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Targheeb and Tarheeb
  Al-Wasiyyat us-Sughraa (The Concise Legacy)
Author: Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
Article ID : TZK050004  [23428]  
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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 actions.

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.

Good Nature

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