Abandonment of the Prayer
A collection of evidence regarding the apostasy of the one who intentionally abandons ṣalāh.
Then there succeeded them a posterity who have neglected the ṣalāh and have followed lusts, so they will be thrown in hell. Except those who repent and believe and work righteousness, such will enter Paradise and will not be wronged.
The prayer, dear reader is a very important pillar of Islām. In an authentic narration, the Prophet (sallālahu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) told us that this very prayer will be the thing which we will be brought to account for firstly on the Day of Resurrection, saying: "If it is good then he will be successful, and if not will be a loser."
There is an abundance of benefit in the prayer as Allāh says:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
"Succesful indeed are the believers, those who offer their prayers with khushūʿ' (humility, solemnity)" [Sūrah al-Muminoon, 23:1-2]
He the Most High also says:
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ أُولَـٰئِكَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ مُّكْرَمُونَ
"And those who guard their prayers well, such shall dwell in the gardens (Paradise), honoured." [Sūrah al-Ma'arij, 70:34,35]
At the same time the one who doesn't pray runs the risk of missing out on all of this benefits which Allāh has in store for him, he will plunge into a state of disbelief and apostasy and if he doesn't repent and change his neglectful ways will be amongst the dwellers of the Fire, wa na'oodhu billah! Thus, we warn the Muslims with what Allāh, His Messenger (sallālahu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and the Salaf of this ummah have warned with.
فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ ۖ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا
"Then there succeeded them a posterity who have neglected the ṣalāh and have followed lusts, so they will be thrown in hell. Except those who repent and believe and work righteousness, such will enter Paradise and will not be wronged."
[Sūrah Maryam, 19:59]
Shaykh Muḥammad Ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn (raḥimahullāh) commented:
"In the verse from Sūrah Maryam, Allāh has said in reference to those who abandoned ṣalāh and followed their desires; "Except those who repent and believe" which is evidence that when they abandoned sʿaláb and followed their desires, they were not believers," (Hukmu Taarikis-al-Ṣalāh)
So Shaykh ʿUthaymīn felt that neglecting the ṣalāh meant they abandoned it which would have made them kuffār. About the same verse, Al-Walīd ibn Muslim said: "I heard aI-Awzaa'ee say on the authority of aI-Qaasim ibn Mukhaymirah: 'They neglected the prescribed times (for the ṣalāh) and they did not abandon them (altogether) and had thy abandoned them (the ṣalāh) they would've become kuffār." (Kitābush-Sharīʿah)
The point to be noted here is this, although they interpreted the meaning of "neglected the prayers" differently, what they agreed upon however, is the fact that abandoning the prayer makes an individual a kāfir.
The Prophet (sallālahu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: "Between a man and polytheism and disbelief is the abandonment of the ṣalāh." (Muslim)
He (sallālahu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) also said: "The covenant (which distinguishes) between us and them is the ṣalāh, so 'whoever abandons it has disbelieved." (Aḥmad)
ʿUmar Ibn al-Khaṭṭāb said: "There's no portion of Islām for the on who abandons the ṣalāh," (Bukhārī)
Ma'qil ibn Ma'qil al-Khathma'ee said: "A man approached ʿAlī while he was in the public square, then he said: 'O Leader of the believers, what is your opinion about the woman who doesn't pray?" Thereupon he (ʿAlī) replied, "Whoever doesn't pray is a kāfir'" (Kitābush-Sharīʿah)
Saʿd and ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib both said: "Whoever abandons it (ṣalāh) has disbelieved," (Al-Marwazī, Jāmiʿ'ul-Uloomi wal-HIkam)
ʿAbdullāh Ibn Masʿūd said: "Disbelief is abandonment of the ṣalāh" (Kitāb al-Sharīʿah)
ʿAbdullāh Ibn Shaqīq said:" The Companions of the Messenger of Allāh did not deem the abandonment of any action to be disbelief except for (the abandonment of) the ṣalāh," (At-Tirmidhī)
Imam Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal said: "Whoever abandons the ṣalāh has disbelieved, There is nothing from the action, the abandonment of which constitutes disbelief except for the ṣalāh, whoever abandons it is a kāfir and Allāh has made killing him permissible (i.e. that would be due to it being considered apostasy and therefore subject to the Islamic laws and legal system accordingly [in the Islamically governed country])" (Uṣūl al-Sunnah)
Abū Dāwūd said: "I heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal saying: "If (a person) says; "I don't pray - then he is a kāfir!" (Kitāb al-Sharīʿah)
Ayyūb as-Sakhtiyaanee said: "Abandonment of the ṣalāh is disbelief and there is no difference of opinion in this regard," (Jāmiʿ al-Ulūm wal-Hikam)
Ibn Rajab aI-Ḥanbalee said: "Aḥmad and Ishāq have concluded that the abandonment of the ṣalāh is disbelief based on the disbelief of Iblīs (Shayṭān), which was due to his abandonment of prostration to Ādam - the abandonment of prostration to Allāh is greater!!! (Jāmiʿ'ul-Uloom wal-Hikam)
After mentioning an abundance of narrations proving the disbelief of the one who abandons the prayer, Muḥammad ibn Husayn Al-Aajurree said: "These are the narrations and traditions regarding the abandonment and neglect of the ṣalāh, in spite of what we didn't mention which would have made the book too long, like Hudhayfah' s ḥadīth and 'his saying to a man who didn't perfect his ṣalāh (he didn't pray): "if he dies upon this, surely he dies upon other than the fitrah of Muḥammad (sallālahu ʿalayhi wa-sallam). " (Bukhārī) And similar to this, on the authority of Bilāl and other than him which proved that the ṣalāh is part of īmān, and whoever doesn't pray then there is no Eeeman nor Islām for him. (Kitāb al-Sharīʿah)
Translated by Nāṣir al-Dīn ibn William Ferron