Is it necessary to whip those who do not perform prayers?

The Details of the Question

- The views Abu Hanifa and other great scholars on the punishment (hadd) for abandoning prayers (salat).
- I have an honest question regarding the issue. I have heard from the scholars that if someone misses prayers, he should be whipped in public for it. Some say that he must be whipped at least 30 times. I also know that this is not a mandatory or fixed hadd punishment, but rather for disciplinary purposes.
- I just want to know Imam Abu Hanifa’s point of view so that I can understand if someone tries to distort Abu Hanifa’s real intention and whether he implies something else that Abu Hanifa did not mean.
- Will you please tell me about Abu Hanifa’s point of view.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In Islamic Law, hadd punishments are the punishments determined by Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) for certain crimes. Ta’zir punishments, on the other hand, are punishments that are not clearly specified by divine revelation and are left to the discretion of the judge and the ijtihad of the scholars.

There is no hadd punishment for abandoning prayers.

The white pages of the institutions of wisdom and guidance throughout Islamic History are full of innumerable examples of guidance that prioritize encouragement, facilitation and love in prayer.

Today, the only solution to the issue of prayer is through enlightening, guiding, informing, facilitating, loving, encouraging and giving good news.

Fiqh scholars have issued different decrees based on the narrations and their different interpretations regarding the punishment for those who believe that prayer is fard but do not perform it because of laziness, etc.

The view attributed to Abu Hanifa is as follows: “He is imprisoned until he performs it.”

An important part of the explanations of the fiqh scholars who lived in the past is based on ijtihad and interpretation. If it were not the case, there would not have been differences; they would all have said the same thing and most of the decrees would have been by ijma (consensus) but the number of ijma decrees in fiqh is quite small.

When discussing the issue of punishing those who do not perform prayers, the time, place and society must be taken into consideration.

In times and places where Shari’ah is dominant and those who do not perform prayers are ostracized from society and even punished in some way by the people, the decree and practice will be different from those in a secular country; that is the case according to fiqh.

In an Islamic state and society, a person who does not perform prayers is advised and educated; if he insists on abandoning prayers openly despite everything, he may also be given ta’zir punishment.

In a secular state, for example, those who do not pay taxes are punished. Those who use, buy and sell drugs are punished. Those who abandon or disrespect certain symbols are punished...

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