''And he who does an atom’s weight of good will see it. And he who does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.”
(Holy Qur’an 99:7,8)
Major Sins In Islam
A major sin is that which is declared as unlawful in the Islamic law, and such sins for which there is reproach and warning in the Qur'an and Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him).
Major sins in Islam include murder, adultery, theft, slander, dealing in usury (interest), fornication, practicing magic, taking orphans wealth, consuming intoxicants, gambling. The Prophet Muhammad said "Avoid the seven noxious things: associating anything with Allah, magic, killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, devouring riba (interest), turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers but indiscreet." (Bukhari and Muslim). Abdullah ibn`Abbas said: "Seventy is closer to their number (of major sins) than seven."
The Biggest Sin Of All
Associating others with Allah and worshipping other than Allah is biggest sin in Islam. It is called shirk (associating partners with God.) Allah will not forgive this sin: "Surely, Allah does not forgive associating anything with Him, and He forgives whatever is other than that, to whomever He wills." (Holy Qur'an' 4:48)
More examples of sins are:
* Not praying, not fasting in Ramadan (without valid excuse), not giving zakat (obligatory charity tax), not going for Hajj when you are able to.
* Cutting off blood ties (abandoning relatives)
* Disrespecting parents
* Commititng sodomy
* Pride and arrogance
* Bearing false witness
* Consuming wealth acquired unlawfully
* Committing suicide
* Judging unjustly
* Giving and Accepting bribes
* Betrayal of trust
* Listening to people's private conversations
* Breaking contracts
* Believing in fortune-tellers and astrologers
* Overbearing conduct toward the wife, the servant, the weak, and animals
* A woman's bad conduct towards her husband
* Making statues and pictures
* Lamenting, wailing, tearing the clothing, and doing other things of this sort when an affliction befalls
* To knowingly ascribe one's paternity to a father other than one's own
* Arguing and disputing violently
* Withholding excess water
* Giving short weight or measure
* Deceiving and plotting evil
* Cursing or insulting any of the Companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.)
Back-biting (Speaking ill of others behind their backs)
Back-biting has been defined thus: "It is saying on the back of a person something which would hurt him if he came to know of it." This definition has been reported from the Prophet Muhammad himself. It is reported in Muslim that the Holy Prophet said: ''Do you know what is backbiting?'' They (the Companions) said: ''Allah and His Apostle (peace be upon him) know best.'' Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: ''Backbiting implies your talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like.'' It was said to him: ''What is your opinion about this, that if I actually find (that weakness) in my brother which I made a mention of?'' He said: ''If (that weakness) is actually found (in him) what you assert, you in fact backbitten him, and if that is not in him, it is a slander.'' (Reported by Muslim)
Allah (s.w.t.) says in the Holy Qur'an: ''O you who have believed, avoid much suspicion, for some suspicions are sins. Do not spy, nor should any one backbite the other. Is there any among you who would like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?' Nay, you yourselves abhor it. Fear Allah, for Allah is Acceptor of repentance and All-Merciful.'' (Qur'an 49:12)
''Those who love (to see) scandal published (and) broadcast among the Believers will have a grievous Penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: Allah knows and ye know not.'' (Qur'an 19-24)
The Prophet Muhammad has said: ''If a person does not support and help a Muslim when he is being disgraced and his honour being attacked, Allah also does not support and help him when he stands in need of His help; and if a person helps and supports a Muslim when his honour is being attacked and he is being disgraced, Allah Almighty also helps him when he wants that AIlah should help him.'' (Abu Daw'ud)
The importance of good speech is stressed in the Holy Qur'an: “Not a word does one utter, except that there is an (angel) Watching, Ready to record it.” (Qur'an 50:18)
Abu Hurairah (r.a) reported these words of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): 'Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him speak good or remain silent.'' (Bukhari)
Having pure hearts when dealing with others, not being hateful and holding grudges is very important.
Anas Ibn Maalik (r.a.) narrated: “We were sitting with the Prophet (s.a.w.) once when he said: ''A man from the dwellers of Paradise will walk in now” so a man from the Ansaar (residents of Madina) walked in whose beard was dripping from the effect of ablution and who held his slippers with his left hand.
The next day the Prophet (s.a.w.) said the same thing, and the same man walked in. On the third day the Prophet (s.a.w.) said the same thing, and the same man once again walked in. When the Prophet (s.a.w.) left the gathering, ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr (r.a.) followed that man and said to him: ''I had a misunderstanding with my father and swore not to stay in his house three nights, so if you permit me I would like to spend these three nights with you.'' The man said: ''Yes, I permit you.''
Anas (r.a.) added: “‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr told us that he spent three nights and did not notice that the man prayed the optional night prayers during any of these nights, but if he woke up during the night, he would simply mention Allah. Nonetheless, I never heard him utter except good things, so when the three nights finished, I almost belittled his deeds (as they were insignificant) and I said to him: ''O slave of Allah! There was not dispute between me and my father or anger, but I heard the Prophet (s.a.w.) saying thrice: “A man from the dwellers of Paradise will walk in now” and you walked in all three times, so I wanted to sleep in your place to see what you do in order to imitate you, but I did not see that you exert extra effort in performing any extra deeds. How did you reach such status to deserve what the Prophet (s.a.w.) said about you?''
He replied: ''My deeds are nothing more than what you saw.'' Then when I left, he called me back in and said: ''My deeds are nothing more than what you saw, but the only thing I do is that I do not hold any grudge against any Muslim, nor envy anyone for what bounties Allah as granted them.'' thereupon ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr (r.a.) said to him: ''This is what granted you this rank.'' (Ahmad)
Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (r.a) quoted Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as saying,
''Maintain truthfulness, for truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Heaven; A man continues to maintain truthfulness until he is recorded in Allah's book as truthful. Refrain from lying, for lying leads to blatant evil, and evil leads to Hell; A man continues to lie until he is recorded in Allah's book as a liar." (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidhi)
''None of you [believers] will attain true piety unless you give out of what you cherish: whatever you give, God knows about it very well.'' (Qur'an 3:92)
''Behold, ye are those invited to spend (of your substance) in the way of Allah: but among you are some that are niggardly. But any who are niggardly are so at the expense of their own souls. But Allah is free of all wants, and it is ye that are needy. If ye turn back (from the Path), He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you! '' (Qur'an 47:38)
''And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah: announce unto them a most grievous penalty. (34) On the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks and their backs¯ "This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves: taste ye, then the (treasures) ye buried!" (Qur'an 9:35)
It was arrogance that stopped Shaitan (The Devil, Iblis) bowing down before Allah and he was expelled from paradise: ''(Allah) said: "what prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said: 'I am better than he: thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay' (Allah) said: 'Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures)." (Qur'an 7:12-14)
Allah (s.w.t.) also says in the Holy Qur'an: ''And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth, Allah likes not each arrogant boaster'' (Qur'an 31:18)
The Effect That Sins Have On Us
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned us of the effect that our sins have on us. He said that when a person commits a sin, it falls like a black dot on the clean slate of his heart. If he repents, the dot is erased. If, however, he persists in the same and continues to sin, the dot will continue to expand until it covers his entire heart, in which case his spiritual soul becomes completely sealed off. As a result he fails to recognize good as good and evil as evil. The Prophet said this is what Allah has repeatedly warned us against in the Qur’an: “Nay, their hearts have been sealed by the sins they have accumulated.” other translations are ''No indeed! Their hearts are encrusted with what they have done'' and ''By no means! But on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do!'' (Qur'an 83:14)
Here are some of the effects of sin, which were described by the famous scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) (I have summarized them):
* Being deprived of knowledge and provision. In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits.’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah).
* Sense of alienation that comes between a person and his Lord, and between him and other people.
* Things become difficult for him, so that he does not turn his attention towards any matter but he finds the way blocked or he finds it difficult. By the same token, for the one who fears Allah, things are made easy for him.
* The sinner will find darkness in his heart, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbas said: “Good deeds make the face light, give light to the heart, and bring about ample provision, physical strength and love in people’s hearts. Bad deeds make the face dark, give darkness to the heart, and bring about physical weakness, a lack of provision and hatred in people’s hearts.”
* Sins prevent a person from doing an act of worship which is the opposite of sin,
* Sin breeds sin until it dominates a person and he cannot escape from it.
* Sin weakens a person’s willpower. It gradually strengthens his will to commit sin and weakens his will to repent until there is no will in his heart to repent at all…
* He will become desensitized and will no longer find sin abhorrent, so it will become his habit.
Forgiveness of sins
We must remember that Allah is the Most Forgiving and Merciful: ''O my Servants who have transgressed against their own souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." Qur'an 39:53
The following sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were reported by Abu Huraira (r.a.):
''When Allah created the creation as He was upon the Throne, He put down in His Book: Verily, My mercy predominates My wrath.'' (Muslim)
"A man used to do sinful deeds, and when death came to him, he said to his sons, 'After my death, burn me and then crush me, and scatter the powder in the air, for by Allah, if Allah has control over me, He will give me such a punishment as He has never given to anyone else.' When he died, his sons did accordingly. Allah ordered the earth saying, 'Collect what you hold of his particles.' It did so, and behold! There he was (the man) standing. Allah asked (him), 'What made you do what you did?' He replied, 'O my Lord! I was afraid of You.' So Allah forgave him. "Another narrator said "The man said, Fear of You, O Lord!" (Bukhari)
''There are one hundred (parts of) mercy for Allah and He has sent down out of these, one part of mercy upon the jinn and human beings and the insects. And it is because of this (one part) that they love one another, show kindness to one another and even the beast treats its young one with affection, and Allah has reserved ninety nine parts of mercy with which He would treat His servants on the Day of Resurrection.'' (Muslim)
''Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: I live in the thought of My servant and I am with him as he remembers Me. (The Holy Prophet) further said: By Allah, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His servant than what one of you would do on finding the lost camel in the waterless desert. When he draws near Me by the span of his hand, I draw near him by the length of a cubit and when he draws near Me by the length of a cubit, I draw near him by the length of a fathom. And when he draws near Me walking, I draw close to him hurriedly.'' (Muslim)
Abu Sirma reported that when the time of the death of Abu Ayyub Ansari drew near, he said: ''I used to conceal from you a thing which I heard from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: ''Had you not committed sins, Allah would have brought into existence a creation that would have committed sin (and Allah) would have forgiven them.'' ''(Muslim)
Abu Ayyub Ansari reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) 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)
For the more serious sins, we need to make "Taubah" (begging forgiveness of Allah) "Taubah" means to turn towards Allah in penitence or to beg Allah's forgiveness for one's sins. This involves acknowledging the sins the one has committed, to repent and feel sorry for them, to resolve to stop doing them and to make amendments if possible.
Abu Mu'sa reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that ''Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stretches out His Hand during the night so that the people repent for the fault committed from dawn till dusk, and He stretches out His Hand during the day so that the people may repent for the fault committed from dusk to dawn. (He would accept repentance) before the sun rises in the west (before the Day of Resurrection).'' A hadith like this has been narrated on the authority of Shu'ba with the same chain of transmitters. (Muslim)
Keep Your Sins To Yourself
As Muslims we should not go around talking about the sins we have commited. The Prophet (pbuh) said “My entire nation is safe, except al-Mujahirin (those who boast of their sins). Among the Mujaharah is that a man commits an (evil) act, and wakes up in the morning while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret, he says: “O so-and-so! Last night I did this and that.” He goes to sleep while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret but he wakes up in the morning and uncovers what Allah has kept a secret!” (Bukhari)
“All of my ummah will be fine except for those who commit sin openly, and that includes cases where Allaah conceals a person’s sin, but the following morning he exposes himself and says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night, so he shamelessly exposes himself when all night his Lord had concealed his sin.” (Bukhari)
Listening to your heart
If you have a niggling feeling that an action is wrong, then it probably is. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Righteousness is good character, and sin is that which wavers in your heart and which you do not want people to know about." (Muslim) “Righteousness is good morality and sin is that which causes discomfort (or pinches) within your soul and which you dislike people to become informed of.”(Muslim)