What are the great sins?
Submitted by on Sun, 18/01/2009 - 16:12
Dear Brother / Sister,
The fewer sins man commits, the more virtuous his deeds become. For a woman, covering her head with a headscarf when she is outside increases the virtue of the salat (prayer) she performs. Nevertheless, the prayer performed by a woman who does not cover her head in daily life is valid as well. It is not right to give up performing prayers because of not covering one’s head in daily life.
In Islamic belief, except for the prophet, everybody commits sins. Sins are the words and deeds that are contrary to the commands and prohibitions of Allah considered as a crime by religion. Not to do what Allah commands and to commit what He prohibits are both sins.
The Concept of Major Sin
Because all of the sins are not equal, on a line stretching out from belief towards daily behaviors, they are separated into two parts as major and minor sins. Major sins are called Kabair, and minor ones are called Saghair.
Major sins are religious, individual and social major crimes and behaviors which have threatening verses or hadiths about and which lead to punishment both in this world and hereafter and cause wrong and distorted faiths, abandoning faith and religion, personal and social unrest, defeatism, deviation, anomy and corruption.
A real believer tries to avoid all of the sins: major or minor. However, because the responsibility and results are more serious, a believer should not approach any one of the great sins.
Allah, All-Mighty reveals as follows in the Qur’an:
If you (but) eschew the most heinous of the things which you are forbidden to do, We shall remit your evil deeds, and admit you to a Gate of great honor. (An-Nisaa, 4/31).
Those who commit any one of the major or minor sins are not regarded as apostates except for the sins concerning with faith and unless they regard the sins they commit as permissible. However, they become sinners. One who commits major sins except for polytheism and blasphemy is called as Murtakib-il Kabira (perpetrator of great sins), Fasiq (committer of great sins) or Fajir (one who deviates into haram and bad ways).
Those who commit evil things should endeavor to be saved from their faults because they are sinner believers. So, at first, they should feel sorry and turn to faith from great sins which are regarded as being in the same degree as polytheism and blasphemy. As for other great sins, they should repent and not commit them anymore.
Allah, All-Mighty reveals as follows in the Qur’an:
Those who avoid great sins and indecent deeds, save lesser offenses,- verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness… (Qur’an, An-Najm, 53/32).
“Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (the Qur’an, Az-Zumar, 39/53).
Great sins are among the basic principles which are necessary to be known by believers concerning the issues such as belief, faith, worship or the everyday matters, for example, “What deeds are haram?” and “Which deeds are obligatory to abandon?”.
We will try to list the 72 major sins which are mentioned in traditional religious books in a way showing parallelism with the systematic of 32 and 54 obligatory deeds:
“Major sins” significantly appear as a result of committing what is ordered not to comply with the acts which are mentioned in 54 obligatory-acts, or not complying with what is told to obey.
We will try to deal with the subject of “great sins” to a certain amount.
There are a great number of great sins. However, in traditional religious books, -from the point of learning and keeping in mind easily with a pedagogical genius- it is designated in the form of a schematic and systematic list by improving the concept of “72 Great Sins” which includes great sins chiefly.
Major Sins (72 Major Sins)
A- Major Sins Concerning the Articles of Faith
Major sins concerning the articles of faith are the wrong and distorted beliefs in the form of the extension of the fundamentals of faith:
1. To associate partners with Allah,
2. To believe and follow fortunetellers, soothsayers, magicians and those who claim to give information about the unseen (ghaib).
3. To swear to someone except Allah.
4. To abandon religion.
5. To forget the Qur’an after memorizing it; to forget reading the Qur’an after learning it.
6. To have affection for the worldly life. To have so much affection for the world as to forget the hereafter, to abandon the religious duties.
7. To impute lies/untrue words to Hazrat Prophet, to report a word that he did not say.
8. To talk against, utter bad words and swear at the Companions(Sahaba) of Hazrat Prophet.
9. To swear at holy things and make fun of them.
B. Major Sins concerning the pillars of Islam
Major sins concerning the pillars of Islam are reminding and explanatory principles the pillars of Islam concerning negative attitudes:
10. Not to perform ghusl (full ablution) on time (to miss one of the daily prayers because of not having performed ghusl).
11. To recite the azan (call to prayer) and perform a prayer before its due time.
12. Not to perform the five daily prescribed prayers in time and perform them too late.
13. Not to fast in the month of Ramadan without an excuse, to eat or drink something in front of Muslims.
14. Not to pay zakat (almsgiving) and the tithe.
C. Great Sins concerning Halal-Harams (Permissible-Forbidden)
Some of the 72 major sins are about halal/haram varying from faith to practices:
15. Not to act accordingly although knowing what is halal and haram.
16. Getting dressed in a way to excite lust (this is valid both for men and women).
17. Wearing silky clothes and adorning themselves in a pompous and dashing way (for men).
18. To uncover the private and genital parts of the body and to show them to someone else and to look at the genital parts of someone.
19. (For a woman) wearing the clothes of men; (for a man) wearing the clothes of women and trying to look like the opposite gender.
20. To continue to eat after being full.
21. To drink wine and alcoholic drinks; to use something that intoxicates such as drugs, heroin etc…
22. To eat the remains of dog.
23. To eat pork and lard.
24. To eat dead animal carcass and to make others eat it.
25. To have a tattoo done.
26. To have or give interest (riba), to practice usury.
27. To commit a theft.
28. To extort one’s property.
D. Great Sins Concerning Ethics
An important part of 72 great sins is about bad ethics which is the opposite of high ethics:
29. To disobey one’s mother and father, to beat them.
30. To give up visiting one’s family, to break off relationship with relatives and not to visit them; if there is any need for them, not to provide it.
31. To envy, be jealous of.
32. To misappropriate.
33. Regardless of being a Muslim or unbeliever, to betray all people.
34. To make fun of a believer’s obedience to faith and the decrees of Islam.
35. To utter dirty and bawdy words.
36. To retail gossip and backbite.
37. To backbite and gossip.
38. To break the heart of his/her believer brother/sister.
39. To talk against chaste women, to insult a chaste woman calling her a prostitute, to spread the family secrets of chaste women.
40. (for a woman) To avoid sleeping with her husband.
41. A wife’s going to visit someone without permission of her husband.
42. To be married with two sisters at the same time.
43. (for a man) To liken the private parts of his wife to his mother’s.
44. (for a man) To swear at his wife’s mother.
45. To remain ignorant; not to learn religious duties, obligations, necessities, sunnahs and to insist on ignorance. (Not to learn the information concerning the world and the hereafter and religion (such as obligatory acts and forbidden things) and not to avoid being ignorant. Those who do not learn religious duties may easily commit forbidden things.)
46. Not to know how terrible ignorance is. (One who does not know that s/he does not know may easily fall down to forbidden things.).
47. Not to measure and weigh in a correct and just way; to deceive people.
48. Not to fear the torture of Allah, feel sure that one will not undergo any torture and to think that s/he is among those special people who will reach salvation.
49. To give up the hope of Allah’s compassion.
50. To commit adultery, to go after illegal lustful pleasures;
51. To have a homosexual relation (to commit anal intercourse and lesbianism).
52. (for a man) To try have a sexual intercourse when his wife is confined and is in menstruation.
53. (for a man) To look with a lusty eye at someone’s wife or daughter.
54. To become arrogant (to regard oneself very important; to get above oneself; to move away from modesty); to oppress and tyrannize people by becoming arrogant.
55. Unjustly to eat up the property of orphans. (the Qur’an, An-Nisaa, 4/10)
56. To hide property when the inheritor is in deathbed.
57. To tell lies,
58. To swear in vain, to swear many times.
59. To commit perjury; to swear an oath many times.
60. To threw a living animal into the fire.
61. To be stingy and to act stingily.
62. To remind someone a favor that had been done before. To do somebody a favor, and then to rub it in.
63. to laugh out loud unnecessarily.
64. To sing immoral songs.
E. Major Sins Concerning Sins
One or two of the 72 great sins are about committing sins:
65. To insist on committing sins/minor sins. To insist on committing too many sins.
66. To commit sin in the Kaaba.
F. Major Sins Concerning Social Life
67. Not to obey legal administration and laws of the government; to revolt against government and administrators.
68. To kill someone intentionally and unjustly.
69. To commit suicide.
70. To run away from enemies in a war; to give up jihad in the way of Allah.
71. To take or give bribes.
72. Not to prevent the evil to be committed despite having the power or authority.
Questions on Islam
- What are the major sins? What are the seven major sins? Fornication and polytheism (shirk) are major sins; are hidden shirk and fornication of the eyes also among major sins?
- Will you give information about major and minor sins?
- The Repentance made with Heart and Soul
- Is it permissible for a Muslim to swear at, curse or damn another Muslim? How should a person react to those who swear at him?
- Is it not a contradiction that Allah created the sins and human beings so that they would repent and that He blamed those who committed sins and threatened them with Hell?
- Could you explain the verse If ye (but) eschew the most heinous of the things which ye are forbidden to do, We shall expel out of you all the evil in you, and admit you to a Gate of great honour. (an-Nisa, 4/31)?
- Is it possible for prophets not to be innocent before their duty of prophethood? Does the attribute of ismah (innocence) start after the duty of prophethood starts?
- What is the religious judgement about a person who commits suicide though he/she is a Muslim?
- Some claim that not performing the prayer is idolatry and unbelief. To what extent are these claims correct?
- Surah 4. An-Nisa' (Women)