Short Answer: This is not an authentic hadith. “In general, a hadith that promises a great reward for a very small action; or by contrast, a great punishment for, again, a very small sin are–these such hadiths are generally not reliable. They either were invented by people or exaggerated for the purpose of encouraging good actions and discouraging evil acts.” Of course, missing prayers is bad, but there is no authentic proof that one receives a specific punishment for each prayer they miss.
Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.
Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:
Aisha Khaja: Dr. Shabir, the question that we have today is about missing prayers.
And someone’s asking, “I’ve come across a hadith that states of the punishment for leaving one prayer is equivalent to 80 years in hell fire. How authentic is this hadith?”
Dr. Shabir Ally: It’s not an authentic hadith.
I recall coming across this hadith in my years when I traveled with the Jamaah Tabligh.
We used to read a book in which the virtues of prayer are described. And within the same book, of course, warning against missing a prayer.
And many of the narratives that are mentioned in that book are derived from books that were compiled to encourage good action or to warn against leaving off the required actions or committing sins.
And many hadiths which are compiled under that same rubric were sometimes invented even.
And often not with very good traces back to the original sources. So, we wouldn’t consider that to be reliable.
Muhammad Zubair Siddiqui in his book, Hadith, Its origin, Development, [Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development and Special Features] and so on, has said that, in general, a hadith that promises a great reward for a very small action; or by contrast, a great punishment for, again, a very small sin are–these such hadiths are generally not reliable.
They either were invented by people or exaggerated for the purpose of encouraging good actions and discouraging evil acts.
Aisha Khaja: So, what happens if you do miss a prayer?
Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, of course missing a prayer is bad because this is an obligation.
It’s a requirement Muslims are required to pray, and within the stated times.
So, we shouldn’t miss the prayer. We are disobeying God and naturally accumulating sins by doing so.
But we should ask God’s forgiveness for that.
I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)