How should the statement ‘a person who does not perform prayers does not have belief’ be understood? Does a person who does not perform prayers become an unbeliever?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

If a believer has an attribute belonging to an unbeliever, he will not be an unbeliever. For instant, it is stated in a hadith that telling lies is an attribute of munafiqs (hypocrites). However, a Muslim does not become a munafiq when he tells a lie. He may resemble munafiqs with that deed.

What is meant by the statement " a person who does not perform prayers does not have belief" is that he does not have perfect belief.

A person who believes in something that necessitates unbelief becomes an unbeliever. However, a person who utters a word that necessitates unbelief is not called an unbeliever because sometimes a word that necessitates unbelief does not make a person who utters it an unbeliever. Uttering that word might originate from his ignorance, not from his unbelief.

Unbelief and belief are things that are related to the heart. A person who utters a word that necessitates unbelief is not regarded as an unbeliever because of it unless he becomes an unbeliever in his heart.

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