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Neglecting the Prayer
Author:
Shaykh Usaamah Al-Qoosee
Source:
A Jumu'ah Khutbah he gave in Egypt on Friday, August 14, 1998
Translator:
isma'eel alarcon
Produced by:
al-manhaj.com

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From the Tape:

This tape is part of the series entitled "The Sickness and the Cure", which consists of Jumu'ah khutbahs from Shaikh Abu Haatim Usaamah Ibn 'Abdil-Lateef Al-Qoosee, may Allaah preserve him. This khutbah took place on Friday, the 2`11st of Rabee'-uth-Thaanee, 1419H (August 14, 1998)

First Khutbah:

Verily all praise is due to Allaah, we praise Him, we ask His assistance and we seek His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Allaah from the evils of our souls and from the evils of our actions. Whoever Allaah guides, no one can lead him astray and whoever is led astray there is no guide for Him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah - alone and with no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

"O you who believe! Fear Allaah as He ought to be feared and do not die except while you are Muslims."

"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord who created you from a single soul and then created from that it's mate, and spread out from them. many men and women. And fear Allaah from whom you demand your mutual rights. Verily Allaah is an All-Watcher over you."

"O you who believe! Fear Allaah and say a word that is true and to the point, Allaah will rectify your actions and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger has achieved the greatest success."

To proceed: Indeed, the best of speech is the Book of Allaah, ta'alaa, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (saws). And the worst of matters are the ones that are newly invented, for indeed every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

My brothers in Islaam, servants of Allaah! We continue on with our series of lectures called "The Sickness and the Cure" with our talk concerning the prayer - the prayer, which is the greatest pillar of the Religion after the two testimonies of Faith. And it is the greatest act of worship, by which one can gain nearness to Allaah, subhaanahu wa ta'alaa. So it is the core and the foundation of the Religion, and it is one of the attributes of the believers. And it is a great branch from the branches of Eemaan. So the abandonment of prayer is Kufr, disbelief. Rather it is from the greatest branches of disbelief. Abandoning the prayer is one of the attributes of the disbelievers, as the Lord of the Worlds says in His Mighty Book:

"(The people of Paradise will ask the people of Hell): 'What caused you to enter the Hellfire?' They will say: 'We were not among those who used to pray. Nor would we feed the needy person. And we would engage in vain speech with the gossipers. And we would deny the Day of Judgement - until the certainty (i.e. death) came to us. So the intercession of the intercessors will be of no use to them. So what is wrong with them that they turn away from the Reminder (this Qur'aan)? As if they were frightened wild donkeys - that flee from predators. Rather, every person amongst them (disbelievers) wishes to be given pages spread out (with revelation from Allaah confirming the truth). Nay, but they do not fear the Hereafter." [Surah Al-Mudaththir: 42-53]

So He mentioned the people who will be in the Hellfire. The first thing that they stated as a reason for their entering the Hellfire - may Allaah protect us from its heat and its boiling water - was that they did not used to pray. They said: "We were not among those who used to pray." So not praying is one of the attributes of the disbelievers and a big branch from the branches of disbelief.

In fact, the one who has left off the prayer - the one who does not make one rak'ah (bow) to Allaah nor does he make one sajdah (prostration) to Allaah throughout his life, it is highly unlikely that this person is free from major disbelief. It is highly unlikely that this person is free from being in major disbelief. So the person that goes throughout his life not bowing or prostrating once in prayer to Allaah, for the most part you will find him holding beliefs that are beliefs of the disbelievers; beliefs that take him out of the fold of Islaam, except for the few rare ones among them whom no one knows of except Allaah.

So leaving off the prayer is a branch among the many branches of Kufr and it is one of the attributes of the disbelievers. On the other hand, performing the prayer is a great branch from the branches of Eemaan. And it is a required characteristic from the characteristics of the true and honest believers. Allaah has described the believers with this characteristic, with a clear and detailed description in two places of His Noble Book. The first place is in Surat Al-Mu'minoon. Allaah describes His believing servants in eleven ayaat starting from the beginning of Surat Al-Mu'minoon. So He starts His description of them with the prayer and He ends His description of them with the prayer. Allaah says:

"Successful indeed are the believers. Those who are attentive in their prayer. And those who turn away from vain and false speech. And those who give their due Zakaat. And those who guard their private parts - except with their wives or those whom their right hands possess, for they are not to blame in that. But whoever seeks beyond that, then they are the transgressors. And those who guard and keep to their trusts and covenants. And those who guard their prayers. They are the inheritors - the ones who will inherit Firdaws (highest level in Paradise), in which they will reside forever." [Surah Al-Mu'minoon: 1-11]

This, what you heard O servant of Allaah, is the description of the believers, with a precise detailing, in 11 ayaat - from the first ayah to the eleventh ayah of Surat Al-Mu'minoon.

Allaah begins describing the believers by mentioning the prayer and He closes His description of them with the prayer. "Successful indeed are the believers. Those who are attentive in their prayer." And in the last of these ayaat, He says: "And those who guard their prayers." Then He says: "They are the inheritors - the ones who will inherit Firdaws, in which they will reside forever."

And the second place from Allaah's Book is in Surat Al-Ma'aarij, which I closed last week's khutbah with. Allaah says, starting from the 19th ayah and ending with the 35th ayah of Surat Al-Ma'aarij:

"Verily man was created impatient. When evil touches him, he is discontent with it. But when good touches him, he is miserly. Except those devoted to prayer - those who remain constant in their prayer. And those in whose wealth there is a recognized right - for the beggar and the unfortunate one who has lost his wealth. And those who believe in the Day of Recompense. And those who fear the torment of their Lord. Verily the torment of their Lord is that before which no one can feel secure! And those who guard their chastity. Except with their wives and those whom their right hands possess, for they are not blameworthy in that. But whoever seeks beyond that, then they are the transgressors. And those who keep their trusts and covenants. And those who stand firm in their testimonies. And those who guard their prayer. They are the ones who will dwell in the Gardens (of Paradise) in honor." [Surah Al-Ma'aarij: 19-35]

So Allaah begins describing them with the prayer and He closes His description of them with the prayer. So Allaah says: "Except those devoted to prayer - those who remain constant in their prayer." Then He closes His description by saying: "And those who guard their prayer. They are the ones who will dwell in the Gardens (of Paradise) in honor."

So these are the attributes of the true believers. Allaah mentions in His Mighty Book that neglecting the prayer goes hand in hand with the following of ones desires. So beware, beware of being from those who neglect the prayer! As for not praying, then it is disbelief, and as for neglecting it, then it is from the greatest of sins. Rather, the servant (of Allaah) does not commit a sin - after shirk with Allaah - like the sin of not praying or killing a person that Allaah has forbidden to kill, except with due right.

So not praying is a great matter. It is one of the branches of disbelief and one of the attributes of the disbelievers, while, performing the prayer is one of the branches of Eemaan and one of the attributes of the believers - those who are truthful and patient, those who know the right of Allaah, those who fear the Day of Judgement, those who are afraid of Allaah's punishment on the Day of Judgement - the Day in which "neither one's wealth nor his children will be of use to him, except for the one who comes to Allaah with a pure heart." [Surah Ash-Shu'araa: 89]

So neglecting the prayer, whether by performing it in other than its proper time or by performing it in a manner, which is not valid, this is from the greatest of major sins. Allaah says:

"Then a generation came after them who neglected the prayer and followed their desires. So they will be thrown in Hell." [Surah Maryam: 59] So Allaah threatens them with punishment and He threatens them with destruction. He threatens them with His Anger and His Torment - even though they pray… However, they neglect the prayer. So do not be surpised when Allaah says: "So woe be to those who pray." But this is not for everyone that prays, but rather it is only meant for those who neglect the prayer - those who do not pray it in their proper times or who do not perform it in the manner in which it will be validly accepted. "So woe be to those who pray - those who are neglectful about their prayer." [Surah Al-Ma'oon: 2-3]

So if Allaah, Lord of all worlds, threatens those who delay their prayers, then what about those who do not pray at all? What about those who insist on taking the resemblance of the disbelievers. What about those who refuse to pray, taking on the characteristic of the disbelievers - those who will reside in the Blazing Fire. The Fire - which no one will be able to stand. No one will be able to stand its heat. No one will be able to bear its violent winds. No one will be able to take its boiling winds. No one will be able to tolerate even spending a moment in the torment of Allaah, ta'alaa.

And indeed, in the days that just passed by, we even complained about the severe heat. The Prophet (saws) said about it: "The severe heat is from the whiff of the Hellfire." So we cannot even stand a whiff of the heat - we cannot tolerate a small portion of its heat. So what about the person that lives in it? What about the person that makes it his home and eternal dwelling place? What about the person that is from its people and inhabitants? He will drink from its boiling water, which is like boiling oil that scalds the bellies, like the boiling of scalding hot water, which tears the intestines when passing through them.

Who amongst us is able to withstand this? Who amongst us O servants of Allaah, is able to tolerate this? (Allaah says): "Then a generation came after them who neglected the prayer" - they did not abandon the prayer, rather they only neglected it. They neglected it by not praying it in its proper times. They delay the Dhuhr prayer to the time of 'Asr, and the 'Asr prayer to the time of Maghrib. They delay praying 'Asr and Maghrib until the time of 'Ishaa. They do not pray the Fajr pray not even once, and if they do pray it, they pray it much later than its due time. He gets up and then goes back to sleep. Then he gets up and prays it at the time that is convenient for him. He doesn't have any concern for getting up to pray! And he doesn't guard his prayers by praying them on their proper times. He doesn't concern himself with praying in the manner that Allaah loves and is pleased with.

There was a man among the Companions of Allaah's Messenger that once prayed and after praying, the Prophet (saws) told him: "Go back and pray, for you did not pray." This was even though the person had prayed. But he prayed the type of prayer similar to a large portion of prayers - the prayer that many of us perform. Many of us pray that same kind of prayer, which that man prayed. How did this man pray? As soon as he faced the qiblah, you find that he rushed to bow. Then he did not rest in the bowing position but rose quickly from it. And he did not straighten himself when rising to the standing position, but rushed to prostrate. And he did not spend much time in prostration, until you found him getting up to sit. And he did not get into the sitting position except that he was back down in prostration. So he is like a crow that pecks on the ground. So his prayer is called the pecking of a crow - a prayer that is like the pecking of a crow - up and down, up and down - as many of us do today. One feels satified with himself that he has prayed, but in reality he has not prayed. He is not at rest in the bowing or prostrating positions. Nor is he at rest when rising or sitting.

So this man came to the Prophet (saws) and greeted him with the Salaam. So the Prophet (saws) returned the Salaam to him and said to him: "Go back and pray for you have not prayed." He did not tell the man: "Go back and pray for you have not prayed well", but rather he said: "for you have not prayed." That thing you did is not prayer. The Prophet (saws) did not consider that a prayer at all. He said to him: "Go back and pray for you have not prayed." The word "not" indicates a negation and a cessation of the verb that follows. "Go back and pray, for you have not prayed." You did not pray at all. But yet the man prayed. However, Allaah will not accept this prayer - it is not considered prayer. It is prayer on the outer appearance, but in reality it is not prayer. Allaah will not accept it. It will not be raised even an inch above the head of the person that does it.

Many of us pray exactly this same kind of prayer. Many of us pray in this manner. And the person who prays like this is from the best among us in these times - he prays, he guards his prayer, not leaving off any prayer, however, it is a prayer that is of no benefit, as is said: "It neither nourishes nor satisifies ones hunger."

The Prophet (saws) said: "Go back and pray, for you have not prayed." It is well known that this person is not like the person that doesn't pray at all. But he prays a prayer that Allaah does not accept. He is neglectful about the prayer. "So woe be to those who pray - those who are neglectful about their prayer" - whether by praying it out of it's proper time or by praying it in a manner that is not valid.

So being at rest when standing and bowing and rising, and prostrating and sitting is a pillar thar if left out of the prayer, invalidates the prayer. So pecking on the floor like a crow is not prayer. If you wish, call it "movements", call it "up and down" motions, call it "exercising." Call it what you want but it is not prayer. "Go back and pray, for you have not prayed."

I am amazed by the person that prays like this. You pray and pray, and yet the difference between your praying a good prayer and your praying a bad one is only a few minutes. The matter does not take more than a few minutes. So the difference between the prayer that Allaah does not accept and the prayer that Allaah accepts is only a few minutes - numbered minutes. What will this person say - nothing. It does not take more than five minutes. If you were to rest and be at tranquility in every pillar of the prayer, it would not go beyond five minutes. So this prayer of yours takes some time. If you were to add just five minutes to this time, you would have prayed a valid prayer, accepted by Allaah. So how can you be cheap with five minutes and instead completely neglect your prayer. What is the difference. There is no difference - rather it is only the Devil, who preoccupies you with this worldly life and with trivial things. Perhaps some of us pray in this manner so that we can catch the tv series on time or so that we can catch the sports match, or so that we can come on time to our date at the café. Or so that we can finish a business transaction, before Allaah has put His blessing in it. What do you want? Do you want to gain more than what Allaah has already written for you? Do you wish to attain some sustenance that is not from the share that has been ordained for you?

"And command your family with prayer." You are not responsible for the prayer only, you must also command your family to pray. "And command your family with prayer, and be patient in offering them. We do not ask you for provision. We provide for you, and the final good end is for those who have Taqwaa." [Surah TaHa: 132] Allaah is responsible for your sustenance O musallee! Do not fear, for indeed your sustenance will come as Allaah has ordained it. Do not rush. "Allaah's remembrance is greater, and Allaah knows best what they do."

So Allaah's remembrance is greater than everything. And our Lord ordered that we say the takbeer (Allaahu Akbar) in the prayer so that we can remind ourselves that He is greater than everything. We say Allaah Akbar to open the prayer, Allaah Akbar when bowing, Allaah Akbar when protrating and sitting. Allaah legislated this remembrance so that we can be reminded that Allaah is greater than everything. So how can you give precedence to something lowly over what is virtuous. And how can you give precedence to something small over what is big. Allaah Akbar. "And the dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah is greater."

Allaah did not make you responsible for your sustenance, as He says: "And We did not create the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me. We do not seek sustenance from them nor that they should feed Me. Verily Allaah, He is Ar-Razaaq (The All-Provider), possessing Power, the Most Strong." [Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat: 56-58]

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