Worshiping Allah Almighty with specific words and actions; beginning with saying “Allahu Akbar” and ending with saying “As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum”.
The Prophet ﷺ, said: “Islam is built upon five pillars: Witnessing that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, and establishing the prayer…” [ Agreed upon.]
The Prophet ﷺsaid: “The best of actions is the prayer early in its time.” [ Source: At-Tirmidhi.]
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed between a man, and shirk and Kufr, is abandoning the prayer.” [ Source: Muslim.]
The Prophet ﷺ said: “The head of this affair is Islam and its support is Salah .” [ Source: Ahmad.]
1- As-Salah is a source of light (means of guidance) for the one who performs it. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Salah is light.” [ Source: Muslim]
2- As-Salah is a means of expiating sins. Allah, the Magnificent and Majestic, says: “And establish As-Salah at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night (i.e. the five compulsory prayers). Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds. That is a reminder for the mindful.” (Hud: 114)
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Don’t you see that if there was a river at the door of any of you, and from this river, one bathes five times daily, will there remain any daranihi[ dirt.] on him?” They (the Companions) (may Allah be pleased with them) replied, “There won’t remain any dirt on him.” He ﷺ said: “And that is the similitude of the five daily prayers, with them Allah expiates sins.” [ Agreed upon.]
3- As-Salah is a reason for entering Paradise. The Prophet ﷺ said to Rabee’ah Ibn Ka’b t, when he asked to be able to accompany the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in paradise: “Then, aid me in that by making many prostrations.” [ Source: Muslim.]
The five daily prayers are obligatory, as stated in the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the scholars of Islam.
The Qur’an: Allah says: “And perform Salah and give As-Zakah and bow down along with those who bow down.” (Baqarah: 43).
The Sunnah: The Prophet ﷺ said “Islam is built upon five: Testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad ﷺ is His servant and messenger; establishing As-Salah; giving Az- Zakah; observing pilgrimage to the (holy) house and fasting Ramadhan.” [ Agreed upon.]
On the authority of Talhah ibn Ubaydullah, a man asked the Prophet ﷺ about Islam. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Five salawat (prayers) in the day and night.” The man asked, “Is there anything upon me apart from these?” The Prophet ﷺ said: “No, except if you wish to offer non-obligatory prayers (nawafil).” [ Agreed upon.]
The Consensus: The scholars of Islam, past and present, agree, based on evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah, that the five daily prayers are obligatory.
Salah is an obligation on every sane mature Muslim; male or female.
If he is ignorant about the issue, then he should be informed. Subsequently if he persists on rejecting its obligation, he becomes a disbeliever, as he belies Allah Almighty, His Messenger ﷺ and the consensus of the Muslims.
Whosoever stops performing As-Salah intentionally out of laziness, has disbelieved. It is upon the ruler to order him to perform As-Salah and also advise him, for three days, to repent for abandoning it. Subsequently, if he repents and returns to making the As-Salah, he is spared. But if he does not start praying again, he is killed for apostasy. This is in accordance with the Prophet’s ﷺ statement: “The covenant which is between us and them (the disbelievers) is the prayer; so whosoever leaves it has disbelieved.” [ Source: At-Tirmidhi.] Also his saying: “Indeed between a man, and shirk and kufr, is abandoning As-Salah.” [ Source: Muslim.]