Benefit: Which Is Worse, Fornication or Abandonment of the Prayers?
In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
Answer: Abandoning the prayers is a greater sin than fornication because it takes one out of the fold of Islām. Fornication is from the greatest of sins, but it does not take one out of the fold of Islām as long as one does not hold it to be permissible. The fornicator is punished with the legislated punishment if his matter reaches the authorities.
al-Lajna al-Dāʾimah lil-Buḥūth al-ʿIlmiyyah wa-al-Iftāʾ
Source: Fatwá #10618
Translated by: Munīb al-Ṣumālī