By Ishola Balogun
Fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of the less-fortunate. It’s seen as a way to physically and spiritually detoxify by kicking impulses like overeating and concentrate on how to reach the creator. A time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one’s prayers. Muslims are expected to spend more time in religious activities than worldly affairs.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the believe in Allah which is the first, the daily salat, Zakat and performing the hajj pilgrimage in Makkah.
Salat, as the second pillar, is the most fundamental pillar of Islam; it is the hallmark of faith and the key to paradise. We cannot over-emphasise the importance of daily salat in Islam. It is the fulcrum on which all others rest. Therefore, no Muslim can afford to neglect the salat whether before, during or after Ramadan. If one does not pray the daily salat, how then can he fulfil the other aspect of the pillars? Salat is only the basis for salvation.
Again, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stressed the crucial nature of salah when he said: “The covenant between us and them is marked by salat; so whoever abandons it is guilty of the breach of covenant.” In another hadith, it was also related that no good deed will be accepted from one who does not pray – no zakat, no fasting, no Hajj or anything else. Al-Bukhaari (520) narrated that Buraydah said: The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said: “Whoever does not pray Asr, his good deeds will be annulled.”
There are two types of people here: (1) those who do not pray at all but fast in Ramadan – their activities will be annulled. (2) those who do not offer a particular prayer on a particular day, yet fast in Ramadan, which annuls the good deeds of that day. So annulment of all good deeds happens to those who forsake all the prayers, and annulment of the good deeds of a particular day happens to the one who omits a particular prayer.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked in Fataawa al-Siyaam (p. 87) about the ruling on the fasting of one who does not pray. “The fast of one who does not pray is not valid and is not accepted, because the one who does not pray is a kaafir and an apostate, because Allah says in Quran 9: 11: ‘But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism], perform Salat (Iqaamat-as-Salaah) and give Zakaah, then they are your brethren in religion’.”
On the other hand, those who usually miss their salat are rather considered as Muslims, albeit sinful, and their fasting is acceptable. They are those who try to cheat Allah by recognizing him only in Ramadan by observing the fast but refused to offer their regular salat as at when due; they are guilty of great sins. As you fast, observe your salat regularly.