Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
I want to understand the following hadith: “Whoever does not pray ‘Asr, his good deeds will be annulled”.
Does it mean all goods are annulled from beginning? Or all the good deeds are annulled for that specific time?
Answer:Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
The scholars differed on the interpretations of the tradition (hadith) you mention.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “If someone fails to pray the ‘Asr prayer, his actions will come to nothing.” [Bukhari]
Ibn ‘Allan states that some of the possibilities of the “come to nothing” are as follows:
(1) an actual annulment of his actions, given that he left the prayer out of rejection and disdain,
(2) an annulment of its reward, given that he didn’t pray,
(3) an annulment of the [potential] benefit of the action he engaged in instead [of praying],
(4) a deficiency or decrease in the righteous works of his day, or
(5) it is simply as if he has annulled his works, given the gravity of missing prayers.
Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari preferred (2) as did other commentators, such as Tibi and Qastallani. They add that this prayer was specifically mentioned given that it is often to be prayed in the business of the daytime, and hence, has the potential of being delayed, or even missed entirely. This is also aided by the preference of some Qur’anic exegetes who hold ‘Asr to be the “middle prayer,” [2:238] as specially referenced in the Qur’an.
The upshot is that missing prayers is far from the way of the believers, and a sure sign that one is missing the point. We ask Allah Most High to grant us all facilitation, success and the ability to attain unto the felicity of both worlds.
[Ibn ‘Allan, Dalil al-Falihin li Turuq Riyad al-Salihin; Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih]
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.