The Consequences Of Deliberately Neglects Solāh
Question: The sahih hadith state clearly that the one who neglects solāh is a kafir. If we take the hadith at face value, it appears that we are obliged to deprive the person who neglects prayer deliberately of all his rights of inheritance, a separate cemetery should be allocated for such people, and we cannot pray for them or greet them with salam, because there is no greeting of peace for a kafir. Let us not forget that if we were to calculate the number of men, believers and non-believers alike, who pray, we will find it is only 6%, and among women the number is even less. What does Islam have to say about this? What is the ruling about giving or returning the greeting of salam to one who neglects prayer?
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālamīn. There is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger.
The scholars have differed concerning the Muslim who deliberately neglects solāh without denying that it is obligatory. Some of them say that he is definitely a kufur who has gone beyond the pale of Islam. He is considered to be a murtad (apostate) who is to be given three days to repent – if he does not, he is to be executed for his apostasy.
The funeral solāh will not be recited over him, and he will not be buried in the Muslim graveyard. The greeting of salam is not to be given to him, in life or in death, and his greeting is not to be returned; prayers for forgiveness and mercy for him cannot be offered; he cannot inherit, neither can his wealth be inherited, instead it is to be given to the Muslim treasury (Baitulmal). This ruling applies whether the numbers of people who are neglecting their solāh are many or a few.
This opinion is considered the soundest and most correct, because of the words of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam):
“The difference between us and them is solāh. Whoever neglects it is a kafir.”
[Recorded by Imām Ahmad and the authors of Sunan with a sahih isnad];
“(Nothing stands) between a man and kufur and syirik, except solāh: (whoever neglects it becomes a kufur and a mushrik).”
[Recorded by Imam Muslim in his Sahih, with other similar hadith].
The majority of scholars said that if a person denies that prayer is obligatory, he is a kafir and an apostate from the religion of Islam. The ruling concerning such a person is as described above. If he does not deny that it is obligatory, but he neglects it because of laziness, for example, then he is guilty of a major sin (kabirah), but he is not considered to be beyond the pale of Islam. He should be given three days in which to repent.
If he does, then Al-Hamdu-lillah (Praise be to Allah); if he does not, then he should be executed, but this is a punishment, not because he became a kafir. In this case, he should be washed (ghusul, after death) and wrapped in a shroud (kafan). The funeral solāh should be offered for him, prayers can be offered for forgiveness and mercy for him, and he should be buried in the Muslim graveyard. He can inherit and be inherited from. In general, all the rules concerning Muslims who are sinners apply to him, in life and in death.
[From Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Da’imah, 6/49]
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Via Islam Q &A (Question No 2182)]