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Not Praying: Major Sin or Nullifier of Islam?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

There are people who say that abonding salaah nullifies your Imaan and makes you a disbeliever.I understand that the Hanafi position considers not praying a major sin- but does not take you outside the fold of Islam. Can you please provide proof of this. I would also be grateful if you could enlighten me what the other three Schools of thought are on this position (again with proofs).

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah
The proofs showing that the one who abandons the prayer, without denying its obligatory nature, remains a Muslim and is ultimately saved are the various narrations of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that demonstrate the sufficiency of the kalima in attaining salvation.

ย (1) It is narrated from the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), โ€œHe who witnesses that there is no god but God, paradise is made obligatory for him.โ€

ย (Kattani in his Nazm al Mutanathir, Kitab al Iman #1. This narration is mass-transmitted in meaning (tawatur ma`nawi), as stated also in the Faydh al Qadir, by over 34 companions. Some narrations mention that โ€œAllah will make prohibited for him the fireโ€ while others state โ€œAllah will make obligatory on him paradiseโ€ or โ€œenter him into paradiseโ€. Ibn Hajar `Asqalani in his Fath al Bari (kitab al riqaq) states that the narrations that come in the latter wordings are more emphatic than the former.)

ย (2) It is narrated from `Ubada ibn Samit that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, โ€œWhoever witnesses that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger, Allah forbids the fire from touching him.โ€

ย (Bukhari and Muslim)

ย Ibn Hibban narrated it in his Sahih with the addition โ€œand makes paradise obligatory for himโ€ (#199-204). Abu Hatim states, as mentioned by Ibn Hibban, that what is meant is the least level of paradise since the level one will attain in the hereafter varies depending on oneโ€™s actions, its amount, and quality.

ย (3) Abu Hurayra narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, โ€œInform the people of the good news of my intercession on the Day of Judgment for he who witness that there is no god but God โ€“ sincerely with his heart.โ€

ย (Bukhari)

ย (4) It is narrated from Abuโ€™l Dardaโ€™ that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, โ€œHe who says there is no god but God, He is one without partners, will enter paradise.โ€ Abuโ€™l Dardaโ€™ said, โ€œI said: โ€˜Even the adulterer and the one who steals?โ€™โ€ The Prophet replied, โ€œYes, even the adulterer and on the one who steals.โ€

ย (Ahmad, Tabarani in his Kabir and his Awsat, Bazzar in his Musnad. Ibn Hajar Haytami says in his Majma` al Zawaโ€™id, โ€œThe chain of Ahmad is the soundest.โ€ Also narrated by Ibn Hibban #169 and #195)

ย This shows clearly that committing major sins does not make one a disbeliever.

ย (5) The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, โ€œIndeed he who dies witnessing that there is no god but God, one without partners, he attains paradise.โ€

ย (Tabarani in hi Kabir. Haytami says, โ€œIts men (s: in the chain) are trustworthy.โ€)

ย (6) The Prophet said, โ€œWhoever dies without associating partners with Allah will be granted forgiveness.โ€

ย (Tabarani in his Kabir. Haytami says, โ€œThere is no harm in the chain.โ€ Bukhari and Muslim narrate a similar narration from Ibn Mas`ud stating โ€œwill enter paradise.โ€)

The Position of the Shafi`is, Malikis & Hanbalis

ย The ruling for the Hanafi school has been provided previously and does not differ on the issue from the other schools.

ย (1) The Shafi`is:

ย The position of the Shafi`I school is that one who abandons the prayer without denying its obligatory nature is not considered a disbeliever.

ย Imam Nawawi explicates this in his Al Muhadhab stating, โ€œHe who is obligated to pray and he refuses to perform it, and [also] denies its obligatory nature, he is a disbeliever.โ€ (Kitab al Salat, bab tarak al salat wa fih masaโ€™il)

ย Further, he states, โ€œTakfir is not done on abandoning the prayer [alone] because kufr relates to belief (i`tiqad) and his belief [s: regarding the prayer being obligatory] is sound. Thus, there is no ruling on his kufr.โ€ (Ibid)

ย Imam Shirazi states in his Majmu`a, โ€œWhen one abandons performing the prayer and denies its obligatory nature or denies its obligation yet does not abandon its performance, he is a disbeliever and an apostate according to the consensus of the community.โ€

ย Thus, it can be seen that even if one performs the prayer without believing it to be obligatory the verdict of disbelief applies. The crux of the matter is what Imam Tahawi mentions in his `Aqida, which is:

ย โ€œA person does not step out or belief except by disavowing what brought him into it.โ€ (Line 61)

ย The denial of the obligatory nature of prayer is denying decisively established texts from the Qurโ€™an and the hadith, something one must accept and believe in.

ย (2) The Malikis:

It is stated in Mawahib al Jalil fi Sharh Mukhtasar Khalil that the fatwa of kufr only applies to the one who denies the obligatory nature of the prayer. Otherwise, he is not considered a disbeliever but is only subjugated to the prescribed punishment.

ย Similarly, Ibn Abi Zayd in his Risala states, โ€œNone from the people of the qibla become non-Muslims due to their wrong actions.โ€

ย Imam `Adawi in his commentary on the Risala says, โ€œ(due to their wrong actions) such as [abandoning] prayer.โ€ He further states, โ€œOne does not exit from belief with us due to small sins or large, as opposed to the Kharijites and Mu`atizilites.โ€

ย (3) The Hanabalis:

ย Ibn Qudama in his al Mughni has a lengthy discussion on the topic of abandoning prayer and concludes that the correct verdict is that he who abandons the prayer without denying its obligation remains a Muslim. His case, he says, is the same as any other person who committed a major sin, such as murder or adultery. This is the position of the majority of the scholars.

ย He then proceeds to explain the narrations that stipulate the disbelief of the one who abandons the prayer and states, โ€œHe resembles the disbelieversโ€ and not that he is one of them in โ€œrealityโ€ (haqiqatan). This is because there are many narrations that state โ€œsuch and such in kufrโ€ without entailing the exiting of one from faith. For example, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, โ€œCursing a Muslim is fisq, killing him is kufrโ€ and โ€œWhoever addresses his brother as โ€˜oh disbelieverโ€™, verily it returns to one of themโ€ and โ€œIt is disbelief to deny ones lineage.โ€ All of these narrations, says Ibn Qudama, mention such resemblance for the sake of emphasis and the gravity of committing certain acts. (Kitab al Salat, bab al hukm man tarak al salat)

ย ย 

A Note of Caution

With the above, one should also keep in mind that it is the prerogative of the scholars who are well-versed in the religion to pass verdicts on someoneโ€™s disbelief. There are a number of principles and rules related to this, which Shaykh Nuh has detailed in his excellent article โ€œIman, Kufr, and Takfirโ€ that can be found at www.shadhilitariqa.com . The layperson should avoid passing such verdicts at all costs since for them the path of safety lies in silence.


Approved by Faraz Rabbani

ย ย 

ุฃุฎุจุฑู†ุง ุฃุญู…ุฏ ุจู† ูŠุญูŠู‰ ุจู† ุฒู‡ูŠุฑ ุญุฏุซู†ุง ุฅุจุฑุงู‡ูŠู… ุจู† ุจุณุทุงู… ุญุฏุซู†ุง ุฃุจูˆ ุฏุงูˆุฏ ุญุฏุซู†ุง ุดุนุจุฉ ุนู† ุงู„ุฃุนู…ุด ูˆุญุจูŠุจ ุจู† ุฃุจูŠ ุซุงุจุช ูˆุนุจุฏ ุงู„ุนุฒูŠุฒ ุจู† ุฑููŠุน ุนู† ุฒูŠุฏ ุจู† ูˆู‡ุจ ุนู† ุฃุจูŠ ุฐุฑ ู‚ุงู„ ู‚ุงู„ ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู…ู† ู‚ุงู„ ู„ุง ุฅู„ู‡ ุฅู„ุง ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุฏุฎู„ ุงู„ุฌู†ุฉ ูู‚ู„ุช ูˆุฅู† ุฒู†ู‰ ูˆุฅู† ุณุฑู‚ ู‚ุงู„ ูˆุฅู† ุฒู†ู‰ ูˆุฅู† ุณุฑู‚

ูˆุนู† ุฃุจูŠ ุณุนูŠุฏ ุฃูŠุถุงู‹ ู‚ุงู„โ€:โ€ ู‚ุงู„ ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู…โ€: “โ€ู…ู† ู‚ุงู„ ู„ุง ุฅู„ู‡ ุฅู„ุง ุงู„ู„ู‡ ู…ุฎู„ุตุงู‹ ุฏุฎู„ ุงู„ุฌู†ุฉโ€”โ€โ€.โ€ ย 

ูˆ ููŠ ู†ุธู… ุงู„ู…ุชู†ุงุซุฑ ู…ู† ุงู„ุญุฏูŠุซ ุงู„ู…ุชูˆุงุชุฑ:

โ€ู…ู† ุดู‡ุฏ ุฃู† ู„ุง ุฅู„ู‡ ุฅู„ุง ุงู„ู„ู‘ู‡ ูˆุฌุจุช ู„ู‡ ุงู„ุฌู†ุฉ” โ€โ€

ููŠ ุงู„ููˆุงูƒู‡ ุงู„ุฏูˆุงู†ูŠ ุนู„ู‰ ุฑุณุงู„ุฉ ุงุจู† ุฃุจูŠ ุฒูŠุฏ ุงู„ู‚ูŠุฑูˆุงู†ูŠ:

ู„ูŽุง ูŠููƒูŽูู‘ูŽุฑู ุฃูŽุญูŽุฏูŒ ) ู…ูู…ู‘ูŽู†ู’ ุญููƒูู…ูŽ ุจูุฅูุณู’ู„ูŽุงู…ูู‡ู ( ุจูุฐูŽู†ู’ุจู ู…ูู†ู’ ุฃูŽู‡ู’ู„ู ุงู„ู’ู‚ูุจู’ู„ูŽุฉู ) ุฃูŽูŠู’ ุงู„ุตู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงุฉู ุŒ ูˆูŽุงู„ู’ู…ูŽุนู’ู†ูŽู‰ : ุฃูŽู†ู‘ูŽ ู…ูŽู†ู’ ุชูŽู‚ูŽุฑู‘ูŽุฑูŽ ุจูุงู„ู’ุฅููŠู…ูŽุงู†ู ุงู„ู’ุฌูŽุงุฒูู…ู ุฅูŠู…ูŽุงู†ูู‡ู ูˆูŽุชูŽุญูŽู‚ู‘ูŽู‚ูŽ ุจูุงู„ู’ุฅูุชู’ูŠูŽุงู†ู ุจูุงู„ุดู‘ูŽู‡ูŽุงุฏูŽุชูŽูŠู’ู†ู ุฅุณู’ู„ูŽุงู…ูู‡ู ุฅุฐูŽุง ุงุฑู’ุชูŽูƒูŽุจูŽ ุฐูŽู†ู’ุจู‹ุง ู„ูŽูŠู’ุณูŽ ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ู…ููƒูŽูู‘ูุฑูŽุงุชู ูˆูŽูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ุบูŽูŠู’ุฑูŽ ู…ูุณู’ุชูŽุญูู„ู‘ู ู„ูŽู‡ู ููŽุฅูู†ู‘ูŽู‡ู ู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽูƒู’ููุฑู ุนูู†ู’ุฏูŽู†ูŽุง ุจูุงุฑู’ุชููƒูŽุงุจูู‡ู ุŒ ูˆูŽู„ูŽุง ูŠูŽุฎู’ุฑูุฌู ุจูู‡ู ุนูู†ู’ุฏูŽู†ูŽุง ุนูŽู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ุฅููŠู…ูŽุงู†ู ุตูŽุบููŠุฑู‹ุง ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ุงู„ุฐู‘ูŽู†ู’ุจู ุฃูŽูˆู’ ูƒูŽุจููŠุฑู‹ุง ุŒ ุฎูู„ูŽุงูู‹ุง ู„ูู„ู’ุฎูŽูˆูŽุงุฑูุฌู ูููŠ ุงู„ุชู‘ูŽูƒู’ูููŠุฑู ุจูุงุฑู’ุชููƒูŽุงุจู ุงู„ุฐู‘ูู†ููˆุจู ูˆูŽู„ูŽูˆู’ ุตูŽุบูŽุงุฆูุฑูŽ ุŒ ูˆูŽู„ูู„ู’ู…ูุนู’ุชูŽุฒูู„ูŽุฉู ูููŠ ุฅุฎู’ุฑูŽุงุฌูู‡ูู…ู’ ุงู„ู’ุนูŽุจู’ุฏูŽ ุจูุงู„ู’ูƒูŽุจููŠุฑูŽุฉู ู…ูู†ู’ ุงู„ู’ุฅููŠู…ูŽุงู†ู ูˆูŽุฅูู†ู’ ู„ูŽู…ู’ ุชูุฏู’ุฎูู„ู’ู‡ู ูููŠ ุงู„ู’ูƒููู’ุฑู ุฅู„ู‘ูŽุง ุจูุงุณู’ุชูุญู’ู„ูŽุงู„ู

ููŠ ุงู„ู…ุบู†ูŠ ู„ุงุจู† ู‚ุฏุงู…ุฉ:

ูˆูŽุฃูŽู…ู‘ูŽุง ุงู„ู’ุฃูŽุญูŽุงุฏููŠุซู ุงู„ู’ู…ูุชูŽู‚ูŽุฏู‘ูู…ูŽุฉู ููŽู‡ููŠูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุณูŽุจููŠู„ู ุงู„ุชู‘ูŽุบู’ู„ููŠุธู ุŒ ูˆูŽุงู„ุชู‘ูŽุดู’ุจููŠู‡ู ู„ูŽู‡ู ุจูุงู„ู’ูƒููู‘ูŽุงุฑู ุŒ ู„ูŽุง ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุงู„ู’ุญูŽู‚ููŠู‚ูŽุฉู ุŒ ูƒูŽู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูู‡ู ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ู ุงู„ุณู‘ูŽู„ูŽุงู…ู { : ุณูุจูŽุงุจู ุงู„ู’ู…ูุณู’ู„ูู…ู ููุณููˆู‚ูŒ ุŒ ูˆูŽู‚ูุชูŽุงู„ูู‡ู ูƒููู’ุฑูŒ } . ูˆูŽู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูู‡ู { : ูƒููู’ุฑูŒ ุจูุงูŽู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุชูŽุจูŽุฑู‘ูุคูŒ ู…ูู†ู’ ู†ูŽุณูŽุจู ูˆูŽุฅูู†ู’ ุฏูŽู‚ู‘ูŽ } . ูˆูŽู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูู‡ู { : ู…ูŽู†ู’ ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ ู„ูุฃูŽุฎููŠู‡ู ูŠูŽุง ูƒูŽุงููุฑู . ููŽู‚ูŽุฏู’ ุจูŽุงุกูŽ ุจูู‡ูŽุง ุฃูŽุญูŽุฏูู‡ูู…ูŽุง } . ูˆูŽู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูู‡ู { : ู…ูŽู†ู’ ุฃูŽุชูŽู‰ ุญูŽุงุฆูุถู‹ุง ุฃูŽูˆู’ ุงู…ู’ุฑูŽุฃูŽุฉู‹ ูููŠ ุฏูุจูุฑูู‡ูŽุง ุŒ ููŽู‚ูŽุฏู’ ูƒูŽููŽุฑูŽ ุจูู…ูŽุง ุฃูู†ู’ุฒูู„ูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ู…ูุญูŽู…ู‘ูŽุฏู } . ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ { : ูˆูŽู…ูŽู†ู’ ู‚ูŽุงู„ูŽ : ู…ูุทูุฑู’ู†ูŽุง ุจูู†ูŽูˆู’ุกู ุงู„ู’ูƒูŽูˆูŽุงูƒูุจู . ููŽู‡ููˆูŽ ูƒูŽุงููุฑูŒ ุจูุงูŽู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุŒ ู…ูุคู’ู…ูู†ูŒ ุจูุงู„ู’ูƒูŽูˆูŽุงูƒูุจู } . ูˆูŽู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูู‡ู { : ู…ูŽู†ู’ ุญูŽู„ูŽููŽ ุจูุบูŽูŠู’ุฑู ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ููŽู‚ูŽุฏู’ ุฃูŽุดู’ุฑูŽูƒูŽ } . ูˆูŽู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูู‡ู { : ุดูŽุงุฑูุจู ุงู„ู’ุฎูŽู…ู’ุฑู ูƒูŽุนูŽุงุจูุฏู ูˆูŽุซูŽู†ู } . ูˆูŽุฃูŽุดู’ุจูŽุงู‡ู ู‡ูŽุฐูŽุง ู…ูู…ู‘ูŽุง ุฃูุฑููŠุฏูŽ ุจูู‡ู ุงู„ุชู‘ูŽุดู’ุฏููŠุฏู ูููŠ ุงู„ู’ูˆูŽุนููŠุฏู ุŒ ูˆูŽู‡ููˆูŽ ุฃูŽุตู’ูˆูŽุจู ุงู„ู’ู‚ูŽูˆู’ู„ูŽูŠู’ู†ู ุŒ ูˆูŽุงูŽู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุฃูŽุนู’ู„ูŽู…ู

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