In the sight of Allah Ta’ala, salaat has a very great distinction. No other act of ibaadah is dearer to Allah than salaat. Allah Ta’ala has made five times salaat compulsory on His servants. There is a great reward in offering salaat and a great sin in omitting it.
It is mentioned in a Hadith that the one who performs his wudu properly and offers his salaat with full concentration; then on the day of resurrection Allah Ta’ala will forgive all his minor sins and grant him paradise. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said: “Salaat is a pillar of Deen – the one who has offered his salaat in a proper manner has upheld Deen, and the one who has demolished this pillar (i.e. did not offer his salaat), has in fact destroyed the Deen.” Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has also said: “The first thing to be reckoned on the day of resurrection will be salaat. The hands, feet, and face of those who used to offer their salaat regularly will shine like the sun on the day of resurrection. As for those who did not offer their salaat, they will be deprived of this blessing.” Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has further stated: “On the day of resurrection, those who used to offer their salaat will rise with the prophets, martyrs, and saints. Those who used to omit their salaat will rise with these notorious disbelievers: Pharaoh, Haamaan, and Qaarun.”
It is therefore essential to offer salaat. By not offering salaat, great damage is caused in both this world and in the hereafter. What can be more worse than the person who does not offer his salaat to be raised with the disbelievers. The one who does not offer his salaat has been regarded as equal to a disbeliever. How serious it is not to offer salaat!
However, salaat is not wajib on the following persons: a lunatic, a young boy and a young girl who have not reached the age of puberty as yet. As for the rest of the Muslims, it is fard on them. However, the parents have been commanded that when their children reach the age of seven, they should be made to offer their salaat. And when they reach the age of ten, they should be punished and compelled to offer their salaat.
Under no condition is it permissible to discard salaat. As far as possible, salaat should most certainly be offered. However, if a person completely forgot to offer his salaat and only remembered after the time of that salaat had passed or slept away in such a way that his eyes did not open and he missed his salaat; then in such instances there will not be any sin. However, when the person remembers or wakes up from his sleep, it will be fard on him to immediately make his wudu and offer his missed salaat. But if it is a makruh time of salaat, he should wait for a little while so that the makruh time passes. Similarly, there is no sin on those salaats that were missed on account of unconsciousness. However, after regaining consciousness, one should immediately offer those salaats that one missed.