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Is praying qadha a must?
According to all four schools it is necessary to make up all Fard Salahs missed after having reached puberty. There are many evidences for this. For example, we see that on the occasion of the battle of Ahzab the Muslims missed prayers due to a greater more worthier reason than what many people leave it for today, but straight after the battle they repeated all four missed prayers. Also in a Sahih hadith the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "The first thing to be accounted for on the Day of Judgement will be a person's Salah."
Furthermore, there are clear hadith that say if a person misses the two Sunnas before Fajr that he should make them up after the sun has risen, thus how could it be possible that if Fard is left it would not need to be made up. In Jami al-Tirmidhi concerning the Witr Salah the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered whoever misses it by falling asleep or forgetting it, that they must make it up when they recall it. It is obvious that the Fard Salahs are more important than the Witr Salah. Similarly we see in many of the other areas of worship that the Deen has demanded that missed acts of worship be made up. For example, if someone missed giving Zakah for the last five years, he will have to pay it at sometime otherwise the sin will remain on him. We also see in the case of the fasts of Ramadan, the Holy Qur'an tells us that it is obligatory for a person who misses the fasts due to illness or travelling to make them up later. In fact the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) even ordered Aisha r.a. and Hafsa, when they broke their Nafl fats, to make up for it on another day, so how can it be that Fard Salah be left or missed, which is the greatest of acts of Worship after recitation of the Kalima, and not need to be made up.
One may think that the task of making up missed prayers or fasts is beyond our capability, however there are many cases of brothers and sisters, who realising they made a mistake, turned back sincerely to Allah taala and they themselves felt the urge to make up to Allah taala for their bad past by offering all the Prayers and Fasts they missed and through this their conscience gained greater contentment. Secondly, the order to make up the missed duties is really a gesture from us to show Allah taala we are really sorry and are deeply grieved for our neglect, as that is one of the conditions for the acceptance of a person's repentance. Thus, a person should set himself a reasonable number of prayers that he feels he/she can pray a day (even if it just be one), then along with the five daily prayers, also offer this extra prayer(s). Now even if he had three thousand prayers to make up, but he died, say, a week later, Allah taala in His mercy will consider him to have prayed all three thousand, because it is a principle in the Deen that Allah taala judges a person by His intention and not his actions, and certainly this person's intention was to pray the three thousand prayers even if at the point of death he had only prayed two or three. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Verily deeds are by intentions."
Answered by FCB Fatwa Department