the ruling on the one who abandons prayer – part 3

source: silsilat ul-hudaa wa nnoor – the series of guidance and light tape no. 81


Question #10: “What about the hadeeth: ‘whoever abandons the prayer has disbelieved’?”[1]

Shaykh al-Albaani (rahimahullaah) answers:

This is not the first hadeeth in which it is said that whoever does such-and-such has disbelieved. You have the famous hadeeth ‘whoever swears by other than Allaah has disbelieved,’[2] but we don’t say that whoever says ‘by the life of my father’ has apostatized from his religion.[3] And you know, for example, the hadeeth of ‘Umar bin al-Khattaab in Saheeh al-Bukhaari when the Messenger (of Allaah) (‘alayhi ssalaam) heard him swearing by his father, so he (‘alayhi ssalaam) said: ‘Don’t swear by your fathers; whoever of you swears, then let him swear by Allaah or keep silent.’[4] And in the hadeeth of (‘Umar’s) son ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar, he said that the Messenger (of Allaah) (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever swears by other than Allaah has associated partners with Him,’[5] and in another narration, ‘he has disbelieved.’

So it is not necessary for the occurrence of the expression ‘whoever does such-and-such has disbelieved’ to mean that he has disbelieved with the disbelief of apostasy. Rather, it can have many meanings, such as for example: ‘he has disbelieved’ can mean that he is close to disbelieving, that he has disbelieved with the disbelief related to (only) actions (i.e., minor kufr), and such meanings that the people of knowledge were obliged to (apply) in order to reconcile between the texts.

‘Whoever abandons the prayer has disbelieved.’ (But also) we say, ‘whoever says laa ilaaha illAllaah[6] (sincerely) will enter Paradise;’[7] ‘whoever says laa ilaaha illAllaah (sincerely), it will benefit him some day,’[8] [9] as mentioned in the hadeeth of al-Bazzaar and others. (Another hadeeth mentions that) ‘whichever slave runs away from his master has disbelieved.’[10] These expressions are very numerous: ‘he has disbelieved, he has disbelieved.’ And there isn’t any hadeeth that is interpreted like this upon its apparent meaning if it comes with the expression: ‘he has disbelieved.’ This hadeeth – ‘whoever abandons the prayer has disbelieved’ – is treated the same way as the other narrations which share the saying ‘he has disbelieved’ with the hadeeth about prayer. So here, many interpretations can occur for this text as for many (other) narrations. For example, ‘the tale-carrier[11] will not enter Paradise,’[12] (but) does that mean that he has disbelieved because of his tale-carrying? The answer is: if he considers that to be permissible by his heart, then Paradise has been forbidden for him. And if he acknowledges the forbiddance of that, and admits that he is wrong, a sinner and an evildoer, then his affair is with Allaah, as He, the Mighty and Majestic, said: ‘Verily, Allaah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills.’[13] So abandoning the prayer is an action that leads its doer to die upon other than eemaan (faith) – and Allaah’s protection is sought. And abandoning the prayer is from the characteristics of the disbelievers who don’t pray and don’t give the zakaah (obligatory charity). Hence, if the Muslim does not pray, he has resembled the disbelievers. So his disbelief here is the disbelief related to actions [as long as he believes in the legislation of the prayer]. And the narrations which must be explained (with regard to their true meanings) are very numerous.

For instance, during the farewell pilgrimage, (the Prophet) (‘alayhi ssalaat was salaam) ordered Jareer bin ‘Abdillaah al-Bajalee to quiet the people down and make them listen, and he (‘alayhi ssalaam) said while addressing them: ‘Do not return to being disbelievers after me by striking the necks of one another.’[14] And he (‘alayhi ssalaat was salaam) said: ‘Insulting a Muslim is disobedience (to Allaah), and fighting him is disbelief.’[15] But if a Muslim kills or fights another Muslim, has this (person) apostatized from his religion? The answer is: no, because Allaah said: {And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both. But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which outrages till it complies with the Command of Allah}.[16] He considered each of the two groups – the one outraging and the one being outraged – to be from the believers, although the Messenger (of Allaah) said in the previous hadeeth that ‘insulting a Muslim is disobedience (to Allaah) and fighting him is disbelief.’ So how is disbelief interpreted here? It is minor disbelief; it is disbelief related to actions. And the narrations about prayer – which declare that the one who abandons the prayer has disbelieved – are also (interpreted) likewise: either it is said that he is close to the disbelief related to faith (i.e., major kufr), that he is close to dying upon other than the religion of Islaam, or (it is said) that he has disbelieved with the disbelief related to actions. This interpretation is necessary so that we don’t contradict the narrations of the Messenger (of Allaah) (‘alayhi ssalaam) with one another.”

[1] Saheeh at-Tirmithee #2621
[2] Saheeh at-Tirmithee #1535
[3] swearing by other than Allaah can become major disbelief when the one swearing believes that the one whom he falsely swears by has the ability to avert harm from him and the like; refer to The Methodology of the Saved Sect by Shaykh Muhammad bin Jameel Zaynoo, p. 101
[4] Saheeh an-Nasaa’ee #3775, Saheeh aj-Jaami’ #1923
[5] Saheeh at-Tirmithee #1535
[6] none has the right to be worshiped but Allaah
[7] Silsilat ul-Ahaadeeth is-Saheeha #2355
[8] i.e., even if he first enters the Fire to be punished therein
[9] Saheeh aj-Jaami’ #6434
[10] Saheeh Muslim #68
[11] the tale-carrier is the one who spreads the speech of the people among one another with the intention of causing corruption, such as you going to someone and saying: ‘such-and-such person insulted you, and he said such-and-such thing about you, etc’ so that you separate between them; refer to Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen in Noorun ‘alaa ddarb tape #48a and Silsilatu Liqaa il-Baab il-Maftooh tape #93a
[12] Saheeh al-Bukhaari #6056, Saheeh Muslim #105
[13] Surat un-Nisaa, 4:48
[14] Saheeh al-Bukhaari #4405
[15] Saheeh al-Bukhaari #6044
[16] Surat ul-Hujuraat, 49:9


asaheeha translations


the ruling on the one who abandons prayer – part 3

6 thoughts on “the ruling on the one who abandons prayer – part 3

  1. Hisham says:

    Very beneficial; barakalllaahu feek. I was wondering if you have ever came across or is there anything available in English on shaykh al-Albaani’s opinion regrading continuing the prayer that one broke, as its only recently i heard this whilst listening to one of his fatawa recordings?

    1. wa feek baarakAllaah,

      i’m sorry, i’m not sure i understand what you mean. what do you mean continuing the prayer that one broke? can you explain it to me through an example? then i’ll try to find a tape on it inshaaAllaah and translate it. baarakAllaahu feekum

  2. Hisham says:

    basically his opinion was that lets say your break your wudu whilst praying in the second rakah, then after renewing your wudu, rather than starting the salaah anew, you should just continue where you left off in the second rakaah. Ever came across this from the shaykh? I am just not clear on his evidences as i need to look it up more.

    1. yes, this is what the shaykh said and inshaaAllaah the following will be of benefit:

      source: silsilat ul-hudaa wa nnoor – the series of guidance and light – tape no. 232

      Question: Is it possible to say that if someone breaks his wudoo’ during his prayer, it is upon him to make wudoo’ then to continue from where he left off his prayer?, and this is done by concluding from an authentic hadeeth reported by Ibn Maajah in his Sunan in the Chapter of ‘What is mentioned with regard to continuing the prayer,’ which says that the Prophet (‘alayhi ssalaat wa ssalaam) led the Companions in prayer, then signaled them to stay and he went and made ghusl, then he returned and led them in prayer; then after finishing the prayer, he said to them: ‘Indeed I came out to you in a state of sexual impurity and I forgot (about it) until I had already stood in prayer.’ [Saheeh ibn Maajah #1014].

      Shaykh al-Albaani answers: “Yes, this is so. And what you mentioned from Sunan Ibn Maajah is the evidence.”

  3. Hisham says:

    Barakallaah feek. very helpful. I must as much as i love the shaykh for his in-depth understanding of the deen, this one does not seem to clear based on the narration. But like i said i need to read more on this. Btw i have the book hukm taarik as-salaah, but been a while though since in read it and i was wondering if what you mentioned here could be found in the book, or is it more details? And was it shaykh al-albani who actually wrote it or shaykh al-halabi compiled it from the shaykhs works and fataawaa?

    1. wa feek baarakAllaah. this is all i could really find, but there may be other sources that i am not aware of in which perhaps the shaykh talks about this in more detail, so you should try to seek that out inshaaAllaah.

      about the book on hukm taarik is-salaah, as far as i know, it was written by the shaykh himself, and you can look into it for many other adilla he mentions about this topic. as for what i posted thus far, they are not from his book, and some of these details may not be found in the book, but the opposite is also true, i.e., many details in the book are not mentioned in the posts. for instance, the shaykh mentions (in the book) a narration from saheeh al bukhaari i believe, which mentions that on yom ul qiyaama, those who have even an atom’s worth of eemaan in their hearts will be taken out of the fire, even though they did not do any deeds (i.e., including prayer). i was thinking of placing this as the last post on this topic. anyhow, the book will definitely have many benefits which i won’t be able to place here.

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