How should we understand the hadith "The only thing that distinguishes between a Muslim and an unbeliever is prayer"?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"Between man and unbelief/polytheism is abandoning performing prayers.“ (Muslim, Iman 134; Abu Dawud, Sunnah 15)

“The covenant between munafiqs (hypocrites) and us is prayer.” (Tirmidhi, Iman 9; Nasai, Salah 8)

The threats in hadiths above are about those who “who deny that performing prayers is fard or those who regard not performing prayers legitimate”. Polytheism and hypocrisy are not in question for a person who accepts prayer as a command of Allah but acts lazily related to performing prayers. Such Muslims do not become unbelievers or munafiqs.

However, it should not be forgotten that a person who does not perform prayers will be exposed to some dangers over time.

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