It is also most appropriate that the good deeds be of the same nature as the
bad deeds, for that is most effective in cancellation. The recompense for sins
can be averted through several things:
(i) Tawbah (repentance);
(ii) Istighfaar (asking for forgiveness), even without repentance, for
Allah does forgive in answer to one's supplication even if he has not repented;
however, if repentance and forgiveness are combined (i.e. a person stops sinning
and petitions for forgiveness), then that is ideal.
(iii) good and correct actions which are Kaffaaraat (expiating sins).
The Kaffaraat are of two types:
a) specified Kaffaraaat, i.e. in those actions for which the Sharia has
fixed an expiation. Examples of such Kaffaaraat are those for commiting
intercourse while fasting in Ramadaan, for saying to one's wife,
"you are like a mother to me", for violating certain
prohibitions during Hajj or leaving some of its obligations, or for killing
game in the Haram; all these have established allotted ways to expiate the
sins, of four types: sacrifice, freeing a slave, charity and fasting.
b) general Kaffaaraat, as Hudhaifah radiAllahu 'anhu said to 'Umar
radiAllahu 'anhu, "Fitna is caused to a man due to his family,
wealth and children; so prayer, fasting, charity, enjoining goodness and
forbiding evil wipe this out." Also on this point, the Qur'aan
and saheeh ahaadeeth prove that the five daily prayers, Friday Prayer,
fasting, Hajj and other actions expiate sin, regarding which it is said,
"Whoever says such-and-such or does such-and-such, then he is forgiven,
or his previous sins are forgiven." There are many of these types of
actions; whoever researches into the books of Hadeeth will find them in
abundance, particularly in those books compiled regarding the virtues of
Influence of the habits of Ignorance, especially of the Jews & Christians
It should be known that care regarding expiation of sins is one of the most
important needs of a person, for otherwise one acquires habits similar to those
of the Days of Ignorance, especially in this age and those ages where Revelation
and Messengership has stopped. Even one who is brought up amongst people of
Knowledge and Faith finds himself polluted by many aspects of Jahiliyah, so what
about one who does not have that advantage?!
In the Saheehs of Bukhaari and Muslim, there is a hadeeth on the authority of
Abu Sa`eed that the Messenger said,
"You will certainly follow the ways of those nations who were before you,
span by span and cubit by cubit, so much so that even if they entered a lizard's
hole, you would follow them." They said, "O Messenger ! (Do you
mean) the Jews and the Christians ?" He said, "Who else ?"
This hadeeth is supported by the Qur'aan: ... they had their enjoyment of
their portion, and you have yours as did those before you, and you indulge in
idle talk as they did ...
This hadeeth is supported also by many saheeh and hasan narrations.
This matter does affect even the elite people who are attributed with the
Faith, as several of the Salaf, e.g. Ibn `Uyainah, have said, "that some
people attributed with Knowledge have become affected by many of the conditions
of the Jews, and some of those attributed with Piety have been affected by many
of the conditions of the Christians", as will be perceived by one who
understands the reality of the deen of Islam, with which Allah Ta'aala sent the
Messenger , and
compares with the situation of the people.
With the situation as it is, that person whose heart Allah has made open, and
is firm on the light that Allah has given him, who was dead and then Allah
brought him to life and gave him light by which he could move among the people;
for such a one, it is necessary to be aware of the conditions of Ignorance and
the path of the two nations, "those who incurred (Allah's)
anger" and "those astray" i.e. the Jews and
Christians, so he may realise which things have affected him.
Hence, one of the most beneficial things for both the advanced and ordinary
person is knowledge of what he can do to liberate himself from these pitfalls,
and that is to follow up bad deeds with good ones, good deeds being the actions,
manners and characteristics which Allah has recommended on the tongue of the
last Prophet ().
Another category of things which avert the consequences of sinning is
"expiating misfortunes", i.e. whatever causes hardship or suffering,
be it fear or sorrow, or harm to one's wealth, honour, body, etc.. However, of
course, these misfortunes are not the work of the person himself.