Deliberate abandoning or delaying

Q: What is the ruling on a man who pretends to be a Muslim although he does not perform the five daily Prayers? When he fasts in Ramadan, he breaks his fast by drinking alcohol and forbids for himself eating from the animals slaughtered by Christians.

A: Mere verbal declaration of Islam does not include a person in Islam. Iman (faith) is not accomplished through wishes or pretences, but it is what is implanted in the heart and ratified through deeds. The essential requirements of Iman and Islam have been clearly defined in the Hadith narrated by `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him). The Hadith is collected by Imam Muslim in his Sahih (authentic book of Hadith) on the authority of `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of a journey were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said: "O Muhammad, tell me about Islam". The Messenger of Allah said: "Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the Zakat, to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so." He said: "You have spoken the truth", and we were amazed at him asking him then saying that he had spoken the truth. He said: "Then tell me about Iman." He said: "It is to believe in Allah, (Part No. 6; Page No. 32) His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine predestination, both the good and the evil thereof." He said: "You have spoken the truth". He said: " Then tell me about Ihsan." He said: "It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you". He said: "Then tell me about the Hour". He said: "The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner." He said: "Then tell me about its signs." He said: "That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsmen competing in constructing lofty buildings." Then he left and I stayed for a while. Then, he (the prophet) said: "O `Umar, do you know who the questioner was?" I said: "Allah and His Messenger know best". He said: "He was Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him), who came to you to teach you your religion." In this Hadith, the meanings of Islam, Iman and Ihsan are well defined. Islam has been defined by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to mean outward submission to Allah which is shown through observance of the five declared pillars of Islam. These pillars include verbal testification that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah, performance of the five daily prayers, payment of Zakah, fasting the month of Ramadan and performing Hajj to the Sacred House in Makkah for whoever can afford it. Salah and Sawm (fasting) are two pillars involving physical practices while Zakah involves charitable spending. Hajj combines between physical practice and charitable spending for Muslims who are not living in Makkah. Fulfillment of these five pillars must be met in order to hold a person as a true Muslim. However, no one can be rightfully called a complete Muslim on account of their verbal assertion of Islam. This description only materializes if observance of other pillars of Islam is maintained. This fact is supported in the Hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: A (true) Muslim is one who avoids harming his fellow Muslims (Part No. 6; Page No. 33) with his tongue or his hands It is narrated in the two books of Sahih (authentic Hadith books collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) that a man asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: " What is the most righteous deed in Islam?" The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: To feed food and extend greetings to one whom you know and whom you do not know. Imam Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhy and Al-Nasa'y also narrated on the authority of Al-`Irbad Ibn Sariyah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah has set forth a parable with a straight path, on the sides of which are two walls with open doors covered by curtains. In the beginning of the path there is a caller who says, "O, you people! Follow the straight path and do not deviate." There is another caller who calls from inside the path. If one of you goes to open one of the doors, he tells him, "Woe unto you! Don't open the door. If you open it, you shall slide there." The straight path is Islam; the two walls are the limits set by Allah; the open doors are the prohibitions made by Allah; the caller in the beginning of the path is Allah's Book (the Qur'an); and the other caller is the preacher inside one's self which reminds every Muslim. According to Al-Tirmidhy's narration, it is stated: Allâh calls to the Home of Peace (i.e. Paradise, by accepting Allâh’s religion of Islâmic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds and abstaining from polytheism and evil deeds) and guides whom He wills to the Straight Path. (Part No. 6; Page No. 34) The parable set by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the above Hadith clearly explains that Islam is the straight path which Allah has ordered us to follow while not exceeding the limits set by Him. Iman, as explained by the Prophet (peace be upon him), involves inward submission of the heart. This inward submission cannot exist in the absence of Islam. Thus Iman and Islam are inextricably interwoven. If Islam is mentioned separately from Iman, the two terms become interchangeable. This fact is substantiated by the Qur'anic Ayah (verse) in which Allah (Exalted be He) says: Truly, the religion with Allâh is Islâm. The same applies if Iman is mentioned separately from Islam. This is also based on the Hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Faith has over seventy branches or over sixty branches, the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is none worthy of worship (in truth) but Allah, and the humblest of which is the, removal of what is harmful from a path. Modesty is a branch of faith. Narrated in the two Sahih (authentic books of Hadith collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and this narration is from Muslim. If coupled together, Iman is understood in the context of inward submission and Islam is outward submission. Allah (Exalted be He) says: The bedouins say: “We believe.” Say: “You believe not but you only say, ‘We have surrendered (in Islâm),’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts. According to Ibn `Abbas and others, this group of Bedouins were not hypocrites. They were weak in faith. The concluding words of the Ayah strengthens this fact. Allah (Exalted be He) says: But if you obey Allâh and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds. (Part No. 6; Page No. 35) This Ayah denotes that their deeds could be accepted by Allah through their little Iman. A person's Islam is not nullified if some of its prescribed observances are neglected or if some prohibitions are committed. It is, however, rendered null and void if something totally incongruous with it is committed like abandoning Salah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The one who abandons Salah has no share in Islam. Likewise, a person's Islam becomes invalid if he commits anything that may render it void as has been clarified by scholars in the chapter about the rulings related to renegades. On the contrary, one who observes the pillars of Islam and Iman and restrains himself from committing prohibitions is considered a complete believer. A person who observes the pillars of Islam and Iman while committing some prohibited acts, their Iman will decrease. As for Ihsan, the Prophet defined it by saying: To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot see him (i.e. Cannot achieve this state of devotion), (know that) He sees you. Ihsan assumes a higher rank than both Islam and Iman. With this in mind, one who abandons Salah falls under one of the following two categories: (Part No. 6; Page No. 36) First: If he abandons it out of denying its being an incumbent obligation, it is unanimously agreed upon by scholars that he is a Kafir (disbeliever). The reason being that he has abandoned one of the taken-for-granted pillars of Islam.Second: If he abandons it out of negligence while not denying its being an incumbent obligation, the most preferable of the two views held by scholars is that he is a Kafir. This is based on the Hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whoever abandons Salah intentionally becomes removed from the Protection of Allah and His Messenger. Narrated by Imam Ahmad. This Hadith indicates the lawfulness of killing a person who abandons Salah. In another Hadith the prophet (peace be upon him) said: Between a servant and Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and Kufr (disbelief) is abandoning Salah. Narrated by Muslim. This Hadith indicates that a person who abandons Salah is considered a Kafir (disbeliever). It is prohibited for a Muslim to break their fast by drinking alcohol. They are deemed Kafirs if they believe in the lawfulness of alcohol drinking. They are considered to be committing a sin if they drink it while still believing it to be prohibited. Alcohol drinking is the worst of evils. A Muslim is, therefore, prohibited to drink it because of the inherent evil religious, physical, and psychological harms. As for claiming the prohibition of eating slaughtered animals of Christians, if the person who claims this believes so while knowing that Allah has made it lawful, he is considered a Kafir as he prohibits (Part No. 6; Page No. 37) what Allah has declared lawful.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.