Iqra Islamic Publications

Major Sins and How to Avoid Them

By: Syed Yasin Ali

The major sins are those acts which have been forbidden by Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala in the Holy Qur'an and by His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam in the Sunnah.

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala says in the Holy Qur'an:
"If you avoid the major sins which you have been forbidden, We will cancel out for you your (other) evil deeds and admit you (to Paradise) with a noble entry."(An-Nisaa 4:31)

Therefore, Allah the Almighty has guaranteed Paradise to those who avoid the major sins. It is very important for a Mu'min (believer) to avoid these types of sins, since they carry a lot of punishment.

According to a Hadith of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, there are seven major sins (kaba'ir). Anyone who commits these sins will be punished in the Hereafter unless there is true repentance. In a hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam says, "Avoid the seven noxious things", and after saying this, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam mentions them, "associating anything with Allah, magic, killing a person without a just reason, consuming the property of an orphan, fleeing from battle when the army is advancing and slandering chaste women." (Bukhari and Muslim)

Among the mentioned sins, committing shirk (associating partners with Allah) is the most punishable act. According to the Qur'an, a person who commits shirk will not be forgiven and will remain in Hell forever. Allah the Almighty says, "Surely, Allah does not forgive associating anything with Him, and He forgives whatever is other than that to whomsoever He wills." (An-Nisaa 4:48 and 4:116)

Shirk is the greatest sin because it violates beliefs in the Oneness of Allah. We need to believe that Allah is One, the only One who deserves our worship.

There are also many kinds of other sins that are highly punishable like gambling, consuming intoxicants, lying, stealing and committing suicide. But there are also many sins that we commit everyday without knowing that these sins are punishable as well, since they displease Allah the Almighty. The following are some of these kinds of sins which we don't pay much attention to:

  1. Disobeying our parents

  2. Giving false testimony

  3. Engaging in bribery

  4. Cursing others.
    The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, "Abusing a Muslim is evil and fighting him is disbelief." (Sahih Al-Bukhari).

  5. Harming neighbours.
    According to a Hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, "A person who is not safe from his neighbour's mischief will not enter Paradise." (Sahih Al- Bukhari).

  6. Men wearing silk and gold.
    The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, "Men who wear silk and gold will have no portion (of heaven) in the Hereafter." (Sahih Muslim).

  7. Not praying in congregation and praying by yourself without an excuse.
    The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, "Whoever hears the call to prayer and doesn't come in prayer, there is no prayer for him except for the one who had a valid excuse." (Al-Bukhari).

  8. Spying on Muslims.

  9. Believing in soothsayers, psychics and astrologers.
    The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, "Whoever goes to a fortune teller and asks him about something will not have his prayer accepted for forty nights." (Sahih Al-Bukhari).

We can avoid all kinds of sins by praying five times a day, reciting the Holy Qur'an, observing the five pillars of Islam and by keeping ourselves busy with the name of Allah (zikr). By observing these duties, we leave very little room for sins to occur. We should also go to the mosque regularly and we should keep good company. Thus, these sins don't have any influence on us.

But true repentance is the key to avoiding sins. Whenever we commit a sin, we should beg for forgiveness from Allah the Almighty and we should vow not to repeat them again. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala forgives the sins of those who repent. He says in the Holy Qur'an: "..Except those who repent and believe and do good deeds. Such will enter the Garden, and they will not be wronged in any way." (Al-Maryam, 19:60).

It is very hard for a Mu'min (believer) to remain sinless throughout his life. We commit sins everyday. But we should try to avoid the major sins that are very displeasing to Allah. We should repent for the sins that we commit and we should beg Allah's forgiveness. We should also do good deeds in order to replace our sins. We should also have a good understanding about Islam through the Qur'an and hadith. Thus, we will know the sins and the unlawful deeds that displease Allah and will be able to avoid them.

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