Amazing_sceneryTrue Tawbah is not only expressed in feelings from the heart and words on the lips, but also in the penitent individual's actions. He should be driven by his desire for absolution to correct whatever wrong he has done and make amends. Allâh ('azza wa Jall) promises to pardon those who sincerely repent,

"When those who believe in Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) come to you, say: "Salâmun 'Alaikum" (peace be on you); your Lord has written Mercy for Himself, so that, if any of you does evil in ignorance, and thereafter repents and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allâh), then surely, He is Oft­-Forgiving, Most Merciful." {Sûrah al-An'âm (6):54.}

If th e truth were sinfully concealed or lies disseminat ed to others, repentance must be accompanied by an open declaration of the truth for it to be valid. In reference to those who hid knowledge about Prophet Muhammad (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) and Islâm which was contained within the scriptures of the Old and New Testament. Allâh (Azza Wa Jallâh) pronounces His curse on them, as well as the curse of the angels and all mankind, with the following exceptions: As translated, "Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful." {Sûrah al-Baqarah(2):160}     

Real Tawbah will not only cause the wrongdoer to renounce the sin from which he is seeking absolution, but it should also motivate him to voluntarily perform additional deeds of righteousness. The spiritual change which takes place during true repentance should be translated into righteous actions as a positive replacement in the soul for the iniquity which it has abandoned. Because of the importance of good deeds to the process of repentance, Allâh (Azza Wa Jallâh) has included it among the conditions for pardon and release from the consequences of sin. Allâh (Azza Wa Jallâh) emphatically states in the Final Revelation that,

"And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allâh with true repentance." {Sûrah Furqân (25):71}     

Also, "And verily, I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them, (till his death)." (Sûrah Tâ Hâ, Ayâh no.82)

For example, the acceptance of Islaam is an act of repentance wherein one turns from a life of error to the clear path of Allâh ('azza wa Jall). However, the Prophet (sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) explained that the declaration of faith erases all previous sins, only if it is followed up by good deeds as prescribed by Allâh (Azza Wa Jallâh), otherwise the convert is still held to account for earlier sins.

'Abdullâh ibn Mas'oud said, "Some people asked Allâh's Messenger: 'Oh Messenger of Allâh! Will we be held responsible for what we did during the Jâhilîyah (time of ignorance before embracing Islâm)?' He replied, 'Whoever does good deeds in Islâm will not be held to account, but one who does evil will be accountable for the time before Islâm and after.'"[ Collected by al-Bukhârî and Muslim ]

Furthermore, Allâh ('azza wa Jall) promises to reward those who repent and do righteous deeds with additional good in place of their past evil deeds, and grant them on top of that paradise as their ultimate reward. Allâh (Azza Wa Jallâh) says, "Except those who repent and believe (in Islâmic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allâh will change their sins into good deeds, and Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." {Sûrah Furqân (25):70}     

And in Sûrah Maryam Ayâh no.60, Allâh ('azza wa jallâh) says, "Except those who repent and believe (in the Oneness of Allâh and His Messenger Muhammad (SAW), and work righteousness. Such will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged in aught." 

Without such a position transformation, the sinner's sorrow and regret may merely lead him into a state of extreme depression. In this weakened condition, he then becomes susceptible, once again, to the whisperings and proddings of the devils from within and without. Ultimately, the forces of evil may cause him to fall into further transgression. Therefore, the sincerely repentant should deliberately seek out all possible avenues of righteousness to avail himself of Allâh's Grace, whereby He has vastly multiplied the value of good deeds. Allâh ('azza wa Jall) said in the Qur'ân, "Whoever brings a good deed (Islâmic Monotheism and deeds of obedience to Allâh and His Messenger SAW) shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit, and whoever brings an evil deed (polytheism, disbelief, hypocrisy, and deeds of disobedience to Allâh and His Messenger SAW) shall have only the recompense of the like thereof, and they will not be wronged." (Sûrah al-An'âm (6):160)     

Abu Hurayrah quoted Allâh's Messenger (aallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) as saying, "Whoever intends to do good, but does not do it has one good deed recorded for him. If he intends to do good and does it, ten to seven hundred good deeds are recorded for him. While he who intends to do evil, but does not, no entry is recorded. If he does it, then it is recorded." [Narrated by Ibn'Abbâs and collected by al-Bukhârî and Muslim]

This divine favor of increase in effect of righteous deeds gracefully helps man erase his many sins, if he acts wisely. Allâh ('azza wa Jall) says in the Final Revelation, "And perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night [i.e. the five compulsory Salât (prayers)]. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins). That is a reminder (an advice) for the mindful (those who accept advice)." {Sûrah Hûd (11):114}     

The Prophet (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) was also reported to have said, "Fear Allâh wherever you may be, follow an evil deed with a good one and it will erase it, and treat people well." [Collected by at-Tirmidhî and authenticated by al-Albânî in Sahîh Sunan at-Tirmidhî]

By following such a path the chances of earning Allâh (Azza Wa Jallâh) forgiveness will be greatly improved, "Except him who has done wrong and afterwards has changed evil for good, then surely, I am Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Sûrah an-Naml (27):11)    

Allâh ('azza wa jall) has also made the major righteous deeds a source of expiation for sins. This is because these foundational pillars of Islâm are designed to train the believer in righteousness, when they are performed according to both the Book of Allâh ('azza wa jall) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) as Ibn Rajab defines this knowledge, saying,

"Beneficial knowledge is to define, accurately and meticulously, the texts of the Book and Sunnah and to understand them according to the Salafus-Sâlih (the Pious Predecessors). They become good deeds of the highest order capable of cleansing the true believers of many of their sins.”

Wudû (Ablution)

Abu Hurayrah reported that Allâh's Messenger (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "When a servant [of Allâh (Azza Wa Jallâh)] washes his face, every sin he contemplated with his eyes will be washed away along with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin they committed will be washed off from his hands with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin towards which his feet have walked will be washed away with the last drop of water. So that he comes out pure from sin." [Collected by Muslim]

Salâh (Formal Prayer)

Humrân reported on the authority of 'Uthmân ibn 'Affân that he heard Allâh's Messenger (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) say, "The obligatory prayers of the one who properly performed Wudû (ablution) as Allâh ('azza wa jall) the Exalted enjoined on him, will be an expiation for sins committed between them." [Collected by Muslim]

In another narration 'Amr ibn al-'Aas reported that on one occasion 'Uthmân asked for some water to make Wudû and he quotes Allâh's Messenger (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) as saying, "When the time for a prescribed prayer arrives and a Muslim performes Wudû well and humbly offers prayers with proper bowing, it will be an expiation for his past sins as long as they are not major sins, and that is for all times." [Collected by Muslim]

Salâtul-Jumu'ah (Friday Congragational Prayer)

Abu Hurayrah reported that Allâh's Messenger (sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) said, "If anyone performs Wudû well, then comes to the Friday prayer, listens and keeps silent, his sins between then and the next Jumu'ah plus those of three extra days will be forgiven. But he who plays with pebbles has caused an interruption." [Collected by Muslim and Sunan Abî Dâwûd, for a longer narration also reported by Abu Sa'îd al-Khudrî and authenticated (Hasan) by al-Albanî in Sahîh Sunan Abî Dâwûd]

During the Prophet Muhammad (sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) time the floor of the Masjid was gravel. One who plays with the stones during the Friday sermon kKhutbah) distracts himself and possibly others with his idle actions, or with the sound made by the clicking of the stones. The Prophet (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) equated it with idle talk which he forbade saying, "One should be quiet when the Imâm is speaking." Narrated by Salmân [Collected by al-Bukharî]

Muslims are required to listen attentively to the Friday sermon and remain silent throughout, so much so, that even telling others to be quiet is not allowed. Abu Hurayrah reported Allâh's Messenger (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) as saying, "If one of you tells his brother to be silent while the Imâm is giving the sermon, he is guilty of idle talk." [Collected by al-Bukharî, Sahih Muslim and Sunan Abî Dâwûd]

Laylatul-Qadr (Night of Power)

This is a night among the last ten nights of Ramadân (the 9th month of the lunar calendar) known only to Allâh ('azza wa Jall). Abu Hurayrah related that the Prophet (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "All the previous sins of any one who gets up for prayer during the Night of Power (Laylatul-Qadr) out of faith and seeking his reward from the Lord, will be forgiven." [Collected by al-Bukhârî]

Sawm (Fasting)

Abu Hurayrah related that the Prophet (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "All the previous of any one who fasts the month of Ramadân out of faith and seeking his reward from the Lord, will be forgiven." [Collected by al-Bukhârî]

Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah)

Abu Hurayrah stated that Allâh's Messenger (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "Whoever makes pilgrimage to his House (Ka'bah) and does not have sexual relations with his wife nor commit sins (during the Hajj) will return (sinless) the way his mother bore him." [Collected by al-Bukhârî]

'Umrah (Minor Pilgrimage)

Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allâh (Sallallâhu Alayhi Wasallam) said,

"The sins done between two 'Umrahs are expiated by them." [Collected by al-Bukhârî, Muslim, an-Nasâ'î, Ibn Mâjah and Muwatta Imâm Mâlik]