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Is the Ṣālāh Performed After Its Appointed Time Valid?

Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

Evidence for the validity of the ṣalāh of the one who misses it with a valid excuse, and the invalidity of the ṣalāh of the one who misses it without a valid excuse.

[Q]: Is the ṣalāh that is performed after its appointed time valid?

[A]: We say: If a person possesses a valid excuse, then the ṣalāh is valid. The evidence for this is from the passages [of the Qurʾān and Sunnah] and from scholarly consensus (ijmāʿ).

As for passages, there is evidence for this stance from both the Qurʾān and the Sunnah. As for the Qurʾān, when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Whoever misses a ṣalāh due to sleep or forgetfulness should pray it when he remembers it. It has no expiation except for that”, he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) then recited the verse:

وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِى

“And perform Al-ṣalat (iqāmat al-ṣalāh) for My Remembrance.”
(Ṭā Há, 20:14)1

His (صلى الله عليه وسلم) recitation of this verse proves that it may be used as evidence to support this stance.

As for the evidence from the Sunnah, it is the aforementioned ḥadīth.

As for ijmāʿ or scholarly consensus, it is well-known on this issue.

[Q]: Would the ṣalāh that is performed after its appointed time without a valid excuse be considered valid?

[A]: The majority of scholars hold the opinion that the ṣalāh is valid, although the person is sinful.

However, the correct opinion in this issue is that any ṣalāh performed after its appointed time without a valid excuse should be considered invalid. This is because the ṣalāh of anyone who intentionally delays its performance until after the appointed time is considered invalid. Even if he was to pray that same ṣalāh one thousand times. This is because the evidence [from the Qurʾān and the Sunnah] has clearly specified a particular time. Thus, if a person was to intentionally perform that ṣalah after its appointed time, he would not have fulfilled the command of Allāh. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Whoever engages in an act of worship that is not from our matter [of Islām] will have that act rejected.”2 Herego, the ṣalāh that is performed in this way will be rejected.

This stance may be the source of some consternation for some people. They say: How is it that the one with a valid excuse is made to pray the ṣalāh he missed after its appointed time but we say to the one who intentionally misses its performance: ‘He should not pray’?! Could we not say that it is more appropriate and befitting to command the one who intentionally misses the performance of a ṣalāh to pray the missed ṣalāh [as a means of punishment and reprimand for him]. Is he not more deserving of such a command than the one who has a valid excuse?

In response: Saying to the one who intentionally misses the ṣalāh that he may not perform it after its appointed time does not actually represent a means of easing his burden. Rather, it is a form of rejecting his act as it would be performed in opposition to the express command of Allāh and because he is sinful. This is more potent and severe in preventing him from repeating this in the future, closer to the attainment of his reformation. As for the one who prays after the specified time with a valid excuse, he is not sinful. Therefore, the one who intentionally delays his prayer should sincerely repent to Allāh—the Most High—for his act, but he may not pray.

Endnotes:
[1] Authentic: narrated by Muslim 1:471.
[2] Authentic: narrated by Muslim: 1718.

Source: Al-Sharḥ al-Mumtiʿ 2:96-98
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: January 8, 2024
Edited: January 8, 2024

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