“They (the Prophets) were succeeded by a people who neglected the Prayers and pursued their lusts. They shall presently meet with their doom, except those who repent and believe and act righteously. Such shall enter Paradise and shall not be wronged at all.”
(Al-Qur’ān – 19:59-60)
These Qur’ānic verses chastise earlier nations who either gave up observing Prayers or became indifferent to them. In fact, negligence and abandoning Prayer is the first step in one’s slide towards decline. For Prayer is the primary link between man and God. It keeps a person constantly in touch with God. As soon as this bond is broken, man increasingly begins to draw away from God. This may even happen to such an extent that not only is man’s relationship with God reduced to naught on a practical level but also on an intellectual level. This is why the Qur’ān expounds here a general rule: that the corruption in a nation which originally followed a Prophet began the moment that the nation abandoned Prayer.
Following one’s desires rather than truth naturally results from the weakening of one’s God-consciousness. When a person becomes heedless of God and abandons Prayer, he comes increasingly into the grip of his own carnal desires. Eventually, he becomes impervious to God’s commands. Instead, bit by bit, he begins to follow all those ways which conform to his own likes and dislikes. Those, who give up Prayers or become indifferent to them, will meet with their doom. Only those who repent, believe and act righteously will be exempted from this Divine chastisement.