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The Ruling On Abandoning The Salah

July 1, 2010



The nation has agreed that the prayer is an absolute individual obligation upon every single muslim who has reached puberty, who is not menstruationg or in a post-partum bleeding state, neither insane nor unconcsious.

SCENARIO A : The One Who Denies The Obligation Of Salah

The Musilms have reached unanimous consensus that the one who denies the obligation of prayer is a disbeliever and is not buried with the Muslims upon his/her death.

The EVIDENCE from the Qur’an and sunnah :

”Yet if they repent and establish the prayer and pay the zakah, then they shall become your brothers in religion”

Al – Tawbah, 11

” Verily, between a person and shirk and kufr is the abandonment of the prayer”

Muslim, 82

Question : Does that mean a person who misses one or two salah is a disbeliever?

No, because prophet Muhammad (saw) said the ”obligation” of prayer.


The Ulema has three well-known differing opinions among themselves :

First opinion : Imam Ahmad

The Person is killed as a kafir (disbeliever).


”But When The sacred months are over, slay the polytheists wherever you find them, and take them (  captive) and besiege them, and lie in ambush for them everywhere. But if they repent and establish the prayer and pay the zakah, let them go their way. Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate. ”

Surah Al-Tawbah , 5

The ahadith, firstly the famous hadith of Buraydah (ra) :

”The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved. ”

Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i & Ibn Majah, 1069

The Tabi’i Abdullah Ibn Shaqiq narrated :

” The companions of the prophet did not consider the leaving of any action as disbelief, except for the prayer”

Tirmidhi, 2622

From the ‘aql, it is considered unconceivable by even the most basic muslim how anyone with an atom’s worth of faith would not pray.

Second Opinion : Imam Malik ans Imam Shafi’i

The person is a muslim but Fasiq ( disobedient evildoer). He is asked to repent for three days yet if he doesn’t then he is killed as as a prescribed punishment (hadd) and not as a disbeliever or as an apostate.

The time length of three days is based on an athar (narration) from ‘Umar (ra) when he was told about a man who had apostated and who was then later killed because of it :

” Why didn’t you imprison him for three days and feed him bread everyday, and ask him to repent ? Perhaps he might come back to Allah and consider his command! O Allah I was niether present nor did I order this ! Neither did I accept it when I was told anout it ! ”

Muwatta, 2728, Munqati’

Evidences for this position firstly from the Qur’an where Allah said :

”Surely, Allah will not forgive those who assign partners to Him. He forgives all but that to whom He pleases” .

Surah Al-Nisa, 48

The prophet (saw) said in the hadith of Ubadah Ibn’l – Samit (ra) :

” Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and khushu has a promise from Allah that he will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah, He may either forgive him or punish him”

Abu Dawud, 361

Also the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (ra) :

” The first thing that the slave of Allah will be accountable for is the obligatory prayer. If it is complete (then fine) If not then it will be said, ” See if there are any voluntary prayers” so of there are then the obligatory will be completed from the voluntary, and the same will happen likewise with all the rest of the obligatory actions”

Ibn Majah, 1415, sahih

THIRD OPINION : Imam Abu Hanifah

The person is a muslim but Fasiq (disobedient evildoer). He is not to be killed but rather he is imprisoned and beaten untill he repents and if he doesn’t then left in prison. This is based primarily on the hadith of Ibn Masud (ra) on the authority of the prophet (saw) :

” It is not permissible to spill the blood of a muslim except in three cases : the married person who commits adultery, a life for a life, and the one who forsakes his religion and separates from the community”.

Bukhari and Muslim.

Indeed as some of the ‘Ulema said, the most difficult thing one can do in islam is to take another person out of it once they have entered. This is based upon the hadith :

” When someone says to another , “Disbeliever” , then one of them has disbelieved. If the one he said it to really is a disbeliever then he spoke the truth. If that was not the case, then the one who said it has brought disbelief upon himself. ”

Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, 440, sahih


Imam Al-Nawawi said, ”Malik and Shafi’i – may Allah have mercy upon them – and the majority of the salaf (the first three generations of muslim) and khalaf ( the later scholars of islam) considered that the person (who leaves the salah) has not disbelieved but rather has committed an evil sin and is thereby asked to repent; either he does that or he will be killed as a prescribed punishment (hadd) ” Sharh Muslim 2/70.

Source : My notes.


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