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Leaving out salaah is kufr

Fatwaa ID: 1158

Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatahu dear mufteen,

I am not sure if this question was answered here before so please forgive me in advance: I am aware of the position of the Hanbali school that even if one misses namaz out of laziness, this individual is deemed as a kaafir while us Hanafis say that as long as the individual does not deny salah or doesn’t disdain salah then the individual is upon Islam but has committed sin. However I have heard a fatwa that Imam Abu Hanifa have said that in an Islamic state this individual would be sent to jail for not praying salah.

My question is what is the position of majority ulema regarding missing salah out of laziness and how do we reconcile between the position of Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu Hanifa?

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

You are referring to two separate issues: the status of a person who leaves out salaah intentionally without a valid excuse and how such a person should be punished. The position of Imaam Ahmad that you have quoted is regarding the first while the other one is regarding the second.

  1. The mainstream position that is held by the Hanafi, Shaafi’ee and Maaliki legal schools is that a person who misses salaah intentionally without a valid excuse is a faasiq, a grave sinner but still a Muslim. He remains within the fold of Islam despite his heinous crime. He will only leave Islam if he rejects this obligation or he belittles it.
  2. The jurists have differed how a person should be punished if he abandons salaah. The Hanafis hold the position that he will be flogged and imprisoned until he makes tawbah and starts performing salaah. The Shaafi’ee and Maaliki legal schools opine that he will be asked to make tawbah. Should he refuse, then he will be given the capital punishment. He will still be regarded as a Muslim and thus his final bathing, Janaazah, enshrouding and burial thereafter will be done as a Muslim. The Hanbalis opine that he will be given the capital punishment as an apostate. It should be noted that these punishments are decreed and executed by the qaadhi of the Islamic state. It cannot be done by the general citizens.

The importance of salaah in Islam is clear from the above. One should ensure that he performs all five salaahs with dedication and devotion in the masjid with the congregation.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

10/25/1444 AH – 05/15/2023 CE | AMG1-3077

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


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