If Good Deeds Expiate Sins, Does That Mean I Can Commit Sins?

Question: If good deeds expiate sins, does that mean I can commit sins, as long as the good deeds are more?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Expiation Refers to Minor Sins

While it is true that there are many Hadith regarding the expiation of sins by doing good deeds, it must be understood that the sins intended in these narrations are minor sins, also know as slip-ups (lamam). This concept is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an in the following verse.

Allah Most High says, “Those who avoid great sins and vices except the inadvertently committed sins (lamam), indeed your Lord is of Great Forgiveness. He knows you well when He created you from the earth and when you were fetuses in your mothers’ wombs. Therefore, ascribe not purity to yourselves. He knows best him who fears Allah” [Qur’an, 53:32].

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The five prayers, Jumu’a till Jumu’a, and Ramdhan till Ramadhan are expiations for what was committed between them, as long as major sins were avoided” [Muslim].

The Ruling of Keeping a Dog

In the Hanafi School, it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to keep a dog as a pet. It is however allowed if the dog is kept for hunting or protection [Ala’ al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya].

Thus it is more than just a slip up to intentionally keep a dog. Also, we should not look at sins as a game of numbers. Rather we should understand that our purpose in this life, as Believers in Allah, is to strive to attain His good pleasure and mercy.

Sins are Barriers to Attaining the Divine Pleasure of Allah

We should see sins as an impediment to our life’s purpose. We should never lose hope in the mercy of Allah but we should not allow ourselves to knowingly disobey Allah.

Never Belittle Any Sin

Just as the Messenger (may Allah bless him) said, “Do not belittle any good deed, even if meeting your fellow believer with a smiling face” [Muslim].

This concept of not belittling also applies to sins. For we never know what good deed it is that Allah accepts and grants us His mercy for nor do we know which sin it is that earns His wrath.

Punished Due to a Cat

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Then the Hell-Fire was presented to me and I saw therein a woman from Bani Isra’il. She was being punished due to a cat of hers. She confined it and never fed it nor did she let it free to eat from the land…” [Muslim].

Thus this woman, regardless of her lifetime of good deeds, was cast to the Hell-Fire because of one sin, which she may not have perceived to be that bad.

Likewise, you should not perceive disobeying the command of Allah regarding the dog, as something small or not that bad.

Hope this helps
Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Huge Expiation to Pay for Broken Fasts. What to Do?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

A Muslim is making up 22 years of missed fasts. That is not a problem for him, but he is also calculating the fidya and the kaffara he owns for breaking his fasts without a valid reason and not for not having make them up before the following Ramadan. He’s following the Maliki school and, according to his calculations, he should fasts continuously for more than a century (!!!) or feeds thousand and thousands of poor people, with an average cost of 5£ each according to major charities like the UK National Zakat Foundation or Islamic Relief. He cannot afford such a sum without putting a very big financial burden on his family. What shall he do in order to fulfill his religious duty?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

In this situation, I would recommend the following:

In the Hanafi school, someone who breaks his fast repeatedly in a manner requiring expiation (kaffara) only has to expiate once for all of his previous contraventions. If the Maliki position is different, I would recommend following the Hanafi position on the issue.

Similarly, in the Hanafi school, there is no monetary penalty (fidya) for delaying a make-up fast. However, I cannot see how in the Maliki school you would be required to pay “thousands and thousands” of poor people. Rather, you have to pay fidya for every delayed make-up fast, which is to feed one poor person a mudd, or what you have been told is the equivalent of £5. If you have 22 missed Ramadans that equals a possible maximum of 660 fasts. If you delayed making-up all of these 660 fasts in a manner necessitating fidya (there are several conditions here), you would have to feed one person per fast, which is 660 people. This would mean 660 x £5 = £3300, which can be paid gradually keeping in mind you personal situation and finances.

You should note that there are several details regarding when one is liable to pay fidya for delaying a make-up fast. I have used the 660 number above as merely a maximum estimate for the purpose of illustration. You should consult a reliable Maliki scholar on the specifics of your case.

(Ibn Abidin, Hashiya; al-Dardir, Sharh al-kabir)

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

Giving Life to the Night of the 15th of Shaaban and Its Virtues – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

In this talk Ustadh Amjad highlights the virtues of the night of the 15th of Shaaban, and encourages everyone to seek it out and to give life to that night.


Valid Make Up Fasts

Ustadh Farid Dingle clarifies the rulings on making up fasts, intentions and actions, and reward from Allah, according to the Shafi‘i madhhab.


Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I became Muslim during the month of Ramadan 2012. When I became Muslim I was not told to fast so out of ignorance I didn’t fast that Ramadan. As time went on and I began to learn more I realized I had to make these days up. At the time I decided to start making them up I was under the impression that I had to fast 2 consecutive months for each day missed. When I started to study (Shafi‘i) fiqh I found this to be incorrect. I had already fasted about a month consecutively before I found out the ruling and stopped, would this time I fasted count at all towards my make ups? Or is it invalid because the ruling wasn’t carried out correctly? Please advise.

Jazak Allah khayr



Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

In the Shafi‘i school, that wouldn’t count because the intention was to expiate and not to make-up the fast. This is because of the hadith, ‘Actions are only by intentions.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]

That said, you would get the reward for fasting a whole month regardless, even if it didn’t technically count as the obligatory fasts. Allah Most High says, ‘So He answered them saying, ‘Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female.’ [3:195]

So, just work out exactly how many days of Ramadan 2012 you have to make them up, and just make them up before this coming Ramadan, even if not consecutively. Try to get them done soon as the days are still short, which makes it much easier.

I pray this helps.



Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Stealing from a Friend and Making Amends

Ustadh Farid Dingle gives advice on how to make amends for having stolen from a friend one no longer is in contact with.



Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

When I was in school my friend went to the bathroom and gave her lunchbox to me. I took one of the chicken she had bought and I ate It Will Allah forgive me I have left the school and I don’t have any contact with the girl.



Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Assalamu alaykum,

Dear questioner, if you genuinely cannot find her, just give some charity with the intention of an expiation and that she will get the reward.



Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Past Debts, Preparation of Will and Funeral

Ustadh Farid Dingle is asked about paying past debts, how to prepare one’s will including instructions for one’s funeral and what must be done.



Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

1. In the past I wronged my employer, I recently explained to him what I did and offered to pay him back what I owed him, he forgave me and refused to take the money. I have other debts I must pay off like zakat of previous years etc., can I use the money he refused to pay of those debts?

2. I have many years of prayers and fasts to repay, in case I pass away before completing this I want to write in my will the total for every missed prayer and fast and instruct my family to pay this amount to charity – is the correct and valid?

3. What is the sunna for the passing of someone? Where I live when someone passes the person is prayed over then buried then the funeral will last for 3 days, the relatives must wear black and the 40th day after the passing of the deceased is a highlighted day in my culture the family will either do a mawlid on this day or something like this. If none of this is Islamic I would prefer to not have any of it done and I will instruct this in my will.

4. Also, I was told that if you go to someone’s funeral and hit yourself out of grief the deceased will be punished, is this true? If it is I will also instruct in my will for nobody to do this when I pass away.

Jazak Allah khayran.



Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

1. Yes.

2. Yes. Please also see What Can We Do about Missed Prayers of a Deceased?

3. You should just write in your will that you want everything to be done by the Sunna. Please see What You Need to Know About the Fiqh of Burial, by Imam Tahir Anwar.

Regarding the forty day event, please see Is It Permissible to Complete the Qur’an Forty Days After Someone’s Death?

As for the relatives wearing black, it is permissible, but only for three days, but better not to be done. (Ibn Abidin)

4. That is true.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever slaps their face, tears their clothes, or cries out [with over exaggerated claim] of the pre-Islamic era is not of us.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

I pray this helps.



Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Pain Is an Expiation

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat advises on the pain of ending an illicit relationship and turning to Allah.

Four years ago, I was in a haram relationship with a female. We were both conscious of our din and so had wanted to end the haram and make the relationship proper.

Disobeying Allah and also keeping the relationship a secret from her parents took a toll on our emotional and psychological health and the relationship deteriorated.

At some point I felt that perhaps our fighting was due to us being incompatible not realizing that perhaps these were just relationship struggles that are normal for couples. There was also some dishonesty on my part and then on hers, about talking to the opposite gender during our time together which fractured the trust between us.

I ended the relationship thinking for the best but a year or two afterwards, reconsidered that perhaps I’d been mistaken. I know that she’s an amazing person and so I attempted to approach her again with little success. I regret having let her go and long dearly for companionship, sometimes to the extent that I become depressed and despondent, amd reach out to her. To the best of my ability, I’ve steered clear of dating, although I falter from time to time.

Sometimes I fear that leaving her was a mistake, and that I might never find a spouse who I consider beautiful, loving and deen concious. It makes me depressed and this affects my life and my studies.

How do I go about seeking a spouse and asking Allah’s guidance so that I can find a spouse who will be the coolness of my eyes

I pray you are well.

Pain Is an Expiation

You shouldn’t consider ending that relationship to be a mistake. If you did it for the sake Allah then both of you will be rewarded for the choice and the act. Perhaps the pain you both felt at ending the relationship was a means for the sins from that relationship to be washed away. Allah knows it all. Allah sees it all. Allah doesn’t “lose” any of the reward He has promised for struggling for His sake.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, told us that “The Garden is surrounded by matters disliked, and the Fire by pleasures.” (Bukhari). Meaning, that is it through struggling with matters one does not readily enjoy that Paradise is granted to a person. And the pleasures that are easy to attain through impermissible means are what lead to Hell.

Ask Allah

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Supplication is the weapon of the believer, the support of one’s relationship with Allah, and the light of the heavens and earths.” (Hakim) You’re in a situation of need. The only way to get out of that need is to express you need to Allah; show your slave-hood to Him by turning to Him and asking Him to fix the problem you have. Then leave the matter to Him. If He makes things go the way you want them or not, He will certainly bring about what is best for you.

I recommend you pray Salat al-Haja, on a daily basis, and ask Allah to facilitate a good marriage for you. We shouldn’t regret having stopped a sinful act. Rather, we should ask Allah for them ability to remove all disobedience from our lives, and for Him to fulfill our needs through means which are permissible. This is where the benefit lies.

I leave you with the words Allah revealed for us to ask Him with:

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

Our Dear Lord, grant us, through our spouses and offspring, peace of mind, and make us the leaders of the God-Fearing.

May Allah facilitate the matter for you quickly and easily.


Delaying an Expiation Fast

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked if it is sinful to delay an expiation fast for breaking an oath.

Is it sinful to delay fast for an oath expiation?

Yes, it is considered to be religiously sinful to delay the mandatory expiation (kaffara) of a nullified oath (yamin), unless you have a reasonable excuse to do so, such as being too poor to make the payment and too sick to fast.

The general basis with duties is that they are to be taken care of as soon as reasonably possible and without undue delay, except if you have a reasonable excuse to do the contrary. At the very least, you should include the expiation (kaffara), in this case, in a document containing any other unfulfilled duties which you owe to Allah Most High.

Allah Most High said, “And hasten towards forgiveness from your Lord and a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those mindful of Allah.” (Sura Aal ‘Imran 3:133) The divine injunction here is to rush to that by which you will attain unto forgiveness, such as by fulfilling your duties (wajibat).

Note that if there is an undue delay, you should repent for your error.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see How to Expiate a Broken Oath? and A Reader on Tawba (Repentance).

And Allah Most High knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Diya for Car Accident Resulting in Death

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about paying blood money and expiation due to the accidental death of someone.

If a Muslim is involved in a traffic collision which results in the death of an individual is he liable for diya and kaffara?

Usually, if a person unintentionally kills another, he is expected to pay the blood money (diya) and perform the expiation (kaffara). The former would commonly be paid with assistance from family members (‘aqila) over a period of time. However, there is some detail here depending on the nature of the accident, who did it and where it occurred.

Allah Most High says: “It is not lawful for a believer to kill another except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer unintentionally must free a believing slave and pay blood-money to the victim’s family – unless they waive it charitably…” and towards the end of the verse, “Those who are unable, let them fast two consecutive months – as a means of repentance to Allah.” (Sura al-Nisa 4:92)

Given the sensitive nature of the topic, I’d suggest consulting a local, reliable scholar with the specifics of the situation.

(Usmani, Buhuth fi Qadaya al-Fiqhiyya al-Mu‘asira (1.297); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar; Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta‘lil al-Mukhtar)

Please also see The Punishment for Murder: Reconciling Verses 4:93 and 4:116.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam, Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Accidentally Touching Perfume in Ihram (Shafi‘i)

Ustadh Farid Dingle clarifies the rulings on accidentally touching perfume in ihram.

While in ihram, I accidentally used wet wipes to clean my daughter’s hand. She was having candy and her hands were all sticky. What am I supposed to do? Sadaqa or dam?

In the Shafi‘i school, accidentally touching or stepping on perfume or anything with perfume on them is excused and there is no expiation. (Bushra al-Karim)

For some details from the Hanafi school, please see Removing Hair and Wearing Scents: Expiations for Accidental Violations of Ihram during Hajj.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.