Previously discussed points:
Dear brothers, this is the lesson No. 31 of the series "Madarij As-Salikin" with regard to the different ranks of 'You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)'." In fact, in the previous lectures I mentioned the types of sins, the topics of Ithm (sin), Udwan (transgression), Fahsha' (all types of indecencies, vulgarities, obscenities etc), Munkar (i.e. all that is prohibited by Islamic law), types of Fisq (to depart from the obedience of Allaah), types of Fujoor (wickedness, evil-doing), types of Kufr (infidelity) and the top major sin of all which is to say against Allah what one has no knowledge of. Today we will tackle a new topic of this series to be an introduction to the most serious topic of all in the believer's life, which is repentance.
Stages of repentance:
I mentioned previously that one can't repent from a sin that he does not consider a sin. Thus, the first stage of repentance is to know what the sin is, what the hidden Shirk (polytheism) is, what Kufr is, what Fujoor is, what Ithm is, what Udwan is, what Fahsha' is, what Munkar is, and what the gravest sin of all is, which is, to say against Allah what one has no knowledge of. Man will not turn to Allah in repentance from any sin unless he knows how grave the sin he commits is and knows the torment it causes him in the worldly life and the misery in the Hereafter.
Since we are still tackling the topics of this series which ends with repentance, today we are discussing the major sins, but before I go into details, I would like to give you some examples. When you break the traffic law, the penalty which you receive starts with paying a small sum of money, impounding your car for a week or two, having your driving license withdrawn …etc. However, your life remains safe while being punished for violating this law. In case someone breaks a certain law, he will be sentenced to two months in prison, breaking another law will make him serve three years in prison, forging an official paper will make him serve six years in prison, withholding information (about a crime) will make him serve six years in prison, committing a homicide will make him serve 25 years in prison and whoever is convicted of high treason will be sentenced to death, isn't that right?
In fact every society has its own rules and laws; laws of offensive acts, laws of felonies, laws of crimes, civic law violations and criminal law violations. Each offensive or crime has its own law and penalty which differs from the other ones. Similarly, sins are not of the same nature, and it is out of naivety to think that all sins are alike. There is a sin which if you commit, you can say, "O Lord I regret it", and you will feel right away that Allah forgives you. Unlike this sin, there are sins, which you can't simply regret with your tongue, so you need to pay hefty money, you need to mend things and you need to offer great deeds to be forgiven.
The very serious point I would like you to keep in mind is that it is out of naivety to think that whenever you sin, you can repent, that the gate of repentance is always open and that Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful:
﴾Declare (O Muhammad, peace be upon him) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.﴿
Believing like this what makes things worse. You should know that the greater your sin is, the harder your repentance will be. Thus, sinning is not like walking on the sidewalk once again after having your feet slipped. It is not that easy and this is but a silly thought. There are types of sins which drive you far away from Allah, and other sins will bring curse on their doer and will cast him away from Allah's Mercy. This serious point is the subject of our lecture today.
There are major sins and minor sins, and the latter are easy to repent from. The minor sins are like the accident which costs the owner of the car 100 lira, and it takes an hour to have the car repaired. The major sins, on the other hand, are more serious, just like the accident which costs you 200 thousand lira, or the one in which the car is cut in half or totaled and needs hundreds of thousands or may be one million to be repaired. Accordingly, not all car accidents are the same; there is a fender bender and there is a total loss, and so are sins, around which this lecture revolves.
﴾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).﴿
((A faithful believer remains at liberty regarding his religion unless he kills somebody unlawfully))
Amongst major sins are Zina (fornication), drinking intoxicants, stealing, murdering unrightfully and accusing chaste women. As I said earlier, the topic of this lecture is major sins. This topic is undoubtedly a controversial one in terms of the different views of As-Salaf As-Saleh (the pious ancestors) about which sins are considered major ones. They said that major sins ranged from 7 to 70 to even 700. There is a famous book entitled "The Major Sins" by Imam Adh-Dhahabi in which he mentioned 70 major sins drawn from the Noble Quran, the Prophetic Sunnah and Sahih relics. I will talk about the ones mentioned in clear Ayaht of the Noble Quran and Sahih Sunnah as they are the most reliable references to the major sins.
1- Al-Yameen Al-Ghamoos (false oath):
From Shu'bi narration:
((Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'as (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "(Of the) major sins are: to ascribe partners to Allah, disobey parents, murder someone, and to take a false oath (intentionally)".))
Al-Yameen Al-Ghamoos (forged oath) is to swear falsely by Allah. For instance, you swore by Allah that you did not take a sum of money from someone, while in fact you did. Hence, it is making a false oath causing by it harm to a Muslim, such as taking what is not yours. This oath is called "Al-Yameen Al-Ghamoos" and it is described as "Ghamoos" (immersing) because it immerses the one who makes it in the Hellfire. Besides, this oath has no Kaffarah (the penalty which is imposed by the Islamic law for breaking a vow), because if you make it, you will not be considered a Muslim any more, and you should renew your Islam (say Shahadah once again) and your faith.
2- Being undutiful to parents:
Anas,may Allah be pleased with him, narrated:
((Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, answered a question about the biggest of the major sins by saying: "Ascribing partners to Allah, and to be undutiful to your parents"))
Thus, I would like all of you to take my advice: Don't go into a partnership with someone who is undutiful to his parents, because how can someone who is undutiful to his parents be kind to other people? His parents are the closest people to him, and they are the ones who first did him favors, so if he is undutiful to them, there will be no goodness in him. Hence,
((Let the person who is undutiful to his parents does what he wants as he will never enter Al-Jannah (Paradise).))
Let me repeat again: Amongst major sins are associating partners (in worship) with Allah, being undutiful to parents and of course killing someone unlawfully. As for the latter, when a judge sentences someone to death, this is killing also, but it is done lawfully, and as it was said, "Killing lawfully prevents killing unlawfully"
﴾And there is (a saving of) life for you in Al-Qisas (the Law of Equality in punishment), O men of understanding, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).﴿
3- Joining partners in worship with Allah and killing someone unlawfully:
When we say that "Killing" is a major sin, we mean the unlawful killing. Concerning the killing of someone rightfully, only the ruler is granted the right to apply Al-Hadd (the punishment fixed by the Noble Qur'an or the Sunnah of the Noble Prophet, peace be upon him) for the killing of someone unlawfully. Common Muslims have no authority to apply the penalty of killing, the penalty of Rajm (stoning adulterers to death) or any other Hadd, and only the Muslim ruler is entitled to apply these penalties in order to avoid chaos. I would like to repeat again: Amongst the major sins are associating partners in worship with Allah, being undutiful to parents, killing someone unlawfully and Al-Yameen Al-Ghamoos. In the Two Sihah (Muslim and Al-Bukhari), Abdul Rahman Ibn Abi Bakr narrated that His father said that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((Abu Bakrah Nufai' bin Al-Harith (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him said, "Shall I not inform you of the biggest of the major sins?'' Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, asked this question thrice. We said, "Yes, O Messenger of Allah. (Please inform us.)". He said, "Ascribing partners to Allah, and to be undutiful to your parents". Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, sat up from his reclining position and said, "And I warn you against giving forged statement and a false testimony; I warn you against giving forged statement and a false testimony". Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, kept on repeating that warning till we wished he would stop.))
The Prophet, peace be upon him, never accepted to see the rights get lost nor did he accept humiliation.
It was narrated in the relic:
((One hour of justice is better than seventy years of worshipping God.))
Being just is better than worshipping Allah for seventy years, because Allah is Al-Adl (the just) and He loves Justice. A rock complained to the Almighty Allah saying, "O Lord, I worshipped you for fifty years and you put me in a latrine? He was addressed: "Behave you rock, you should be thankful that I didn't put you in an assembly of an unjust judge."
It is more honorable for you (as a rock) to be in this latrine than being in an assembly of an unjust judge. Pay attention to the fact that each one of us is a judge; as a father you can be a judge between your children, at work between your partners and in your neighborhood between your neighbors. Thus, you don't have to be appointed a judge in the court of law to be a judge, absolutely not. Whenever people resort to you to judge between two parties, then you are a judge:
((One hour of justice is better than seventy years of worshipping God.))
It was narrated in an old story that a man entered a house, killed the husband and said to his wife, "Give me everything you have". She gave him 7 golden dinars, but he wanted more, so he killed her first son. He was about to kill her second son, but she gave him a golden shield which he liked a lot. When he was checking it, he noticed that there were two lines of poetry written on it. When he read them, he fainted. The two lines are:If the prince and his assistants were unjust to people,
And if the world's judge was unjust in judging
Then woe to, woe to, woe to
the world's judge from the Heaven's Judge
* * *
Let me say it again:
Then woe to, woe to, woe to
the world's judge from the Heaven's Judge
Woe to a person who unfairly treated a weak human being:
((Beware of the supplication of the unjustly treated man, though he might be Kafir (infidel).))
((Abu Bakrah Nufai' bin Al-Harith (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Shall I not inform you of the biggest of the major sins?" Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) asked this question thrice. We said, "Yes, O Messenger of Allah. (Please inform us.)". He said, "Ascribing partners to Allah, and to be undutiful to your parents". Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sat up from his reclining position and said, "And I warn you against giving forged statement and a false testimony; I warn you against giving forged statement and a false testimony". Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) kept on repeating that warning till we wished he would stop.))
Narrated Abi Wa'el, Amr bin Shurhobeel said that Abdullah said:
((I asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, "What is the greatest sin in the Sight of Allah?" He said, "That you set up a rival unto Allah though He Alone created you." I said, "That is indeed a great sin." Then asked, "What is next?" He said, "To kill your son lest he should share your food with you." I asked, "What is next?" He said, "To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbor.))
Joining sh3er (as partners) in worship with Allah can be by believing that this person is capable of bestowing upon you, that one is capable of harming you and another one is capable of departing, and it is manifested when you pin all your hopes on a person like you:
﴾Say (O Muhammad, peace be upon him): "Come, I will reauthor what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law). This He has commanded you that you may understand.﴿
Though adultery is a major sin, it is even graver when it is committed with your neighbor's wife. The Prophet, peace be upon him, was told that a man asked his neighbor to look after his family as he wanted to travel, but the neighbor committed adultery with the man's wife. Oddly enough, the dog of that man killed this neighbor, and upon hearing that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((He betrayed his friend, and his friend's dog killed him. The dog is better than him.))
Antara Al-Absi (the poet in Jahiliyyah Age) said the following line in a poem:
I lower my gaze when my female neighbor appears before me
until she disappears entering into her home.
Allah then sent down what supports the Prophet's words, peace be upon him:
﴾And those who invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment.﴿
In the two authentic books of hadith, in a narration by Abi Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((Avoid the seven great destructive sins." The people enquire, "O Allah's Apostle! What are they? "He said, "To join sh3er in worship along with Allah, to practice sorcery, to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, (according to Islamic law), to eat up Riba (usury), to eat up an orphan's wealth, to give back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting, and to accuse, chaste women, who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers.))
((Whosoever practices black magic has committed Kufr))
((Whoever consults a fortune-teller, his Salat will not be accepted (by Allah) for forty days, and whoever consults a soothsayer and then believes in what he says, he is a disbeliever in what has been revealed to Muhammad, peace be upon him.))
Our Lord the Most High says in an outstanding Ayah from Surat At-Taqwir the following:
﴾And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned* For what sin she was killed?﴿
Killing a creature unjustifiably is Haram, even the bird; if it is killed for fun only, it will come on the Day of Resurrection sounding like the buzzing of bees, and it will say, "O Lord, ask him why he killed me?" Accordingly, hunting for fun or without having the need for food is forbidden, because it is an unjustified killing, it is a waste of money and a violation of the Divine order.
5- Unjustly eating up the property of orphans:
Allah the Almighty says:
﴾And come not near to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength. And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily! The covenant, will be questioned about.﴿
"Don't come near to" means beware of mixing your money with the orphan's, lest you take part of his money unintentionally. Thus, separate his money from yours. Let me repeat the major sins we have discussed so far: staying away from the orphan's property except to improve it, running away from the battlefield, accusing chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers (Slandering a chaste woman perishes the deeds of 100 years), Ishrak (polytheism), being undutiful to the parents, killing someone unlawfully, Al-Yameen Al-Ghamoos. Adding to these major sins is talking falsely about someone, which is mentioned in another Hadith. Also, in the third Hadith I have mentioned, there are more major sins: Committing adultery with your neighbor's wife and killing your children for fear of poverty. The following sins are mentioned in the forth Hadith: Ash-Shirk (polytheism), eating Riba (usury), coming near the orphan's property, running from the battlefield and accusing chaste women, who never even think of anything touching their chastity and are good believers.
6- Blaspheming one's own parents:
Shu'bah narrated: Sa'd Ibn Ibrahim said: I have heard Hamid Ibn Abdul Rahman reporting that Abdullah Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, said that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-'as (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "One of the major sins is to curse one's parents". It was submitted: "O Messenger of Allah! How can a man curse his own parents?" He (peace be upon him) said, "When someone curses the parents of another man who in return abuses the former's father; and when someone abuses the mother of another man who in return abuses his mother."))
Of course it is a major sin to curse one's own parents. The Prophet, peace be upon him, seemed to explain the meaning of the Hadith, for how come someone curses his own parents? The father is a sacred person in the eyes of his children, given the worst swearword in Jahiliyyah was to say to your enemy "La Aba Lak" (you've got no father).
I have grown tired of life's burdensome circumstances;
anyone who has lived eighty years will undoubtedly feel as I do
If someone wanted to badmouth someone, he says to him: You've got no father. The Almighty Lord says:
﴾Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brother, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight... are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are Al-Fasiqun (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah).﴿
Allah starts with mentioning the father, because he is the symbol of social pride.
(("One of the major sins is to curse one's parents". It was submitted: "O Messenger of Allah! How can a man curse his own parents?" He (peace be upon him) said, "When someone curses the parents of another man who in return abuses the former's father; and when someone abuses the mother of another man who in return abuses his mother."))
When you wrong people to such an extent that you make them curse your father, it is as if you curse yours with your own tongue. It is crystal clear.
7- Talking falsehood about people's honor:
In a Hadith narrated by Abi Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((The gravest sin is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim's honor, and it is a major sin to abuse twice for abusing once.))
It is a major sin to go to lengths in talking unjustly groundlessly and uncertainly against a Muslim's honor. It is unacceptable to make people's honor a subject of entertainment and to accuse someone in his religion, to suspect someone's honesty, or accuse someone in his honor while he is innocent.
Some parents go accusing falsely the ex-fiancé of their daughter after getting married to another young woman. They get angry with him because he did not marry their daughter for some reasons, so they start defaming him, which is Haram. You are not allowed to accuse this person in his religion claiming that he drinks wine, are you sure he drinks wine? Do not accuse him of drinking wine because he broke up with your daughter. Never defame him groundlessly, without being certain and without having proofs to your claims. It is a major sin to accuse someone in his sanity, in his religion and in his conducts.
The problem, dear brother, is that when you accuse someone who is innocent, you have one solution in the worldly life for your own salvation (of that sin), which is to go to him, ask for his forgiveness, meet again with the people in front of whom you defamed him and mention to them that you were wrong. This is what you are supposed to do in order to be saved from Allah's Torment, and unless you do so, he will come on the Day of Resurrection and will take from your good deeds and give you from his sins.
Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((Do you know who the bankrupt is? The Companions said, "A bankrupt is the one who has neither dirham (money) nor wealth." The Prophet ( peace be upon him) said: The bankrupt of my Ummah (Nation) is he who would come on the Day of Judgment with lots of prayers, fasts and charities; but who had offended a person, slandered another, wrongfully taken the wealth of that person, shed another's blood and has beaten still another, so Allah will take rewards of his good deeds and give them to those who had been victimized by him; If all of his good deeds were finished before their dues were paid, their sins will be taken and imposed on him and consequently, he will be thrown into the fire-pit!))
I mean every word I am saying: If you backbit someone in the past, hasten to him and ask for his forgiveness, meet again with the people before whom you backbit him and say to them that you said untrue things about this person, that you asked for his forgiveness and that he was innocent. Otherwise, he will take from your good deeds (on the Day of Resurrection) and will give you from his sins, so be alerted.
((The gravest sin is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim's honor.))
You are not sure, so how come you accused him of Kufr without a profound reason? It is unacceptable to accuse whoever does not agree with your views or whose Ijtihad (The exercise of critical thinking and independent judgment) goes against yours of Kufr. I repeat the Hadith:
((The gravest sin is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim's honor.))
8- Feeling secure against the plan of Allah:
Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood said, "One of the gravest major sins is associating partners with Allah and feeling secure against the plan of Allah." The one who keeps sinning, earning ill-gotten money, mingling with women in a way that doesn't please Allah and having out-marriage affairs behind his wife's back, yet he offers Salah, what exactly is he doing in that case? He is feeling secure against the plan of Allah, isn't he? Do you think Allah will let him cheat people and go unpunished?
﴾Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested.﴿
Do you naively think that you can visit a house with evil intentions (for a Haram affair), pretending to be a Muslim, who offers Salah, holds a rosary in hand and utters La Ilaha Illah Allah and Subhana Allah (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah and Glory be to Allah) and go unpunished? Allah will disclose your bad intentions and you will be scandalized.
9- Despairing of the Mercy of Allah:
Abu Hane' told me that Abu Ali Amr Ibn Malik Al-Janbi said:
((There are three persons you will not be asked about: a man who separates from the community and disobeys his leader and dies in a state of disobedience, a servant who abandons his master and then dies, and a woman with sufficient provision who displays her beauty when her husband is absent. There are three sh3er you will not be asked about: a man who competes with Allah regarding His cloak for His cloak is pride and His garment is might, a man who doubts the command of Allah, and those who despair of the mercy of Allah.))
There is an opening of hope; don't you think that the Almighty Allah has the power to find you a way out of your hardship? Don't you believe that the Almighty Allah has the power to cure you from your intractable disease? It is not the disease that is intractable, but rather your despair of Allah's Mercy is the disease itself.
﴾"And when I am ill, it is He who cures me;﴿
It is a major sin to give up hope of Allah's Mercy and fall into despair and hopelessness. The youth sometimes lose hope of getting married using the pretext of having no house or enough income. Well are these problems of the kind which Allah can't solve? Other people become desperate after being overpowered by powerful countries which do whatever they want considering other nations their slaves, and so those desperate people say, "Where is Allah?" These are words of hopelessness and despair of Allah's Mercy and Help, and it is a major sin. They are added to the other two aforementioned major sins: Feeling secure against the plan of Allah and associating partners in worship with Him.
10- Persisting on committing minor sins turns them into major sins:
Sa'eed Ibn Jubair reported: A man asked Ibn Abbas, "How many major sins are there? Are there seven?" Ibn Abbas said, "They are closer to seven hundred than only seven, except that no sin is major if it is accompanied with repentance and no sin is minor if it is continuous." For instance, insisting on shaking hands with women will make this deed a major sin, because the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((I do not shake hands with women.))
Insisting on shaking hands with women and considering it Halal while it is Haram according to the above-mentioned Hadith, is a major sin. On the other hand, the major sin will turn into a minor one if you repent from it.
As Ibn Abbas said, "…no sin is major if it is accompanied with repentance and no sin is minor if it is continuous."
Let me give you this quick example: If you drive your car on the middle of a 60 meter wide road, on its right side there is a deep valley, you will commit a deadly mistake when you incline the steering wheel in a sudden move of 90 degrees, do you know why? Because it will make you fall down right away into the valley. If you move the steering wheel to incline the car one centimeter only but you keep your hands on it with this constant position, the car will wind up in the valley after 100 meters. It is like the minor sin which becomes a major one if it is committed persistently and constantly. The minor sin is called minor, because it is easy to repent from, and things will be fine again, but if you insist on committing it frequently, you will wind up in the Hereafter in the valley (the Hellfire), "…no sin is major if it is accompanied with repentance and no sin is minor if it is continuous."
This notable Companion said, "Whatever act you disobey Allah by is a major sin", and the proof to that is the saying of our master Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, "Don't look at how small your sin is, but rather look at the greatness of the One you are sinning against." Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, went on saying, "Whatever act you disobey Allah by is a major sin, so whosoever disobeys Allah by it, should ask Allah for His Forgiveness, as Allah will not admit anyone to the Hellfire eternally except he who leaves Islam, denies Faridah (obligatory act of worship) and disbelieves in Qadar [divine preordainment].
" You can repent and ask for Allah's Forgiveness from whatever sin you commit except those. Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The forbidden matters are mentioned in Surat An-Nisa' from its beginning till the Ayah: ﴾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).﴿
How did scholars deduce the major sins?
The big question is: How did scholars deduce the major sins? One of the scholars answered this question saying, "Every sin, which makes its doer deserve the Hellfire, Allah's Wrath, Allah's Curse or Allah's Torment, is a major sin." Reauthor the following Ayat, please:
﴾Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearings, (i.e. they are closed from accepting Allah's Guidance), and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.﴿
Doing this is a major sin:
﴾Verily, those who annoy Allah and His Messenger Allah has cursed them in this world, and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating torment.﴿
The following is a major sin as well:
﴾And that He may punish the Munafiqun (hypocrites), men and women, and also the Mushrikun men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah, for them is a disgraceful torment, and the Anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them and prepared Hell for them, and worst indeed is that destination.﴿
Here is another major sin:
﴾Those, their abode will be the Fire, because of what they used to earn.﴿
Hence, every sin that causes its doer the Hellfire, Allah's Wrath, Allah's Curse or Allah's Torment, is a major sin.
Definition of a major sin:
According to the Ayat in the Noble Quran, the major sin is the one which entails Hadd in the worldly life and torment in the Hereafter:
﴾Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief, male or female, as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.﴿
﴾The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime but if married persons commit it, the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah's Law).﴿
The major sin is the sin which entails Hadd upon its doer in the worldly life and torment in the Hereafter.
A third definition of the major sin goes as follows: The major sin is what is described in the Quran as or great:
﴾And give unto orphans their property and do not exchange (your) bad things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by adding it) to your substance. Surely, this is a great sin.﴿
﴾And (remember) when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him: "O my son! Join not in worship sh3er with Allah. Verily! Joining sh3er in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.﴿
﴾So when he (her husband) saw his [(Yusuf's (Joseph)] shirt torn at the back; (her husband) said: "Surely, it is a plot of you women! Certainly mighty is your plot!﴿
﴾And why did you not, when you heard it, say? "It is not right for us to speak of this. Glory be to You (O Allah) this is a great lie."﴿
﴾Verily! With Allah that shall be an enormity.﴿
Every act that is described in the Quran as great or major (sin) is considered a major sin.
11- Innovation (Ibtida'a) in Islam:
One of the greatest major sins is to innovate (Tabtade') in Islam something which doesn't belong to it. The sinner might repent from his sin, while the Mubtade' (innovator) never repents. He believes that he is right, he comes up with a new groundless doctrine and behavior which contradict Islam, he forbids something Allah permits, he permits something Allah forbids or he innovates things in Aqeedah to make it suit his desires and interests. Whosoever comes up with something which is not related to Islam is Mubtade', and so he commits a major sin. Moreover, he himself is a major sin, do you know why? It is because innovation can't be repented from, whereas the sin can be. Again, a person who sinned and realized after a while that he did something wrong driven by his desires, most likely will repent from that sin sooner or later, but the one who believes that he did nothing wrong, how will he repent? The one who believes beyond doubt that something is Halal (while it is Haram), or his points are right (while they are wrong), he will never repent:
(Say (O Muhammad, peace be upon him): "Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? "Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds!﴿
((Al-Mubtade' never repents.))
I would like to repeat the points we have discussed up till now: The major sin is every sin which entails Hadd upon its doer in the worldly life like adultery, drinking wine, stealing and accusing chaste women. Also, it is the sin which entails a torment upon its doer in the Hereafter, such as taking the orphan's property:
﴾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!﴿
This is a major sin.
Other major sins are: Drinking and eating in silverware and golden ware, taking one's own life and betraying the trust.
We have referred to another definition of the major sin saying that it is described in the Quran as "great or major", it brings Allah's Curse and Wrath upon its doer, entails torment in the Hellfire and it is mentioned in the Noble Hadith as a major sin. Imam Adhdhahabi mentioned seventy major sins. I hope that each one of us is aware of the major sins, lest he commits them. It was said, "Allah blesses the pious person by letting his good deeds make up for the sins he commits." The Prophet, peace be upon him, taught us to invoke Allah whenever we are in trouble by saying,
((O Lord, if I offered this good deed for Your Sake, find me a way out of my hardship.))
I would like to tell you an old story about a merchant of sheep. He said to me once, "I happened to be in the desert with a flock of sheep I bought, and I lost my way there. We got thirsty, and my property (sheep) and I almost died, so I offered two Rak'at and said to Allah, 'O Lord, a woman seduced me once and I refused to do what she wanted out of fearing You, so if I did so out of fearing you, save our souls now". A while later, he saw a Bedouin who showed him the way to a place where there was water to drink, and they were saved. Hence, it is out of Sunnah to supplicate Allah the Almighty by mentioning the righteous deeds you have done.
12-Things which make the minor sins major ones:
I would like to draw your attention to an extremely important point: It was said that the major sin, which is accompanied with shame, fear and awareness that it is a sin, will be considered a minor one, whereas committing the minor sin with being shameless, careless and fearless (of Allah) and underestimating it make it a major one.
Most people say to you (upon reminding them of their sins), "What did we do brother? What is wrong with feasting my eyes on a woman's beauty? Did we eat her by looking at her?"
Allah the Almighty says:
﴾Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.﴿
When you looked at a woman, and you became controlled by your desires because of that look, but then you were ashamed of yourself before Allah, hastened to repent from your sin and gave Sadaqah to make up for what you did, in that case Allah will turn your major sin into a minor one. On the other hand, when you say, "What wrong did I do? What should we do with our eyes?", you belittle Allah's Orders, given Allah the Almighty doesn't burden a person beyond his scope. Therefore, saying these words indicate underestimation of Allah's Orders.
Being ashamed after committing the major sin turns it into a minor one:
When a major sin is accompanied with feelings of shame and fear and with considering it a serious mistake, it will turn into a minor one. Regarding the minor sin, when it is accompanied with indifference, carelessness, fearlessness and underestimation of that sin, it will be considered a major one. As you all know, our Master Yunus, peace be upon him, was fed up with his people and left them, which means in a way or another, giving up his message. As a result, Allah the Almighty ordained that he had to go inside the whale, but after he was saved He said:
﴾Had he not been of them who glorify Allah* He would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.﴿
His previous glorification of Allah fixed his situation. I ask Allah that my point of view is right. The believer is endeared to Allah, and if he offered previous good deeds, had an honorable history in his relation with Allah, strived in the Cause of Allah, fought against his desires and was generous (he used to give Sadaqah), Allah the Almighty will make up for any mistake he commits. This mistake is mended because of his honorable history of obedience, love and donation in the Cause of Allah. Allah will never forsake you when you backslide as long as you have good past, and even this past will be the reason of Allah's Care for you
When man commits a mistake, Allah afflicts him with hardship till he repents, and that is but one way of honoring him. Furthermore, when Allah loves his servant, He will promptly punish him. You are either included in the Almighty Allah's Care or not. You will be included in the Divine care if you have good past, you were honest with Allah, you obeyed Him, you served people and you acted upon Allah's Book, but this doesn't mean that you will not be punished (in case you commit a mistake). However you will not be abandoned by Allah since you are used to do good deeds, and thus Allah will absolutely cure you. This point is deduced from the following Ayah:
﴾Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, He would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.﴿
Saying La ilaha illallah without acting upon it is not enough to enter Paradise:
There is another point which I ask Allah to make it crystal clear to all of us. There are a lot of As7adeth in which you read, "Whosoever says La Ilaha Illah Allah (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah) will be admitted to Paradise". Some people with ill thoughts misinterpret this Hadith getting it far from the meaning the Prophet, peace be upon him, intended. They mistakenly think that saying La Ilaha Illah Allah is enough for you to enter Paradise as all your sins will be forgiven and all your deviations will be covered. This is definitely incorrect, and the Hadith has a deeper meaning. It means that the phrase "La Ilaha Illa Allah" is a metaphorical shinning light. This phrase enlightens your heart just like the lamp which enlightens your way when you walk in a dark path that is full of bumps, potholes, snakes, stones and thorns, so would a sane, prudent, adult and wise man who has awareness, a sharp sight and a bright lamp, fall in a pothole which he can see? Impossible! Would he catch a snake although he knows what does a snake mean? Of course not. Hence, with this bright lamp you avoid potholes, you eat fruits and stay away from thorns and you kill the snake.
I repeat it once again: Whoever says La Ilaha Illa Allah, will have his heart enlightened. How will the people of La Ilaha Illa Allah be forgiven? They will be forgiven because they act upon this phrase; they didn't sin. This phrase doesn't mean that people can sin as long as it is enough for them to say La Ilaha Illa Allah to be forgiven. This will be a very naïve interpretation (of the As7adeth which revolve around this topic). This phrase means that La Ilaha Illa Allah is my fortress, it is a light in my heart and whosoever entered it (by all means) is secured from Allah's Torment.
﴾O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise) the Day that Allah will not disgrace the Prophet (Muhammad, peace be upon him) and those who believe with him, their Light will run forward before them and with (their Records Books of deeds) in their right hands they will say: "Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us [and do not put it off till we cross over the Sirat (a slippery bridge over the Hell) safely] and grant us forgiveness. Verily, You are Able to do all things."﴿
﴾On the Day you shall see the believing men and the believing women their light running forward before them and by their right hands. Glad tidings for you this Day! Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever! Truly, this is the great success!﴿
﴾O you who believe [in Musa (Moses) (i.e. Jews) and 'Iesa (Jesus) (i.e. Christians)]! Fear Allah, and believe too in His Messenger (Muhammad, peace be upon him), He will give you a double portion of His Mercy, and He will give you a light by which you shall walk (straight), and He will forgive you. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.﴿
It was said that this light burns all lusts and suspicions, and the brighter this light is, the more it enlightens its surrounding. Thus, one will be able to see the good things as good and the bed things as bad, and he, and one will be able to see everything unclear. Keep in mind that man is molded to love his own self (so he seeks his safety).
Consider the example of a car driver, is it possible that he sees a pothole in a paved road and falls in it? No, it is not. Seeing this pothole is the meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah and this is but Tawheed (monotheism); it is a light which is Allah castes in the heart of His worshipper. People of La Ilaha Illa Allah are forgiven because they protect themselves from sinning by using this light. This is the meaning of La Ilah Illa Allah.
Every Hadith includes "whoever says" requires action along with saying:
The second thing I would like you to keep in mind is that whenever you read the words "whoever says" and "whoever supplicates" in any Hadith, you should know that uttering these words with your tongue is useless and won't change anything unless they are uttered with a present and submissive heart. If you do not level up with the Hadith and the supplication you say, saying it is ineffective and this is a fact. Someone might complain about having satanic whispers or nightmares at night, and I would say to such a person that there is only one solution for your problem:
﴾And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaitan (Satan) then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.﴿
He might say, "I said that a lot but in vain", and I will say to him, "You uttered it with your tongue only, but your heart was not present nor did you comprehend its meaning. Unless you feel it running in your blood, you will not reap the fruits of these words". You should take this fact into account whenever you read in As–Sunnah, "Whoever says La Ilaha Illa Allah." Moreover, when you read in a Hadith, "Whoever says Subhana Allah (glory be to Allah) one hundred times, his sins will be forgiven" you should know that your glorification of Allah is supposed to be effective.
Also if you mention "Al Baqiyat Assalihat" which are: Subhana Allah (glory be to Allah), Al-Hamdulelah (praise be to Allah), La Ilaha Illa Allah (There is not deity worthy of worship but Allah) and Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest), a million times, nothing will happen, but if you glorify Allah as He should be, if you regard Allah High Exalted (through your deeds), if you laud Allah (in your actions not only with your tongue), if you worship Him Alone, if you praise him effectively and if He is to you Akbar than anything else in your life, this means that you know Him, and since you know Him:
﴾Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds (five compulsory prayers, deeds of Allah's obedience, good and nice talk, remembrance of Allah with glorification, praises and thanks, etc.), that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope.﴿
Words are only words unless they are accompanied with a present heart, submission and the realization of their true meanings.
Accordingly, whatever you read from the Quran and Sunnah is not effective unless you read it with a present heart. Take for example the Hadith, "Whoever says glory be to Allah, and all praise is due to Him (100) times. a day, his sins will be obliterated even if they are equal to the extent of the foam of the ocean" The meaning of this Hadith is correct, but it requires action along with saying these phrases. Glorifying Allah means that you know Him, and thus you deserve to be forgiven, but if you utter these words, and you feast your eyes on the beauty of every woman who passes by you, these words will not do you any good even if you utter them million times. Don't take this religion ritually dear brother, for Islam is greater than that.
Consider this fact: No university will give you a license by repeating the word "license" for hundreds of times. Acquiring a license entails spending four years at the university while, studying about 12 subjects (30 books). Not to mention, looking for references for the seminars you work on. You will be totally consumed after these four years of studying by the curriculums, books and exams. Much in the same line, is it rational to be forgiven from all your sins by uttering Subhan Allah with your tongue?
If saying these words is enough to be forgiven, then it is an easy job, and you can earn ill-gotten money, do whatever you want and go to places which displease Allah, as all you have to do at night is spending 15 minutes of your time saying Subhan Allah 100 times. This is absolutely unacceptable; Islam is more serious and greater than that. Let me repeat it one more time: Whenever you read in Sunnah, "whoever says Subhan Allah" this phrase means that whoever says it with his heart melting from glorifying the Almighty Allah, his tears running on his checks out of submission to Allah and his body shivering out of fear of Allah and with determination to repent. Therefore, "Subhan Allah" should be accompanied with repentance, submissiveness and piousness, and only then all sins will be forgiven. Beware of taking the shallow meanings of these As7adeth, for words have no value without putting them into practice; everyone can utter them no matter how far he is from Allah (but only the true believers can feel them).
The more exalted man is the graver his minor sins become:
There is one last point which I would like to discuss. Every person has sins, so what was the mistake which our Master Ibrahim, peace be upon him, made to be ordered by Allah to slaughter his son? The minor sins of the person whose rank is very exalted are considered major. A man might be a sinner because he drinks wine or commits adultery, but when he stops sinning and he repents, he becomes a pious person. Unlike this man, if you are close to Allah, you will be admonished for every wrong word you utter or a lustful look. It was said, "The good deeds of Abrar (those who are busy with their good deeds forgetting about seeking Allah's closeness)are considered sins if they are done by the Muqarrabeen (because nothing should deviate them from their main goal, which is seeking Allah's Love and keeping the closest to Him)."
What did our Master Abdullah Ibn Rawahah, may Allah be pleased with him, do? The Prophet, peace be upon him, appointed Zayd Ibn Harithah the leader in the Battle of Mu'tah, telling him if he was martyred, Ja'far Ibn Abi Talib (the Prophet's cousin) will take over, and if he was martyred too, Ibn Rawahah was to assume command. Zayd and then Ja'far became martyred, and upon noticing that his turn had come, Abdullah lingered just for thirty seconds then he reauthord his poem:
O self, even if you aren't killed, you'll still die one day.
And this is the fire of death coming your way!
What you've asked for, you have received,
Do as those two did, and you will surely succeed!"
After that, he took the flag and fight till he died in the Cause of Allah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
(("Your brother Zayd held the standard and fought while holding it until he was martyred, and verily I can see his seat in Al-Jannah. Then, your brother Ja'far held the standard and fought until he was martyred, and verily I can see his seat in Al-Jannah." After that the Prophet, peace be upon him, went silent which made the Companions worried about their brother Abdullah, so they said, "O Allah's Messenger, what did Abdullah do?" He, peace be upon him, said, "Then, your brother Abdullah held the standard and fought until he was martyred, and I can see a slightly farther away seat from the ones of his friends."))
His rank in Al-Jannah is not as high as the ones of his friends.
I mentioned a story once, half of it occurred and I continued the other half using my imagination. The first half of the story is about a man who found a moving black sack in the trash container, and when he opened it, he found a newborn baby. He took him to his house and raised him up until he became an adult...etc. Let me continue the other half making the story suitable to the point we are discussing. As he grew up, he became a doctor, and his adopter got him married to his daughter and bought him a clinic. He became one of the most notable doctors in Damascus. Suppose that this doctor sees his adopter walking in the street and he asks him to take him to his house by his car, so if this doctor thinks even for four seconds (to take him or not), he will be considered a criminal, won't he? Many years ago he was a helpless baby in a trash container, but this man saved him and brought him up until he became a doctor, so he should say right away, "I will drive you to the house" without being hesitant. Hesitation in such situations is a crime.
Back to our main point: The minor sins of the person whose rank is very exalted are considered major.
What did the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, do in Hunain? When they defeated the infidels in Uhud and Al-Khandaq they were only 300, but in Hunain they were 10.000 and this number of soldiers was considered the greatest force in the Arabian Peninsula at that time. One of them said, "We should never be defeated because of fewness", so Allah said:
﴾Truly Allah has given you victory on many battle fields, and on the Day of Hunain (battle) when you rejoiced at your great number but it availed you naught and the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for you, then you turned back in flight.﴿
The punishment (for that statement) was prompt to such an extent that the Prophet, peace be upon him, held a handful of sand and threw it in the infidels' faces and said:
(((Humiliated be their faces.) I am the Prophet. This is no untruth. I am the son of 'Abd al-Muttalib.))
Only then, the Companions became solid and Allah casted fear in the hearts of their enemies who flee the battlefield. The one whose faith is not that strong, might say million words (which may hurt people) and nothing will happen to him directly since he doesn't commit major sins, but he will be cured by Allah later. Unlike this man, whoever has an elevated rank in the Sight of Allah, the minor sins he commits are considered major ones. He will be veiled from Allah for one or two month because of an unlawful look from his side, or because of a word he said which did not please Allah. When you are veiled from Allah because of a small mistake you make, you should know that your position is very exalted in the Sight of Allah.
Let me repeat what I've just said: When you are veiled from Allah because of a trivial mistake, you should know that your position is very high in the Sight of Allah. Two days ago, a brother and his little kid visited me, but I didn't notice the little kid, glory be to Allah, so the father said to me, "My son likes to greet you". I spent two days or three in pain and shame, thinking how I didn't notice that little kid. When man feels that he is veiled from Allah because of a small mistake he did, the Almighty Allah will forgive him if He wills, and he, who knows his sin will call himself to a detailed reckon.
If you hurt someone by uttering one single word, you will be veiled from the Almighty Allah for a month because of it. An unlawful smile may cause you the same thing, so be alerted. The minor sins of the person, whose rank is elevated, are considered major sins. Some scholars said, "Islmael, the son of our Master Ibrahim, peace be upon them, was a Prophet of Allah (one of us will be on cloud nine if his son offered Salah, so how about having a son who is a Prophet?), and thus Ibrahim's heart was full of love to his son, so Allah's Punishment for was ordering Ibrahim, peace be upon him, to slaughter his son. What did Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, do? A father (other than Ibrahim) will be rewarded by Allah if his son is pious, upright and devoted, and he offers his Salah regularly, but if this person occupies a high position in the Sight of Allah (like Ibrahim), nothing should turn him away from Allah (his heart should be attached to Allah Alone).
I would like to refer to the fact that when man's rank is high in Allah's Sight, he will be veiled from Allah because of the tiny mistake he commits. Thus, he should be careful. This point is supported by the following Ayah:
﴾O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.﴿
Interpreters said, "Asking the Prophet, peace be upon him, for more money to spend on the house is a Fahishah (major sin) when it comes from the Prophet's wives."
The wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him, embarrassed him by asking (for example) to cook once every two days while he liked to live ascetic life. They put pressure on him, peace be upon him, and their act is described by Allah as Fahishah. Also, Allah would have made them taste a double portion of punishment.