Are all of one’s deeds rendered void, if they do not pray?

Question Summary:
Are all of one’s deeds rendered void if one does not pray?

Question AnswerIn the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and CompassionateNo. If one does not perform prayers, they are sinful; however, their other deeds are valid and properly recompensed.

If, however, one does not pray because they do not believe the 5 daily prayers to be obligatory, this is an act of disbelief. In such a case, none of their actions will count since they are outside of the fold of Islam until and unless they relinquish this false belief and return to Islam.

It is through the above difference that the following narration is understood:

Losing One’s Deeds for Missing Prayer

Imam Ahmad narrates on the authority of Buraida (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace said, “Whoever leaves the Asr prayer, his deeds are rendered void.” [Ahmad]

Scholars have understood the wording of the above narration in various ways. Such as the following examples:

Al-Mulhib says, “It means that whoever leaves the prayer out of neglect and has a lack of importance for the virtue of its time, while being able to perform it, will not attain the reward of those who prayed it in its proper time….”

The commentator here limits the nullification of deeds to that specific Asr prayer. [Sharh al-Bukhari; Ibn Batal]

Furthermore, if we understand the word ‘leaves the Asr prayer’ as abandoning belief of its being obligatory, then the rest of the narration ‘his deeds are rendered void’ means that they have left the fold of Islam and the deeds of disbelievers are void.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and some texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.