Prayer (Salat) is the most important pillar of Islam and it is one of the most important parts of the life of Muslims. As Muslims we say our mandatory prayers five times in a day. Allah (SWT) ordered every Muslims to perform prayers (Salat) five times a day. One who performs obligatory prayers well, Allah will forgive him. Abu Ubadah Ibn Samit (Ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Allah (SWT) has made five prayers obligatory. If anyone performs ablution for them well, offers them at their (right) time. and observes perfectly their bowing and submissiveness in them, it is the guarantee of Allah that He will pardon him; if anyone does not do so, there is no guarantee for him on the part of Allah; He may pardon him if he wills, and punish him if He wills.” (Abu Dawood). A Muslim will be asked on the Day of Judgment about obligatory prayers first, if it is perfect, he will be saved from hell. Narrated by Abu Hurayra (Ra) that, our beloved Prophet said: “Indeed the first deed by which a servant will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection is his Salat. If it is complete, he is successful and saved, but if it is defective, he has failed and lost.” (Jame Tirmiji).
Allah (SWT) ordered us to perform Salat timely. He says, “….. Indeed, the prayer is on the believers prescribed (at) fixed times.’ (Sura Nisa: Ayat 103). But while being busy in worldly affairs we often miss Salat from its preferred time. This is a major sin according to Qur’an and Hadith. It is said in an authentic Hadith that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) likened deliberately missing a prayer (without excuse) to disbelief itself, such as his statement. Whoever leaves Salat has disbelieved. Abdullah Ibn Buraidah (Ra) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) has said, “The pledge between us and them is prayer, whosoever leaves it has rejected faith.” (Jame Tirmiji). The Prophet (pbuh) has also said, “Verily between man and between polytheism and unbelief is the negligence of prayer.” (Sahih Muslim).
Those who neglect Salat they will enter Hell. They will be asked, “What has caused you to enter Hell?” They will say, “We were not of those who used to offer the prayer, nor did we feed the poor; and we used to talk falsehood (all that which God hated) with vain talkers and we used to belie the Day of Recompense, until there came to us (the death) that is certain.” (Sura Muddassir: Ayat 42-47). The primary reason for which they were admitted to Hell is that they failed to offer the prayer.
Those who miss prayer intentionally he will be punished seriously in here and hereafter. Punishment for missing a single prayer intentionally (even if made up later) is Hell for a long period. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “A person neglecting his Salat (even though he makes it up later) shall remain in Jahannam for a period of one huqb. A huqb is equal to eighty years of three hundred and sixty days each, and a day in Akhirah is equal to one thousand years of this world.” Thus, huqb literally means a very long time; in most Hadith it is explained as being eighty years as explained above.
Delaying the prayer intentionally is also a major sin in Islam. Many of us delay Asor prayer till night-time because they are busy in playing or working. Doing so is strictly prohibited in the Holy Qur’an. Allah (SWT) ordered Muslims to guard their prayers. He (SWT) says:“Guard strictly (five obligatory) As-Salawat (the prayers) especially the middle Salat (Asr Prayers).” (Sura Baqarah:Ayat 238). Umar (Ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Whoever misses the Asr prayers (intentionally), then it is as if he lost his family and property.” (Sahih Bukhari). Fajr prayer can also be the most challenging for many Muslims. So, there are many Hadiths that speak to the great reward and blessing entailed in waking up for Fajr prayer. The Messenger of Allah said, “No one who used to pray before the rising of the sun and before its setting will enter the Fire, (meaning Fajr and ‘Asr).” (Sahih Muslim).
The writer is a national award winner Qari and Khatib of Baitush Shafiq Mosque (near National University), Gazipur