Am I Still Muslim if I Don’t Pray or Follow All The Rules?

25 December, 2017
Q If I don't always practice the pillars of Islam, does that mean that I am not a non-Muslim? I don't say that the pillars are not necessary, it's just that sometimes I slip up. Have I become a non-Muslim?

Answer

Short Answer: Yes, you are still a Muslim, as long as you recognize and believe in God and His messengers and so on, and you recognize that you need to do more.  Imam Abu Hanifa and his school (Rahim Allah) had the view that so long as the person recognizes their obligations, then they still are Muslims even though they’re lazy in carrying out the obligations. There could be other factors that hinder one from acting out one’s beliefs.


Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Dr. Shabir Ally from Let the Quran Speak addresses this question in the video below.


Transcript:

Aisha Khaja: Dr. Shabir, the question today is about another video that we had done earlier on, regarding the Muslim agnostic video. And our viewer’s asking, “But what if I’m the exact opposite?

Like I believe in God and all the messengers deeply, but I don’t really follow all (and “all” is in caps lock) ALL the rules, mainly out of laziness and ignorance. Am I not considered a Muslim then?”

Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, the answer simply is that, yeah, you are a Muslim, and definitely the fact that you recognize and believe in God and His messengers and so on.

And you recognize that you need to do more, I think this is a great advancement.

And we need to count on that. Those are the strengths now.

The weaknesses are there that one is lackadaisical in carrying out the Islamic requirements.

Well then, get up and do that. So, I would encourage such a person to continue to strive to do the best that he or she can.

And, of course, I disavow that belief which is sometimes bandied about on the internet nowadays, castigating such persons as though they are non-Muslims.

Somebody may say that hadith says that if one doesn’t pray, then such a person is a non-Muslim.  

Aisha Khaja: Yeah, I was just going to ask about that. 

Dr. Shabir Ally: But no, I don’t take that to be the case.

The Imam Abu Hanifa and his school (Rahim Allah) had the view that so long as the person recognizes their obligations, then they still are Muslims even though they’re, you know, lazy in carrying out the obligations.

Aisha Khaja: So, just a matter of actually acting upon?

Dr. Shabir Ally: Yeah, because there is a difference between belief and actions.

Of course, they are related in the sense that belief will inform actions and one will act according to what one believes.

But there could be other factors that hinder one from acting out one’s beliefs.

So, the fact that the person has the belief internally, that is what counts as belief and then the actions may follow.

But not immediately. Perhaps later on. So, we still count that person as a believer.


I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.


(From AboutIslam’s archives)

Read more…

Who Gave the Name of Muslims? (Podcast)

12 Principles That Make a True Muslim

About Dr. Shabir Ally
Dr. Shabir Ally holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, with a specialization in Biblical Literature. He also holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Quranic Exegesis.
He is the president of the Islamic Information and Dawah Centre International in Toronto where he functions as Imam. He travels internationally to represent Islam in public lectures and interfaith dialogues. He explains Islam on a weekly television program called "Let the Quran Speak". Past episodes of this show can be seen online at: www.quranspeaks.com.