Q. Which sin is the greatest after shirk and Kufr ?
A. Bid' at (innovation) comes after these two . Bid' at is a thing which has no basis in Shari' at. A thing which is not proved from the holy Quran and Hadith, as in practice at the time of the holy prophet, his companions and those who came after them, but is now done as religious duty.
Bid' at is very bad. The holy prophet has condemned one who indulges in Bid'at and called him a destroyer of the religion. The holy prophet has said that every Bid'at leads to hell and makes others go astray.
Q. Give some examples of Bid'at!
A. People have introduced thousands of Bid'at acts. Some of them are: (1) to build graves of hard bricks, (2) to hold celebration, (3) to build domes, (4) to light candles, etc., (5) to spread sheets and covers on graves, (6) to gather for feast after a death in a house, (7) to wear garlands in marriage, (8) to make such additions in 'Mustahib' which are of based on Shari' at.
Q. What are the other sinful things besides shirk, Kufr and Bid'at?
A. There are many more sins other than Kufr, shirk and Bid'at, for example; telling lies, not saying prayers, not keeping fasts, not giving Zakat, not going on hajj while one can afford it and has property and health, drinking wine, stealing, slander and speaking ill of someone in his absence, false witnessing, molesting others, deceiving, disobeying teachers and parents, putting pictures in one's house, betraying trusts, treating others with contempt, gambling, abusing, seeing dances, giving and taking interests and usury, shaving the beard, wearing pajama below the ankles, extravagance, going to dramas and plays are sinful acts. There are still many other forms of sins, you will read about them at later stages.
Q. Does a Muslim, who commits sins, remains a Muslim?
A. One whose sin is Kufr and shirk does not remain a Muslim. He becomes Kafir and Mushrik. One who commits Bid'at remains a Muslim, but with an incomplete and imperfect faith. Such a person is called motabadde or Bid'ati. One who commits other big sins although he remains a Muslim but only with a deficient and imperfect faith, he is called Fasiq.
Q. If one commits a sin, how can he save himself from punishment?
A. God forgives if one asks his pardon. This is called Taubah. It means repentance. When one repents and makes a vow not to commit the sin again, his Taubah may be accepted by Allah. He should request Allah with much humility to be pardoned and should make a vow not to repeat the sin again. But saying it in one's heart does not complete the Taubah.
Q. Does repentance and asking forgiveness bring pardon for all sorts of sins?
A. All sins which do not relate to any other person and are such that Allah will punish because of disobedience, will be pardoned. Even Kufr and shirk can be pardoned by truly asking for forgiveness. But sins in which the creatures of Allah are concerned, for instance, making wrong use of an orphan's property, making false charges against someone or doing cruelty, these cannot be pardoned by merely asking Allah's forgiveness. For this, the person concerned should be asked for pardon. First pay him his dues and ask his forgiveness then expect Allah's pardon. These sins are infringement and violation of Huqooq-ul-'Ibad (peoples' rights) and they cannot be pardoned by Allah alone.
Q. When is the request for forgiveness not granted?
A. The only time when forgiveness will not be granted is when a man is breathing his last and is about to die and he sees angels of punishment and then asks for forgiveness. But before that the request may always be accepted.
Q. If a sinful dies without asking for Taubah will he go to paradise?
A. Except Kafirs and Mushriks, all will go to paradise after receiving punishment for their sins. If they have violated other people's rights, their rewards for good deeds will be taken from them and will be given to those whom they did wrong as compensation for their suffering. It is also possible that Allah grants pardon and does not punish for all sins except Kufr and shirk, with or without recommendations.
Q. What are the ways in which near relatives or friends can do good to the dead?
A. Such benefits can come to the dead by worship, or through righteous use of money. For example, if a person reads holy Quran, Durood Shareef or gives away alms in the name of Allah or gives food to the hungry, he gets rewards from Allah. But Allah has given him choice to pass on these rewards to another person. To obtain the rewards from Allah, no time is fixed. No event or day be given a particular shape, significance or look for this purpose. Anything which is at hand can be given to a deserving person at any time and the rewards for such a deed can be passed on to the soul of a dead person. It is condemned to observe formalities or give feasts, sometimes beyond one's means, by taking loans, just for the sake of making show or for maintaining custom and family traditions.