If a person does not pray five times can he attend the mosque only for laylatul qadr, ramadhan etc and special nights? Isn’t the five times salah more important?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
Aisha (radi allahu anha) narrates that, I missed Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) during the night and found him in al-Baqi’. He said: “Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would deal unjustly with you? I said: Allah’s Messenger, I thought that you had gone to some of your other wives. He (the Prophet) said: Verily Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, comes down to the heaven of the world in the middle night of Sha’ban and forgives sins even more abundant than the hair of the goats of Kalb”. (Tirmidhi: 388)
Allah states in the Quran: “The night of Qadr is better than one thousand months.” (Surah Al Qadr: 3)
Abu Huraira (radi allahu anhu) narrates that Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever establishes the prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not to show off) then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Al Bukhari: 34)
The reason these nights were given is explained by the following Hadith which is narrated in Al Muwatta:
Ziyad related to me from Malik that he had heard a man he trusted of the people of knowledge say, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was shown the lifespans of the people (who had gone) before him, or what Allah willed of that, and it was as if the lives of the people of his community had become too short for them to be able to do as many good actions as others before them had been able to do with their long lives, so Allah gave him Laylat al-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months.” (19.16)
From the above it is clear that there are these special nights in which believers are encouraged to worship to an even greater extend. However the five times prayer has great significance in Islam and is considered to be most fundamental principles after iman.
Ibn Umar narrates that Allah’s Apostle said: “Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity). To perform Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca). To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.” (Sahih Al Bukhari: 7)
Furthermore Salah is considered to be the difference between belief and disbelief.
Salah is the most important duty of a believer after iman. “Leaving of Salah is the only partition between iman and kufr.” (Muslim)
What’s more the Prophet himself never omitted even a single congregational prayer and encouraged his followers to do the same. The Prophet despite his mercy and soft heartedness proposed a punishment for those who do not attend the congregational prayer at the mosque, even though they perform them at home. Abu Huraira (radi allahu anhu) narrates that Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is I was about to order for collecting firewood (fuel) and then order someone to pronounce the Adhan for the prayer and then order someone to lead the prayer then I would go from behind and burn the houses of men who did not present themselves for the (compulsory congregational) prayer. By Him, in Whose Hands my soul is, if anyone of them had known that he would get a bone covered with good meat or two (small) pieces of meat present in between two ribs, he would have turned up for the ‘Isha’ prayer.” (Sahih Al Bukhari: 1.617)
In conclusion, five times daily prayers are significant for a Muslim and should not be missed at any cost. However if one is not punctual in his daily prayers then this should not stop him worshipping Allah in the blessed nights as Allah’s mercy could descend upon the individual and change his life for ever.
Only Allah knows best.
Darul Ifta, Birmingham