If you abstain from major sins of what you have been forbidden from, We will write off your minor sins and admit you to a noble entrance (place of Great Honour; ie: Paradise) [4:31]
That seems like a simple enough equation: stay from the major sins and He (swt) will expiate the minor sins, and Paradise for all InshaAllah!
But what constitutes as a major sin?
Here I was thinking that Alhamdulillah, I don’t commit shirk so we’re alright. How wrong I was! We all got more than a bit of a shock when we found out the details of the categories.
According to a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA):
The Prophet (SAW) said, “Avoid the seven great destructive sins.”
The people enquired, “O Allah’s Apostle! What are they?
To join others in worship along with Allah (SWT),
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.” [Bukhari]
Besides the seven destructive sins, there comes a whole list of other things to be careful about:
According to Imam Adh-Dhahabi
1) Not performing Salah (19:59)
2) Not giving Zakat (3:180)
3) Breaking the fast with no justified reason [Sahih al-Jami #2837]
4) Not performing Hajj when able [Sahih al-Jami #2837]
5) Disrespecting parents (17:23)
6) Cutting ties with relatives (47:22)
7) Adultery, homosexuality (17:30) [Sahih al-Jami #7678]
8) Consumption of alcohol, gambling, theft (5:90) (5:38)
9) Lying (3:61)
10) Bribery (2:188)
11) Imitating the opposite sex in any form [Sahih al-Jami #4976]
12) Riyaa’ – showing off, especially for good deeds (107:4-6)
13) Taking ‘ilm and concealing it (2:160)
14) Taking or giving interest (2:275)
15) Being arrogant, boastful and vain (16:23)
16) Forsaking the congregational prayer and praying alone without a just cause – for men
This is not even the whole list!
SubhanAllah, all that??
So what is a minor sin then??
– A wrong thought that crosses the mind
– According to Hasan al-Basri, it is a non-deliberate look, or the first glance. To look again makes it a major sin. If you do not look again, Allah (swt) expiates that first look for you
– The four Imams are at an agreement – and it is the opinion of Zaid bin Thabit – that a minor sin is only that which is done without knowledge. To sin with ‘ilm makes it a major sin
– According to Imam Nawawi, thinking and inclining towards something which is false, eg: zina of the eyes – which agrees with the opinion of Hasan al-Basri, being the first look.
This is a bit of a dilemma, isn’t it? Here we are having accumulated all these black dots in our books.
“Do not think of small sins as little for a mountain is made up of pebbles”
What do we do now? The most important thing is recognising one’s faults and seeking forgiveness for it, for Allah loves those who ask for forgiveness.
Allah the Almighty says: “O Son of Adam, as long as you invoke Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O Son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and you then asked forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you…” [at-Tirmidhee]
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “If you were not to commit sins, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have replaced you by another people who have committed sin, and then asked forgiveness from Allah, and He would have granted them pardon” [Muslim]
This does not mean that it is alright to continue sinning and repenting in a cycle. In order for forgiveness to be accepted, it has to be sincere. This shows how much Allah loves that we turn to Him in repentance, even though we are the ones who need it and benefit from it! SubhanAllah!
It is important to know what we should stay away from.
So what is Haram?
*Anything that is stated clearly as haram in the Qur’an and Sunnah
*Not doing fardh
*If the order is to not do something, without the word “haram” being used explicitly
*An order that Allah (swt) says “Don’t even go close to…”
Mubaah are those things that are not halal or haram but it depends on your use of it that makes it so.
Eg: a knife is not haram. Cutting fruits and vegetables is fine, but cutting people is not. It all depends on how you use it. It is the same for the Internet and TV – if you intend to do wrong with it, it makes it haram.
Mubaah also depends on your intention. If you are going through a perfectly normal action because in the end you want something wrong, it negates the goodness of the whole process. Like if you want to do sports to stay fit and have a good body so that people will think you look good and comment on your body, it negates the whole process of the perfectly normal act of doing sports. But if your intention was so that you stay fit to do more for the deen, etc you get rewarded for it.
In the many shades of grey, it becomes hard to identify which category things fall into. Just remember that wasting time will be a cause of regret.
“Actions that do not benefit you, your family or your society are categorised as wasting time.”
They are a waste of actions which we will be questioned about.
Having said that, I think it is very important to take time to live a little – spend time with people you love, do things that you like, enjoy life and appreciate the little things, because that gives you a much bigger appreciation for the big things and reason to be grateful.
It’s all about intention!
Live as if it is your last day