Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Dhu'l-Qa'dah / Zil-Hijjah 1423 H
February 2003
Volume 16-02 No : 194
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Living Islam

What is a Major Sin?
Bring Back Honesty
How to make the Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh) come alive for your children?

What is a Major Sin?

The major sins are those acts which have been forbidden by Allah in the Quran and by His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) in the Sunnah (practice of the Prophet), and which have been made clear by the actions of the first righteous generation of Muslims, the Companions of the Prophet. Allah most high says in His glorious book:

“ 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. (Surah Nisa: 4:31). Allah has guaranteed the Garden of Paradise to those who avoid the major sins. And Allah also says: Those who avoid the greatest of sins and indecencies and forgive when they are angry (Surah Al-Shura-42:37).

Those who avoid the greatest sins and indecencies, except for oversights (will find that) surely your Lord is ample in forgiveness. (Surah-Al-Najm 53:32).

The Messenger of Allah said: “ The five daily prayers, Friday to Friday and Ramadan to Ramadan make atonement for what has happened since the previous one when major sins have been avoided.” It is very important to determine exactly what the greatest vices, technically called “the Major Sins” are in order that Muslims should avoid them. There is some difference of opinion among scholars in this regard. Some say these major sins are seven and in support of their position, they quote the tradition: “Avoid the seven noxious things” and after having said this, the Prophet mentioned them: “ Associating anything with Allah, practising magic, killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just cause, 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).

Abdullah ibn Abbas said: “Seventy is closer to their number than seven,” and indeed that is correct. The above tradition does not limit the major sins to those mentioned in it. Rather it points to the type of sins which fall into the category of “major.” These include those crimes which call for a prescribed punishment, such as theft, fornification or adultery (Zina) and murder, those prohibited acts for which a warning of a severe punishment in the Hereafter is given in the Qur’an and the tradition and also those deeds which are cursed by our Prophet. These are all major sins. Of course, there is a gradation among them, since some are more serious than others. The Prophet has included Shirk (associating something or someone with Allah) among them as a major sin.

Surely Allah does not forgive associating anything with Him and He forgives whatever is other that to whomever He wills (Surah Al Nisa 4: 48 and 116).

The First Major Sin Shirk

The greatest of all major sins is Shirk-that is to say, associating anyone or anything with Allah and it is of two kinds.

The first is to believe that Allah has an equal or to worship something or someone other than Him such as stone, a tree, a star, the sun, the moon, or a prophet, a saint, or an angel. This is the greatest Shirk about which Allah says:

Indeed, associating anything with Allah is a great wrong. (Surah Luqman 31:13).

Indeed, the one who associates anything with Allah, Allah will forbid him the Garden and his abode is the Fire (Al-Maidah 5:75).

Allah’s Messenger (Pbuh) asked his companions: “ Shall I not inform you about the three greatest sins?” They said: Yes, Messenger of Allah.” He then continued: “ Associating other objects of worship with Allah, disobedience to parents and lying under oath (deliberate perjury) and bearing false witness.” (Bukhari and Muslim). He also said: “ Avoid the seven noxious things, “ in which associating anything with Allah” is included.

The second kind of associating anything with Allah is insincerity and ostentation of one’s deeds as stated by Allah:

Anyone who is expecting to meet his Lord should act righteously and not make anything as a sharer in the worship of his Lord (Al-Kahf 18:110). That is to say, in all one’s deeds, one ought not to act for the sake of ostentation, but sincerely for the sake of Alalh alone.

Prophet Muhammad said: “ I warn you against the lesser polytheism.” The companions asked: “What is lesser polytheism, Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “Showing off”. On the day when Allah most high will reward people for their deeds, he will tell them, “ Go to those people for whose attention and praise you did these deeds and see whether they will reward you.” (Muslim and Ahmad). He also said: Allah says: “ If anyone does anything in which he associates another with Me, His action belongs to the one for whose sake he did it and I am clear of it. (Muslim and Ibn Majah).

(Compiled from The Major Sins-Al-Kaba’r by Muhammad Bin Uthman Adh-Dhahabi. Rendered into English by Mohammed Moinuddin Siddique, Edited by Muhieddin Al-Salek. Published by Dar Al-Fikr, Beirut-Lebanon)


Bring Back Honesty

Narrated Hudhaifa (RA)

Allah’s Apostle related to us, two prophetic narrations one of which I have seen fulfilled and I am waiting for the fulfillment of the other. The Prophet told us that the virtue of honesty descended in the roots of men’s hearts (from Allah) and then they learned it from the Qur’an and then they learned it from the Sunnah (the Prophet’s traditions). The Prophet further told us how that honesty will be taken away: He said:

“Man will go to sleep during which honesty will be taken away from his heart and only its trace will remain in his heart like the trace of a dark spot, then man will go to sleep, during which honesty will decrease further still, so that its trace will resemble the trace of blister as when an ember is dropped on one’s foot which would make it swell, and one would see it swollen but there would be nothing inside. People would be carrying out their trade but hardly will there be a trustworthy person. It will be said, ‘in such-and-such tribe there is an honest man,’ and later it will be said about some man, ‘What a wise, polite and strong man he is!’ Though he will not have faith equal even to a mustard seed in his heart.”

No doubt, there came upon me a time when I did not mind dealing (bargaining) with anyone of you, for if he was a Muslim, his Islam would compel him to pay me what is due to me, and if he was a Christian, the Muslim official would compel him to pay me what is due to me, but today I do not deal except with such-and-such person.

Honesty is a gift from Allah that can be learnt from the life of the Prophet. We should always pray to Allah that we be among those very few who are blessed with honesty.

What is Barzakh?

It literally means partition or barrier. In Islamic terminology, it usually means the life in the grave, because the life in the grave is the inter-space between the life on earth and the life in the Hereafter. Life in the Barzakh is real, but very different from life as we know it. Its exact nature is known only to Allah. It is during our life in the Barzakh that we will be asked about Allah, our faith and the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. We will also be shown the Jannah (the Heavens) and the Hell and which of these two places we will occupy after we are judged.

What is Bid’a?

Any innovated practice introduced in the religion of Allah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said that every Bid’a is a deviation from the true path and every deviation leads to Hellfire.


How to make the Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh)
come alive for your children?

By Tauseef Abdul Kareem

There are small ways to instill a love for the blessed Prophet while showing what a critical role his example plays in every Muslim’s life. Sit down with a pen and a paper, think and decide together about seven activities you can do in a week concerning the life of the Prophet.

Travel with the Prophet

Get a map of Arabia, or better yet, get the kids to draw or trace one from an atlas. Then, note down the different places he travelled to from Makkah or Madinah. Each voyage should also be researched and presented to the whole family by one person in the course of a family discussion or meeting.

Wake up with the Prophet

The Prophet would wake up everyday before dawn, before the start of the Fajr prayer, to worship Allah through Salat, Dua, Zikr, etc. This is an excellent way to become closer to Allah, at a time when concentration is at its peak, minds are clear of daily worries and according to one Hadith, Allah is very close to us.

Organise storytelling night

This can be done at bed-time, after the kids come home from school or any other time conducive to learning. The first step of loving and learning from the Prophet and his life is to know about him and what made him great. You can buy children’s books (link) about his life, or even listen to them on tape (put link to stories on cassette) while you’re in the car on your way to or from school.

Sleep like him

The Prophet used to sleep in a unique way and would say a Dua or two before it. The Prophet slept on his right side, with his right hand under his right cheek. He used to make Wudu before going to bed also. He used to recite one or two Duas before sleeping and recite a few short portions of the Quran.

Eat like him

There are reports about the type of food he used to eat or liked most. Make a list of those items. The Prophet advised Muslims to eat in a way that after eating, the stomach is only one-third full. We also should wash our hands before eating, recite “Bismillah” (in the Name of Allah) and other Duas before we begin, as well as eat only with our right hand.

Pray like the Prophet

During the lifetime of the Prophet, if a person made a mistake in the recitation of the Quran, he was corrected by others present during the prayer.When you are teaching your kids how to live like the Prophet, have a different person lead prayer each day and correct their mistakes if they make any.

Play like the Prophet

The Prophet understood the importance of fun and games. He would race with his wife Aisha who used to beat him most of the time, may Allah be pleased with her. He would swim and wrestle with his Companions. He would joke with them too. He played with and loved children.

A Note on Parents
Parents are the gifts from Allah,
we must love them.
Parents give us birth,
we must obey them.
Parents are our elders,
we must respect them.
Parents teach us,
we must understand them.

Shiraz Khaki,
[email protected]


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