Is there a hadith meaning a person who accounts for daily prayers will attain salvation?

Details of the Question
Is there a hadith meaning a person who accounts for daily prayers will attain salvation?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The hadith regarding the issue is as follows:

"The first thing about which a person will be called to account out of his actions on the Day of Judgment is prayer. If the prayers are perfect, things will be good for him and he will benefit from it. If his prayers are defective, he will lose and suffer. If some of his fards are missing, Our Lord, the Exalted, will say to the angels, “See if he has some optional prayers. If there are optional prayers, the missing parts of fards will be completed by them. Then, all the actions will be considered similarly." (Tirmidhi, Mawaqit 188; see Abu Dawud, Salat 149; Nasai, Salat 9; Ibn Majah, Iqamah 202)

The fact that man will be accounted for daily prayers first on the Day of Judgment shows the importance of daily prayers among the kinds of worship. In fact, it is clear that prayer, which makes a person stand in the presence of God five times a day, cannot be compared to anything.  

To put it as the Messenger of Allah said, Prayer is the ascension (miraj) of a believer. (Suyuti, Sharhu Ibn Majah, 1/313) It can be considered as the indicator of the salvation of man and his state in other fields of life. For, "Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds." (al-Ankabut, 29/45) A person who performs prayers five times a day performs material and spiritual cleansing.

If a believer spends his life with this consciousness and performs prayers properly, he will account for his prayers easily; and it is understood that he will account for the other issues easily, too. A believer who spends his life with consciousness of prayer will be responsive in other fields of life and lead a life in compliance with the consent of his Lord. 

On the other hand, prayer is a fard that is the right of Allah; a person performs it only due to his responsibility toward Allah. However, there are many duties that we need to fulfill so that this fard will be accepted by Allah. Avoiding violating other people’s rights has an important place among them. 

We can say that the reason why a person is accounted for his duties and responsibilities toward Allah is that his violation of other people’s rights will be paid from his rewards. 

Accordingly, it is understood that a person who has performed his prayers properly and has accounted for them easily will account for other kinds of worship easily, too. It does not mean that a person who has accounted for prayers will not be accounted for other kinds of worship.

As a matter of fact, the phrase,“then, all the actions will be considered similarly” in the hadith shows clearly that he will be accounted for other actions. That is, the other fards like zakah (alms), fasting, hajj will also be accounted and if they there are any missing parts in them, they will be atoned by the optional kinds of prayers like sadaqa, supererogatory fasting, hajj, etc. Allah’s grace and grant are abundant.  

This hadith states how important it is to fulfill fards fully and properly along with keeping performing supererogatory worship. Supererogatory worship can be related to all kinds of worship. Supererogatory prayers, fasting, hajj, sadaqa except zakah and several other charities are included in this group. Some scholars say that what is meant by supererogatory worship here is the awe in daily prayers, dhikr and supplication of a person because all of them are deeds that are rewarded by Allah.

To sum up:

-    The first deeds that a person will be accounted for by Allah are the worship called huququllah (rights of Allah), which we are responsible to Allah only.

-    The first deed to be accounted for among huququllah is five daily prayers.

-    The missing parts of fard prayers are completed by supererogatory worship.

-    To keep performing supererogatory worship is beneficial for believers both in the world and in the hereafter.

-    On the Day of Judgment, people will be accounted for what they have done in the world.

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