necessarily have the traits of the pure hypocrite mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. Some verses of the Quran were cited above, and of the Sunnah the tradition says:
“أربع خلال من كن فيه كان منافقا خالصا : من إذا حدث كذب، وإذا وعد أخلف، وإذا عاهد غدر، وإذا خاصم فجر. ومن كانت فيه خصلة منهن كانت فيه خصلة من النفاق حتى يدعها .”
“Four traits whoever has them is a pure hypocrite: if he speaks he lies; if he promises he doesn’t fulfill (his promise); if he gives a contract he breaks it; if he argues he abuses and is wicked; and whoever has any trait of them has a trait of hypocrisy until he leaves it.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others]
The person who is in the state of leaving Salat without denying the obligation –since if he denied it all agree that he is disbeliever and apostate — has the following traits: he is a liar about his belief about Salat since belief necessities some degree of action, he doesn’t have any trust to protect his promise about performing his Salat as Islam obligates and he admits; he is acting treacherously and deceitfully about his commitment to Allah; if he is called to make his Salat and persistently refuses his argumentation naturally leads to abuse and wickedness.
Perhaps one of the strongest evidences about apostasy for abandoning Salat is taken from a combination of the traditions about obeying the unjust tyrannical Muslim ruler.
First we have many other traditions about obeying the Muslim rulers, no matter how unjust they may be, as long as they establish prayer. For instance Um Salamah the wife of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with her, narrates that the Messenger of Allah may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him, said:
حديث أم سلمة رضي الله عنها أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال “ستكون أمراء، فتعرفون وتُنكرون، فمن عرف، برئ، ومن أنكر؛ سلم، ولكن من رضي وتابع” قالوا: أفلا نقاتلهم؟ قال: “لا، ما صلَّوْا” [أخرجه مسلم ]
حديث عوف بن مالك عند مسلم وفيه: “أفلا ننابذهم بالسيف؟” قال: “لا ما أقاموا فيكم الصلاة .”
“There will be commanders and rulers who will do some good and some that you will recognize as bad, so who knows that evil is absolved (from sin) and whoever rebuked them has security (from Allah) and the sinful are those that are pleased and follow them (in their evil). They said: Shouldn’t we fight them? He said: No, as long as they make Salat.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others, and in another version they said: Should we attack and fight them with our swords? He said: No as long as they establish Salat among you.” and in the narration of al-Marwazi (no. 953): No as long as they establish the five prayers.]
Then we have the narration of Ubada ibn Samit, may Allah be pleased with him, who said;
حديث عبادة بن الصامت، قال: دعانا النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فبايعناه، فكان فيما أخذ علينا: “أن بايعنا على السمع والطاعة، في منشطنا ومكرهنا، وعسرنا ويسرنا، وأُثْرة علينا، وأن لا ننازع الأمر أهله، إلا أن تروا كفرًا بواحًا، عندكم من الله فيه برهان” [أخرجه البخاري ومسلم ]
“The Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him called us to make pledge of allegiance to hear and obey in our time of eagerness and energy and when we are not pleased with the order, when it is difficult and when it is easy, and even when our rights are given to others and not to us, and not to challenge and fight the people who have the legitimate right (to authority), except when we see “Kufran Bawahan” (clear disbelief) on which we have from Allah proof.” [Reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others].
“Kufr Buwah” is not only clear but also one must have a definite proof, meaning from the Quran and Sunnah, that one has the legitimate right to challenge and fight them.
For this reason the Muslim ruler traditionally is the established Imam (leader) of Salat in his domain of authority unless he delegates this right and wills to make Salat regularity behind someone who recites the Quran better than him.
From the combination of these two traditions — which are of the highest authenticity — there can be no conclusion except that leaving prayer is “Kufr Bawah,” open and clear disbelief. In the second tradition, of Ubadah, we are ordered not to rebel until we see Kufr Buwah. In the first tradition we are ordered not to rebel, even if they are unjust, until they leave making prayer. Thus leaving prayer is an open, clearly recognizable, definite sign of disbelief. What clearer proof can there be that leaving Salat is Kufr and Riddah for an intelligent person who understands? Numerous definite proofs from the Quran and Sunnah have been mentioned that leaving Salat is one of the many kinds of Kufr Bawah.
The Muslim Ruler’s performance of Salat late and out of their proper times is not a reason for rebellion since the Messenger prophesized and warned his companions that they would see some or this type of disobedience and negligence, but nevertheless he commanded them to make their prayers on time, and the, if they come to the leaders and commanders, to make Salat with them in congregation even if late. There are many reports along this meaning. For instance, he said to Abu Dtharr, may Allah be pleased with him:
“يا أبا ذر ! إنه سيكون بعدي أمراء يميتون الصلاة فصل الصلاة لوقتها فإن صليت لوقتها كانت لك نافلة و إلا كنت قد أحرزت صلاتك.”
“O Aba Dtharr, there will be leaders and commanders who make the prayer as if dead. So make your prayer on time, and then (if you make it with them) it will be voluntary prayer, and you will have kept your prayer protected (from loss).” [Reported by Muslim and at-Tirmidthi]
And in another authentic version:
عن أبي ذر؛ قال : قال لي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم “كيف أنت إذا كانت عليك أمراء يؤخرون الصلاة عن وقتها، أو يميتون الصلاة عن وقتها؟” قال قلت : فما تأمرني؟ قال “صل الصلاة لوقتها. فإن أدركتها معهم فصل. فإنها لك نافلة .”
“How will you be when there will be leaders and commanders who make the prayers late, or, who make the prayer as if dead? I said: What do you order me? He said: make your prayer on time, and if you reach them and they are making prayer then pray with them, and it will be for you a voluntary prayer.”
Thus, making Salat late is a grievous sin, but it doesn’t compare with the intentional deed of leaving it altogether, which categorically is Kufr Bawah, open apostasy from Islam, as demonstrated above.
We have listed sets of traditions from the Sunnah that are very convincing proofs for those who are reflect and comprehend, and these citations are representative of these proofs and not meant to be an exclusive list. Together they form impressive and formable evidence that they other side will attempt to counter.
……[and so on in many other proofs ]…..
and then, PROOFS OF SAYINGS OF THE SAHABA, etc etc