Bismillah. Today, insha’Allah we’re going to touch on a slightly different angle on the concept of salah. Now, you know that salah is fard–the 5x daily prayers–and that the reward of doing so is great, and the sin of doing so are terrible. Hellfire, punishment on the Day of Judgment, punishment in this life, all these things are but possibilities.
But let’s take a look at a slightly different angle: scholars. What’s the position of the scholars on someone who doesn’t pray?
The position of all four madhaahib–Maliki, Shafi’ee, Hanbali, and Hanafi–with no difference of opinion–is that a person who does not pray, ever, is not a Muslim.
Think about that. Not a Muslim. Not anyone who has a chance of Paradise.
Why? There’s a very explicit hadith on this–the hadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم):
The contract between us and them is salaah. Whoever leaves it, he has disbelieved (fa qad kafara). [Source?]
This is a very direct, explicit hadith–salaah is the contract, part of the mithaaq, the original contract, with Allah that all humans took. And this is only one of the explicit ahadith like this.
What’s more, it was inconceivable in the time of the sahaba that someone could be a “Muslim” and not pray. It just doesn’t make sense.
No? Well, there’s more. What is the position of the scholars of Islam on someone who doesn’t pray, today, who lives in that now-extinct species of Islamic State? Then what happens?
Again, there’s no difference of opinion on this.
The position of a Muslim in an Islamic state, who doesn’t pray, is to be jailed.
And once they’re in jail, they should be advised. That what they’re doing is haram. That prayer is so, so important. That it is a major sin. That it just takes five minutes, five times a day–less than one sitcom.
And if they don’t repent? Keep advising them for a day. Then, a second day. Then, a third day.
And if they still don’t repent?
Then they are executed.
So think about that, next time you feel like skipping a salah. Honestly, it just takes five minutes. Don’t let your lame excuses side-track you. Just do it.
* Make Tawbah. Whether you pray regularly or not, if you’ve missed prayers in your past, make wudoo and pray two rakaahs of tawbah for that. And be optimistic–insha’Allah Allah WILL forgive you!
* Hit the Minimum 5x/day. If you don’t pray your 5x daily prayers, start. Right now. Today. Praying is difficult at first, but over time, it becomes easier. Pick up prayers one at a time, whatever you can do, until you’re at least covering the daliy five consistently.
* Add Sunnah/Nafl Prayers. If you already have your five covered, alhamdulillah, start adding the sunnahs–starting with the two before Fajr, and with salaat-ul-Witr. Those are the best. Then gradually add more. Add Tahajjud, if you’re already praying all the sunnah prayers. The sunnahs are like a shield that protect your fard prayers; if you always pray them, in the worst case, you might skip one or two–but if you only pray fard, those are the first to go.
* Reflect on the Reward and the Punishment. If you didn’t know, for every fard action, Allah rewards you. Think about THAT. You’re actually getting some ajr! And reflect on the punishment of not praying, ever–capital. YOU might be praying, but you probably know someone in your family (near or extended), who doesn’t. Advise them gently.
* Read. Islam QA has a great eBook on 33 ways to increase khushoo’ in salah. When you get khushoo, you actually enjoy salah! So read it, and apply one or two of those techniques daily.
* Make Du’a. ‘Aishah said: “You will not even get a shoelace without the permission of Allah.” So ask Allah to help you pray regularly and in the best way.
We ask Allah to make us among the musalleen, those who pray regularly and on time and have their prayers accepted. This, if this is the only good thing you do with your life, is a great success that many people the world over have not achieved.
Note: We’re NOT saying that you should go around killing people. Nobody’s going to be executed for not praying–there IS no Islamic state in our time. But if there was, and if a Muslim living there didn’t pray, then the punishment is capital. It’s something to think and reflect over–the seriousness of salaah. It IS the contract between us and Allah.