Making Up for the Past

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Q.) I was born in a Muslim family but I personally never believed in the faith nor practiced it. On Eid, to avoid arguments, I used to accompany the family for prayers but it was only lip service. I did not at that time believe even in the existence of Allah.

About fifteen years ago I began to take religion seriously and I think I have firm belief in Allah. I also say my prayers and perform all the Farz of Islam to the best of my ability.

My question is: Though I did not believe in Islam for 40 years or more (I am 65 now) is it compulsory for me to perform Qaza prayers. I cannot possibly complete them all at any cost. Health also prevents keeping Qaza fasts. I do keep all fasts in Ramadan but what about the past? Also what about zakat? I do not even know the amount owed.

These questions have been bothering me for some time. I will be grateful for a practical answer.

A.) In the given case, you are not responsible to recompensate those actions, e.g. salat, fasting, etc, which you had missed out in the state when you were not a Muslim.

However, you should sincerely regret the past and repent as much as possible in order to expiate the wrongs of the past. In this light giving much charity, according to one's means, is also beneficial. Allah Ta'ala surely accepts the repentance of the sincere ones.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best