Praise be to Allaah.
Not performing one’s prayers
is a dereliction of the most important duty among the pillars of Islam.
Prayer is the pillar and cornerstone of the faith, and it is not permissible
under any circumstances to be lenient towards the one who is not praying.
First of all his family should advise and enjoin him to pray, then they
should boycott him and turn away from him, and not greet him with salaam,
or eat with him or sit with him, in order to point out to him the seriousness
of sin, so that he will come back to Allaah and repent. The opinions
of the scholars with regard to the one who does not pray may be summed
up under the following two headings:
The opinion that the one who does not pray is a kaafir, which
is the opinion narrated from ‘Umar, ‘Ali and Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah
be pleased with them). It was also the opinion of al-Hasan, al-Sha’bi,
al-Oozaa’i, Ibn al-Mubaarak and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan; it was also reported
from Ahmad, and is indicated by the hadeeth of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “All that stands between
a person and kufr is his not praying.” (Reported by Muslim, Ahmad, Abu
Dawood and Ibn Maajah).
The opinion that the one who does not pray is not a kaafir. This
is the opinion of Abu Haneefah, Maalik, and al-Shaafa'i, and is indicated
by the hadeeth of ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit, who reported that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) said: “There are five prayers which Allaah has prescribed
for His slave during the day and night, whoever does them and does not
wilfully neglect them, Allaah will be bound to grant him admittance
to Paradise. Whoever does not do them will have no such guarantee; if
He wills, He will punish him and if He wills, He will grant him admittance
to Paradise.” (Reported by al-Daarimi, 1531; Maalik, al-Muwatta’,
248; Ahmad, 21690).
However, according to both opinions,
if a person insists on not praying, he should be asked three times to
repent, and if he refuses, then his fate will be execution.