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According to Surah Muhammad Verse 35:

"So do not weaken and call for peace while you are superior; and Allah is with you and will never deprive you of [the reward of] your deeds." - Quran 47:35

But according to one hadith:

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The one who omits to pray Asr, all his good deeds will be lost.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (553).

So the Quran is saying that Allah will never decrease our good deeds but the hadith says if we omit Asr, all our good deeds will be lost. There seems to be a contradiction here. Can somebody comment on this and clear me off this confusion?

Thank you.

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So the Quran is saying that Allah will never decrease our good deeds but the hadith says if we omit Asr, all our good deeds will be lost. There seems to be a contradiction here. Can somebody comment on this and clear me off this confusion?

the problem here is the English rendering of the Arabic and asserting that they're implying our "good" deeds to be lost when in fact neither the ayah or the hadith mention anything about "good"

The ayah says:

فَلا تَهِنوا وَتَدعوا إِلَى السَّلمِ وَأَنتُمُ الأَعلَونَ وَاللَّهُ مَعَكُم وَلَن يَتِرَكُم أَعمالَكُم

falaa tahinu wa tad'u 'ilaa a-salmi wa 'antumu l'a'lawna wa llaahu ma'akum wa lan yatirakum 'a'maalakum

So do not slacken and call for peace when you have the upper hand and Allah is with you, and He will not fail/miscarry your works.

The Hadith states:

مَنْ تَرَكَ صَلاَةَ الْعَصْرِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ

man taraka salaata al'asri faqad habita 'amaloho

Whoever abandons salaat al'asr, failed in work.

It does not necessarily mean our good work has been lost; unless you want to say we're losing benefit in that particular thing and not everything.

When Allah wants to speak about "good", He mentions it clearly:

إِنَّ الحَسَناتِ يُذهِبنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ

inna alhasanaati yudhheebna a-sayyi-aati

...Indeed goodness efface misdeeds...

Allah never says the opposite in that particular way. So there's no clear indication that bad deeds cancel out, or nullify, good deeds

Another things about the hadith. One of the reporters, Yahya b. Abi Kathir is a mudallis (reference: Abu Jafar al-Aqili), i.e. reports unclear from where he got the hadith.

He doesn't mention whether he heard or was told this narration from Abi Qilaabt, and instead, uses "'An". This makes the hadith questionable and not one to be relied upon.

  • 1+ for pointing at the translation issue I've missed while writing my answer. I think it could be an important source for the confusion. – Medi1Saif May 16 '16 at 6:32
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I assume you are referring to this hadith or this:

Whoever leaves the 'Asr prayer will have all his (good) deeds annulled.

Note that in the Arabic original neither the hadith nor the Verse you refer to use the word good as @Sayyid mentioned in his answer. Both only speak about deeds or work, without a qualification of it, this can only be concluded to some extent from the context, but maybe exactly this conclusion could lead to misunderstandings. As we are dealing with a translation (or interpretation) and interpreting based on it, so we have doubled our multiplied our Error-Sources!

Note that the 'Asr prayer is mentioned (or at least interpreted) in the Qur'an in two places:

In the surah named by it and in surat al-Baqarah. And note that in surat al-'Asr it was used as an oath, which in Arabic means a major emphasize on it. This shows the importance of this prayer!

Now according to comment of ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani in fath al-Bari (on Sahih al-Bukhari) there are three different aspects which have been discussed by scholars on this hadith:

  1. Interpreting of leaving the prayer تأويل الترك: not performing it (on time) either denying or rejecting it -completely- being mandatory or known this but don't taking care of the order of Allah. The Sahabi (abu Buraidah, May Allah be pleased with him) apparently understood it as if the people where taking their time and not hurrying to perform the prayer on time!
  2. Interpreting the annulment (Annulment= exaggeration to show how bad doing such a sin is) تأويل الحبط: Comparing the one who didn't perform it at time without excuses with other sinners and emphasizing or exaggerating this like if his deeds where annulled. With the meaning that his deeds were about to be nullified.
  3. Interpreting the deeds (deed in the hadith='Asr prayer or deeds of that day) تأويل العمل: Here the annulment has the meaning of his good deeds will be reduced (decrease). This may mean at this time his good deeds won't be accepted so that he won't gain thawab from it as if he was one who's bad deeds are coming over his good deeds, so if he died at this state maybe Allah may forgive him or he might been punished and afterwards forgiven.

In the comment on the hadith version of Imam at-Tirmidhi the explantion is split into two parts:

  1. A total annulment which is related to kufr: That means rejecting and denying this prayer, so one wouldn't be called a believer and therefore any good deeds would be annulled afterwards as one returns to kufr.
  2. Or an annulment depending on the scale of the deeds, the bad deeds may come over good deeds depending on your deeds so either one of them may "win" depending on what you have done more.

Some scholars said that the deeds العمل referred to in the hadith is the daily work who may let you leave or not hurry praying so one wouldn't have any advantage from this work ...

Imam al-Manawy in his comment on al-Jami' as-Saghir of Imam As-Suyuti explained it shortly (may translation take it carefully):

(مَنْ تَرَكَ صَلاَةَ الْعَصْرِ) متعمدا
(Whoever leaves the 'Asr prayer) deliberatly -without an excuse-
(حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ) أي بطل كمال ثواب عمله يوم ذلك وخص العصر لأن فواتها أقبح من فوات غيرها لكونها الوسطى المخصوصة بالامر بالمحافظة عليها.
(have all his (good) deeds annulled -literally: his deeds are annulled-) means the completeness of the thawab of his -good- deeds of that day is annulled.
And the 'Asr prayer has been specified because the expiration of the time of this prayer is -considered- worse than for other prayers because it's the middle prayer for whom the order of maintenance of the time has been specified and emphasized.

Here are my References (all in Arabic so far):

  • A thread answering your question on ahlalhadeeth
  • A fatwa on islamweb answering based on the hadith you've quoted and an other one which is warning us from not prayiyng 'Asr on time.
  • A fatwa on islamqa answering for clarification on the same issue.
  • Here you can switch between the comment from fath al-Bari of ibn Hajar and the comment of fath al-Bari of ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (who said that leaving this prayer would annul the deeds of the whole day while quoting ibn Abdulbar, whom's opinion he considered as weak, who said that only the thawab of the deed=the prayer would be annulled)

And Allah knows best!

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