Published in  
April 13, 2024

Gems from Imam Ibn Hazm's 'Paths to Salvation'

The following is an article that collects gems and lessons from our Sheikh Maqsoodul Hasan Faizi's حفظه الله dawrah on Imam Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi's رحمه الله, 'al-Talkhis li-Wujuh al-Takhlis'. The book was a response to 8 questions posed to Imam Ibn Hazm رحمه الله regarding what a Muslim should do in turbulent times and how to navigate life. In this part, the Imam talks about sins and how we can easily work to make sure that our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds and hence become a means of us attaining the Forgiveness and Mercy of Allah.

The following is an article that collects gems and lessons from our Sheikh Maqsoodul Hasan Faizi's حفظه الله dawrah on Imam Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi's رحمه الله, 'al-Talkhis li-Wujuh al-Takhlis'. The book was a response to 8 questions posed to Imam Ibn Hazm رحمه الله regarding what a Muslim should do in turbulent times and how to navigate life. In this part, the Imam talks about sins and how we can easily work to make sure that our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds and hence become a means of us attaining the Forgiveness and Mercy of Allah.

It is seen that one of us becomes extremely frightened, and his heart beats at the threat of a weak human being like him, who has no power to benefit or harm himself. So how about that Day when the sun approaches the heads, and the person is drowning in their sweat, a Day whose length is fifty thousand years, then after that he sees his destiny either to Paradise or to Hell. This is the Day of Judgement. So where is the escape except to Allah Alone, with no partner?

Allah says,

وَنَضَعُ ٱلْمَوَٰزِينَ ٱلْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ فَلَا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌۭ شَيْـًۭٔا ۖ وَإِن كَانَ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍۢ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ أَتَيْنَا بِهَا ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِنَا حَـٰسِبِينَ

We set up the scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so no soul will be wronged in the least. And (even) if a deed is the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as a (vigilant) Reckoner. [Surah al-Anbiya, 47]

And Allah says,

فَأَمَّا مَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَٰزِينُهُۥ - فَهُوَ فِى عِيشَةٍۢ رَّاضِيَةٍۢ - وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَٰزِينُهُۥ - فَأُمُّهُۥ هَاوِيَةٌۭ - وَمَآ أَدْرَىٰكَ مَا هِيَهْ - نَارٌ حَامِيَةٌۢ

So as for those whose scale is heavy (with good deeds), they will be in a life of bliss. And as for those whose scale is light, their home will be the abyss. And what will make you realize what that is? (It is) a scorching Fire. [Surah al-Qari'ah 6-11]

And we learned from Allah's saying,

إِن تَجْتَنِبُوا۟ كَبَآئِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّـَٔاتِكُمْ وَنُدْخِلْكُم مُّدْخَلًۭا كَرِيمًۭا

If you avoid the major sins forbidden to you, We will absolve you of your (lesser) misdeeds and admit you into a place of honour. [Surah an-Nisa, 41]

Narrated Ibn Mas'ud رضي الله عنه: A man kissed a woman (unlawfully) and then went to the Prophet (ﷺ) and informed him. Allah revealed,

‏أَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ طَرَفَىِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ‏

Establish prayer at both ends of the day and in the early part of the night. Surely good deeds wipe out evil deeds. That is a reminder for the mindful. [Surah Hud, 114]

The man asked Allah's Messenger (ﷺ), "Is it for me?" He said, "It is for all my followers." [Bukhari]

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه reported: Verily the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, The five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals) provided one shuns the major sins." [Muslim]

This refers to all minor sins. From these we learn that abstaining from the major sins and continuing to engage in good deeds helps one wipe away the minor sins and attain Allah's Mercy. Major sins on the other hand are not wiped away by merely doing good deeds. They need to be addressed separately and specific repentance needs to be done for it. It is for this reason that it is very important to know what constitutes a major sin.

Scholar have differed over how many major sins are there. Some say there are only 7 major sins. This is based on the hadith of Abu Hurairah who narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Avoid the seven great destructive sins." They (the people!) asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What are they?" He said,
1. To join partners in worship with Allah
2. To practice sorcery
3. To kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause (according to Islamic law)
4. To eat up usury (Riba)
5. To eat up the property of an orphan
6. To turn one's back to the enemy and fleeing from the battle-field at the time of fighting and
7. To accuse chaste women who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers." [Bukhari]

In another narration recorded by Imam al-Bukhari in his Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Taysala ibn Mayyas said, "I was with the Najadites (Kharijites) when I committed wrong actions which I supposed were major wrong actions. I mentioned that to Ibn Umar. He inquired, 'What are they?" I replied, 'Such-and-such.'

He stated, 'These are not major wrong actions. There are nine major wrong actions. They are:
1. Associating others with Allah
2. Killing someone
3. Desertion from the army when it is advancing
4. Slandering a chaste woman
5. Usury
6. Consuming an orphan's property
7. To violate the status or sanctity of Masjid al-Haram
8. Scoffing and
9. Causing one's parents to weep through disobedience.'
Ibn Umar then said to me, 'Do you wish to separate yourself from the Fire? Would you like to enter Paradise?' 'By Allah, yes!' I replied. He asked, 'Are your parents still alive?' I replied, 'My mother is.' He said, 'By Allah, if you speak gently to her and feed her, then you will enter the Garden as long as you avoid the major wrong actions.'"

Sa’eed ibn Jubayr reported: A man said to Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, “How many major sins are there? Are they seven?” Ibn Abbas said, “They are closer to seven hundred than only seven, yet no sin is too enormous if forgiveness is sought, and no sin is too minor if committed stubbornly.” [Tafsir al-Tabari]

Based on these different narrations we cannot conclude that the exact number is restricted to just 7 or 9. Based on this scholars said that any sin entailing either a threat of punishment in the Hereafter explicitly mentioned by the Qur’an or Hadith, a prescribed legal penalty (Hadd), or being accursed by Allah or His Messenger is called a major sin.

How do we tackle the many minor sins that we might commit in a day? the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Be conscious of Allah wherever you are. Follow the bad deed with a good one to erase it, and engage others with beautiful character." [Tirmidhi]

From these texts is good news that for those whose good deeds and bad deeds are close, and even if one good deed is more than the bad, he will not see the Fire out of Allah's Mercy. We see this in the narration where Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that." [Bukhari]

So it is upon us to engage in deeds that erase or counterbalance the bad deeds. It was narrated that Abdullah bin Mas'ud رضي الله عنه said, "I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) which action is most beloved to Allah? He said: 'Establishing prayer on time, honouring one's parents and Jihad in the cause of Allah.'" [Nasai]

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Envy is permitted only in two cases: A man whom Allah gives wealth, and he disposes of it rightfully, and a man to whom Allah gives knowledge which he applies and teaches it." [Bukhari and Muslim]

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "When a Muslim plants a tree, whatever is eaten from it is charity from him and whatever is stolen is charity and whatever is subtracted from it is charity". [Muslim]. Another narration says: "If a Muslim plants a tree, or sows a field and men and beasts and birds eat from it, all of it is charity from him".

The Power of Adhkar

- Abu Dharr رضي الله عنه reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “In the morning, charity is due on every joint bone of the body of everyone of you. Every utterance of Allah’s Glorification (SubhanAllah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Praise (Alhamdulilah) is an act of charity and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (La Ilaha IllAllah) is an act of charity; and enjoining M'aruf (good) is an act of charity, and forbidding Munkar (evil) is an act of charity, and two rak'at Duha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).”  [Muslim].

- Narrated Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "If one says one-hundred times in one day:

لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ، وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, the Alone Who has no partners, to Him belongs Dominion and to Him belong all the Praises, and He has power over all things (i.e. Omnipotent)", one will get the reward of manumitting ten slaves, and one-hundred good deeds will be written in his account, and one-hundred bad deeds will be wiped off or erased from his account, and on that day he will be protected from the morning till evening from Satan, and nobody will be superior to him except one who has done more than that which he has done.'" [Bukhari]

- Based on multiple authentic narrations, we learn that there are 3-4 ways to recite the tasbeeh (سبحان الله), tahmeed (الحمد لله), takbeer (الله أكبر), and tahleel (لا إله إلا الله) after the fardh salah. These can be summarized as:

Method 1

10 x Tasbeeh
10 x Tahmeed
10 x Takbeer

A person recites the Tasbeeh, Tahmeed, and Takbeer 250 times. Each of these is rewarded 10 times and the reward is 2,500 times. This is based on the hadith where the Prophet ﷺ said, "If a Muslim man persists in two actions, he will enter Jannah. They are easy, but those who do them are few.' He was asked, 'What are they, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?'

He said, 'That you say "Allahu Akbar" ten times, "Alhamdulillah" ten times, and "SubhanAllah" ten times after every prayer. That is 150 on the tongue and 1500 in the balance.' I saw the Prophet ﷺ counting them with his hand. Then he said, 'When you go to bed, you should say, "SubhanAllah", "Alhamdulillah", and "Allahu Akbar". That is 100 on the tongue and 1000 in the balance. Who among you can do 2500 bad actions morning and night?' He was asked, 'Messenger of Allah, how is it that they are not counted?' He said, 'Shaytan comes to one of you while he is praying and reminds him of something he has to do such-and-such and such-and-such, so he does not remember to do it.'" [Al-Adab al-Mufrad]

This can be broken down as:
- 5 x After every fardh prayer: 10 x Tasbeeh, Tahmeed, and Takbeer = 150
- Before going to sleep: 33 x Tasbeeh, Tahmeed, and 34 x Takbeer = 100
Total = 250
Based on the reports from Imam Bukhari, one can combine them all together and recite 33 times as: Subhan Allah wa’l-hamdulillah wa Allahu Akbar.

Imam al-Munaawi رحمه الله said, "The term, 'So who amongst you commits 2,500 bad deeds in a day and a night!?' means that if a person says these words after the prayers and when going to sleep, then 2,500 rewards will be counted for him, and by every good deed, a bad deed will be erased from him. So whoever does this every day and night will be forgiven." [Faydh Al-Qadeer]

Method 2

33 x Tasbeeh
33 x Tahmeed
34 x Takbeer


1x سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَلاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ

Ka'b ibn Ujrah رضي الله عنه narrated from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), who said: “Dhikr after the prayer, the one who says them or does them after each obligatory prayer will not be disappointed: thirty-three tasbihs, thirty-three tahmids and thirty-four takbirs.” [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه said: The poor came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, "The wealthy, by virtue of their wealth, have taken away the highest ranks and eternal bliss. They pray as we pray and they fast as we fast, but they have surplus wealth with which they do Hajj and ‘umrah, and they strive in jihad and give charity. He said: “Shall I not teach you something by means of which you may catch up with those who have gone ahead of you and none of those who come after you will catch up with you, and you will be the best of the people around you, except those who do what you do? Glorify Allah, Magnify Him and Praise Him thirty-three times following every prayer.” We disagreed among ourselves. Some of us said: We should Glorify Allah thirty-three times, and Praise Him thirty-three times, and Magnify Him thirty-four times. So I went back to him and asked.And he said: “Say, ‘SubhanAllah wa’l-hamdu Lillah wa Allahu Akbar (Glory be to Allah, and Praise be to Allah, and Allah is most great)’ until you have said all of that thirty-three times.” [Bukhari]

Method 3

33 x Tasbeeh
33 x Tahmeed
33 x Takbeer
1 x لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ، وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه narrated from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), who said: “Whoever Glorifies Allah thirty-three times after every prayer , and Praises Allah thirty-three times, and Magnifies Allah thirty-three times, making ninety-nine, and completes it by saying, ‘There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah Alone, with no partner or associate; His is the Dominion, to Him be praise, and He has power over all things,’ his sins will be forgiven even if they are like the foam of the sea.” [Muslim]

Method 4

25 x Tasbeeh
25 x Tahmeed
25 x Takbeer
25 x Tahleel

Zayd ibn Thabit رضي الله عنه said: They were instructed to Glorify Allah following every prayer thirty-three times, and Praise Him thirty-three times, and Magnify Him thirty-four times. A man from among the Ansar had a dream in which someone came to him and it was said to him: Has the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) instructed you to Glorify Allah following every prayer thirty-three times, and Praise Him thirty-three times, and Magnify Him thirty-four times? He said: Yes. He said: Make them twenty-five times, and include tahleel among them. When morning came, he went to the Prophet (ﷺ) and told him about that, and he said: “Do them like that.” [Nasai]

As per our Sheikh Maqsoodul Hasan Faizi حفظه الله, Method 3 and 4 are better than the rest. Why? This is because this was what was preferred and practiced by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and this is what he taught his companions to do. Allah Chooses the best for His Messenger ﷺ to engage in. This is not to say that the other methods cannot be done. They can and should also be done, but just that these methods are better.

Something similar is seen even in our rukuh. What is the best dua to be said after standing up from the rukuh? Most of us will answer based on the hadith narrated Rifa'a bin Rafi' Az-Zuraqi who said, "One day we were praying behind the Prophet. When he raised his head from bowing, he said, "Sami`allahu liman hamidah." A man behind him said,

رَبَّنَا وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ حَمْدًا كَثِيرًا طَيِّبًا مُبَارَكًا فِيهِ

O our Lord! All the praises are for You, many good and blessed praises.

When the Prophet completed the prayer, he asked, "Who has said these words?" The man replied, "I." The Prophet said, "I saw over thirty angels competing to write it first." Prophet rose (from bowing) and stood straight till all the vertebrae of his spinal column came to a natural position. [Bukhari]

This is extremely good. But what is better is what the Prophet himself did the most. In the above narration, he praised the action of the sahabi. But what the Prophet did himself always is better and takes precedence. Abdullah Ibn Abi Awfa reported that when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) raised his back from the ruku' he pronounced:

سَمِعَ اللَّهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ

Allah listened to him who praised Him.

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ مِلْءَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَمِلْءَ الأَرْضِ وَمِلْءَ مَا شِئْتَ مِنْ شَىْءٍ بَعْدُ‍

O Allah! Our Lord! Unto You be praise that would fill the heavens and the earth and fill that which will please You besides them. [Muslim]

In another narration, it is reported that he said,

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ مِلْءَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَمِلْءَ الأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَمِلْءَ مَا شِئْتَ مِنْ شَىْءٍ بَعْدُ أَهْلَ الثَّنَاءِ وَالْمَجْدِ لاَ مَانِعَ لِمَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَلاَ مُعْطِيَ لِمَا مَنَعْتَ وَلاَ يَنْفَعُ ذَا الْجَدِّ مِنْكَ الْجَدُّ ‏

O Allah! Our Lord! Unto You be praise that would fill the heavens and the earth and fill that which will please You besides them. Worthy are You of all praise and glory. No one can withhold what You give, or give what You withhold. And the greatness O! the great avail not against You. [Muslim]

- Abu Musa al-Ash'ari رضي الله عنه reported that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to him, "Should I not direct you to the words from the treasures of Paradise, or he said: Like a treasure from the treasures of Paradise?" I said, "Of course, do that." Thereupon he said:

لاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ

"There is no might and no power but that of Allah." [Muslim]

-The Prophet ﷺ stressed on the importance of constant Istighfar. Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “O people, turn to Allah in repentance. Verily, I repent to Him one hundred times in a day.” [Muslim]
Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه reported, "We counted the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saying one hundred times in a single sitting before he stood up,

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَتُبْ عَلَيَّ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الْغَفُورُ

“My Lord, forgive me and accept my repentance. Verily, You alone are the Relenting, the Forgiving.”

Connect with the Qur'an

The above mentioned are a few actions that bring a person closer to Allah and make them eligible to attain the Mercy Allah because of which sins are forgiven and the stations are elevated. This is from the teachings of our beloved Messenger ﷺ who wanted the best for us. He never said a word except that it was guided by divine revelation. Pay no attention to the words of the astray and evil doers who belittle the adhkar of the tongue and such good deeds. May Allah enable us to learn and implement these teachings for indeed they are easy to do for us to do without any exertion and its reward is enormous. If Allah is to Accept this from us then our scale of good deeds will become heavy, the scale of evil deeds will become light, and the chances of attaining salvation will increase. This does not mean that one doesn't do any other good deeds other than these. Rather, one should engage in other good deeds as much as possible also.

Why is this important? Anas رضي الله عنه said "You people do (bad) deeds (commit sins) which seem in your eyes as tiny (minute) than hair while we used to consider those (very deeds) during the life-time of the Prophet (ﷺ) as destructive sins." [Bukhari]

Allah says,

يَوْمَ تَأْتِى كُلُّ نَفْسٍۢ تُجَـٰدِلُ عَن نَّفْسِهَا وَتُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍۢ مَّا عَمِلَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

Consider the Day when every soul will come pleading for itself, and each will be paid in full for what it did, and none will be wronged. [Surah an-Nahl, 111]

ٱلْيَوْمَ تُجْزَىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍۭ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ ۚ لَا ظُلْمَ ٱلْيَوْمَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَرِيعُ ٱلْحِسَابِ

Today every soul will be rewarded for what it has done. No injustice Today! Surely Allah is swift in reckoning. [Surah Ghafir, 17]

It is upon us who seek salvation to engage in deeds that increase our good deeds and reduce our evil deeds. It is upon us to regularly read the Qur’an and complete it once every month. If he completes it in less than one month, then it is even better, but it should not be completed in less than three days. It was narrated that Ibn Mas‘ud رضي الله عنه said, "Read the Qur’an in seven days and do not read it in less than three days." [Fadhail al-Qur'an]

One should strive to recite Surah al-Ikhlas even if in every rak’ah of the salah when reciting Surah al-Fatiha followed by another surah. This is based on what our mother Aishah رضي الله عنها reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) appointed a man in charge of an army unit who led them in prayer; he always concluded his recitation with Surat Al-Ikhlas: "Say (O Muhammad (ﷺ)): 'He is Allah, (the) One. Allah-us-Samad (Allah - the Self-Sufficient). He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none equal or comparable to Him."' (112:1-4) Upon their return to Al-Madinah, they mentioned this to Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), who said, "Ask him why he does so?" He was asked and he said, "This Surah contains the Attributes of Allah, the Gracious, and I love to recite it. Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) then told them, "Tell him that Allah loves him". [Bukhari and Muslim]

If a person cannot recite it in every salah, then at least recite it once every day. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to his Companions, "Is anyone of you incapable of reciting one-third of the Qur'an in one night?" They considered it burdensome and said: "O Messenger of Allah, which of us can afford to do that?" He (ﷺ) said, "Surat Al-Ikhlas [Say: He is Allah (the) One] is equivalent to one-third of the Qur'an." [Bukhari]. This recitation is not restricted to just the morning or just in one sitting. The recitation can be broken down as long as it is on that one day. The more that one increases in its recitation, the more that one stands to gain from it.

Other Easy Good Deeds

Whenever the mention of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is made, one should send prayer and salutations upon him. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Whoever sends salah upon me once, Allah will send salah upon him tenfold, and will erase ten sins from him, and will raise him ten degrees in status." [Nasai] Only the deprived person will miss out on such an opportunity.

When a person eats food or drinks, he should thank Allah the Almighty. Anas ibn Malik رضي الله عنه said: the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said “Allah is pleased with a person who eats some food and then praises Him for it, or who drinks some drink and then praises Him for it.” [Muslim]

One should increase in saying 'Laa ilah ila Allah', for verily they are words which are said with the movement of the tongue without the movement of the lips. Thus, the one sitting with you does not sense it.

Jabir ibn Abdullah رضي الله عنه reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say, “The best dhikr is “La ilaha ila Allah”, and the best prayer is “Alhamdulillah.” [Tirmidhi]

One should strive to perform the obligatory prayer regularly in congregation. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "Whoever attends Isha (prayer) in congregation, then he has (the reward as if he had) stood half of the night. And whoever prays Isha and Fajr in congregation, then he has (the reward as if he had) spend the entire night standing (in prayer)." [Abu Dawud]

One should also strive in reciting the words that have reached us from the Prophet which he taught his wife. Our mother Juwairiyah bint Al-Harith رضي الله عنها reported that he Prophet (ﷺ) came out from my apartment in the morning as I was busy in performing the dawn prayer. He came back in the forenoon and found me sitting there. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Are you still in the same position as I left you." I replied in the affirmative. Thereupon the Prophet said, "I recited four words three times after I had left you. If these are to be weighed against all you have recited since morning, these will be heavier. These are:

سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ عَدَدَ خَلْقِهِ ، وَرِضَا نَفْسِهِ ، وَزِنَةَ عَرْشِهِ ، وَمِدَادَ كَلِمَاتِهِ

Allah is free from imperfection and I begin with His praise, as many times as the number of His creatures, in accordance with His Good Pleasure, equal to the weight of His Throne and equal to the ink that may be used in recording the words (for His Praise)]." [Muslim] It is recommended that one says it three times every day, and to persevere in his effort.

Many times we get so caught up with our work or life in general that we do not do our morning and evening adhkar properly. One should focus on doing at least those adhkar that are easy, light on the tongue, hardly takes any time, and yet very heavy on the scales of good deeds.

One should strive to increase in voluntary prayers as much as possible. We learn that the servant will be held accountable for his prayers on the Day of Resurrection. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayer. If it is complete, then the voluntary (prayers) will also be recorded for him (as an increase). If it is not complete then Allah will say to His angels: ‘Look and see whether you find any voluntary prayers for My slave, and take them to make up what is lacking from his obligatory prayers.’ Then all his deeds will be reckoned in like manner.” [Abu Dawud] And likewise is the case with regard to ones fasting, zakat, and all other deeds. This is inline with what Allah says,

أَنِّى لَآ أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَـٰمِلٍۢ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ ۖ

I will never deny any of you—male or female—the reward of your deeds. [Surah Aal Imran, 195]

One should not pay attention to those that belittle the importance of the voluntary actions or prayers. For those that say that there is no voluntary prayer for the one who missed the obligatory one, then it needs to be understood such that - if the time for praying the obligatory prayer is running out, then one mustn't engage in voluntary prayers. The obligatory prayers need to be prayed on time. This doesn't mean that one who slacks off or misses his obligatory prayers at times should not pray the voluntary prayers as well. This is an incorrect understanding. Rather, one should strive to pray all the prayers in the right time and also increase in voluntary prayers so that they will make up for our deficient or missed prayers. May Allah Forgive our shortcomings, Accept our meagre deeds, and Allow us to worship Him in a manner that brings us close to Him.

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