The Consensus Amongst the Companions that the One Who Does Not Pray Is a Disbeliever

1 – Mujahid bin al-Hajjaj (the noble Tabi’i) asked Jabir bin ‘Abdillah (the noble Companion): “What actions did you use to differentiate between belief and disbelief during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)?” He replied: “The prayer.”

[al-Marwazi in ‘Ta’dhim Qadr as-Salah’ (2/877) and al-Lalaka’i in ‘I’tiqad Ahl as-Sunnah’ (4/829), by way of Ya’qub bin Ibrahim, who is known as a trustworthy narrator]

2 – The noble Tabi’i ‘Abdullah bin Shaqiq al-‘Aqili said: “The Companions of Muhammad did not see the abandonment of any actions as consituting disbelief except for the prayer.”

[at-Tirmidhi (2622) and al-Hakim (1/1248) by way of Bishr bin al-Mufaddal. al-Hakim declared it to be authentic on the conditions of al-Bukhari and Muslim]

al-Mubarakfuri commented on this in ‘Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi’ (7/370) by saying: “This saying of ‘Abdullah bin Shaqiq – in its apparent meaning – proves that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah believed the abandoment of prayer to be disbelief. What is apparent from this statement is that the Companions were all agreed in this, since he said: “The Companions of Muhammad…,” which is a collective attribution.”

3 – The noble Tabi’i al-Hasan al-Basri said: “It has reached me that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to say: “Between a servant and his falling into polytheism and disbelief is that he leaves the prayer without a valid excuse.”

[al-Lalaka’i (4/829, 1539), Ibn Battah in ‘al-Ibanah’ (p. 87), and al-Khallal in ‘as-Sunnah’ (4/124 and #1372)]

4 – Hammad bin Zayd narrated from Ayyub (a well-known Tabi’i) that he said: “To leave the prayer is disbelief. There is no difference of opinion on this.”

[al-Marwazi in ‘Ta’dhim Qadr as-Salah’ (2/925 and 978)]

5 – al-Marwazi also mentions that he heard Ishaq bin Rahwiyah (the well-known trustworthy narrator, the companion of Ahmad bin Hambal) say: “It has been authentically narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that the one who leaves the prayer is a disbeliever. Likewise, this has been the opinion of the people of knowledge since the time of the Prophet up until our times: that the one who leaves the prayer beyond its proper time – intentionally and without a valid excuse – is a disbeliever.”

6 – al-Marwazi also mentioned in ‘Ta’dhim Qadr as-Salah’ (2/925): “We mentioned the reports narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him) regarding the disbelief of the one who leaves the prayer, and his leaving the creed of Islam, and the permissibility of fighting the one who refuses to establish it. Then, we received similar reports from the Companions, and we did not come across any difference from this opinion from a single one of them. However, the people of knowledge began differing in this afterwards…”

And it is well-known that Muhammad bin Nasr al-Marwazi was famous for his vast knowledge of the sayings and opinions of the people of knowledge in the area of agreement and differing on various legal issues, as was mentioned by al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in ‘Tarikh Baghdad’ (3/315): “He was from the most knowledgable of people of the differences of opinion amonst the Companions and those who came after them.” Also, adh-Dhahabi supported this saying in ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala” (14/34): “It is said: “He was by far the most knowledgable of the scholars regarding the differences of opinion between the scholars.””

7 – Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned in ‘Sharh al-‘Umdah’ (2/75), as did Ibn al-Qayyim in ‘as-Salah’ (p.67), that this is the consensus of the Companions, due to the saying of ‘Umar, in the presence of the Companions, without any of them opposing his saying: “There is no share of Islam for the one who leaves the prayer,” or: “There is no Islam for the one who does not pray.”

8 – With all of this, nobody who says that the one who does not pray is not a disbeliever can find a single Companion who holds their opinion. In fact, they cannot find even a single Tabi’i except az-Zuhri, who was himself a minor Tabi’i.

Ibn Hazm says in ‘al-Muhalla’ (2/242): “We do not know of what we have mentioned from the Companions any difference of opinion amongst them, and the followers of the four madhahib are very eager to hold onto the difference of opinion from a Companion if this is in accordance with their desires. And it has been narrated from ‘Umar, ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf, Mu’adh bin Jabal, Abu Hurayrah, and other than them from the Companions that the one who leaves a single obligatory prayer – intentionally and beyond its proper time – then he is a disbelieving apostate.”

And al-Mundhiri mentioned in ‘at-Targhib wat-Tarhib’ (1/393) additional Companions who reported this: “…’Abdullah bin Mas’ud, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas, Jabir bin ‘Abdillah, and Abu ad-Darda’ – may Allah be pleased with them all.” And from other than the Companions: “…Ahmad bin Hambal, Ishaq bin Rahwiyah, ‘Abdullah bin al-Mubarak, Ibrahim an-Nakha’i, al-Hakam bin ‘Utaybah, Ayyub as-Sakhtiyani, Abu Dawud at-Taylasi, Abu Bakr bin Abi Shaybah, Zuhayr bin Harb, and other than them.”

And this is the saying of the majority of the people of Hadith, and this was the opinion of Sa’id bin Jubayr, al-Hasan al-Basri, al-Awza’i, and Muhammad bin al-Hasan. It is the authentically narrated opinion of ash-Shafi’i, as Ibn Kathir mentioned in his ‘Tafsir’ (in his explanation of verse 59 in ‘Maryam’) and at-Tahawi narrated from ash-Shafi’i personally.

Final benefit: Ibn al-Qayyim said, in ‘as-Salah’: “The Muslims do not disagree that the intentional abandonment of the obligatory prayer is from the greatest and most major of sins, and that the sin of such a person is greater in the Sight of Allah than the sin of the one who commits murder and steals wealth, and commits fornication, and drinks alcohol, and that he is exposing himself to the punishment and anger of Allah, and humiliation in this life and the next.”

Original Arabic

6 Responses to “The Consensus Amongst the Companions that the One Who Does Not Pray Is a Disbeliever”

  1. Thank you for all the work you put into this site. May Allah bless you akhi and admit you to Jannah, amin.

  2. Abu Ibraheem Says:

    Assallamu wa’Alaykum,

    Insha’Allah Your Well Br. Abu Sabaya,

    I just the read the article, and Subhana’Allah…I have this discussion with many of the senior students (not that I would consider myself a student). We discussed this issue really in-depth.

    Just a question, is there condition to this i.e. does this ruling apply to someone that does not pray due to laziness? Who someone that testifies the Shahadah but still does not pray due to lack of/or weak Emaan?

    Jazakhumullahu Khaiyrun.

    Take Care.

  3. Umm Ruqayya Says:

    As Salamu alaykum

    How does ahli sunnah wal jammah define Emaan? Word and action.

    ” – The noble Tabi’i al-Hasan al-Basri said: “It has reached me that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to say: “Between a servant and his falling into polytheism and disbelief is that he leaves the prayer without a valid excuse.””

    Akhi do you consider laziness as an excuse?! I do not think that you do, because sickness has more priority to be the excuse for leaving prayer, but it aint! So how can laziness be??

    Hope you will becomethe exact answer from some person of knowledge of ahlu sunnah wal jammah (not from the murjiah nor from the hawarij)

    Please take care from whom you are looking for an answer, the owner of this blog is alHamdulillah, but take care out side in your surrounding

    Imam Ahmed ibn Hambel said: “When the fitnah comes (in which we are today) stick to the mujaheedenm because they are the ones whom Allah will guide paths that brings them to Him Self”

    Sorry for my english

    was Salam

  4. […] pointed out in my previus post ina thread about this topic! Shaykh, what do you say about these narrations? __________________ […]

  5. Salaam, good brother, many so-called Muslims think they’re Muslims because some easy going scholoar said so but not checking of what Allah & His messenger & the Sahaba said!! it’s very stupid thus i thank you for this information, it’s great

  6. Hey There. I found your weblog the use of msn. This is a really
    smartly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the
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