Scholars, I read in an earlier fatwa of yours that there is difference of opinion in whether or not missing nafahil prayers is sinful. I was wondering, what is the view of the majority of scholars/correct opinion? Please do not refer me to an existing fatwa.
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.
If by missing the Nafl prayers you mean continuously not praying the Sunnan prayers (i.e. the supererogatory prayers that are performed either before or after the obligatory prayers), then this is dispraised but a person is not sinful as long as the person does not reject them or belittle their importance, because they are not obligatory prayers but optional ones.
A person is only sinful for abandoning the obligatory prayers. An-Nawawi when interpreting the Hadeeth that reads "…"You have to offer five obligatory prayers in a day and a night [24 hours]." The man asked: "I am obliged to perform any other prayers than these?" The Prophet replied: "No, unless you wish to perform supererogatory prayers." The man left saying, 'By Allah, I won't do any more than this, nor will I do any less.' Thereupon, the Prophet said: “That man will be successful, if he is telling the truth.'"
He [An-Nawawi] commented saying: “This man is undoubtedly successful, although his continuous abandonment of the supererogatory prayers is dispraised, and this fact renders his testimony rejected (in an Islamic court). However, he is not sinful; rather, he is successful." [End of quote]
With regard to the scholars who said that the one who abandons the supererogatory prayers is sinful, then it appears that what they mean is that abandoning the supererogatory prayers generally leads to abandoning the obligatory prayers. This is why they said that he is sinful and it is not because of just abandoning the supererogatory prayers.
Ibn Al-Muflih said in his book Al-Furoo’: "Al-Qaadhi is of the view that he is sinful, and what he meant is that he is not safe from abandoning the obligatory prayers (as a result of abandoning the supererogatory prayers), otherwise he is not sinful for only abandoning a supererogatory prayer." [End of quote]
The same applies to their saying that his testimony is rejected; it is not because he is sinful because of committing what is forbidden, but it is because it is believed that this would lead to him abandoning what is obligatory.
Az-Zarkashi said when commenting on Mukhtasar Al-Kharaqi: "The one who is continually abandoning the Rawaatib [i.e. the confirmed supererogatory prayers that are performed either before or after the obligatory prayers], his testimony is rejected not because he has committed what is forbidden, but it is because the one who does this, is not safe from abandoning any obligatory prayers."
Allah knows best.
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