The Killing of Those Who Cease to Pray
Those who cease to pray can be killed. (2117-Sunan Abu Dawud)
The above false hadith is another of those that command the killing of those who abjure Islam. It is clear, however, that a faith which openly denies compulsion and force is not going to compel people to pray. How could a religion that says “... You are not a dictator over them…” (Surah Qaf, 45) be so violent and repressive? It cannot, of course. When we look at the Qur’an we see that everyone must be treated with respect and affection, whether they believe or not.
Let us remember one important fact we set out at the beginning of this book: an act of worship performed under compulsion will lose any validity as an act of worship, and may also give rise to hatred and anger. When someone is forced to pray, he does not become a Muslim; someone who is forced to pray against his will may turn into a two-faced hypocrite, an enemy of the faith. Someone who thinks he will be killed if he stops praying will simply pretend to be a believer if he does not wish to endanger his own life. He will behave hypocritically and will loathe the life he leads, and therefore the faith imposed on him. Creating a hypocrite is the worst possible harm that can be done to Islam. Therefore, a religious devotion ensured through compulsion, force and threats of death is no religious devotion at all. This merely harms Islam.
Alphons Leopold Mielich's oil painting “Prayer at the Muhammad Ali Mosque”
Nobody can obviously be forced to pray in a faith in which there can be no compulsion on any subject.
If someone has stopped praying although he has no mental or physical disability, there may be various reasons for this. The person may not be sufficiently devout, God may not have placed a sufficiently powerful faith in his heart or he may not fear God sufficiently. Guidance is in the hands of God, and it is not human beings who can ever bring guidance about. Not praying does not mean that this person has abjured the faith. He may stop praying but then start praying again the next day; that will be of great benefit to him. Or he may not start, but will still be a good and useful person; or none of these things may happen. Even if he does completely abjure the faith that person must still be treated with affection by Muslims. That is how it should be in the eyes of the Qur’an.
To kill someone for such a reason is no less than murder, and that never has any place in the Qur’an.
The four schools that were gradually produced on the basis of various hadiths and interpretations, and then made part of Islam over the course of time are like four separate faiths, each completely incompatible with one another. (The profound differences between the four schools have already been summarized in previous pages.) The four schools ordain various punishments for those who stop praying out of sloth, but these disagree with one another. For example, the penalty in the Hanbali school for someone who stops praying out of laziness is death. According to the Hanafis, however, someone who neglects praying out of laziness does not become an unbeliever and is not to be killed; however, he must be imprisoned and beaten until the blood flows. (Hashiya Radd al-Muhtar, 1/62) Yet none of these things are in the Qur’an.
Such contradictions, barbarities and practices external to the faith appear when one starts looking for the faith outside the Qur’an. People filled with hatred and rage appear when one starts living by a faith outside the Qur’an. The religion of the fanatics is one that rejects the pronouncements of the Qur’an and regards them as inadequate (surely the Qur’an is beyond that).
The pages that follow contain various barbaric practices in the fanatic faith, such as “beating children who do not pray and the killing of people who fail to give alms, or who are drunk.” We must never forget the following fact as we look at the justifications for savagery perpetrated under the name of Islam:
None of these practices have any place in the Qur’an. The religion of the fanatics is a fabricated one.