“…there came after them generations who neglected prayer and were driven by their own desires. These will come face to face with their evil (Ghayya), but those who repent, who believe, who do righteous deeds, will enter Paradise. They will not be wronged in the least…” [Surah Maryam 19:59-60]
The meaning of ‘neglected’ here does not imply complete abandonment of the prayer but delaying it beyond it time.
It means not praying Zuhr until the time of ‘Asr; not praying ‘Asr until the time of Maghrib; not praying Maghrib until the time of ‘Isha; not praying ‘Isha until the time of Fajr, and not praying Fajr until the sun has risen. If someone dies persisting in this state without repenting, Allah has promised him Ghayy, which is a deep valley in Hell whose food is disgusting.
I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about ‘those who are forgetful of their prayer‘ (107:4-5), and he said, ‘It means delaying it’ – in other words, delaying it beyond its time.
After Shirk, there are no wrong actions greater than delaying the prayer beyond its time and killing a believer without right.
Whoever presevers in the prescribed prayers, Allah Almighty will grant him five honours:
- He will release him from straitened circumstances,
- protect him from the punishment of the grave,
- give him his book (of deeds) in his right hand,
- let him pass over the Sirat (The Bridge over hellfire) like lightning, and
- admit him to Paradise without reckoning.
May Allah forgive us for our shortcomings and grant us the strength to worship Him in accordance with the Sunnah of our Master Muhammad ﷺ.
[Shams ad-Din adh-Dhahabi, al-Kaba’ir]