Question # 43: Everyone knows that praying namaz is fard on everyone and you cannot leave that…. But, in case if you miss namaz, is it acceptable to pray at once in mid night?

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: When a prayer is missed unintentionally, for a legitimate shar’iah excuse, such as forgetting or sleeping, there is no sin on the person in this case; but he /she has to make it up on waking up or remembering it. However, if the prayer is missed out of laziness, carelessness and some other preoccupancy (like work), then the person has committed a major sin, according to the consensus of the Muslims. It is so serious that some of the scholars stated that the one who does so, is a kaafir. In such a situation, it is not prescribed for the one, who missed the prayer deliberately to make it up, rather he should repentance, perform good deeds and offer a lot of voluntary (naafil) prayers. Making up the prayer will not absolve him of the sin, rather his burden of sin might be reduced, Allahu A’lam.

Long Answer:  Allah has allocated specific times for acts of worship for reasons that are known to Him. We know some of them, but some of them are hidden from us. Whatever the case, we are enjoined to adhere to them and it is not permissible to transgress against that except for reasons permitted in shari’ah.

If a person misses the prayer, one of two scenarios, applies:

  1. He missed it for a reason, such as falling asleep or forgetting it. There is no sin on him in this case, but he has to make it up when he wakes up or remembers it. The following are some of the ahadith to support:
  • It was narrated from Anas ibn Maalik (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever forgets a prayer; let him offer it as soon as he remembers, for there is no expiation for it other than that.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim; Muslim narrated an additional phrase: “or sleeps and misses it”)
  • The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and his companions (رضي الله عنه) slept and missed the Fajr prayer, and the Sahaabah began to ask one another, “What is the expiation (kafaarah) for what we have done by neglecting the prayer?” The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said. “Sleeping does not mean that you are neglecting the prayer. Rather neglecting the prayer means not praying one prayer until the time for the next prayer comes. Whoever does that let him pray when he remembers it.” (Narrated by Muslim)
  1. He missed the prayer with no excuse; rather he ignored it until the time for it ended, out of laziness and carelessness. This person is sinning according to the consensus of the Muslims, and has committed a major sin. It is so serious that some of the scholars stated that the one who does this is a kaafir. (as it says in Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Samaahat al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz). The one who does this has to repent sincerely, according to scholarly consensus.

With regard to making up the prayer, there was a difference of opinion among the scholars as to whether or not it would be accepted from him if he makes it up afterwards. Most of the scholars said that he should make it up and that his prayer is valid, although he is a sinner (i.e., if he does not repent – and Allah knows best), as Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthyameen quoted from them in al-Sharh al-Mumti’. The view favored by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) is that it is not valid, and that it is not prescribed for him to make it up. He said in al-Ikhtiyaaraat: “It is not prescribed for the one who misses a prayer deliberately to make it up, and the prayer, if he makes it up, is not valid; rather he should do a lot of voluntary (naafil) prayers. This is the view of a group among the Salaf.”

Ibn Hazm said:  “As for the one who deliberately omits to pray until the time for the prayer ends, he can never make it up, so he should do a lot of good deeds and offer a lot of voluntary prayers, so that his balance (of good deeds) will weigh heavily on the Day of Resurrection, and he should repent and ask Allah for forgiveness” (Al-Muhalla).  This is also the view of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and his son ‘Abd-Allah, and of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Salmaan, Ibn Mas’ood, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, Badeel al-‘Aqeeli, Muhammad ibn Sireen, Mutarrif ibn ‘Abd-Allah and ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez. It was also the view of Dawood al-Zaahiri and Ibn Hazm, and was the view favored by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and al-Shawkaani. Among contemporary scholars it was regarded as more correct by al-Albaani, Ibn Baaz, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen and others.

Al-Shawkaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Ibn Taymiyah said: Those who disagree – i.e., those who say that he should make up the prayer – do not have any proof to support their argument… We do not disagree that it is obligatory to make it up; rather we disagree as to whether the made-up prayer will be accepted from him and whether prayer offered at the wrong time is valid… (Nayl al-Awtaar)

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: The scholars who say that he should make up the prayer do not say that by making it up he is absolved of sin, rather they say that by making it up his burden of sin is reduced, but the sin of missing and delaying the prayer beyond its prescribed time is like any other sin, it needs either repentance or good deeds that will erase it or other things that will waive the punishment (Minhaaj al-Sunnah).

[Some people argue that they cannot perform the prayer on time because of their work. However, in fact] it is not permissible to delay the prayer beyond its time because of work. Allah says in the Qur’an: “37. Men whom neither trade nor sale (business) diverts from the remembrance of Allah (with heart and tongue) nor from performing As‑Salaah (Iqaamat‑as‑Salaah) nor from giving the Zakaah. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection). 38. That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills” (Soorah an-Noor, 24:37-38). So such people must organize their time at work in a way that will not interfere with their performing the prayers on time and work out an agreement on a suitable solution with their administration, even if that causes them some difficulty, like working extra hours. (Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid)

The entire Muslim ummah is in agreement with the statement and ruling that if the time of the salah has elapsed, then the salah is ‘over’ [i.e., ‘qada’ in Arabic], but if one can make it up, the statement that the salah is ‘over’ becomes false and untrue… Finally, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has left no excuse, for anyone required to perform the salah, to delay the salah from its proper time for any reason whatsoever, not even during times of fighting, fear, extreme illness, or travelling (‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq).

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.