The ruling regarding the fasting of the one abandoning prayer | The official website of Sheikh Muhammad Ali FERKUS
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Friday 19 Dhu Al-Qa`dah 1441 H - July 10, 2020 G



Fatwa: 314

Category: fatwas about fasting

The ruling regarding the fasting of the one abandoning prayer

The question:

Is the fasting of the one abandoning prayer valid?

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

There is no divergence among the scholars that the fasting of a person who abandons prayer, rejects and denies its obligation is invalid, because he is considered unanimously a disbeliever and he apostatizes.

In addition, the acts of the disbelievers are vain, because the validity of the acts is dependant on faith, but – here – the person has not this faith; Allah عزَّ وجلَّ says:

﴿وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَى مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَنْثُورًا﴾ [الفرقان: 23].

The meaning of the verse:

And We shall turn to whatever deeds they (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust﴿ [Al-Furqân (The Criterion): 23].

Allah عزَّ وجلَّ also says:

﴿وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَعْمَالُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ بِقِيعَةٍ يَحْسَبُهُ الظَّمْآنُ مَاءً حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَهُ لَمْ يَجِدْهُ شَيْئًا وَوَجَدَ اللهَ عِنْدَهُ فَوَفَّاهُ حِسَابَهُ وَاللهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ﴾ [النور: 39].

The meaning of the verse:

As for those who disbelieve, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing; but he finds Allâh with him, Who will pay him his due (Hell). And Allâh is Swift in taking account﴿ [An-Nûr (The Light): 39].

He also said:

﴿مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ كَرَمَادٍ اشْتَدَّتْ بِهِ الرِّيحُ فِي يَوْمٍ عَاصِفٍ لاَ يَقْدِرُونَ مِمَّا كَسَبُوا عَلَى شَيْءٍ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الضَّلاَلُ الْبَعِيدُ﴾ [إبراهيم: 18].

The meaning of the verse:

The parable of those who disbelieved in their Lord is that their works are as ashes, on which the wind blows furiously on a stormy day; they shall not be able to get aught of what they have earned. That is the straying, far away (from the Right Path)﴿ [Ibrâhîm (Abraham): 18].

As for he who abandons prayer intentionally, out of laziness and negligence, and who admits its obligation, the ruling regarding him is subject to the scholars’ divergence:

Some deem him a disbeliever, due to the presence of religious texts that determine this. This is the opinion of Imâm Ahmad and others.

Some others do not judge him a disbeliever, because there are other proofs that prevent from anathematizing him. This is the opinion of Mâlik, Ash-Shâfi`i, Abu Hanîfa and others.

Accordingly, the establishment of this matter depends on the ruling regarding the anathematization of that person:

Those who anathematize the one abandoning prayer intentionally and out of laziness consider him to be among those who reject its obligation. Therefore, his fasting and all his actions are – as it is aforementioned – vain, due to the absence of faith, which is a condition on which his action and fasting depend.

As for those who do not anathematize him, they consider him a disobedient believer, but not an unbeliever. Therefore, his actions and fasting are valid thanks to the presence of faith, which is a required condition in actions and acts of worship.

The most preponderant opinion of the two said opinions is that one should make a detailed question: .i.e. the one who abandons prayer absolutely and dies on this state of persistence in abandoning it, is not then a believer, and his fasting and actions are not accepted. This is called “Absolute abandoning”.

A for the one who performs prayers sometimes and abandons it some other times, he is negligent but not a disbeliever. He is rather a Muslim who is subjected to the will of Allah and His threat, and his fasting is valid. This is called “Abandoning in general”.

This is supported by the hadith where the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم says: “Five prayers are ordained by Allah for His slaves. Whoever fulfills them properly without any shortcoming, he will have a pact with Allah that He will admit him into paradise. Whoever does not do them, he will have no pact with Allah, and if He wills He may punish him and if He wills He may forgive him”(1).

It is also supported by the other hadith where the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم says: “The first thing about which the slave will be judged is his prayer, to see whether it is complete. If not, it will be checked whether he had accomplished supererogatory prayers. If he has supererogatory prayers, his obligatory prayers will be completed with the supererogatory ones”(2). In fact, this expounding is one of the choices made by Sheikh Al-Islâm Ibn Taymiyya(3) رحمه الله.

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, Dhu Al-Qa`da 16th, 1426
Corresponding to: December 18th, 2005



(1) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Prayer of El-Witr” (hadith 1422), An-Nassâ'i, chapter of “Prayer” (hadith 465) and Ahmed (hadith 23361) on the authority of `Ubâda Ibn As-Sâmit رضي الله عنه. This hadith is authenticated by Al-Albâni in “Sahîh At-Targhîb Wat-Tarhîb” (1/370) and in “Sahîh Al-Jâmi`” (hadith 3243).

(2) Reported by At-Tirmidhi, chapter of “Prayer” (hadith 415), An-Nassâ'i, chapter of “Prayer” (hadith 469) and Ibn Mâjah, chapter of “Establishing prayer and Sunna” (hadith 1491) on the authority of Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه. This hadith is authenticated by Al-Albâni in “Sahîh Al-Jâmi`” (hadith 2020).

(3) See “Majmû` Al-Fatâwa” by Ibn Taymiyya (7/614,615,616), (22/49).