03-05-2005, 07:48 PM
“O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance
of Allaah. And whoever does that, then they are Al-Khasirun (the great loosers)” S63 V9
All Praise is due to Allaah, we praise Him, seek His aid and His Forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from the evils of our souls and the evils of our actions. Whomsoever Allaah guides there is none to misguide and whomsoever Allaah misguides there is none to guide. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, alone, without any partners and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
O you who believe! Fear Allaah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islaam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allaah. [Aali Imraan 3:103]
O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allaah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allaah is Ever an AllWatcher over you. [An-Nisaa 4:1]
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise). [Al-Ahzaab 33:70-71]
I - Introduction:
One of the most crucial issues in the history of Islam is undoubtedly the one concerning the so-called difference of opinion with regards the abandonment of salaat. On the account of this controversial topic, many problems arose and many debates were held between the orthodox sunnis Ahlu sunna wal jamaa’a let alone the other deviants.
On the whole, this deviance is caused either by a lack of understanding or blind following of the murjee. But, however, such a thing should not have happened according to usool fiqh (fundamentals of jurisprudence) for the difference of opinion is not allowed since one of the two opponents is wrong.
II – Link between Actions and imaan:
As mentioned previously the people of kalaam and other murjee believe that actions have nothing to do with our faith because they believe that imaan is static. However, actions and imaan are mentioned simultaneously in 59 verses of the holy Qur’aan wherein Allaah grants the believers Jannah for their belief and their actions. In fact, without the mercy of Allaah the Almighty the All-wise nobody is granted the paradise. Allaah (swt) says, “ And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds…..” Surah 2 verse 25
Some opponents argue that actions are a result of faith because they precede the word “imaan”, i.e. “ma’toof”. But, in truth, the word imaan precede the word ‘actions’as well as mentioned in the Surah Taha 86: “ And whoever works deeds of righteousness while he is a believer, then he will have no fear nor of any curtailment (of his reward)”
The ijma’ that imaan is called actions and vice-versa had been quoted by Ashafi’ee, Al-hamidee and Ahmad bnu Hambal . These sincere scholars, whenever asked about the legal verdict that considers someone as a muslim as far as they believe in salaat and zakaat even if they never practice them, they would declare such action as kufr and they quote the following verse:
“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allaah, and worship none but him Alone and perform salaat and give zakaat.” Surah 98 verse 5
III – Stance of sahabas kiraam regarding this issue:
Generally the main reason why some scholars made a mistake regarding this issue is that they never refer to the real difference of opinion among the companions.
Indeed, the sahabas are unanimous that those who abandon salaat are apostates whether they believe in it or not. However, the only difference resides in whether they become either apostates or their actions are nullified the day they fail from performing one salaat in its prescribed time.
On the other hand, the opponents who don’t make takfeer refer to restricted texts that were narrated by companions who make takfeer on tarik as-salaat, that is, Umar bnul Khattaab, Abdurrahmane bnu Awf, Abu Hurayra, Abdullaah bnu Messawd.
A – Evidences from the Holy Qur’aan:
1 – Allaah (swt) says, “shall we then treat the Muslims (believers of Islamic Monotheism like Al- Mujrimun (kafirs)” S68 V35
“(Remember) the day when the shin shall be laid bare (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) and they shall be called to prostrate themselves (to Allaah), but they shall not be able to do so” S68 V42
Allaah informs us that He doesn’t treat the Muslims like the kafirs. Moreover, He made it clear in the following verses of the same surah that those who abandon their salaat can’t perform sujood (prostration) when they are asked to do so for their back (bones) will be a single (vertebra) bone [Bukharee V6/441]. Thus, they will be with the kuffars and the Hypocrites : Had they been Muslims they would have been able to prostrate.
2 – Allaah subhanahuwataala says, “What has caused you to enter Saqar (a part of Hell that nobody can leave) ?”
“ They will say: ‘we were not of those who used to offer the salaat’.” “ Nor we used to feed the poor (Zakaat)” “And we used to talk falsehood (and what Allaah hated) with vain talkers” “ And we used to belie the Day of Judgement” S74 V 42-43-44-45-46
The scholars who claim that the above four mentioned conditions should meet in order to call someone a kafir are wrong for belying the day of Judgement on its own is enough to leave the fold of islam. Similarly, merely abandoning salaat is sufficient as crime for someone to be thrown forever in Hellfire.
3 – Allaah Azza wa Jall says, “And perform Salaat and give Zakat and obey the messenger that you may receive mercy (from Allaah) “ S24 V56
He made it crystal clear that a Muslim may be granted the mercy of Allaah only if he prays, otherwise he will abide forever in Hell fire.
4 – Allaah Subhanahu wata’ala says, “So woe (wayl) unto those performers of Salaat” “Those who delay their Salaat (sahoon)”
According to Saad bnul Waqqas,, Abdullah bnu Messawd and others, the term ‘sahw’means delaying prayers from their stated fixed times whereas Muhammad bnu Ka’b holds the opinion that it is abandonment of Salaat.
On the other hand, Sa’d Bnul Waqqas states, vis-a-vis the above mentioned verse, that this concerns merely those who delayed the prescribed time as for those who abandon the Salaat they become illico presto kafirs.
5 – Allaah Subhanah wa Ta’ala says, “ Then there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-salat [made their salat to be lost] and had followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Ghayya.” S19 V59
Abdullah Bnu Messawd states with this verse:
“Ghay and Athama are two wells in the lowest part of Hell. Consequently, he who abandons entirely salat is out of the fold of islam for had they been merely fassiq they would not have been thrown forever in Hellfire.
The following verse is : “Except those who repent and believe and work righteousness. Such will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged..."S19 V60
Then again, were he a believer, Allaah the Almighty the All-Wise would not have mentioned the word ‘believe’ as a condition for his repentence, which indicates that at the time when they are neglecting their prayers and following their desires, they are not believers.
6 – “But if they repent, perform As-salat and give Zakat they are your brethren in religion.” S9 V11
This verse implies that anyone who does not pray they are not our brothers.
In another verse Allaah the Most High the Most Magnificent states, “The believers are nothing else than brothers” S 49 V10
Therefore, if they are not regarded as brothers by our Lord Allaah, how can they be in the fold of islam?
7 – Allaah ‘Azza wa Jalla says, “So he (disbeliever) neither believed nor prayed” “But on the contrary, he belied and turned away” S75 V 31-32
Allaah Subhanahu wa ta’ala has brought up two things that nullify islam, that is belying and turning away.
The antonyms of belying and turning away are respectively faith and salat. Hence, just as the one who belies is a kafir, the one who turns away from salat is a kafir as well.
8 – Allaah ‘Azza wa Jalla reveals, “O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allaah. And whoever does that, then they are Al-Khasirun (the great loosers)” S63 V9
Ibn Juraij states that this verse concerns the prescribed salat.
Also, it applies for the apostates, among other reasons, the following:
1. The great loss refers to someone who is regarded as a kafir in the akhira for ‘khasirun’ was preceded by the article ‘AL’.
2. Not only are The predicate ‘Al-khasirun’ and the subject ‘uwla’ika’(demonstrative pronoun) for similar emphasis but also the personal pronoun ‘hum’ carries that meaning.
9 – Allaah the Most High the Magnificent says, “Only those who believe in our Ayaat, when they are reminded of them fall down, prostrate and glorify the praises of their Lord, and they are not proud” S32 V15
Not only is someone, who refuse to prostrate, proud and arrogant, but also he is a desbeliver. It is crystal clear.
10 – Allaah the All-wise the All-Aware reveals, “And when it is said unto them: “Bow down yourself (in prayer)” “They bow not down (offer not their salat)”
“ Woe(wayl) that day to the deniers (of the day of resurrection)” S 77 V 48-49
11 – Allaah (swt) states, “ …And Allaah would never make your faith to be lost (i.e. your prayers towards Jerusalem) …” 2 : 143
Allaah (swt) has used the word faith and Salaat interchangeably according to Mufassireen. Thus, someone who disregard Salaat they have no faith.
B – Evidences from As-sunna :
1 – Narrated Jabir bin Abdullaah: The Prophet said, “Verily, between man and kufr is the abandonment of salaat” Abu Dawwod 4687/Tirmidhi 2622/ Muslim82
This hadith is self-explanatory. The Prophet made prayer the dividing line between kufr and faith, between the believer and the disbeliever. This is where he drew the line, and the two things are quite distinct and do not overlap.
2 – Narrated Buraydah Bin Al-Hacib: The Prophet said, “The covenant between us and them is the prayer, thus if someone gives up salaat, they will become disbelievers”Ahmad 5/346-Nassaee 2/463-At-Tirmidhi 574
3 – The Prophet (saw) said, “ Salaat is Paradise’s key”
Tirmidhi 4 / Musnad Ahmad 3:340
This implies that those who don’t pray can never enter Jannah.
4 – Narrated Anas bin Malek : The Prophet said, “ I have been ordered to fight the people till they say : Lailaha Illa Allaah. And if they say so, perform As-salaat, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter then their blood and their property will be saved and we will interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allaah” Bukhari391
a) The three conditions mentioned, that is As-salaat, the Qibla and slaughtering, should meet in order to be in the fold of islam.
b) If someone does not face the Qibla they will not be accepted as Muslims. Therefore someone who abandons entirely salaat can never be a Muslim.
5 - It is narrated on the authority of Abdullaah Bin Umar that the Messenger of Allaah said, “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no one worthy of worship than Allaah, and Muhammad is His Messenger(1), they establish the prayer(2), and pay the Zakaat(3). If they do it, their property and their blood are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified
with Allaah (swt), and their affair remains with Allaah” Book of faith Bukharee25/Muslim22
Obviously, the prayer is one of the conditions to preserve someone’s existence. In other words, it is a stipulation for someone to be considred as a Muslim.
6 – Narrated Mu’ad Bin Jabal: The Prophet said (to the nearest meaning), “ The peak of the matter is islam and its pillar is As-Salaat…”
undoubtedly, this is a good parable in which the house of islam and Salaat are respectively likened to a tent and its pillar. In other words, if there is no tent without pillar there is no islam without salaat.
7 – According to another Hadith collected by Imam Malik As-salaat is a condition for the other branches of faith to be accepted because if someone neglects his salaat they will not care for anything else. Muwatta’ 1 : 6
8 – The Prophet confirmed that the first thing that people will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgement will be Salaat
Abu Dawwod 413/ Nassaee 465/ Ibn Majah 1426
9 – Narrated Burayda : The Prophet said, “ Anyone who gives up Salaat Al-‘asr (deliberately) his actions are nullified” Bukharee 553/ Ahmad bin Hambal
As mentioned earlier that the difference of opinion among Sahaba kiram was whether the actions are nullified only that day or all the previous actions are nil and void to the point that someone should start from new.
10 – The Prophet said (to the nearest meaning), “ If someone holds fast to his Salaat it will be light , evidence and salvation for him on the Day of Resurrection. But if someone disregard it neither will it be for him light nor evidence or salvation and on the day he will be associated with Qaroon, Pharoah, Haamaan, and Ubay bin Khalef”
Ahmad/ Tabaranee/ Ibn Habbaan
For instance some scholars assert that if someone’s neglect was due to his involvement with his property he would be resurrected with Qaroon. The other examples are easy to guess.
11 – Narrated Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah said, ‘Whosoever possesses the means to reach the Ka’abah (perform Hajj) and does not perform Hajj, it will not matter if he dies as a Christians or Jew, for verily Allah Ta’ala says, ‘It is necessary for you to perform Hajj if you posses the means thereof.’ At-Tirmidhi
12 – Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah said, "The first of man's deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salat. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser. If any shortcoming is found in the obligatory Salaat, the Glorious and Exalted Rubb (our Lord) will command to see whether His slave has offered any voluntary Salat so that the obligatory Salat may be made up by it. Then the rest of his actions will be treated in the same manner” At-Tirmidhi
13 – There is also the hadeeth of ‘Awf ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him), according to which the Prophet said: “The best of your leaders are those whom you love and who love you, who pray for you and you pray for them. The worst of your leaders are those whom you hate and who hate you, and you send curses on them and they send curses on you.” He was asked, “O Messenger of Allaah, should we not fight them by the sword?” He said, “Not as long as they are establishing prayer amongst you.”
This hadeeth indicates that those in authority should be opposed and fought if they do not establish prayer, but it is not permissible to oppose and fight them unless they make a blatant show of kufr and we have evidence from Allaah that what they are doing is indeed kufr. ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit said: “The Messenger of Allaah called us and we gave bay’ah (oath of allegiance) to him. Among the things that we pledged to do was to listen and obey him both when we felt enthusiastic and when we were disinclined to act, both at times of difficulty and times of ease, and at times when others were given preference over us, and that we would not oppose those in authority. He said: ‘unless they made a blatant show of kufr and you have evidence from Allaah that what they are doing is indeed kufr.’” (Agreed upon). On this basis, their neglecting the prayer, for which the Prophet said we should oppose them and fight them by the sword, constitutes an act of blatant kufr for which we have evidence from Allaah that it is indeed kufr.
The point is that if the ruler is a kafir for merely dumping the Qur’aan or not performing As-Salaat regardless if he has Juhood (denial, that is kufr I’tikadi) or not, it is incumbent on us to believe that someone who abandons salaat they are kafirs solely for their action.
C – Evidences from Ijma’:
1 – Shaqiq bin `Abdullah reported: The Companions of the Messenger of Allah did not consider the abandonment of any action as disbelief except neglecting Salat.
At-Tirmidhi / Al-Hakim, who classed it as saheeh according to the conditions of (al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
2 – After Umar Bin Al-Khattab(ra) had been attacked by Abulu’lu’a, he appointed Abderrahmane bin Awf to take over and lead the prayer on his behalf. Later on when he regained conscience he performed his prayer while he was very weak and asked the sahabas that were around him; that is Mu’ad Bin Jabal, Abdullah Bin Messawd, Ibn Abbas, Abu Darda’ and another narration Ali Bin Taleb also; if they had finished their Salaat. Upon replying positively he said to them that someone who abandons salaat they have no portion in islam. The Sahabas, admittedly, never refuted him even though they were scholars.
Abu dawood 2624
3 – It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that Abu Bakr decided to pronounce those who refused to give Zakaat apostates and he never enquired if they believe in it or not. Also, Abu Bakr treated them as kafirs and said to them : “ your dead are in Hell whereas our dead are in Paradise”. So Abu Bakr (r a) was not reluctant vis-à-vis his decision or if the kufr is juhood or ni’ma. In other words, Abu Bakr(ra) judged them solely on their action and nothing else. Bukharee Fath Baree 13:210 Nail al-awtar by Shukanee 7:353 Ibn Taymiyyah 28:531
Furthermore, when ‘Umar(ra) debated Abu Bakr(ra) and eventually ‘Umar and some sahabas (raa) got convinced it led them to assert that had Abu Bakr adopted their opinion they would have become kafirs.
4 – Al – Mundhiree asserts that it has come from numerous sahaba scholars, namely : ‘Umar Bin Al-Khattab, Abderrahmane Bin Awf, Abdullaah Bin Mess’oud, Ibn Abbas, Abu Darda’, Mu’ath Bin Jabal, Ali Bin Abee Taleb, Abu Hurayra, Jaabir Bin Abdullah, and other companions that anyone who postpone his Obligatory prayer till its time has finished (without any excuse), they will become unbelievers.
Al-Munthiree/ Targheeb wattarheeb
5 – Among the non-companions who shared this view were:
Ibn Hanbal, Ishaq bin Rahwiyyah, Abdullah bin AL-Mubarek, An-Nakha’ee, Al-Hakam bin ‘uyayna, Assakhtyanee, Abu Dawwod, Zuhair Bin Harb, to name but few.
IV The proofs of those who don’t make takfeer:
A – 1st confusion:
According to them the kufr mentioned in the above-mentioned hadiths is rather kufr ni’ma (ungratefulness which means merely a major sin) instead of kufr juhood (denial kufr which is a major kufr, that is to deny anything known from islam by necessity).
To prove their case they refer to many sahih hadiths such as those collected by Muslim, among others, No 61, 62, 63, 65, 66,etc.
For instance, it is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayra (he makes takfeer on those who don’t perform As-salaat) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “Dot not detest your fathers; he who detests his father had committed kufr”
Muslim 62 / Bukharee 6830
Likewise, there are many hadiths such as: "Insulting a Muslim is a crime and fighting him is Kufr", etc.
These above hadiths are used out of context for the following reasons:
1 – The word kufr is an indefinte noun (without the article Al). Consequently, it could mean either the major kufr or the minor kufr (kufr ni’ma or major sin). Alhamdulillaah, in this case, it means the latter because other hadiths restrict it and prove that it is merely a major sin.
2 – Since these hadiths are restricted they cannot be produced as evidence to restrict other texts.
3 – For instance in the Hadith : “Between a man and Al-kufr is the abandonment of Salaat” the Prophet (saw) uttered precisely a definite noun, that is Al-kufr which means in usool fiqh the major disbelief and nothing else.
4 – The Hadiths quoted by the scholars who do not make takfeer have been narrated by the above-mentioned sahaba scholars that make takfeer. Obviously, this is clear proof that it is a case of misunderstanding. Also, since sahabas never agreed unanimously on a misguidance then those who don’t make takfeer are undoubtedly wrong.
B – 2nd Confusion
As for the other similar Hadiths, among other things, when the Prophet declares some major sin doers not having imaan while doing a specific action, they are quoted out of context as well.
Examples of such Hadiths are: "He has no Eeman who commits adultery during the act, and he has no Eeman who drinks alcohol, during drinking", “ anyone who has no haya’ has no deen”, “he who cheat on us is not from amongst us”, ect.
The imaan cited by the Prophet was, in fact, the second level of imaan since imaan comprises three level, namely:
- The fundamental imaan : Someone is a Muslim only if he has acquired this kind of imaan which includes the saying of the heart (belief in the 6 pillars of faith), some actions of the heart ( the conditions of lailahaillallaah, that is love of Allaah, sincerity, certainty, etc.; and some other fundamental branches of faith), the declaration of the tongue, and some actions of the limbs.
Someone who achieves such imaan is called a Muslim.
- The Obligatory imaan(Al-imaan Al-wajib) : If someone achieves such stage they would be called believers (Mu’mineen) and they are called Ashaab l’yameen. Likwise, if someone commits a major sin they would not be called Mu’mineen which means they have no imaan (2nd level).
- The preferred imaan (Al-imaan Al-Mustahab) : It consists of preferred branches of faith. Those who acquire it are called Muhsineen.
C – 3rd Confusion:
They say that they can prove their claims by the Prophet's Hadiths that aspire Eeman, such as his saying: "Whoever says 'there is no god but Allah with sincerity in his heart' will enter Paradise. They claim that if someone says the shahada ‘Lailaha Illallaah’ and does not deny the obligation of As-salat they are still Muslims. Similarly, they quote the hadith of Usama (ra) and many hadiths which are similar to the following “He who testifies that none is worthy of worship than Allaah and that Muhammad is his Messenger, Allaah would prohibit the fire of hell on him” Muslim 29
Then again, these proofs are out of context since shahada has got seven conditions, viz : knowledge, certainty, submission, acceptance, truthfulness, sincerity, and the love of Allaah (wala’ wal bara’). Therefore, someone who does not pray they nullify their shahada because they simply don’t accept Islam outwardly.
D – 4th Confusion:
Istihlaal(making something lawful):
Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, "And it is necessary for it to be known that the statement that 'the disbelief of the one who reviled (Allaah, the Messenger or the religion) is only disbelief because he made istihlaal of his act (i.e. declared this revilement to be lawful)' is a repugnant mistake and very great error...and this is from numerous angles..." As-Saarim al-Maslool / 514
When a person reviles the Messenger or throws the Qur'an into some filth, or kicks the Qur'an without compulsion or out of error for example, then it is not a requirement that he makes or considers this act to be lawful (istihlaal) as a matter of belief before takfir is made upon him. Rather it is sufficient to know that he intended his act and did it wilfully (qaasid), not being under compulsion or the likes.As for Istihlaal (having the belief that something that Allaah has made unlawful is lawful), then it is of two types, that which is related to action, and that which is related to belief. So Istihlaal is of two types, that which is related to action and that which is related to belief.
1 - Istihlal related to disbelief:
It is disbelief in all circumstances, regardless of whether this istihlaal was in relation to something that only reaches the level of minor kufr or something reaching the level of major kufr. For example, if one made fornication lawful as a matter of belief, or drinking and likes then he is a disbeliever. Likewise, if he made reviling the Messenger or the religion to be lawful, then regardless of whether he did the act or not, then he becomes a disbeliever by this istihlaal.
2 – Istihlaal that is related to action:
This merely means that a person commits the act - in other words he makes it lawful for himself in terms of his action only, in the sense that he performs the act - then in such a situation one must look at the action he committed. Is it something that does not reach the level of major kufr? Such as fornication, stealing, gambling and the likes. In this case they are not disbelievers by this Istihlaal of action. However, if it is an act (or statement) that expels someone from the religion, then they would leave the fold of islam.
Just like our discussion with Istihlaal above, there are some actions for which Juhood, that is denial or rejection, is not a requirement for an action to be considered as major disbelief (kufr akbar) and what expels from Islaam. Rather such actions, in and of themselves are major disbelief and expel from Islaam. However, it is worth noting here, for the sake of completeness, that some of the Scholars have said that all of those matters which expel from Islaam, then the basis of all of that is Juhood (denial, rejection) of what the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) came with.
summary, we say that the amongst the actions of kufr are those which do not require that istihlaal of the heart or juhood of the heart be present for them to be considered actions of major kufr and which expel from Islaam, that is abandonement of salaat or not judging according to Allaah’s shari’ah.
E – 5th Confusion:
This mistake resides in fundamentals of jurisprudence: The Maliki and Shafi’I schools of thought assert that their judge can consider someone as a Muslim after being sentenced to death (normally the execution is carried out after three days being allowed for the person to repent) as far as he does not deny that As-salat is obligatory. Thus, when they carry out the limit (‘had’ according to them) and execute him they would consider him as a lazy person on account of not denying his obligation (juhood) and burry him in the graveyards of Muslims. This is a misleading argument since they have no feet to stand upon.
Firstly, if they regard the punishment as a limit then we would ask them why do they allow the person three days in order to think about repenting in view of the fact that limits can’t be dropped in usool fiqh. Certainly, had it been a limit, the person would have been punished whether they repent or not. Also, if the person repents and performs As-salaat they will release him from prison. Consequently, this proof is against them : It should not have been called a ‘limit’ but, rather, apostasy. It is as simple as that.
Secondly, How can someone accept to be killed and claim to be merely lazy? Undoubtedly, neither do such people have an atom of faith, but also they must have strong disbelief in their heart.
Thirdly, as mentioned earlier, the condition of juhood (denial of someone’s obligation) is of no use in this case for it is related to the action itself. However, the scholars of islam state unanimously that at the end of the day the main reason of disbelief is to reject what was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Fourthly, brotherhood in religion is based on performing the prayer, not on whether a person declares it to be obligatory. Allaah did not say, “If they repent and state that the prayer is obligatory”, and the Prophet did not say “Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his denial that the prayer is obligatory” or “The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is our statement that the prayer is obligatory, so whoever denies that it is obligatory has disbelieved.” If this is what Allaah and His Messenger had meant, then not stating it clearly would have contradicted what is said in the Qur’aan. For Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’aan) as an exposition of everything”
An-Nahl 16: 89
Fifthly, It is not correct to refer to a reason that the Lawgiver did not make a factor in ruling a person to be a kaafir, because if a person who does not have the excuse of ignorance denies that the five daily prayers are obligatory then he is deemed to be a kaafir, whether he prays or not.
C – Other confusions:
1 – Sometimes a verdict is wrongly attributed to a scholar who has, in fact, two opinions.
2 – It might happen that the verdict relate to a trivial issue, such as the case of someone who missed one salaat.
3 – The opponent or his followers might not have known the consensus of the Sahaba (ra). Nor did they regard it as a consensus while referring to the general texts previously mentioned.
4 – Some Mujtahids might have thought that takfeer could have been solely the opinion of Khawarij and Mu’tazilah which led them to refute the consensus.
5 – Regarding the hadith when Jibreel (alaihi salam) came in a form of a human being to teach the Prophet (saw) and the sahaba the definition of Islam, Eemaan and Ihasaan. If someone is endowed with understanding, a closer examination [ when Jibreel (alaihi salaam) was asked if I put into practice these pillars am I Muslim? He replied positively] will lead them to conclude that rejecting one pillar of faith (saying of the heart) is identical to the action of not performing deliberately one pillar of islam (action of the limbs).
1 – The correct view is that the person who neglects the prayer is a kaafir who is beyond the pale of Islam, as is clearly stated in the report narrated by Ibn Abi Haatim in his Sunan from ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “The Messenger of Allaah exhorted us: ‘Do not associate anything in worship with Allaah, and do not neglect the prayer deliberately, for whoever neglects the prayer deliberately puts himself beyond the pale of Islam.” Moreover, if we interpret the ahaadeeth about neglecting the prayer as referring to a denial that it is obligatory, there would be no point in the reports referring specifically to the prayer, because this ruling applies equally to zakaah, fasting and Hajj – whoever neglects any of these, denying that it is obligatory, is a kaafir, if he does not have the excuse of ignorance.
2 – On the basis of rational analysis, how can a person be a believer if he neglects the prayer which is the pillar of religion, and when there are aayaat and ahaadeeth urging us to perform prayer. What is the difference between between an original kafir and someone who died without praying? Indeed, the commensense tells us that the mere abandonment is a sign that someone has committed shirk or kufr.
3 – The judge of ahlusunna wal jama’a will never give a squeeze to someone who considers himself as a Muslim if he does not perform Salaat. In other words, after being given the evidence there is no more excuse of ignorance.
4 – So it is clear that the person who neglects the prayer with no excuse is a kaafir who is beyond the pale of Islam, on the basis of the above-mentioned proofs. This is the correct view according to Imaam Ahmad, and it is one of the two opinions narrated from Imaam al-Shaafa’i, as was mentioned by Ibn Katheer in his tafseer of S19 V59 as mentioned earlier.
Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned in his book Al-Salaah that it was one of the two views narrated from al-Shaafa’i, and that al-Tahhaawi narrated it from al-Shaafa’i himself.
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