Translated By: Maulana Yusuf Talal Ali Delorenzo
The objections that people most often use to silence those who would attempt to spur them on to performing good deeds are of two general categories.
(1) Those which directly imply Kufr (unbelief). For example, that this world is comparable to hard currency and the next to credit, and that hard currency is better than credit. Or that the pleasures of this world are certain while those of the next are only supposed, and that one should avoid supposition and stick to what he is certain of. However, since we are addressing our brothers in faith we need not deal with this category of objection.
(2) The second category of objections is of those whose basis is ignorance or carelessness. Here we will concern ourselves with answering some of these misgivings, each in a separate section.
Wrongdoings on account of Allah being All Merciful and forgiving
1) One such objection goes like this. “Allah is All Merciful and All Forgiving. Then, of what significance can my wrongdoing be to such a One?”.
The answer is that yes. He most certainly is All-Forgiving and All-Merciful. He is at the same time, however, the Subdue and the Avenger. So what makes you so sure that He is going to be merciful With you? or forgiving? He might just as well subdue you, or take vengeance on you. Besides, from the following Quranic verses it is clear that He has reserved His mercy and forgiveness only for such persons as repent and then resolve to do good.
ثُمَّ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لِلَّذِينَ عَمِلُوا السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابُوا مِن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ وَأَصْلَحُوا إِنَّ رَبَّكَ مِن بَعْدِهَا لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Then, surely Your Lord – unto those who did evil in ignorance, then repented after that and put things right – surely Your Lord thereafter is All-Forgiving. All-Merciful. (An-Nahl: 119)
The person who dies without having made repentance will deserve a measure of punishment equal to his wrongdoing. Certainly, the mercy of Allah is always a possibility. but who is to say that he can be sure of being granted such an enormous favor?
Delaying repentance hoping to live longer
2) Another of these excuses goes like this. “After all, what is the hurry? There is plenty of time yet to repent”.
To such a supposition we would counter: ‘What makes you so sure that you have more time to live? And even if you do live, can you be sure that you will be favored with the opportunity to repent?’
Remember, as your misdeeds multiply a certain blackness spreads out over your heart. Day by day your chances for repentance grow fewer and fewer. Finally, this process reaches a point for most people where they die without having repented at all.
Willfully doing wrong while anticipating Allah’s forgiveness.
3) Another such objection goes like this. “So what if I continue to do wrong? Later on I will repent and then everything will be forgiven”.
To the person who holds this opinion I would say; “Why don’t you go and put your hand into a fire? Afterwards you can always apply ointment to it.
Of course, he would never consent to such an absurdity. Then what a shame it is that our friend is so bold with regard to wrongdoing. How can he be sure that he will be favored with the opportunity to repent? And even if he does repent, is there any guarantee that Allah most High will accept it of him? Then again, certain misdeeds are such that it is not enough for one to make Tauba (repentance) before Allah. Rather, in many cases it is necessary that he go before the injured party and seek forgiveness from him directly.
[Jaza ul Aa’mal, By: Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi]