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Allah, the Most High, says:

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“These are the Prophets upon whom Allah bestowed His favor from the seed of Adam, and from the seed of those whom We carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and from the seed of Abraham and Israel. They were those whom We guided and chose (for an exalted position). They were such that when the words of the Most Compassionate Lord were recited to them, they fell down in prostration, weeping. They were succeeded by a people who neglected the Prayers and pursued their lusts. They shall presently meet with their doom, except those who repent and believe and act righteously. Such shall enter Paradise and shall not be wronged at all.” (19 Maryam:58,60)

 

It appears that the degenerate people totally discarded Salat, or they had become neglectful and careless in its observance. This is the first evil that is committed by a degenerate people. For, after this there remains no connection whatever between them and God. Here it has been stated as a universal principle that the degeneration of the people of all the former Prophets started with the abandonment of Salat by them.

 

This was the inevitable result of the loss of the connection with Allah. As they became more and more neglectful of their Salat, their lusts took complete hold of them and they fell to the lowest depths of moral depravity and began to follow their whims instead of the divine commands.

 

‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab said, “A man came to the Messenger of Allah and asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what are most beloved deeds to Allah in Islam?” The Messenger said, “To perform Prayers on time, and whoever neglect Prayers has no religion. Prayers are the pillar of Islam…”

 

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Whoever dies neglecting the Prayers, Allah will not regard any of his good deeds.

 

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “When a servant performed a Prayer on time, it will rise skyward enveloped with light until it reaches the Throne. There, it asks forgiveness to its doer up to the Day of Judgment, and says, “May Allah preserve you as you have preserved me.” But if the servant performs a Prayer out of its time, it will rise skyward enveloped with darkness. When it reaches the sky, it will be folded as an old cloth and then kicked back to the doer’s face and says, “May Allah make you lose as you missed me.”

 

Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn AI-As related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah does not accept the Prayers of three people: whoever leads a group of people who dislike him, whoever prays after missing the due time of the Prayer, and he who enslaved someone after freeing him.”

 

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Whoever joins two Prayers together without a legal excuse, he then commits a major sin.”

 

When should a child be ordered to perform the Prayer?

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “When a boy reaches the age of seven years, teach him the Prayers (Salat), and punish him, when he commits a default (in his Prayers) at the age of ten years.”

 

Reported by At- Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud It was related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “When your children attain the age of seven years, ask them to perform the Prayer and chastise them in respect of any fault in this behalf; when they are ten years old, let them sleep in separate beds.”

 

Imam Sulyman AI-Khattabi (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “This hadith indicates that the punishment of nonperformance of the Prayer increases when the child reaches puberty. Some disciples of Imam Shafi’i cited the above hadith as an evidence to kill the child if he persisted to neglect the Prayer purposely ‘after reaching puberty. They assumed that if he deserves to be struck while still a child thus he should rather face more severe punishment after reaching puberty and nothing can be more severe than death.

There are differences among Islamic legal scholars as to the judgment of he who neglects the Prayer. Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmed all hold that the one who misses the Prayer is executed. Then they differ as regards his belief, should they call him an unbeliever or not (in case of neglecting the Prayer without a legal excuse)? The opinion that such a person becomes an unbeliever has been ascribed to Ibrahim AnNakh’iy, Ayub As-Sakhtiyani, ‘Abdullah Ibn AI-Mubarak, Ahmed Ibn Hambal and Ishaq Ibn Rahawyah. Those who hold that whoever misses a Prayer becomes an unbeliever adduce the following evidence:

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The covenant between us and them consists of the Prayer: whoever leaves it has disbelieved.” 

 

The Messenger also said, “Between a man and between unbelief is the nonperformance of the Prayer.”

When Umar was stabbed he was called to Prayer and replied by saying, “Yes, whoever misses Prayer is non-Muslim.” He then prayed while bleeding.

 

Abdullah Ibn Shaqiq, one of the Tabi’een, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Prophet’s Companions did not view the nonperformance of anything as unbelief besides the Prayers.” When’ Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked about a woman who did not Prayers, he said, “Whoever neglects Prayers is an unbeliever.

 

Ibn Mas’ud also said, “Whoever does not pray is an infidel.” Ibn ‘Abbas stated, “Whoever intentionally missed an obligatory Prayer entails Allah’s wrath when he dies.”

 

The Messenger o of Allah (pbuh) said, “When a servant performed a Prayer on time, it will rise skyward enveloped with light until it reaches the Throne. There, it asks forgiveness to its doer up to the Day of Judgment, and says, “May Allah preserve you as you have preserved me.” But if the servant performs a Prayer out of its time, it will rise skyward enveloped with darkness. When it reaches the sky, it will be folded as an old cloth and then kicked back to the doer’s face and says, “May Allah make you lose as you missed me.”

 

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn AI-As related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah does not accept the Prayers of three people: whoever leads a group of people who dislike him, whoever prays after missing the due time of the Prayer, and he who enslaved someone after freeing him.”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Whoever joins two Prayers together without a legal excuse, he then commits a major sin.”

 

When should a child be ordered to perform the Prayer?

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “When a boy reaches the age of seven years, teach him the Prayers (Salat), and punish him, when he commits a default (in his Prayers) at the age of ten years.”

 

Some disciples of Imam Shafi’i cited the above hadith as an evidence to kill the child if he persisted to neglect the Prayer purposely ‘after reaching puberty. They assumed that if he deserves to be struck while still a child thus he should rather face more severe punishment after reaching puberty and nothing can be more severe than death.

 

There are differences among Islamic legal scholars as to the judgment of he who neglects the Prayer. Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmed all hold that the one who misses the Prayer is executed. Then they differ as regards his belief, should they call him an unbeliever or not (in case of neglecting the Prayer without a legal excuse)? The opinion that such a person becomes an unbeliever has been ascribed to Ibrahim AnNakh’iy, Ayub As-Sakhtiyani, ‘Abdullah Ibn AI-Mubarak, Ahmed Ibn Hambal and Ishaq Ibn Rahawyah. Those who hold that whoever misses a Prayer becomes an unbeliever adduce the following evidence:

 

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The covenant between us and them consists of the Prayer: whoever leaves it has disbelieved.” The Messenger also said, “Between a man and unbelief is the nonperformance of the Prayer.”

 

The Benefits of Performing Prayers:

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Whoever keeps on performing the prescribed Prayer, Allah will grant him five honorable rewards: he will lead a happy life, avoid the torment in the grave, receive his record by his right hand, cross Sirat (the bridge on Fire) as swift as lightening and enter Paradise without being reckoned. But who is remiss in performing the Prayer, Allah will make him suffer fifteen kinds of punishment, five in this world, three when dying, three in the grave, and three when being resurrected.

 

The worldly punishments are: he loses the glamour (the blessing) of his life span, the righteous appearance diminishes from his face, he works in vain, he will not have his supplications answered and he will not make use of the righteous people’s supplications.

 

When dying: he dies humiliated, hungry, and thirsty even if he drinks all the rivers of the world. In the grave, he will be compressed so tightly that his ribs alter their sequence, blazing in fire day and night and will face a baldheaded poisonous male serpent with two black spots over its eyes which are created of Fire and the fingernails of iron; each fingernail is equal to the distance covered in a day. It will address the deceased in a very roaring sound like thunder saying, “I am the baldheaded poisonous male serpent, My Lord commanded me to beat you for missing the Fajr Prayer until sunrise, the Dhuhr until Asr, Asr Prayer until Maghrib, Maghrib Prayer until ‘Isha’ and Isha until Fajr.”

 

Whoever He strikes, he sinks in the earth for seventy arms deep and he will keep sinking therein until the Day of Judgment. Eventually, when being resurrected from his grave, he will be risen up with three lines written on his face:

1) You neglect Allah’s right 

2) You got Allah’s wrath 

3) As you have neglected Allah’s right in the world, you should despair His Mercy on this Day.

 

“One day the Prophet (pbuh) said before his Companions: “O Allah let not any of us wretched or deprived.” Then, he said, “Do you know who the wretched and deprived is? They said, “Who is that, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “The one who neglects the Prayer.”

 

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The first faces that will turn dark on the Day of Judgment are the faces of those who neglect the Prayer. In the Hellfire... There is a valley called AI-Malham that contains serpents. Each serpent is as fat as a camel’s neck and its length is equal to the distance covered in a day. Then, it stings the one who neglects the Prayer, the poison boils in his body for seventy years then the flesh is torn out.”

 

Once, an Israelite woman came to Musa (pbuh) and said, “0 Messenger of Allah, I committed a grievous sin but I repented to Allah. So may you invoke Allah to forgive me and accept my repentance?”

 

Musa said, “What was your sin?” She replied, “I committed adultery and then gave birth to a child whom I killed.” Musa (pbuh) said, “Go away corrupt woman lest the fire strike from the sky and burn us.” Accordingly, the woman went out with a broken heart. Then, Jibreel (Gibril) said, “O Musa, Allah the Almighty asked you, why you rejected the penitent woman. Have not you found anyone worst than her?” Musa asked, “Who is that Jibreel?” He replied, “The one who intentionally neglects the Prayer.”

 

Mas’ud AI-Badri related that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “A Prayer is not valid if one’s back is not upright after bowing and prostration.” Thus, he who prays should remain motionless for a moment while bowing, prostrating, standing etc. It was related that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The worst thief is he who steals from his Prayer.” Someone asked, “How?” He answered, “When he does not bow, prostrate or recite therein perfectly.” 

 

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah does not look to a man who does not rise his back upright and prostration.”

 

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