What are these actions that we call “mistakes”?
First of all, we need to know what are the major sins in Islam. What are they? Are we free from them? How can we save ourselves from them?
The answer to all the above is contained in a golden book called Kabaer-u-Dhunub written by Imam Adh-Dhahabi (a well known Imam, may Allah have mercy upon him). In his book, he has compiled all the major sins and has offered a profound explanation of each major sin. (I have mentioned the link to this wonderful book below.)
So…Let’s try to simplify stuff.
How many major sins are there?
According to the book, there are no less than seventy (70) major sins.
Let’s name them in order:
- Ascribing Associates To Allah, The Most High (Shirk)
- Killing A Human Being
- Not Performing the Prayer
- Not Paying Zakat
- Breaking One’s Fast During Ramadan Without an Excuse
- Not Performing the Hajj When Able to
- Showing Disrespect to One’s Parents
- Severing the Ties of One’s Relatives
- Accepting Usurious Gain
- Wrongfully Consuming an Orphan’s Property
- Lying About the Prophet
- Fleeing From the Battlefield
- The Leader Who Misleads His Followers, the Tyrant and the Oppressor
- Arrogance, Pride, Conceit, Vanity and Haughtiness
- Bearing False Witness
- Drinking Alcohol
- Gambling (Qimar)
- Accusing a Woman of Adultery
- Misappropriating Spoils of War, Muslim Funds or Zakat
- Highwaymen Who Menace the Road
- The Engulfing Oath
- Taking People’s Property Through Falsehood
- Collecting Taxes
- The Consumption of Haram
- Telling Lies
- The Dishonest Judge
- Women Imitating Men and Vice Versa
- The Pimp and the One Who Permits His Wife To Fornicate.
- Marrying Solely to Return to the Previous Husband
- Not Freeing Oneself of All Traces of Urine
- Showing off in Good Work
- Learning Sacred Knowledge for the Sake of this World or Concealing It
- Breach of Faith
- Reminding Recipients of One’s Charity to Them
- Disbelieving in Destiny
- Listening to the People’s Private Conversations
- The Talebearer Who Stirs Up Enmity Between People
- Cursing Others
- Breaking One’s Promise or Pledge
- Believing in Fortune Tellers and Astrologers
- A Wife’s Rebellion Against Her Husband
- Loudly Lamenting For the Dead or When Afflicted With an Adversity
- Excess Against Others
- Overburdening and Arrogance Against Others
- Hurting One’s Neighbor
- Hurting Muslims
- Harming the Servants of Allah
- Dragging the Hem of One’s Garment Out of Conceit
- Men Wearing Silk or Gold
- Fleeing of the Slave
- Slaughtering in Other Than Allah’s Name
- Falsely Claiming Someone is One’s Father
- Arguing, Picking Apart Another’s Words, and Quarreling
- Withholding Excess Water From Others
- Stinting When Weighing or Measuring Out Goods and Similar Merchandise
- Feeling Secure From Allah’s Devising
- Despairing of the Mercy of Allah and Losing of Hope
- Forgoing the Congregational Prayer to Pray Alone Without A Legal Excuse
- Constantly Missing the Friday and Congregational Prayer Without A Valid Excuse
- Bringing Loss to the Bequest
- Deception and Evil Schemes
- Spying on the Muslims and Revealing Their Weaknesses
- Disparaging the Companions of the Prophet
Aren’t you surprised?
Trying to explain each one will make this post reallyy long but as we said earlier, we will attach the link to the book with this post. Do take time to carefully read through each major sin to learn more about it. May Allah keep us away from them and we seek protection and refuge in all these sins! Allahuma Aameen!
Okay, so if the above are major sins, then what are the minor sins?
Exclude all the major sins from all the total sins that you have been doing and you get the answer.
Total sins – major sins= minor sins. Simple mathematics!
Now, we know that repentance is the key to erase major sins, but what about Minor sins?
“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] “Those who avoid great sins and Al-Fawahish (illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) except the small faults, verily, your Lord is of vast forgiveness” [an-Najm 53:32].
Subhaan Allah! Look at Allah’s Mercy to help us enter Jannah!
Staying away from major sins is an expiation for minor sins. Simple daily actions that we do helps us in erasing minor sins, like making of Wudhu (ablution) (according to the Hadith).
Furthermore, we need to always keep note of this:
Minor sins + minor sins + minor sins +…+…= Major sin (minor sins will always add up to a major sin because it is due to your negligence of Allah’s Existence and His Seeing of whatever you are doing.)
For instance, stealing less than the threshold amount [that is, less than the value of stolen goods at which the hadd punishment of amputating the hand becomes due] is a minor sin, but if the one from whom it is stolen possesses nothing else and losing it will lead to him becoming vulnerable, then it becomes a major sin.
Let’s take an example here:
You are told to fill up a big bucket using a small bucket. You do a first round and start filling the big bucket with the small bucket. You keep doing more rounds. With time, won’t your big bucket begin to fill to the brim? Of course it will!
Then, that’s exactly how minor sins (small bucket) adds up to major sins (big bucket).
But, look at this scenario also:
A big bucket has some holes in it and you are requested to fill it with a small bucket.
Will the bucket fill up? No.
This is how staying away from major sins expiate minor ones. The holes in the big bucket represent repentance from major sins, and they don’t hold up water from the small bucket.
Let’s be realistic. Nobody is free from minor sins. Whatever is not among the major sins are minor sins.
But you can’t include major sins and mistakes in judging the same action. You can’t say that you committed major shirk willingly and claim “it was a mistake.” You can’t be negligent in your salah and miss prayers and still say it’s a mistake. You can’t drink alcohol and say “I’m sorry! It’s a mistake!”
These aren’t mistakes! They are major sins that can’t be swept under the carpet.
What we can overlook in others are the minor sins they do, so long as they aren’t consistent in performing them.
If a marriage proposal comes to you, and you’re keen in researching on the man or woman who send the proposal, what would you look for in terms of his/her Deen?
Look at the major sins.
Where does he stand with regards to Aqeedah?
How is his/her salah ?
How are his/her obligatory acts?
In short, how is the connection between him/her and Allah Subhaana wa Taa’la.
- If it’s a low connection, then that may mean he/she are prone to commit major sins either out of negligence or deliberately.
- If he/she falls in minor sins every now and then knowingly and cares less about it, then their character is in doubt.
- If the minor sins are done with the claim “I forgot” and they are not done consistently and if reminded about the sin then they seek forgiveness from Allah and show effort in trying to erase these small sins by staying away from major sins then these are regarded as mistakes and it is these that should be overlooked in all types of relationships: (marriage, friendship, business, etc.) as the famous statement says:
“It is human is to err. We all make mistakes.”
Written by: Sr. Amatullah B.M.
P.S.- See the link to the book PDF below: