Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
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Making up for prayers and fasts for years gone by

Question:
I didn't use to pray regularly until about 3 years back and now I am 25 years old, so you can imagine how many prayers I have missed. Since about the last 3 years I have by grace of god not missed any prayers at all. I now want to offer qaza prayers for all the missed prayers. What is the procedure for that? Also I have missed my rozas when I was studying in the US. I don't know the count of the missed rozas, but there will be quite a few. Please let me know how to counter this?

Response:
When you don't pray, you are a sinner. In case of all sins the principle is that one should do repentance (taubah) and make an earnest attempt not to repeat it. In case your sin had caused any harm to others, your repentance should include the act of correcting that harm. Once you realize that when you were not praying you were being a sinner, you should repent and make a firm resolve that you will not miss it anymore. Since prayer has to be said on its proper time, if you have missed it, you can't bring back its time. Therefore, your taubah would suffice. If as part of the exercise of taubah, you also want to say the missed prayers, it's up to you. However, most certainly it's not binding.

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