If I Stop Praying Am I Still Considered To Be Muslim?


Question:
If I stop praying am I still considered to be Muslim?
Answer:
Dear questioner,
May Allah bless you and increase you in beneficial knowledge.
Prayer Is a Pillar of Our Faith
It is required for a Muslim to consider prayer as one of the most critical aspects of our faith. It is an entire pillar.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the prayer (salah), zakat, hajj to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Abandoning the Prayer
If a person does not pray but believes that prayer is a pillar of the faith, then they are still considered Muslim, even if they are lazy or weak in faith.
Abandoning the prayer is a major sin and is warned about both in the Quran and the Sunna of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily between man and between associating partners with Allah and unbelief is the negligence (or abandoning) of prayer.” [Muslim]
 There are no “three strikes” rules or “three days to make up all your prayers,” or anything like that.
Making Up Prayers
One is required to make up the prayers that were missed. Furthermore, they should repent to Allah Most High for failure to pray them. Make a firm resolve not to commit the same sin again. Repentance is a great gift for us.
Do Not Lose Hope in the Mercy of Allah
When repenting, have a good opinion that Allah will forgive you. Do not despair.
Allah Most High states, “Say: ‘O My servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: indeed He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'” (Qur’an 39:53)
Finally, do not become too dependent upon His mercy at the expense of abandoning the prayer. Act, and do good; after you do that, then trust in Him.
I hope this helps, dear brother.
[Imam] Yama Niazi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani