Praise be to Allaah.
Prayer is the greatest pillar of Islam after the Shahaadatayn. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Between a person and kufr and shirk stands the abandonment of prayer.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2766. Classed as saheeh by Ibn Maajah, 1078,and by al-Albaani).
Salaah is so called because it is a connection (silah) between a person and his Lord. Whoever does not pray, his zakaah, fasting, Hajj, jihaad, enjoining of what is good, forbidding of what is evil, reading of Qur’aan and upholding of family ties will not be accepted. Indeed, all his good deeds will be rejected if he does not pray.
The scholars, including Imaam Ahmad, said that whoever does not pray should be executed as a kaafir, and his body should not be washed or shrouded, the funeral prayer should not be offered over him, he should not be buried in the Muslims’ graveyard and his Muslim heirs cannot inherit from him.
It is not permissible for you to abandon prayer, because you never know when death will catch you unawares.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said at the end of his life, during his final sickness:
“(Adhere to) prayer, (adhere to) prayer and (take care of) those whom your right hands possess (i.e., slaves).”
(Narrated by Imaam Ahmad, 3/117; Ibn Maajah, 2697; Ibn Hibbaan, 1220. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwaa’, no.2178).
Prayer is the pillar of Islam. Imaam Ahmad said: Your share of Islam is according to your share of prayer. What we want for you is for you to pray regularly, doing the prayers on time with the Muslims in their mosques. It is haraam for you to abandon prayer, for abandoning it is kufr. This issue has been discussed in great detail by the scholars in their books. And it was said that (the one who abandons prayer) is to be executed as a punishment, as is well known. And Allaah knows best.