Serve and Serve Again (30 Days, 30 Deeds), by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

Serve and Serve Again, by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

30 Days, 30 Deeds
Sacred Acts to Transform the Heart

Every night, our scholars in residence explore one simple deed that could have far reaching spiritual impact on our lives – and the lives of others. Every day we’ll make the intention to put that teaching into practice. Whether it’s forgiving someone who’s wronged us or putting service to others at the top of our list of priorities, these powerful lessons will remind us of the great gift the Prophet ﷺ‎  gave us: the best of character.

Daily at 8:10 pm EST. Attend in person at SeekersHub Toronto or watch live. 



Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.


Photo by Rui Duarte.

Hadith of Staying in Hell For ‘One Haqb’ for Missing a Single Prayer Intentionally

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I heard a commentary of a hadith from a book (Fadail Amaal I think) according to which the punishment of missing a single prayer intentionally (even if made up later) is Hell for some very long period (one ‘haqb’ which through some calculations came to the order 20 million days or so). Is there any real basis for this severe punishment?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

This particular hadith is weak, despite it being found in some well-known books of tafsir and hadith. Every sin can be forgiven through repentance, which for missing a prayer entails:

(a) immediately ceasing the sin,
(b) sincere remorse,
(c) firm resolve to not commit the sin again, and
(d) actually making up the missed prayer[s], for which there is scholarly consensus (ijma`).

[Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin; Nawawi, Majmu`]

If a person does this, he has turned to Allah in sincere repentance, an act that Allah loves and will certainly accept, inshaAllah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Verily Allah accepts the repentance of the servant so long as he has not sounded his death rattle [i.e., so long as he is alive].” [Sunan Tirmidhi]

Having said the above, it is important to note that the inclusion of weak hadiths in books of virtues or motivation and admonition (al-targhib wal-tarhib) is not a problem. A weak hadith can be used for general motivation as long as:

(a) it is not extremely weak,
(b) it returns to established principles of the Sacred Law, and
(c) one acts upon it without firm belief that it is definitely from the prophetic sunna.

[Suyuti, Tadrib al-Rawi; Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, al-Fath al-Mubin Sharh al-Arba`in]

The hadith in question does not contradict the established principles of the Sacred Law, as we know from authentic narrations that our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) likened deliberately missing a prayer (without excuse) to disbelief itself, such as his statement, “Between a man and disbelief is his neglecting the prayer.” [Sahih Muslim]

According to the vast majority of scholars, neglecting the prayer out of laziness is not itself disbelief. Yet the hadith is understood to stress the severity of the sin, to show that such neglect is the very behavior of disbelievers, or that it could very well lead to disbelief. [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Does Neglecting the Prayer Entail Disbelief?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Is it true that all Imams of the Muslims agree upon, that if someone does not pray continuously and fails to perform make up prayers, then he is a kafir even if the believes that the 5 prayers are compulsory?

Also, if it’s true, why would someone who did not pray for 20 years or so, have to make them all up, if he was considered a kafir anyway? I ask, because there are fatawa, that suggest to make up all missed prayers for missed prayers, even if for many years. At what point does missing prayers shift from religious corruption to becoming kufr?  Are there clear cut definitions?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

There are indeed clear-cut definitions: there is a difference between what entails disbelief (kufr) versus what entails religious corruption (fisq).

Denial or Disdain

(1) If a Muslim neglects the prayer out of denial of its obligatory status (juhud) or disdain and contempt (istikhfaf), then there is agreement in all four schools that such a person has committed apostasy (with the exception of a new convert who denies obligation out of ignorance).

If such a person became Muslim again, he or she would not have to make up the missed prayers according to the Hanafis and Malikis. According to the Shafi`is, however, such a person would have to make those prayers up, as a disciplinary measure. Both opinions are narrated from Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. [Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia]

The underlying reasoning for this ruling is that the prayer is necessarily known of the religion — anyone who is Muslim knows about the prayer and its obligatory status (aside from new converts, for example). And the very definition of Islam, according to the Qur’an, sunna and consensus of the umma, is “to believe as true all that is necessarily known to have come from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).” [Taftazani, Sharh Aqa’id Nasafiyya]

If one believes in the Qur’an as the revealed word of Allah, and believes in our Master Muhammad as a true prophet, and if something is decisively established as necessarily having come from Muhammad as an obligation of the religion, then that person would surely accept that thing: he would neither deny it nor treat it with disdain or contempt.

As Imam Tahawi states in his well-known creed, “A servant is not considered to have left his faith except by denying that which originally caused him to enter into it,” i.e., except by denying one’s very belief in Allah’s oneness, His books or messengers, or the resulting faith in all that is necessarily known of the religion.

Laziness or Carelessness

(2) If, however, a Muslim neglects the prayer out of laziness (kasl) or carelessness (tahawun), while nevertheless believing that the prayer is obligatory, then he is still a Muslim yet is religiously corrupt (fasiq). In general, Muslims today who neglect the prayer fall into this category, and so by Allah’s grace they are still Muslim.

Such a person must make up all the prayers missed, regardless of their number. There is scholarly consensus on this matter, as mentioned by Imam Nawawi and others.

The same distinction and rulings would apply to other matters of consensus that are necessarily known of the religion, such as fasting, zakat, and hajj.

[Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia; Nawawi, Majmu`; Ibn Qudama, Mughni]

Allah’s Vast Mercy

Having said the above, one must remember that the doors of repentance and divine mercy are always open: no matter how grave the servant’s crime, even if one of disbelief, the servant can at any time turn back to his Generous Lord and find Him Ever-relenting.

Allah Most High states, “Say: ‘O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls! Despair not of the mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: indeed He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'” (39:53)

And Allah loves for the servant to turn back to Him, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained:

“Allah has greater joy at the repentance of one of His slaves, at the time he returns to Him, than if one of you were on his riding mount in the middle of the desert, only to have it escape from him with his food and drink; so he despairs of it and comes to a tree to recline in its shade, in utter despair over losing his mount, when… Lo and behold! There it is standing right in front of him! So he takes it by the reigns and exclaims out of intense excitement, ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am your Lord!’ He makes a mistake out of such intense joy!” [Muslim]

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Will Allah Reject All of Our Good Deeds If We Neglect Our Prayers?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “When a person meets Allah after neglecting his prayer, he will meet him as if he had not worshipped him at all, nor done any good deeds.”

Awn bin Abdullah said: “When a person is buried, the first question which will be asked him will be concerning the prayer. If that is accepted from him, his other deeds will be looked at, but if that is not accepted from him, no other deeds will be looked at.”

Do the above mean that if you do not pray at all or you do not do your prayers properly (you miss prayers without a valid reason or you delay your prayers etc) then Allah will not accept nor reward any of your other good deeds?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

No, the narrations do not mean that neglecting prayers entail lack of acceptance of one’s other good deeds.

The first narration you mention is not found in any of the primary sources dedicated to gathering prophetic narratives, as indicated by Imam `Iraqi in his sourcing of the narrations found in the Ihya `Ulum al-Din.

As for the second narration, it was narrated by Tabarani in his Awsat through Anas ibn Malik (Allah be well pleased with him) as well as Diya’ in his Mukhtara. In meaning, it supports the first narration you mentioned.

The Meaning of these Narrations

It is clear in the Qur’an that Allah Most High will compensate individuals for any act of good they did, even if slight. Thus, He Most High says, “whoso has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it.” [99:7]

Similarly, there are other narrations similar to the one’s you cited that clearly demonstrate the acceptance of one’s other acts of good. Thus, it is narrated from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet (Allah bless him) said, “The first thing the slave will be taken to account for on the Day of Judgment will be his prayers. If they have been fulfilled soundly then he will be felicious and successful. If they are not fulfilled soundly then he is unsuccessful and at loss. If something has diminished from the actions obligatoy upon him, Allah will say, ‘Look! Is there anything for my slave from any of the supererogatory actions through which that which has dimished from the actions obligatory upon him will be completed?’ Then all his remaining actions will be judged as such.” [Tirmidhi; Nasa’i; Ibn Majah; Ahmad]

This clearly shows that other actions will be accepted even if one’s prayers were lacking. The narrations that state otherwise must therefore be understood in light of these verse and sound narrations.

As such, the narration you mention should be understood as:

1. A statement of emphasis to demonstrate the importance of prayer and a warning to people not to neglect its performance in the soundest way possible for one.

2. An indication that the sound fulfillment of the prayer is a means to attaining divine-success in one’s other acts of worship.

3. A report outlining the potential laxity by which one’s other works will be judged if their prayers are in order. May Allah overlook all of our faults and misdeeds.

[Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir/al-Taysir]

And Allah knows best

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani