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Constantly Skipping Prayers

Shaykh Jamir Meah offers counsel on how to establish prayer, to make up missed prayers, and how to deal with emotional stumbling blocks.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have been suffering from this problem for years. It is the worst problem in my life and I’m very scared. I have tried so many times not to skip any of the obligatory prayers but to no avail, even in the month of Ramadan. Sometimes I will write down the prayers that I missed and pay them back, but it will keep piling up. Then I will leave it and start fresh saying to myself, “I won’t skip it again,” but I always do.

I am so emotional and I become easily sad too. When i am sad I feel lazy and don’t offer prayers. I feel bad all the time when I miss or skip prayers, but I still do. I can go a full day without a single prayer. I am so scared because I know the great sin I have been committing by not offering my prayers, and I know if I don’t rectify this problem and die with it, then I will be in serious trouble on Judgement Day. Please what do I do? Please help me.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

While the prayers are serious obligations, they are also meant to be the “comfort” of the believer’s eyes. They are by no means meant to be torturous!

Current Prayers

Simply pray your daily prayers on time, preferably as soon as the adhan goes off. Pray in congregation at the mosque at each opportunity. If it is overwhelming, stick to the obligatory prayers for now.
Also, when you make wudu, do it with high resolve and remind yourself that you are washing your limbs from sins and heedlessness and preparing yourself to stand in front of your Creator.

Make Up Prayers

While you must make these up, you need to be realistic in how you go about it. Make a daily schedule for them and stick to it, even if you make up one day’s prayer each day.
Please also refer to these answers: Missing Prayers Archives.

State of Mind

In regards your emotions and sadness, it is imperative that this is addressed. Please do consult a therapist that you feel comfortable with to help you work through and resolve the root causes behind these. This will help you with how you get on with prayers, Insha Allah.
Also, seek out good company, stay away from all forms of sins, from distractions; such as too much entertainment, even if lawful. Read the Qur’an daily, get involved in community work, social hobbies, and take care of what you eat, the exercise you get, the amount of sleep you get, and go to sleep early.
I pray the above helps.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 


 

 

 

Can a Healthy Person Skip Prayer and Fasting and Pay Expiation?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I belong to Hanafi madhab. I understand that a person can pay expiation for fasting days as well as prayers he missed.

1) Can a healthy person skip fasting and prayer by paying expiation?

2) Can a person’s sin for not praying and fasting be forgiven if his relatives pay expiation for him after he dies?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

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

1) Expiatory payment is not an ‘option’ or ‘alternative’ to praying and fasting for someone of sound health and state. Intentionally missing one obligatory prayer or one day of obligatory fasting is one of the greatest enormities (kaba’ir) in Islam, may Allah protect us from that and all sin. [Dhahabi, Kitab al-Kaba’ir]

Rather, expiatory payment is what is to be left as a bequest in the will by someone who missed prayer[s] or fasting for a legally valid excuse, namely, sickness (that would prevent one from fasting, or that would prevent one from praying even with head movements) or traveling (in the case of fasting), assuming the person’s condition changed and they were thereafter able to pray/fast, yet they did not yet perform their obligatory makeups and passed away with that debt owed to Allah Most High.

Having said that, if someone led a sinful life of intentionally missing obligatory prayers/fasts, then that would be a debt owed to Allah. The obligation on such a person would be to physically make those up (assuming sound health, etc, even if they afterwards did repent and since then regularly perform their current obligatory prayers/fasts). Yet if they continue in sin by not making those up, and are on the verge of death, then the obligation changes to a financial debt that must be stipulated as a bequest in their will, i.e., the expiatory payment. Note that it was not an option from the beginning, yet only became their last resort to fulfill the debt owed to the Divine.

2) In light of this last point, if such a person failed to make such a bequest (which was obligatory on them before dying), then the heirs (or a third party) can voluntarily pay it off on their behalf. There are details for this for which a scholar should be consulted.

It is hoped that Allah, out of His divine mercy and grace, will accept it on behalf of the deceased and forgive them. However, we cannot be sure since the person failed to fulfill the obligation on their own. Had they done so, then although we can never be sure of Allah’s acceptance, the hope is much stronger since the person did what was in their capacity.

[Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat al-Tahtawi ala Maraqi l-Falah]

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani