Punishment for not praying
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
if someone does not start reading prayers at the age of 11 what is the punishment given to them?
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 1.80
Prayer is obligatory upon every sane, adult Muslim. Aishah related that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, "The pen is raised for three (meaning: there is no obligation upon three): one who is sleeping until he wakens, the child until he becomes an adult, and one who is insane until he becomes sane."
Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim.
Although it is not obligatory for a child to pray, it is a must that his guardians order him to do so when he is seven years of age, and they may beat him (get strict) if he does not pray after he reaches the age of ten. A minor should practice praying until he reaches puberty. Amr ibn Shu'aib related from his father on the authority of his grandfather that the Prophet (saws) said, "Order your children to pray when they reach the age of seven. Beat them (if they don't pray) when they reach the age of ten. And have them sleep separately."
Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Hakim.
Some people use the above hadith of the Messenger of Allah (saws) as an excuse to beat their children black-n-blue; but that is not in the spirit nor the intention of the hadith from the person (saws) who was sent by Allah Subhanah as a mercy to all the worlds! The intention of the saying is to first encourage the child to start praying his obligatory prayers at seven. If after the guardian has tried everything in his power like talking, counseling, giving gifts or incentives, etc., and the child still refuses to pray till the age of ten; the guardians have a right to get strict and enforce the prayers. This can be done by showing displeasure, scolding, punishments like withholding any benefits or rewards, etc.; and if even that does not work, one may as an absolute last resort, beat the child lightly to display ones absolute and total displeasure at the childs disobedience.
Just like a parent may discipline or punish their child if he/she disobeys a very important command of the parents, the parent may use the same avenues of discipline to punish the child if he/she refuses to pray after the age of ten.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,