(I ask pardon, etc.) assuredly God Most High will forgive him those 1 sins. The same Imam states that whoever, after afternoon (عصر) prayer, recites the istighfar seventy times, God Most High will forgive him seven hundred sins; and, if he have not committed seven hundred sins; then his father's sins to the number in excess will be pardoned. Should his father also not have committed that number of sins, those of his mother, his brother, his sister, or of the member of his clan who is nearest in relationship to him, will be forgiven instead, up to the same 2 number. On Imam Ja'far's authority we are told also that love for Muhammad and the members of his family sweeps away sins, just in the same way as a storm does the leaves 3 of trees.

In the Hayatu'l-Qulub it is stated that Muhammad said: 'Whoever 4 shall love me much, however wicked and sinful he may be, God will forgive him;' and again: 'On the resurrection day a thousand companies of my people, each company composed of a thousand thousand persons, will enter paradise enfolded in the threads of Fatima's 5 veil.'

In short, all that is said in the Traditions regarding the remission of sin is to the same purport. From such Traditions it is perfectly clear that those who related them were altogether ignorant of the

1 Op. cit., p. 261. 2 Op. cit., p. 265. 3 Op. cit., p. 45.
3 Hayatu'l-Qulub, vol. ii, p. 370. 5 Op. cit., p. 105.

real nature of sin, and that, imagining sin to be a merely external thing, they thought so lightly of it that they believed, in accordance with the foregoing Traditions, that, for example, seven hundred sins would be forgiven through seventy repetitions of the istighfar, that the sins of fifty years would be done away through reciting Suratu'l-Ikhlas (cxii), and that every evildoer would, without the slightest doubt, be admitted to paradise through merely loving Muhammad and feeling affection towards his family.

Accordingly, whoever believes those Traditions will not fear to sin. On the contrary, he will commit sin entirely without anxiety, and will aim at satisfying his sensual desires and lusts; for he will think that, after doing so, in his last agony, he will obtain deliverance from all his sins and from punishment by reciting Suratu'l-Ikhlas or by performing the istighfar. By such teachings the root of sin will never be eradicated from a man's heart, nor will any moral or spiritual profit result from such statements. On the contrary, men will sink still deeper into sin because of relying on them. Unless, therefore, it be possible that God the holy one should in some manner assist a sinner while he clings to his sin, and should render an evildoer fearless and unterrified amid his wickedness, it is evident that the Traditions we have quoted are not according to God's holy will but are altogether false in their teaching.