A letter on August 14 by Mr Tariq about performance of Hajj and other Islamic rituals and forgiveness of sins was interesting reading. We, Muslims, know well that Allah (SWT) is Supreme, he said (Inn-Allaha Alaa Kulle Shai-in Qadeer) Allah has power over all things and can do what He decides. He does not share His power with anything or anybody, not even with the highest angels or the greatest Prophets, nobody and nothing can question His power.
He is Just, he punishes only those who do wrong and that only proportional to the sin and if a 'man' does not commit ‘Gunah-i-Kabira’, like murder and other such sins. He in all His Mercy may gloss over many of his small sins. If a man comes to Him in repentance and makes a firm resolve to amend his ways, which we call 'Tauba' He in His Mercy may forgive all his previous sins. These are not my words but translations of verses from the Quran. In Surah 39, verse 53, He says “O Prophet (PBUH) say to my servants (men and women), who have wronged themselves (committed sins), not to despair of Allah's Mercy; He can forgive all sins, for Allah is the most forgiving and most merciful" This verse puts heart into a man's soul and allows a man to repent and mend his ways and carry a ray of hope for Allah's Mercy in spite of all his previous sins.
Tauba can be achieved even without Hajj, which is mandatory only on able-bodied persons with sufficient funds, totally from 'halaal' means and not earned by trickery, corruption, hoarding, black-marketing, etc. He must put his heart and soul in performance of Hajj, resolve for a true tauba and when he comes back must observe all tenets of Islam and be humble and kind and forgiving to others. Maybe God Almighty will forgive his sins.
Most of us are sinners, but we should not lose hope of Allah's Mercy and we must try to mend our ways and seek His forgiveness. And maybe if one follows the straight path of Islam, Allah Almighty may open for him the way to achieve pardon for his wrong-doings.
 Lahore, August 19.