There are some people who say the prayers that are missed deliberately cannot be performed as qada (missed) prayers. Is it true? Does qada (missed) prayer exist in all madhhabs?

Details of the Question
There are some people who say the prayers that are missed deliberately cannot be performed as qada (missed) prayers. Is it true? Does qada (missed) prayer exist in all madhhabs?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Prophet Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) performed qada prayers. During the Battle of Khandaq, the polytheists prevented the Muslims from performing four daily prayers; even some part of the night past. Finally, the Messenger of Allah ordered Bilal al-Habashi to call adhan and iqamah and they performed the noon prayer. Then, he called iqamah again and they performed the afternoon prayer. Then, he called iqamah again and they performed the evening prayer, and finally the night prayer after iqamah again.

According to Abu Bakr Ibnul-Arabi, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) performed the morning prayer as qada three times with the Companions while travelling because they could not wake up. One of them was while returning from the Battle of Khaybar. According to what is reported from Abu Hurayra, the Messenger of Allah went to sleep in the place where they stopped on the way because he felt sleepy and told Bilal to awaken them for the morning prayer. Bilal performed nafilah prayers but fell asleep leaning on his animal toward the morning. Neither the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) nor the Companions woke up due to being exhausted; they woke up when the sun shone on their faces. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) woke up first and warned Bilal. The army proceeded for a while. Then, the Prophet ordered the Companions to make wudu; the Prophet performed a prayer of two rak’ahs first. Then, Bilal called iqamah and they performed the morning prayer in congregation as qada. Then, the Messenger of Allah said,   

"If a person forgets to perform a prayer, let him perform it as soon as he remembers it. For, Allah said, establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise.’” (Taha, 20/ 14)  (Muslim, Masajid, 309; Abu Dawud, Salat, 11; Tirmidhi, Tafsiru Sura, 20; Ibn Majah, Salat, 10; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 47).

According to what Abu Qatada and Imran b. Husayn narrated separately, in another journey, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) performed the morning prayer as qada after the sun rose and became white due to falling asleep. Those who reported the incident did not mention which expedition it was; therefore, hadith scholars said it could be Khaybar, Tabuk, Hudaybiyyah or Jayshul-Umara expeditions. (see Bukhari, Tayammum, 6; Manaqib, 25; Muslim, Masajid, 311, 312; Sahih Muslim Translation and Explanation, IV, 1955-1963).

The difference between a person who does not perform a prayer deliberately and who forgets or sleeps is the sin. A person who abandons a prayer deliberately becomes a sinner, but not the one who forgets or sleeps; however, all of them have to perform the missed prayers as qada.

We can summarize the evidences put forward by the scholars about it as follows:

Allah says "perform prayers" in many verses and does not mention any difference between performing them on time or not. This is an order that expresses obligation. Similarly, it is definitely known that those who sleep and forget are ordered to perform prayers as qada though they are not regarded as sinners. In that case, it is necessary for a person who misses a prayer to perform it as qada.

The following order of the Prophet (pbuh) also expresses it: "If a person misses a prayer by sleeping or forgetting…" For, forgetting and abandoning are the same thing. Allah states the following:

"They have forgotten Allah; so He hath forgotten them." (at-Tawba, 9/67);

"And be ye not like those who forgot Allah; and He made them forget their own souls..." (al-Hashr, 59/19)

Forgetting is not in question for Allah. The reason why this word is used for them is to abandon them. "None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar…" (al-Baqara, 2/106) In the verse above, to forget means to abandon. To remember can take place after forgetting or something else. As a matter of fact, Allah states the following in a sacred hadith:

"If my slave remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself." (Bukhari, Tawhid 15, Muslim, Dhikr 2, 21)

Forgetting is not in question for Allah, whose fame is high. According to the phrase of the Prophet (pbuh), "when he remembers it" means when he knows it.

Likewise, a person who owes a certain amount of money to another person to be paid on a certain date, he is not freed of that date if he does not pay it when it is due. Such a debt can be removed only by acquittal. Acquittal is not in question related to debts of prayers to Allah; the qada of those prayers is not removed unless He himself allows it.

On the other hand, we accept the following issue unanimously: It is fard for a person who abandons Ramadan fasting for a day to perform fasting as qada for that day after Ramadan. The same thing is valid for prayer. If somebody says that there is a narration from Imam Malik that a person who performs a prayer deliberately does not perform it as qada forever, we will say that what is meant by it is the indication that what has passed will never come back or it aims to state that this sin of such an act is very big. As a matter of fact, the following statement reported by Ibn Mas'ud and Ali is similar to it:

"If a person eats in Ramada deliberately and then performs fasting the whole year, it will not be atonement for that eating in Ramadan."

Besides, it is obligatory for the fulfilment of the responsibility to perform qada for the missed prayer and to repent after that. Allah will do as he wishes after that. (see Qurtubi, al-Jamiu li-Ahkamil-Qur’an, Buruc Publications: 11/312-314)

Accordingly, it is fard to perform prayers that are missed deliberately or involuntarily as qada. According to all four madhhabs, it is necessary to perform the missed prayers.

Prayer is a debt that is fard for every Muslim. It is necessary to pay the money that you borrow on time. It is not a good deed when you delay it but you have to pay it even if it is late and you have to apologize. Similarly, it is necessary to pay the debt of prayer on time. However, if you delay it due to some reasons, it is necessary to pay the debt of prayers and to apologize to Allah. The debt of prayer can be paid only by performing it. There is no other way to pay it.

Human beings can discriminate between the good and the evil, the truth and the wrong after they reach the age of puberty. Therefore, our Lord does not call us to account for the period of childhood in the hereafter but He calls us to account beginning from the first day of puberty about our religious responsibilities like prayer and fasting; thus, our religious responsibility starts at the age of puberty. However, the date of puberty is not definite. A boy may reach the age of puberty any day beginning from the age of 12 and a girl from the age of 9. It starts when a boy has a wet dream or ejaculates for the first time and when a girl menstruates for the first time. Beginning from that day, each of the responsibilities starts to be recorded in the book of deeds as “fulfilled” or “not fulfilled”.

We will give you some useful information regarding the issue:

1. If a person does not know the beginning of his/her age of puberty, it is regarded as twelve for men and nine for women and the years in which prayers were not performed are calculated.

2. You can perform one qada prayer after each daily prayer. Thus, it will not be difficult for your soul and it will be easy to calculate.

3. If you make intention that you will pay all of your debts of prayer and start to perform qada prayers like that and if you die before you finish them, inshallah you will be regarded to have completed them. For, you would continue to perform them if you lived. May Allah give you a life that will enable you to complete them!

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