عن جابرٍ قال: سمعت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: «إن بين الرجل وبين الشرك والكفر ترك الصلاة».
[صحيح] - [رواه مسلم]
المزيــد ...

Jābir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) say: "What stands between a man and polytheism and disbelief is abandonment of prayer."
Sahih/Authentic. - [Muslim]

Explanation

The Prophet's statement that abandonment of prayer is what stands between a man and polytheism and disbelief means that whoever abandons prayer, no barrier separates him from polytheism. Rather, he has engaged in it and become a disbeliever. This includes those who deny the prayer's obligation, even if they perform it, and those who abandon and neglect it while acknowledging its obligation. This opinion was adopted by the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), and none of them disagreed with it. Moreover, polytheism and disbelief may be used to give the same meaning, namely disbelief in Allah Almighty, and they may give different meanings, with polytheism referring to worshiping others beside Allah, like idols and other created beings, and disbelief being more comprehensive than polytheism.

Translation:
View Translations
1: Whoever abandons prayer, out of negligence or denying its obligation, has become a disbeliever.
2: The Hadīth stresses the significance of prayer and its observance, for it is a distinguishing feature between belief and disbelief.
3: Disbelief and polytheism can give the same meaning, and disbelief may also be used to give a more comprehensive meaning than polytheism.
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