Major sins are those that are forbidden by Allah (SWT) in his Glorious Book and by the Prophet (PBUH) in his sayings.
. According to another view, a major sin is that about which either the threat of Hell-fire, or a curse has been pronounced by Allah and His Messenger (PBUH), or some punishment has been pronounced for the committing of it. Moreover, a minor sin, if repeated again and again also assumes the status of a major sin.
In case of avoiding the major sins, Allah (SWT) promises us that our minor sins will be pardoned and we will be admitted to Paradise. He says:
“If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall remit from you your (small) sins, and admit you to a Noble Entrance (i.e. Paradise).” (An-Nisa 4:31).
Sins differ between major and minor sins. Some of them are greater than others. Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) warned his Ummah from all these sins, be they are major or minor. Moreover, he (PBUH) informed us of these sins with particular attributes, and he established special signs and marks for other sins in other situations.
Among the major sins are the following seven major and destructive sins, which are mentioned collectively in following narration of the Prophet (PBUH):
“Avoid the seven destroyers.” They said: “O Allah’s Messenger! And what are they?” He replied: “Committing Shirk with Allah, magic, to kill someone that Allah has prohibited – except for just cause – consuming Riba (Usury), consuming the wealth or property of an orphan, to flee on the day of the march (to battle), and to slander the chaste, unaware, believing women.” (Al-Bukhari 6857).
The seven acts mentioned in the above Hadith are regarded as major sins, but according to other narrations the number of such sins is more than seven.
In Islamic terminology, shirk means ascribing a partner or rival to Allah (SWT) in Lordship (Rububyyat), worship or in His names and attributes.
Basically, we have two types of Shirk (Polytheism):
- The Greater Shirk
- The Lesser Shirk
The greater shirk results in the nullification of deeds and eternity in the Hell-fire. Allah (SWT) never forgives the one who commits greater shirk until he returns in repentance to Allah (SWT) and gives up shirk.
Allah (SWT) says:
“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases,” (An-Nisa 4:48).
The leaser shirk is that which is called shirk in either the Quran or the Sunnah, but which is not from the category of the greater shirk. For instance, doing specific good deeds for showing-off, swearing by other than Allah (SWT) and saying whatever Allah wills and whatever so-and-so wills and so on.
Sihr means to show something other than what is or should be.
In Islamic terminology the word Sihr applies to everything the cause of which is hidden, and everything that may be imagined as being other than what it is and it takes place by way of concealment or deceit.
Allah (SWT) says:
“” So when they threw, they bewitched the eyes of the people,”(Al-Araf 7:116).
The verse clearly indicates that the magicians deceived the eyes of the people and made them think that the trick was real, when it was only an illusion.
The magic with all its types and kinds are greater sins. The majority of prominent scholars agreed upon considering and counting the magic as disbelief and the one who learns it is also considered as disbeliever and an infidel. Whoever goes to a fortune-teller and asks him about something, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days and nights.
Killing someone that Allah has prohibited except for just cause:
Murdering or killing anyone without a just cause is a great sin, which causes chaos, violence and disorder in every society. The divine religion of Islam preserves the blood of the Muslims and protects our societies from such violence and chaos. Islam also forbids us from shading blood of innocent people. Even though, Islam prevents us from killing our own children for the fear of poverty or burying them alive. In short, Islam does not allow us to kill our believing brother under any circumstances.
Legislation of the Law of equality, i.e., killing the murderer, carries huge great benefits for us. This way, the sanctity of life will be preserved because the killer will refrain from killing, as he will be assured that if he kills, he would be killed. Hence life will be preserved.
Consuming Riba (Usury or Interest):
Riba means an increase over specific types of wealth and items. Usury is one of the greatest sins, because Allah and His Messenger considered it as one of heinous and destructive sins.
It is of kinds
- Riba fadl: It occurs when two items of the same kind are exchanged unequally. For instance, selling a kilo of wheat being exchanged for 1.5 kilo of its kind and so on.
- Riba Nasiah: The increase or growth is due to postponement or dely. It can be stated or specified at the beginning of transaction or on maturity of a debt. For example giving 500$ for exchange of 600$ and so on. This type of Riba also includes Riba Al-Jahiliyyah.
Allah (SWT) forbade Riba with all of its types. He says:
“Whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury).” (Al-Baqarah 2:275)
Consuming the wealth or property of orphans:
The orphan is someone who lost his father in his childhood and did not reached his maturity.
Islam strongly cared for orphan’s wealth and property. It assigned for him someone to be his guardian, who is responsible for his growing up, educating him and taking care of his wealth and property.
Consuming the wealth and property of orphans unjustly is forbidden and unlawful. Allah (SWT) warned us from such heinous sin by saying:
“Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!” (An-Nisa 4:10).
On reaching to puberty, the child ceases to be legally an orphan, and therefore should be responsible for his own affairs and matters. Thus, if he is found to be possessed of sound judgment, his say will be preferable and decisive in affairs relating to business and marriage arrangements. But if it is found that the orphan has not developed the capacity of sound judgment, the assigned guardian shall, for some additional time, remain responsible or in-charge of his affairs.
Fleeing on the day of the march (to battle):
Giving back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting is also considered as the major and destructive sins. Allah (SWT) promised those who fight and scarify their lives, wealth and property in His Cause, to be admitted to Paradise. He (SWT) and His beloved Messenger (PBUH) strongly warned those who flee from the battlefield and threatened them with the Fire.
Accusing chaste, unaware, believing women of adultery:
Allah (SWT) warned and threatened those who accuse chaste women, who never even think of anything affecting their chastity since they are good believers. Accusing such believing and chaste women of adultery can destroy their family and ruin their lives. This accuse also splits the unity of society and spread disorder. Hence, committing such heinous sin degrades the honor of such women and society.
Whosoever unjustly accuses a chaste free woman of committing illegal intercourse is cursed both in this world and in the Hereafter, and deserves severe torment. As a legal punishment, such one should be flogged with eighty lashes according to the Law of Islam and his witness will not be accepted even though he is just.