Explanation of the Hadith:By Shaikh ibn Baz (Rahimahullah)
“The knots of Islam will be undone one by one.”
Q: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The knots of Islam will be undone one by one. Each time one knot is undone, people will cling to the one next to it. The first of them to be undone is ruling and the last is Salah (Prayer). What is the interpretation of this Hadith? What is meant by the 'undoing' of ruling?
A: The mentioned Hadith was related by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (Hadith compilation), Al-Tabarany in "Al-Mu`jam Al-Kabir" and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith with a good Isnad (chain of narrators) on the authority of Abu Umamah Al-Bahily (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The knots of Islam will be undone one by one. Each time one knot is undone, people will cling to the one next to it. The first of them to be undone is ruling and the last is Salah (Prayer).”
Its meaning is obvious; the more Islam is estranged, the more the people contradict it and violate its rulings and commands. This is the same as the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): Islam initiated as something strange, and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange. So good tidings are for the strangers. (Related by Muslim in his Sahih)
The meaning of his saying (The first to be undone is ruling,) is quite clear. It is ignoring Allah's Shar` (law) which is the current status of most of Muslim countries. It is known that everyone should apply Allah's Shar` in everything and beware of ruling according to laws and traditions that contradict Allah's Purified Shar`. This is according to Allah's (Exalted be He) Saying:
But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.
He (Glorified be He) also says: And so judge (you O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) among them by what Allâh has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) far away from some of that which Allâh has sent down to you. And if they turn away, then know that Allâh’s Will is to punish them for some sins of theirs. And truly, most of men are Fâsiqûn (rebellious and disobedient to Allâh). Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allâh for a people who have firm Faith.
He (Glorified be He) also says: And whosoever does not judge by what Allâh has revealed, such are the Kâfirûn (i.e. disbelievers of a lesser degree as they do not act on Allâh’s Laws). And whosoever does not judge by that which Allâh has revealed, such are the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers - of a lesser degree). And whosoever does not judge by what Allâh has revealed (then) such (people) are the Fâsiqûn [the rebellious i.e. disobedient (of a lesser degree) to Allâh].
The scholars (may Allah confer mercy upon them) clarified that Muslim rulers should rule according to Shari`ah in all the affairs of Muslims and in every disputed matter, according to these gracious Ayahs (Qur'anic verses). They stated that if a ruler judges in accordance with other than what was revealed by Allah (Exalted be He) and considers this Halal (lawful) for him, this is considered major Kufr (disbelief) that renders him out of the fold of Islam. However, if he does not think that this is Halal, but rules according to other than what was revealed by Allah (Exalted be He) due to other reasons, such as a bribe or anything else, while believing that it is not allowable for him, and that he should apply the rulings of Shari`ah, this is considered minor Kufr, minor Zhulm (injustice) and minor Fisq (flagrant violation of Islamic law).
May Allah guide all the Muslim rulers to rule according to His Shari`ah, refer to it, impose it upon their peoples, and beware of anything that contradicts it, for He is the Most Generous One! There is no doubt that referring to the Shari`ah and applying it leads to the benefits and welfare of this world and the Hereafter, safety from the conspiracies of enemies, and assistance for victory against them. This is according to Allah's (Exalted be He) Saying: O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allâh, He will help you, and make your foothold firm. ...and (as for) the believers, it was incumbent upon Us to help (them). Verily, Allâh will help those who help His (Cause). Truly, Allâh is All-Strong, All-Mighty. Those (Muslim rulers) who, if We give them power in the land, (they) enjoin Iqamat-as-Salât [i.e. to perform the five compulsory congregational Salât (prayers) (the males in mosques)], pay the Zakât and they enjoin Al-Ma‘rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do), and forbid Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism and all that Islâm has forbidden) [i.e. they make the Qur’ân as the law of their country in all the spheres of life]. And with Allâh rests the end of (all) matters (of creatures).
Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism) in this world’s life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth, (i.e. Day of Resurrection) - The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to Zâlimûn (polytheists, wrong-doers and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh). Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (i.e. painful torment in Hell-fire). There are many Ayahs (Qur'anic verses) that stress this meaning.
The saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the mentioned Hadith: The last of them is Salah, means that many people will abandon it, which is the current status in many Islamic countries. May Allah set right the affairs of the Muslims; enable them to adhere to His Religion; and help them offer Salah at its due times congregationally in the Masjids (mosques)! Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: In houses (mosques) which Allâh has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned, and to be honoured), in them His Name is remembered [i.e. Adhan, Iqamah, Salât (prayers), invocations, recitation of the Qur’ân etc.].
Therein glorify Him (Allah) in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings, Men whom neither trade nor sale (business) diverts from the Remembrance of Allâh (with heart and tongue), nor from performing As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), nor from giving the Zakât. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection). That Allâh may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allâh provides without measure to whom He wills.
Salah is the main pillar of Islam and its second corner, according to the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): The peak of the matter is Islam and the pillar is Salah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: Islam was based on five pillars: testimony that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; performing Salah (prayers), giving Zakah; fasting Ramadan; and performing Hajj (pilgrimage).
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) asked us in His Glorious Book to offer Salah and keep it in His Saying: And perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât and bow down (or submit yourselves with obedience to Allâh) along with those who bow down (in prayer). He (Glorified be He) also says: And perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât and obey the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) that you may receive mercy (from Allâh).
Guard strictly (five obligatory) As-Salawât (the prayers) especially the middle Salât (i.e. the best prayer - ‘Asr ). And stand before Allâh with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salât (prayers)]. The middle Salah is the `Asr (Afternoon) Prayer, as authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him). He (Glorified be He) obligated offering the Five Obligatory daily Prayers and keeping them as prescribed by Allah, and He stressed on the `Asr Prayer in particular. This might be because its time is at the end of the day after work, so people might neglect it out of laziness or sleep. That is why Allah (Glorified be He) has urged us to keep it and warned us from neglecting it. He (Glorified be He) says: Recite (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur’ân), and perform As-Salât (Iqamât-as-Salât). Verily, As-Salât (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahshâ’ (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed) There are many other Ayahs about Salah. It was authentically reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that he said: That which differentiates us from the disbelievers and hypocrites is our performance of Salat. He who abandons it, becomes a disbeliever. (Related by Imam Ahmad and Ahl-ul-Sunan (authors of Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes) with a Sahih Isnad.) The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: What makes one a disbeliever and a polytheist is abandoning prayers. (Related by Muslim Muslim in his Sahih on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him).
The great Sahaby (Companion of the Prophet) `Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: He who likes to meet Allah tomorrow as a Muslim, he should keep offering Salah when the Adhan (call to Prayer) is announced, for Allah has laid down for your Prophet the paths of right guidance, and this (Salah) is among the paths of right guidance. If you were to offer Salah at home as this man who stays away from the Masjid (mosque) offers Salah at home, you would abandon the practice of your Prophet. If you were to abandon the practice of your Prophet, you would go astray. Any man who purifies himself well, then heads for one of the Masjids, Allah will record a blessing for him for every step he takes, raising him a degree for it, and effacing a sin from him for it. I have seen the time when no one abandoned it, except a hypocrite, who was well-known for his hypocrisy; whereas a man would be brought swaying (due to weakness) between two men until he was set up in a row. (Related by Muslim in his Sahih)
There are many Hadiths that urge people to perform Salah and warn against abandoning it. Allah (Glorified be He) told us in His Glorious Book that being lazy in offering Salah is one of the attributes of the hypocrites who are promised to be in the lowest depth of Hellfire, according to Allah's Saying in Surah Al-Nisa': Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allâh, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salât (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allâh but little.
He (Glorified be He) says about the hypocrites in Surah Al-Tawbah: And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allâh and in His Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and that they came not to As-Salât (the prayer) except in a lazy state, and that they offer not contributions but unwillingly. So let not their wealth nor their children amaze you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم); in reality Allâh’s Plan is to punish them with these things in the life of this world, and that their souls shall depart (die) while they are disbelievers.May Allah grant safety to us and all the Muslims from the attributes of Kafirs and hypocrites. May Allah guide us and all the Muslims to adhere to His Religion and beware the causes of His Wrath, for He is the Only One Capable of doing so!
Ameen Allahumma Ameenhttps://www.alifta.gov.sa/En/IftaContents/IbnBaz/Pages/FatawaDetails.aspx?View=Page&PageID=4916&CultStr=en&PageNo=1&NodeID=1&BookID=14