Is the prayer (dua) of a person who eats haram not accepted? Is it accepted if he repents?

The Details of the Question

Is the prayer (dua) of a person who eats haram not accepted? Is it accepted if he repents?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah will not allow any good deeds to be lost. There are degrees of light from the light of a candle to the sunlight. Similarly, prayers also have degrees. Those who commit haram deeds lower the degree of their prayers according to the bigness of the harams.

Hz. Abu Hurayra narrates: The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

“O people, Allah is Good and He therefore, accepts only that which is good. And Allah commanded the believers as He commanded the Messengers by saying,

“O ye messengers! Enjoy (all) things good and pure, and work righteousness: for I am well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.” (al-Muminun, 23/51),

“O ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him ye worship.” (al-Baqara, 2/172). Then, he added:

"A person travels for a long time in the way of Allah, his hair disheveled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky and makes the supplication: "O Lord, O Lord!" However, what he eats is haram, his drink is haram, and his clothes are haram. How can his supplication be accepted since he feeds himself with haram?” (Muslim, Zakah, 19; Tirmidhi, Tafsir,3;  Ahmad b. Hanbal, 2/328)

Tirmidhi used the phrase “hasan-gharib” for this hadith. (ibid)

The important point here is this: The person who makes a supplication is surrounded by harams. He does not repent. On the on hand, he disobeys Allah and on the other hand, he wants something from Him. It is a bad attitude; it is an example of shamelessness.

Another important point regarding the issue is this: To commit a crime and to obey are inversely proportional. The existence of these two opposite poles side by side indicates a problem. Although nobody is innocent except prophets, to commit crimes and to disobey Allah all the time is not in compliance with the sincerity of a person who believes in Allah sincerely and who places His greatness in his heart. In that case, it is necessary for this person to question his sincerity.

The Prophet stated the following in a hadith:

“The dearest deed to Allah is that which is done regularly, though it is little.” (Bukhari, Iman, 43)

What is emphasized here is regularity. For, doing something regularly shows the value of that thing in a person’s inner world, his resoluteness about it and his intention.

It is possible to reach the following conclusion acting upon that hadith: “The worst of deeds (sins) is the one that is done regularly, though it is little.” For, regularity (doing something continuously) expresses many things. It is a mirror that reflects the system, intention, viewpoint, inner world, character and principles of a person.

As a matter of fact, the following evaluation exists in another hadith:

“A crime that is committed insistently will not remain as something small even if it is small. A crime that is repented and demanded to be forgiven will not be regarded as big even if it is big.” (Ajluni, II/364)

The negative effect of a haram food that diffuses into all cells of the body cannot be denied. For, the interaction of the body and spirit is a scientifically proven fact. As a matter of fact, attention is attracted to the following issue in a hadith:

“When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. However, if the sin increases, the black spot increases. That is the rusting mentioned by the following verse: ‘By no means! But on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do!’-al-Mutaffifin, 83/14-” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 29)

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