Question: A friend of mine performs the five daily salats, but he does not give up alcohol and some other sins. What can the reason for it be?
A salat performed properly keeps one away from all kinds of evil acts. (Al-‘Ankabut 45)
If a person’s salats do not keep him away from evil deeds, it means that he does not perform them properly. A hadith-i sharif says:
(If the salat of a person does not restrain him from all kinds of evil acts, he will only get further away from Allah.) [Tabarani]
Therefore, what should be done is to perform salats properly. In order to perform salats properly, one must have correct aqidah (creed, belief system) first. The other conditions come after this. Secondly, one’s ghusl and wudu’ must be valid. Whoever adheres to these conditions will certainly give up all evil deeds.
Even keeping bad company has a bad influence on an individual. It is declared in hadith-i sharifs:
(A bad friend is like blacksmith’s bellows. When the bellows blow air, sparks from the fire may not burn you, but you will be affected by the bad smell.) [Bukhari]
(A good friend is like the seller of perfume. Even if he does not put perfume on you, you benefit from its good smell as long as you keep company with him.) [Muslim]
Question: My husband performs salat when he is drunk. Is his salat acceptable? He sometimes breaks his fast with alcohol in the evening. Do his salats and fasts become void?
The acts of worship of a sinning person is valid. He is absolved from the debt of salats and fasts. In the hereafter he will not be asked why he did not offer salats or fasts. But he will be asked why he drank alcohol. The salats of a person drinking alcohol are considered valid, but they are not acceptable. Not being acceptable does not mean not being valid. Any act of worship that is valid and done for the pleasure of Allahu ta’ala brings rewards (thawab). It means that such a person is absolved from the debt of salat but he cannot attain all the rewards given in return for offering salat.
The same rule applies to the salats of a woman not wearing hijab. She is absolved from the debt of salats, but she cannot attain all the rewards given in return for performing salat. That is, her rewards will be fewer. This rule does not apply to only a person drinking alcohol or a woman not wearing hijab. This is applicable to any sinning person. If one tells lies, backbites, or spreads gossip, the rewards of one’s salats decrease.
Question: According to an old story, a Zoroastrian did not permit his child to eat publicly in the month of Ramadan. He treated Muslims with respect, and for this reason, he breathed his last as a Muslim. However, it is written in the articles dealing with Islamic rulings that it is a difficult thing for a Muslim leaving salats to die a Muslim; that is, his faith is at risk. While even a Muslim may die a disbeliever, how could that Zoroastrian die a Muslim?
Islam requires people to do two things: (1) to believe in all the things Islam tells us; (2) to respect, hold in high esteem, and like these things, which one has believed in. These two things are related to belief. To practice or not to practice acts of worship is related to earning rewards or committing sins. In the aforementioned story, the Zoroastrian’s respect and reverence for Ramadan fast led to him becoming a Muslim. Similar events happened many times.
When a Muslim leaves salats or commits prohibited things for years, he runs the high risk of falling into disbelief (kufr). His high risk of falling into disbelief has nothing to do with committing sins or leaving acts of worship. The reason for it is that his leaving acts of worship or committing prohibited things may decrease, or even wipe out, his reverence and respect for the issues he believed in. It is stated that salat is the pillar of Islam and that it certainly restrains one from evil deeds. A person leaving salat has nothing that will protect him. Moreover, there are many people that lose their respect and reverence for Islamic rulings because of their careless words when they engage in idle talk. For this reason, the positions of two individuals are quite different. They should not be confused.
If a disbeliever says the Kalima ash-shahadah (the Word of Testimony), he becomes a Muslim right away. All of his past sins are forgiven. However, a Muslim abandoning salats is at risk due to the reasons that we have tried to explain above.
Question: It is stated that a salat performed properly stops one from all kinds of evil deeds. What should we do to perform salat properly?
The required things are listed hereunder:
1. One must follow the aqidah (belief system) of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. If one’s creed is not correct, one’s salats and other acts of worship will not be accepted. For this reason, every Muslim must learn Sunni creedal issues.
2. One must abstain from haram things. The salats of a person eating and committing haram are not accepted. That is, he is only absolved from the debt of salat, and he will not be asked in the hereafter why he did not offer salat. But he will be deprived of the rewards given in return for performing salat.
3. One must carry out obligatory, necessary, sunnah, and recommended elements of salat. One must shun those things that render a salat makruh or null and void.
4. One must try his best to perform every salat in jama’at (congregation).
5. Perform salat as soon as its appointed time comes. Do not delay it until the time at which it is makruh to perform it.
6. If ghusl or wudu’ is not performed correctly, salat offered will not be correct. If one’s ghusl or wudu’ is not valid, one’s salat will not be valid, either.
7. If one does not do obligatory, sunnah, and recommended elements of ghusl and wudu’ and commits those acts that are abominable (makruh) or nullifiers of ghusl or wudu’, the salat one performed with this wudu’ and ghusl will not be correct. If one does not do obligatory elements of them or commits one of the nullifiers of them, one’s salat will in no way be valid. For example, if one has a filling or a crown in one’s mouth, one’s ghusl will not be valid if one does not imitate the Maliki or Shafi’i Madhhab. A salat performed with an invalid ghusl is invalid, too.
8. One must recite the Qur’anic chapters or verses correctly when performing salat. If one does not recite them correctly, one’s salat will not be valid.
If one, though performing the five daily salats regularly, does not give up evil acts, it means that one does not perform them properly.