Question # 195: As salaam u alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu. A devout Muslim man is married to a revert (Converted from Hinduism). Though they had a nikaah, the wife consistently /persistently refuses to offer salaat or fast. Is the marriage valid according to shariah, as salaat is major pillar of Islam and the sahabah use to say that one who does not pray is not of us (Hadith also)?

Bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Among the most important pillars of Islam are the five daily prayers and fasting in the month of Ramadan. A person neglecting salah (prayer) without valid excuse is kaafir (i.e., goes beyond the pale of Islam) based on the evidences from the Qur’an and ahadith. Since husband is guardian and responsible for his household, he should tell his wife to do what Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has commanded. If he sees that she is responding and persists in disobeying, then he should not stay with her, rather he has to divorce her.

Long Answer: Allah (سبحانه و تعالى)  says in the Qur’an: “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salaat (the prayers) [i.e. made their Salaat (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. Except those who repent and believe (in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad), and work righteousness. Such will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged in aught.” (Soorah Maryam, 19:59-60)

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer.” (Narrated by Muslim)

It was narrated that Buraydah ibn al-Husayb (رضي الله عنه) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) say: ‘The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved (become a kaafir).’” (It was narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i and Ibn Maajah).

[From the above ayah and ahadith, it is clear that] what is meant here by kufr or disbelief is the kind of kufr which puts a person beyond the pale of Islam, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) made prayer the dividing line between the believers and the disbelievers.

Imam Ahmad said that the one who does not pray because of laziness is a kaafir. This is the more correct view and is that indicated by the evidence of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, and by the words of the Salaf and the proper understanding. (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’ ‘ala Zaad al-Mustanqi’) (Risaalah fi Hukm Taarik al-Salaah (Paper on the ruling on one who neglects the prayer) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen)

Further, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Barraak said: “Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means” (Soorah an-Nisa’a, 4:34) This ayah states that the man is the guardian of the woman and is in charge of her. According to a sahih hadith [narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim,] the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The man is the shepherd of the members of his household and is responsible for his flock. Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. So the man is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.” The most important duty of the “shepherd” is to guide his “flock” to obey the commands of Allah by doing that which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has enjoined and abstaining from that which He has forbidden. In this way he will be fulfilling his duty of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil. So the husband has to tell his wife to do that which Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) has enjoined upon her and he must forbid her to do that which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has prohibited. The greatest duties that the Muslim must fulfil are the five daily prayers and fasting Ramadan. These are two of the pillars of Islam. The husband must tell his wife to do these things and to observe these two pillars regularly. It is not permissible for him to be careless in this matter. The same applies to all other obligatory duties. He must also forbid her to do that which Allah has forbidden, whether it is words or deeds. If he sees that she is responding and obeying, then that is what is required. But if she persists in disobeying then the Muslim man should not stay with her, rather he has to divorce her…”

Ibn Hazm (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “We have narrated from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه), Mu’adh ibn Jabal, Ibn Mas’ood, a number of the Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم), and from Ibn al-Mubaarak, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh (رضي الله عنه) and from other Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم), a total of seventeen, that the one who deliberately and knowingly does not offer an obligatory prayer until the time for it has ended becomes a kaafir and apostate. This is the view of ‘Abd-Allah ibn al-Maajishoon, the companion of Malik, and of ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Habeeb al-Andaloosi and others.” (al-Fasl fi’l-Milal wa’l-Ahwa’ wa’l-Nihal)

A similar question, about a man who married a woman after she became Muslim, but she does not pray after marriage, was asked to Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Jibreen (may Allah have mercy on him) and he replied: “In this case [the husband has] to leave her, because in this situation she has entered Islam and then left it, and this is regarded as kufr, rejecting the sound religion and apostasy from Islam. If she insists on refusing to pray and fast and do everything that is required of the Muslim, and she has not given up haraam things, then we think that [the husband] should leave her. Whoever fears Allah, He will grant him a way out. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “But if they separate (by divorce), Allah will provide abundance for every one of them from His Bounty” (Soorah an-Nisa’a, 4:130)”

(The above reply is based on various answers by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.