Years of missed prayers and fasts

Q:

Salam. I’m 28 years old. I’ve believed in Islam since I was a teenager up until now but have been very inconsistent with my prayers and fasts. There have been times throughout my life where I was praying all fard prayers and sunnah prayers, times where I was not praying at all, and times where I was only praying one or two of the fard prayers. This also is the case for my Ramadan fasts. I’ve calculated that I owe about 30,000 salats (assuming that I hit puberty at age 12) and I owe several Ramadan’s worth of fasts. Can I do my best to make up all of these obligatory acts that I failed to do in the past? Or should I just repent from here on out and try my best to be timely and not miss things anymore. I’m always confused about this because I’ve heard that there are two opinions. I understand both and would like to know which to follow because I don’t want to miss taraweeh and activities at the Mosque during the next Ramadan unless I absolutely have to. Thank you.

A:

Wa alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

 Thank you for your good question.

I, first of all, pray to Allah Almighty to accept your repentance. You should never lose hope in Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. Allah says, “O My servants who have wronged against their souls! Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. For Allah forgives all sins; for He is indeed Forgiving, Compassionate.” (Az-Zumar 39:53)

And, He says, “Whoever commits a sin or wrongs himself, then (repents and) seeks Allah’s forgiveness, will find Allah Forgiving, Compassionate.” (An-Nisa’ 4:110)

 

So, you need to maintain sincere repentance and frequently seek Allah’s forgiveness.

As for making up for years of missed fasts and prayers, as you have said there are two valid opinions among scholars in this regard. So, you may try your best to make up for missed prayers and fasts without overburdening yourself. You may fast some days, if you are capable to, in the winter time when the daytime is short. And, whenever it is possible you may pray with each fard that you perform another fard in lieu of what you missed in the past. Thus, for instance, before or after praying Zhuhr, pray another four rak`ahs of Zhuhr as qada’ and so on.

Moreover, you may do optional acts of worship such as optional prayers, fasts, and charities, whenever you are capable to.

May Allah accept your and our good deeds, ameen.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Thursday, Jan. 01, 1970 | 00:00 - 00:00 GMT

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