You should appreciate the blessing that Allaah has bestowed upon you by enabling you to repent and adhere to your religion, before death comes suddenly. So you should thank Him greatly for this blessing, which should make you strive harder to obey Him.
Al-Bukhaari (4836) and Muslim (2819) narrated that al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood (in prayer) until his feet became swollen. It was said to him: Allaah has forgiven your past and future sins. He said: “Should I not be a thankful slave?”
So how can you accept to respond to goodness with something bad, and to go back to square one after you had gone so far in the way of righteousness? Rather we hope that you will go back to the way you were when you started to follow the straight path, for you have deviated and gone astray from the path after Allaah blessed you with righteousness. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to seek refuge with Allaah from such a thing. In Saheeh Muslim (1343) it is narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Sarjis said: When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) travelled, he would seek refuge with Allaah from the hardships of travel, from bad consequences, from a bad situation after a good situation, from the prayer of one who has been wronged, and from an ill-fated outcome with regard to family and wealth.
In His Holy Book, Allaah strikes a similitude for the one who goes back to bad ways and destroys what he has built up, and turns away from the path of guidance, which explains the bad situation he is in and what he has chosen for himself, and He warns His slaves against doing this foolish deed:
“And fulfil the Covenant of Allaah (Bai‘ah: pledge for Islam) when you have covenanted, and break not the oaths after you have confirmed them — and indeed you have appointed Allaah your surety. Verily, Allaah knows what you do.
92. And be not like her who undoes the thread which she has spun, after it has become strong, by taking your oaths as a means of deception among yourselves, lest a nation should be more numerous than another nation. Allaah only tests you by this (i.e. who obeys Allaah and fulfils Allaah’s Covenant and who disobeys Allaah and breaks Allaah’s Covenant). And on the Day of Resurrection, He will certainly make clear to you that wherein you used to differ (i.e. a believer confesses and believes in the Oneness of Allaah and in the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad صلىالله عليه وسلم which the disbeliever denies and that is their difference amongst them in the life of this world)”
Shaykh Ibn al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
This includes everything that a person has covenanted to Allaah, such as acts of worship, vows and faith, because fulfilling that is righteousness. It also includes that which he and others have covenanted, such as covenants between people.
“And be not” in breaking the covenants in the worst and most foolish manner, “like her” who spins a strong thread, then when she has nearly finished it, she breaks it and it comes undone, so she exhausted herself spinning the thread and then undoing it, and she did not gain anything but frustration, exhaustion and foolishness. The same applies to the one who breaks the covenant; he is a wrongdoer, ignorant, foolish, lacking in religious commitment and manliness. End quote. (p. 447)
So hasten to repent from this, for giving up prayer is one of the gravest of sins by which Allaah is disobeyed. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) described not praying as kufr, and he said: “The covenant that stands between us and them is prayer; whoever gives it up is a kaafir.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2545) and by Ahmad and others; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.
It is strange how the brother can say: I have tried not to fall into sin,” then he says that he missed a lot of prayer. What is his concept of sin in that case?!
Giving up prayer is the greatest and most serious sin. You have tried to prevent yourself from doing every sin except associating others with Allaah (shirk).
So hasten to repent and regret what you have done, before there comes a moment when man regrets at the time when regret is to no avail.
As for you saying that you have a “complex about prayer” and you feel that you will never recover from this complex, this is a trick of the shaytaan who makes this idea seem attractive. You are the one who has helped your enemy against yourself, and you let him fill your mind with the idea of this complex which stems from illusions and laziness, and lack of resolve to do good. So hasten to solve this problem by obeying Allaah, may He be exalted, and keeping your wudoo’, and hastening to pray when the time for prayer begins.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Shaytaan ties three knots at the back of the head of any one of you when he goes to sleep, striking each knot and saying: “You have a long night ahead, so sleep.” If he wakes up and remembers Allaah, one knot is undone. If he does wudoo’, two knots are undone. If he prays, all the knots are undone, and he starts the day energetic and in a good mood. Otherwise, he starts his day in a bad mood and feeling lazy.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3269) and Muslim (776).
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (may Allaah have mercy on him)said: This hadeeth indicates that the shaytaan causes a person to sleep and makes him feel heavy and lazy through his efforts and waswaas, and his ability to tempt, mislead and make falsehood seem attractive, except the sincere slaves of Allaah.
This hadeeth indicates that the shaytaan may be expelled by means of remembrance of Allaah (dhikr), as well as wudoo’ and prayer. End quote. Al-Tahmeed (19/45).
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Undoubtedly prayer itself offers good health to the body, and helps the body to rid itself of impurities and keep that which most beneficial thing for it, as well as offering protection to one’s faith and happiness in this world and the hereafter.
Similarly, qiyaam al-layl is one of the most beneficial means of protecting one’s well being and preventing many chronic diseases, and it is one of the most energizing things for the body, soul and heart, as it says in al-Saheehayn… and he quoted the hadeeth.
Zaad al-Ma’aad (4/225).
Do not feel weak before your enemy, and do not let him gain any power over you. Seek the help of Allaah and do not feel helpless – as your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has enjoined you. Remember that “ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaytaan (Satan)” [al-Nisa’ 4:76]. Remember that the obligatory prayers are easy and the Muslim will not find it burdensome to perform them regularly.
With regard to what you mention about losing interest, the reason for that may be the kind of people with whom you are keeping company. Try as much as you can to attend gatherings of dhikr and knowledge, and to sit with good companions, for acts of worship are easy when a person sees others whom he can take as examples and who can help him with it. A person will inevitably be exposed to situations which make him feel stronger and more keen to do good, and other situations where that keenness will be less. But it is not permissible to let that lead you to giving up obligatory duties or committing haraam actions. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every deed has a period of enthusiasm, and every period of enthusiasm is followed by a slackening off. If a person’s enthusiasm is for my Sunnah, then he has succeeded, but whoever chooses something else when he slackens off is doomed.”
Narrated by Ahmad (6725) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ (no. 2151).
Hence our advice to you is to set a regular program for yourself which you should not neglect, including the obligatory and confirmed naafil prayers. If you do more than that occasionally that will be good upon good, and if you fall short then do not fall short in doing the obligatory prayers.
With regard to the prayers that you have missed in the past, whatever you missed because of sleep, there is no sin on you for that but you have to make them up. As for those that you missed with no excuse, i.e., you were too lazy to do them before the time for them ended, then you have to repent, and in that case making them up will not avail you anything. What you have to do is offer a lot of naafil prayers and pray for forgiveness, so that Allaah may forgive you.
We have also discussed the words of the scholars in the answer to question no. 7969.
And Allaah knows best.