Quran has given us the limits for everything. It has guided us through defining limitations. Anything beyond the limitations of Quran will be considered sin. It has explained the things through four major concepts. Haram & Halal and Gunnah (sin) & Sawaab (good deed). Things that fall into the former categories of both are bad and they result in the anger of Allah (SWT). Things that fall in the latter categories of both drive you to success. In defining these limits nothing has been kept ambiguous so that human beings or Muslims do not confuse themselves. Whatever is Haram will always remain Haram and nothing can change it and vice versa.
Allah (SWT) says in the Quran, “If you avoid the major (part) of what you have been forbidden (to do), We will cancel out for you your (other) evil deeds and will admit you (to Paradise) with a noble entry. (al-Nisa 4:31)”. He further says in the Quran, “Those who avoid the greatest of sins and indecencies, and forgive when they are angry (al-Shra 42:37) Those who avoid the greatest sins and indecencies, except for oversights, (will find that) surely your Lord is ample in forgiveness. (Al-Najm 53:32)”
Line Between Major And Minor Sins:
Muslims have to differentiate between sins and good deeds, in order to become a practicing Muslim. They should know what acts are sinful and what should they avoid. Sin has been defined as an act which is in contradiction with the commandments of Allah (or the will of our Lord). In this category some sins are considered major and some are considered minor. Being Muslim you should know the difference between two. Major differences have been defined in Quran and Hadiths, which you should know.
According to majority of the scholars, there are seven major sins in Islam. This assumption has been made on the following narration of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). “Avoid the seven noxious things: associating anything with Allah, magic, killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just case, consuming the property of an orphan, devouring usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers but indiscreet.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
There is another school of thought which cites evidences stating that the number of major sins is greater in number. This school of thought states that sins are acts that have been forbidden by Allah (SWT) in Quran or by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They include sins like:
- Shirk (worshipping others)
- Future predictions (astrology)
- Using magic
- Committing suicide or murdering anyone
- False witness
- Cheating, stealing and lying
- Interest (Riba)
- Not paying Zakat
- Gambling, oppression and unjust
- Backbiting and slandering
- Disrespect of kinship
- Disrespecting parents
As far as the minor sins are considered, these are acts which displease Allah (SWT), but for which no specific punishment has been issued. 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). May Allah protect us from every sin, no matter how major or minor it is.