Was I a Non-Muslim Before I Started Practicing Islam?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

Recently I have been studying and practicing Islam more, I have started to pray, to read Quran, alhamdulillah.

Before this, I was Muslim, but I did not pray, I only knew the basics. Now, since I didn’t pray nor did I know how to, didn’t read Quran, didn’t try to seek any knowledge in Islam, I’m unsure whether I was a disbeliever. I know that many scholars agree that not performing prayer makes someone a disbeliever.

My question is, was I a disbeliever because of not practicing Islam? Do I need to make up lost prayers and fasts?

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for returning to this path and doing was is best for your worldly affairs and afterlife.

Belief

You are not considered a disbeliever because of your missed prayers and fasts; please see those details here:
Does Neglecting the Prayer Entail Disbelief?

Missed Prayers and Fasts

It is obligatory to make up all the obligatory prayers and fasts that you missed from the time you hit puberty.

Please see those details here:
Should I Make up the Prayers During the Time I Was Inclined to Islam? (Shafi’i)
Making up Missed Prayers
Constantly Skipping Prayers

Contemplate

A bedouin with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Messenger, (Allah bless him and give him peace) and said, “‘O Messenger of Allah! Inform me what Allah has made compulsory for me as regards the prayers.
He replied: ‘The five prayers unless you want to pray Nawafil.’
The bedouin further asked, ‘Inform me what Allah has made compulsory for me as regards fasting.’
He replied, ‘The month of Ramadan unless you want to fast more as Nawafil.’
The bedouin further asked, ’Tell me how much Zakat Allah has enjoined on me.’
Thus, Allah’s Messenger, (Allah bless him and give him peace) informed him about all the rulings of Islam.
The bedouin then said, ‘By Him Who has honored you, I will neither perform any Nawafil nor will I fall short in what Allah has enjoined on me.’
Allah’s Messenger, (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘If he is saying the truth, he will succeed (or he will be granted Paradise). [Bukhari]

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.