Q: I know someone who has never prayed in his life! From a Muslim background. When I say has never prayed, I mean that he has tried, but without wudhu and not really uttering the words of prayer properly, or even not saying them at all! He is not really one who has abandoned prayer or has left the prayer, because he hasn’t really prayed or prayed properly in the first place. So I said to him that he is like one who has never prayed at all. He is in his early 30’s, but he tells me that he strongly believes in Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). He also mentioned that he knows and believes that praying is obligatory. He also said that sometimes he prays with the people who think he is praying properly, only to please them, but yet he feels tense inside when he is asked to pray with them, as he believes he is not ready. He is never in a state of wudu before he prays superficially anyway. The thing is, he keeps saying that he will learn and pray when he is in the right situation, as he is not in the best of states at the moment. I think he knows that pray is central and foremost, but neglects it and puts other things in front of him that he feels are more important right now for him. Please note that he also knows and believes that prayer is mandatory. He does not look down on Islam, and never mocks it! So I don’t know if he is one who is not praying out of laziness, or by the information above, is one who is considered an unbeliever, because he is putting other things that he feels needs to be achieved first before the importance of prayer? (I’m trying to advise him as best I can) Also the question on making up 33 years of prayer for him, if this applies to him, is extremely burdensome. With people’s life and work life the way they are these days, it would be very difficult. We know, without question, that Allah (azza wa jal) deserves infinite prayers, but if he has to make them up, then this would be calculated at 60,060 prayers that is has missed! Could you shed some light on this person’s status as it would help me try and convince him not to worry about things and to take prayer seriously.
A: Salaah is the most important pillar of Islam. The first thing a person will be questioned on the day of Qiyaamah will be in regard to Salaah. Severe grave warnings have been sounded in the Qur’an and Ahaadith for the one who forgoes his Salaah. Salaah is not valid without wudhu. He should sincerely repent for his past and begin performing Salaah. Similarly it is compulsory upon him to make qadha of the past Salaahs that he had missed. Merely making tawbah will not absolve him of the passed salaahs.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
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