We should consider the person being called to pray or to do
other acts of worship, and pay attention to the most effective means of
encouraging him or warning him. The general principle in Islam is to combine
both approaches (encouraging and warning). It is also important to pay
attention to how receptive or otherwise the person being called is, and
whether he will be influences or put off by preaching.
The best way to call those who do not pray can be summed up
1 – Reminding them of the obligation of prayer and that it is
the greatest of the pillars of Islam after the Shahaadatayn (twin
declaration of faith).
2 – Telling them some of
the virtues of prayer, for it is the best of the duties that Allaah has
enjoined on His slaves, and the best way by means of which a person may draw
closer to his Lord. It is the first of his religious affairs for which a
person will be brought to account. The five daily prayers are an expiation
for whatever sins come in between them, so long as he avoids major sins. A
single prostration raises a person in status by one degree, and erases one
sin… and there are other virtues of prayer that have been narrated. This may
open his heart and perhaps prayer may become a source of delight, as it was
for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
3 – Telling them of the stern warnings that have been
narrated concerning not praying, and the different opinions of the scholars
as to whether this constitutes kufr (disbelief) and riddah (apostasy). Islam
does not give the one who does not pray the opportunity to live freely among
people, because in his case he must he invited to pray, and if he persists
in not praying, he is to be executed as an apostate according to the view of
Ahmad and those who agreed with him among the salaf (early generations of
Islam); or he is to be executed as a hadd punishment, according to the view
of Maalik and al-Shaafa’i; or he is to be detained and imprisoned, according
to the view of Abu Haneefah. But no scholar says that he is to be left
free. So it should be said to the one who does not pray: are you happy that
the scholars disagreed as to whether you are a kaafir and whether you should
be killed or imprisoned?
4 – Reminding them of the meeting with Allaah, death and the
grave, and what will happen to the one who does not pray, namely a bad end
and the torment of the grave.
5 – Explaining that delaying prayer until the time for it is
over is a major sin:
“Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given
up As-Salaah (the prayers) [i.e. made their Salaah (prayers) to be lost,
either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not
offering them in their proper fixed times] and have followed lusts. So they
will be thrown in Hell”
[Maryam 19:59 – interpretation of the meaning].
Ibn Mas’ood said
concerning al-Ghayy (translated here as “Hell”): it is a valley in Hell that
is very deep and has a foul taste.
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So woe unto those performers of Salaah (prayers)
5. Those who delay their Salaah (prayer from their stated
6 – Explaining the serious implications of the view that they
are kaafirs, such as their marriages being rendered invalid, it being
forbidden for them to remain with and be intimate with their wives, and the
fact that they will not be washed and prayed for after they die. Among the
texts that indicate that the one who does not pray is a kaafir is the
hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: “Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up
prayer.” Narrated by Muslim, 82. and he said: “The covenant that stands
between us and them is prayer; whoever gives it up is a kaafir.” Narrated by
al-Tirmidhi, 2621; al-Nasaa’i, 463; Ibn Maajah, 1079.
7 – Giving them some booklets and tapes that deal with the
subject of prayer and the punishment of the one who does not pray or is
careless concerning the prayer.
8 – Forsaking and shunning them if they persist in not
With regard to innovators, the way in which we deal with them
varies according to the type of innovation involved. We should advise them
and call them to Allaah, and establish proof against them, and refute their
specious arguments. If the innovator persists in his innovation he should be
forsaken and shunned, if it is thought that this will most likely benefit
him. We have first to be sure that a person is an innovator before resorting
to these measures, and reference should be made to the scholars. We should
differentiate between the innovation and the one who practices it, because
he may have the excuse of ignorance or misunderstanding. For more details
please see Haqeeqat al-Bid’ah wa Ahkaamuhu by Sa’eed ibn Naasir
And Allaah knows best.