Ash-Shaikh H. Abdul Nazar

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Major Sins; a Brief Discussion

Ash-Shaikh H. Abdul Nazar

Almighty Allah has highly esteemed his superior creation mankind by bestowing reason on them. In the meantime, he has distinctly elaborated to them the good and the bad. Therefore, each and every believer is ordained to perform good acts and to refrain from evil acts in his day-to-day life.

Almighty Allah, the Creator of human beings has set up in them two vital powers; namely active power and willpower. The active power must push man to do good activities whereas the willpower must prevent him from indulging in evil activities. However, the active power may drive man to perpetrate wrong things. In such circumstances, if the willpower fails to extricate him from that, he will simply commit evil deeds.

Uncontrolled desires, circumstances and satanic feelings become instrumental in doing wrong things. Islam deems activities committed by humankind in such a way sins. Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has precisely defined the misdeed as follows:

“… and the sin is what perplexed in your heart and you disliked people looking at.” (Recorded in Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Nawwaas Ibn Sim’aan (Radhiyallahu anh)

Islam has divided offences into two categories - major and minor. Describing the believers who do good, Allah, the Exalted says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Those who avoid the major sins and shameful acts save minor offences.” (53 : 32)

In the light of the above verse of Al-Qur’an, we clearly notice that offences are categorized into heinous and lesser.

At this juncture, it is very important to determine what major offences are and what minor offences are. The prominent Islamic scholars have different opinions on this as both the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah have not precisely figured out the grave sins.

A man said to Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhuma) that heinous offences were seven. Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhuma) said that they were up to seven hundred than to seven. Nevertheless, there is no major sin with repentance and no minor sin with continuation. (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi)

On account of this, the celebrated Islamic scholar Izz Al-Deen Ibn Abd Al-Salaam (Rahimahullah) said: “I found no definition for it (major sin) from any Aalim”. (Qawaa’id Al-Ahkaam Fee Masaalih Al-Anaam)

However, the following statement of Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhuma) somehow helps us to somewhat determine the great offences:

“The grave offence is every offence which Allah concluded mention of with Hell, wrath, curse or punishment.” (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi)

Considering this opinion of Ibnu Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhuma), it is easy for us to regard the seven offences stated in the following Hadees as great sins:

“The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: Avoid the seven destructive offences! They (companions) asked: O Allah’s Messenger! What are they? He said: joining others with Allah in worship, bewitchment, killing life which Allah has made sacred except with just cause, devouring interest, eating up the property of the orphan, running away on the day of war and slandering the chaste, believing and naïve women.” (Recorded in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari on the authority of Aboo Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anh)

The seven sins mentioned in the foregoing Hadees are, indeed, some of the heinous offences. Almighty Allah never forgives the offence of associating others with Him in worship, which is the highest wrongdoing. According to the Holy Qur’an, the abode of this offender is Hell. Likewise, Allah has distinctly condemned bewitchment which is taught by Satans. The murderer deserves the curse and anger of Allah and he will enter the Great Fire as stated in the Holy Qur’an. Similarly, those who eat up the property of orphans are promised Hell and those who devour usury are promised punishment. Also, the one who flees the battleground will enter the Great Fire and the slanderer of chaste women is threatened with punishment.

Moreover, apart from the major offences discussed earlier, the sins for which legal punishment in this world is prescribed and sins cursed by Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) are considered great offences.

Abstaining from performing prayers and Zakat and observing fasting and Haj without a valid reason, telling lies about Allah Ta’ala, reviling the companions of our beloved Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam), betrayal of Muslims to non-Muslims, ill-treating parents, disobedience towards parents, homosexuality, adultery, arrogance, pride, boasting, giving false testimony, consumption of intoxicants, gambling, theft, robbery, burglary, highway robbery, bribery, cuckoldry, lying, swearing falsely, backbiting, eavesdropping, talebearing, doing good deeds to be seen of people, injustice, earning in prohibited ways, committing suicide, breaking promises, deceiving, breach of faith, believing soothsayers’ utterance, disobedience towards husbands, annoying neighbours, claiming false ancestry, denying lineage, man imitating woman, woman imitating man, slaughter of animals in the name of Allah’s creatures, manipulating in weights and measures, breaking kinship ties, cheating of subjects, etc. fill the long list of grave offences.

Furthermore, it is significant to be noted here that Almighty Allah never forgives the offence of joining others with him in worship, which is highest wrongdoing until the sinner repents by completely giving up his sin. Similarly, He does not forgive other major sins without repentance except for people whom He wishes. But, lesser offences are forgiven with good deeds like prayers and fasting being in atonement.

By and large, it is imperative that a believer must eschew all offences irrespective of major or minor. In order to achieve this, he should train himself to control evil desires and avoid presenting himself in places of sins. In the event of dwelling in a place pregnant with offences, it is an indispensable duty of a Muslim to leave that place for an offence-free place. Meanwhile, he must strive with his entire strength and stamina to rectify the wrong situation of indulging in offences. Renouncement of sins is, of course, precisely outlined in the following Hadees:

“And the emigrant is the one who renounced what Allah has prohibited.” (Recorded in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Amr (Radhiyallahu anhuma)

Finally, let us resolve in this holy month of Ramadhaan where we keep our soul and body under control without being caught in evils, to always refrain from perpetrating offences.

May Almighty Allah’s blessing be upon everyone of us!



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