c)Forgiving Sins through Observing Religious Duties
c) Forgiving Sins through Observing Religious Duties, Following the Sunna of the Prophet, and Performing Desirable Acts (those acts whose neglect is not punished by Allah, but whose performance is rewarded):
Allah has decreed some religious duties which are classified into articles of faith, observances and mutual relations. Performing these duties is greatly rewarded especially such observances as prayer, fasting, alms-giving and pilgrimage which are regarded as atonement for a Muslim's sins. Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The prayer offered in congregation is seventy-five times more superior (in reward) to the prayer offered alone in one's house or in a business center, because if one performs ablution and does it perfectly, and then proceeds to the mosque with the sole intention of offering prayer, then for each step which he takes towards the mosque, Allah upgrades him a degree in reward and (forgives) crosses out one of his sins (at each step) till he enters the mosque. He is considered in (prayer) as long as he is waiting for the prayer, and the angels keep on asking for Allah's forgiveness for him, and they keep on saying: "O Allah! Forgive him, as long as he keeps on sitting at his praying place and does not pass wind." Also Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever fasts during the
month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah's Rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven." Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "(The performance of) Umra is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous one. And the reward of Hajj (the one accepted by Allah) is nothing but Paradise."
Following the Sunna of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and performing desirable acts are one way of atoning for sins. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "... for those things that are good remove those that are evil ..."
Having patience (forbearing) with afflictions and misfortunes, such as illness, poverty, etc., is also rewarded. Abu Said Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "No fatigue, no disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but Allah expiates some of his sins for that." And Abdullah narrated that I visited the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his ailments and he was suffering from high fever. I said, "You have a high fever. Is it because you will have a double reward for it?" He said, "Yes, for no Muslim is afflicted with any harm but for that Allah will remove his sins as the leaves of a tree fall down." Abu Huraira also narrated: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials."