Question: In the Hereafter, the thawabs and the sins of those people who depart from the world as Muslims will be weighed, and those whose thawabs weigh heavier will go to Paradise. For this reason, if I commit sins now, e.g., going out by not covering my awrah and consuming alcohol, and later if I do good deeds that will compensate for these sins, such as making donations, giving clothes to the poor, and doing other good deeds, will they save me from entering Hell?
Yes, doing good deeds may save you from entering Hell, but you must have very great thawabs that will compensate for the sins of the haram acts you did. Even if you give food and clothes to 1.000 poor people, the thawab of it cannot neutralize the sin you incurred by not performing a fard salat in its due time deliberately. It cannot neutralize, either, your debt of zakat worth a cent or a little encroachment done to a person. The reason for this is that voluntary acts of worship, when compared with obligatory ones, are not even like a drop of water versus an ocean. Just as it is necessary to reciprocate hostile air action with anti-aircraft warfare instead of with guns or rifles, so it is necessary to reciprocate harams with fard acts.
Secondly, one who commits sins cannot earn thawab in return for ones good deeds. For example, suppose that one consumes alcohol but at the same time performs the five daily salats regularly. In this case, one is considered to have done the obligatory duty, but one cannot earn the great rewards promised for those who perform the five daily salats regularly, unless one makes repentance and quits the sin. In our religion, abstaining from sins takes precedence over performing acts of worship. A hadith-i sharif says:
(No thawab is given in return for the salats, fasts, zakats, and charity of a person who consumes wine [alcoholic drinks], unless he repents of it.) [Anis-ul-Waizin]
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states:
An open sinner who does not do a fard act deliberately or who does not abstain from a haram act cannot earn thawab in return for his/her voluntary and sunnat acts of worship. If there is a debt of zakat, even if it is worth a cent, not any of ones charitable donations, even if they are worth millions of dollars, will be acceptable. No reward is given to such a person in return for his donations to mosques, schools, hospitals, and charities (Vol. 1, Letter 29).
Hadrat Muhammad Hadimi states:
If one keeps committing sins, ones good deeds and acts of worship will avail one nothing. One will not earn any thawab in return for any of them (Bariqa).