Assalaamu alaykum. I have a question which I have been curious about. I know that Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy on him, was of the opinion that a person does not have to make up for their past missed prayers if it was done deliberately. I heard that he, may Allah have mercy on him, chose this opinion on the basis that a person who does not pray is a disbeliever; therefore, by him returning to Islam, it wipes out all of his sins, and so he does not have to do anything besides repenting. Despite that, I also heard that his, may Allah have mercy on him, opinion was irrelevant of the above ruling. He, may Allah have mercy on him, chose this opinion because making up missed prayers has no basis. Also, the repentance of a Muslim wipes out all of their past sins, so making up for a missed prayer for which he is still liable is simply not correct. Can you explain to me which is correct? I just want to enrich my knowledge. Thank you for your patience both in reading the question and answering. May Allah reward you.
All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah did not base his view about the impermissibility of making up for missed prayers on the argument that the one who intentionally missed it is a disbeliever. Rather, he based his view on the argument that the prayer has a fixed and limited time that Allah has specified, so it is not permissible to perform it at a time other than this. The reported texts indicate that only the one who forgot to pray and the one who missed a prayer because he was asleep are ordered to make up for it.
Making up is only obligatory by a new commandment, so the one who misses the prayer deliberately lacks the new commandment, and there is no such commandment, so he is not permitted to make up (for the prayer). Also, the order to make up for the prayer is an alleviation which does not suit the one who misses the prayer deliberately; rather, alleviation is permitted in regard to the one who has a valid excuse. He, may Allah have mercy on him, said:
“The commandment to make up for acts of worship and the acceptance of making up for these acts is a benevolence and mercy from Allah, and this is suitable for the one who has an excuse, but the one who has committed a major sin by deliberately missing the prayer does not deserve any benevolence or mercy. However, if he repents, then he may follow the example of other people who repented from major sins; he should strive to obey Allah and worship Him as much as possible.”
He also said, “The scholars differed in opinion about the one who abandons the prayer and fasting deliberately [without any sound excuse] and whether he should make up for the prayer and the fasting? The majority said that he should make up for them. Some of them said: he does not make up for them and it is not valid to make up for them after their time has passed, just like Hajj.”
There is much discussion and argumentation among the scholars about this issue, so, for benefit, you may refer to the book entitled Kitaab as-Salaah wa Hukm Taarikiha (The Book of the Prayer and the Ruling on the One Who Abandons it) by Ibn Al-Qayyim wherein he discussed this issue in detail and profusely elaborated on it with inference, and he favored the view of his Shaykh, Ibn Taymiyyah, that it is not permissible to make up for the prayer.
The view which we adopt here in Islamweb is that it is obligatory to make up for missed prayers, and it is the view of the majority of the scholars. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 83724.
Allah knows best.
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