Should I Make up Missed Fasts and Prayers Despite Ignoring That It Was a Duty?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

I was born muslim but I wasn’t aware of the fact that I had to pray and to fast until I was 20.

Do I need to make all these missed fasts and prayers?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The basis is that all obligatory prayers missed after attaining puberty by someone who is morally responsible need to be made-up. Lack of knowledge of the obligation is not generally viewed as an excuse lifting this obligation in the context you describe.

In light of the above, I would advise you to try your best to make up the prayers you missed. You should note that our religion is one of ease and gradualism. There is no need for you to overburden yourself. Rather, take on an amount that you can reasonably undertake – even if that is making up only one prayer a day – and build from there. As the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, “None makes the religion difficult except that it overcomes him. So, aim for what is right, stick to the moderate way…” [Bukhari]

Finally, I would state that even though these are make-up prayers, performing them is still a means to draw closer to God through worship. This is the intention you should have in mind when fulfilling this obligation.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.