Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri. Hope for an explanation regarding what is meant by great sins.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Allah SWT say in the Quran:
وَالَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ
“And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive,”
Surah al-Syura (37)
Allah SWT also say:
إِن تَجْتَنِبُوا كَبَائِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَنُدْخِلْكُم مُّدْخَلًا كَرِيمًا
“If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise].”
Surah al-Nisaa’ (31)
Ibnu Abbas R.Anhuma explains the above verse saying:
الكَبِيْرَةُ كُلُّ ذَنْبٍ خَتَمَهُ اللهُ بِنَارٍ، أَوْ غَضَبٍ، أَوْ لَعْنَةٍ، أَوْ عَذَابٍ
“Major sins are those which Allah end the saying with the menace of Hellfire, a wrath, a curse or a great torment” (Refer: Jami’ al-Bayan ‘an Ta’wil Ay al-Quran, 5/59 and Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 2/282)
Al-Hassan al-Basri said:
كُلّ ذَنْب نَسَبَهُ اللَّه تَعَالَى إِلَى النَّار فَهُوَ كَبِيرَةٌ
“Every sin which Allah relate it with the Hellfire is a major one.” (Refer: Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 2/285)
It is also stated in a hadith of the Prophet PBUH on the division of sins into major and minor where he says:
الصَّلاَةُ الْخَمْسُ وَالْجُمُعَةُ إِلَى الْجُمُعَةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُنَّ مَا لَمْ تُغْشَ الْكَبَائِرُ
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Five prayers and from one Friday prayer to (the next) Friday prayer is an expiation (of the sins committed in between their intervals) if major sins are not committed.”
Sahih Muslim (233)
The Prophet PBUH also said:
" اجْتَنِبُوا السَّبْعَ الْمُوبِقَاتِ ". قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا هُنَّ قَالَ " الشِّرْكُ بِاللَّهِ، وَالسِّحْرُ، وَقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ، وَأَكْلُ الرِّبَا، وَأَكْلُ مَالِ الْيَتِيمِ، وَالتَّوَلِّي يَوْمَ الزَّحْفِ، وَقَذْفُ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ الْغَافِلاَتِ "
"Avoid the seven great destructive sins." They (the people!) asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What are they?" He said, "To join partners in worship 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 usury (Riba), to eat up the property of an orphan; to give one's back to the enemy and fleeing from the battle-field at the time of fighting and to accuse chaste women who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers."
Sahih al-Bukhari (2766) and Sahih Muslim (89)
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari cited some opinions regarding the meaning of major sins. Among them are:
- Al-Rafi’e in al-Syarh al-Kabir said: “Major sins are sins which obligate the punishment of hudud. There are some opinions which state that they are the sins which accompanied by torments towards the doer based on the Quran and Sunnah.”
- Ibn Abd al-Salam said: “Sins which made the doer becomes a disgrace.” Also, according to him, there are opinions stating that major sins are sins which accompanied by torments or curses.
- Ibn al-Solah said: “There are some signs which indicate whether some sins are accounted as major ones; resulted in the punishment of hudud, pledge of torment and the Hellfire through the Quran and Sunnah, and the doer will be cursed and is considered as a fasiq person”.
He then stated that the definition by Imam al-Qurtubi in al-Mufhim is the best explanation of the meaning of major sins, which is:
كُلّ ذَنْب أُطْلِقَ عَلَيْهِ بِنَصِّ كِتَاب أَوْ سُنَّة أَوْ إِجْمَاع أَنَّهُ كَبِيرَة أَوْ عَظِيم أَوْ أُخْبِرَ فِيهِ بِشِدَّةِ الْعِقَاب أَوْ عُلِّقَ عَلَيْهِ الْحَدّ أَوْ شُدِّدَ النَّكِير عَلَيْهِ فَهُوَ كَبِيرَة
“Each sin which made absolute by the Quranic texts, Sunnah or scholarly consensus (ijma’), promised with torments, the punishment of hudud or is detestable, then it is a major sin” (Refer: Fath al-Bari, 15/709)
This is the meaning of major sins as explained by the past scholars. We are advised to avoid these sins at all cost.
The scholars already made specific books on this. Some of them are Imam al-Zahabi through his book al-Kabair as well as Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami through his book al-Zawajir ‘an Iqtiraf al-Kaba’ir. They already explained in detail one by one the major sins that exist in the Quran and hadith while stating their torments and punishments.
Let’s make du’a to Allah SWT so that our sins will be forgiven as well as the sins of the people of the past.
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
"Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful."”
Surah al-Hasyr (10)
May Allah SWT protect us from committing any major sins as well as shower us with guidance and strength in obeying His command. Ameen.