The 3 Major Sins

Date: 13th March 2015; 21th Jumada al-Ula 1436

Allah has created the human race so that we can worship Him in the most ideal way. That is why He has created us in the best possible manner. Many a times we feel we are incomplete and imperfect but our imperfections make us so distinguishable and dignified among all other creations. Since Allah has made us His best best creation, He also expects us to be the best in worshipping Him, according to our limits, nothing more than that. Due to our imperfections, we can all fall into sinning and this is in fact our unique characteristic.

Allah never created us so as to punish us. It is clearly mentioned in the Quran:

Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.

Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 147 (4:147) Translation: Muhsin Khan

If we ever fall into sinning, Allah has promised us that He will always be ready to forgive us in this world as long as we ask for repentance in front of Him. In one Hadith it is mentioned:

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, says, ‘O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me, I shall forgive you of what you have done, and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach up to the clouds in the sky, and then you were to ask for My forgiveness, I would forgive you and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if you were to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me after death, not worshipping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.’”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi

This world is in fact a testing place for all of us and just like all our ancestors, we too are going to be tested relentlessly by Allah in various ways. Our task is to forbid evil and do good in this world and expect the reward from Allah in the Hereafter.

All these tests are in fact a blessing for all of us because by enduring them with patience, we are in fact congregating our reward in the Hereafter. One Hadith mentions:

The Prophet  (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “On the Day of Resurrection people will wish that their skins had been cut with scissors in this world, when they see the reward of those who were struck with calamity.”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi

Major and minor sins were made so that Allah can create the platform upon which He can test and then forgive us. This, later on will accrue into our reward or punishment in the Hereafter based on what we have achieved in our lifetime.

The major sins are those acts which have been forbidden by Allah in the Quran and by His Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) through his Sunnahs and which have been made clear by the actions of of the first righteous generation of Muslims, the Companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

Allah says in His Glorious Book:

If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise].

Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 31 (4:31) Translation: Sahih International

In one Hadith it is mentioned:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Shall I not tell you of the greatest of major sins?” – three times – and we said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allaah.” He said: “Associating others in worship with Allaah, and disobeying one’s parents,” – and he was reclining, but he sat up and said, “And false speech and false witness.”

References: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 2654; Sahih Muslim, Hadith 126.

The major sins are indeed the most disastrous for the humankind and in today’s Khutbah, three of the major sins shall be covered. They are as follows:

  1. Doing Shirk (associating partners with Allah)
  2. Disrespecting Parents
  3. Acting As A False Witness


  1. Doing Shirk

This is by far the most heinous of all sins and one dies upon associating partners with Allah, he won’t be forgiven. The Quran says:

Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.

Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 48 (4:48) Translation: Sahih International

Allah is the Supreme Creator of all the worlds. His power exhale throughout the whole Universe and surely as the Master of everything, He deserves to be praised and remembered. As the greatest worshipper of Allah, He expects nothing less from us than worshipping Him and Him only.

The Quran states:

Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 22 (2:22) Translation: Muhsin Khan

Allah only wants us to be grateful and the only way we can truly show him our gratitude is by worshipping Him and obeying all His other orders.

Among doing shirk, there are different degrees.

When ascribing to someone other than Allah something that belongs only to Allah, such as Lordship (ruboobiyyah), divinity (uloohiyyah) and the divine names and attributes (al-asma’ wa’l-sifaat) is indeed a major shirk

This kind of shirk may sometimes be outward, such as the shirk of those who worship idols and graves, or the dead or absent.

Or it may sometimes be hidden, such as those who put their trust in other gods besides Allah, or the shirk and kufr of the hypocrites. For even though  their (hypocrites’) shirk puts them beyond the pale of Islam and means that they will abide  forever in Hell, it is a hidden shirk, because they make an outward display of Islam and conceal their kufr and shirk, so they are inwardly mushriks but not outwardly.

Shirk may sometimes take the form of beliefs:

Such as the belief that there is someone else who creates, gives life and death, reigns or controls the affairs of the universe along with Allah.

Or the belief that there is someone else who must be obeyed absolutely besides Allah, so they follow him in regarding as permissible or forbidden whatever he wants, even if that goes against the religion of the Messengers.

Or they may associate others with Allah in love and veneration, by loving a created being as they love Allah. This is the kind of shirk that Allaah does not forgive, and it is the shirk of which Allah says:

And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else). If only, those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is Severe in punishment.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 165 (2:165) Translation: Muhsin Khan

Shirk can also be of minor kind and unfortunately it is subconsciously present in most Muslims these days.

One Hadith states:

It is narrated that Mahmoud ibn Labid said: The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), what is minor shirk?” He said: “Showing off, for Allah will say on the Day when people are recompensed for their actions: ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off with your deeds in the world, and see what reward you find with them.’”

Reference: Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Rahmatullah Allaih), Hadith: 27742. Classed as Sahih by Imam al-Albani  (Rahmatullah Allaih) in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 951

When we do something to please Allah, we should never do it for the purpose of showing off, Riya is also considered to be a type of minor shirk and the Muslim Ummah must be mindful of this sin.


  1. Disrespecting Parents

This is quite comprehensible by all of us. Allah has given a lot of status to our parents and all of us need to be dutiful towards them. It is specifically mentioned in one ayah:

And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.

Surah Al-Isra, Ayah 23 (17:23) Translation: Muhsin Khan

Notice that Allah wants us to worship Him and the very next thing He expects from us is respecting our parents. There are in fact other Quranic ayahs similar to the one mentioned above and it truly shows the vitality of this issue of respecting parents.

One Hadith states:

Abdullah ibn Amr (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported: A man came to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), asking permission to strive in jihad. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Are your parents alive?” He said yes. The Prophet said, “Then strive in their service.”

Source: Sahih Bukhari Hadith 2842 & Sahih Muslim 2549

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) emphasized upon the duty of taking care of one’s parents more than participating in Jihad. Taking care of parents was so important to him that when Owais Al-Qarni (Rahmatullah Allaih) wanted to meet the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) informed him that taking care of his old mother was more important than meeting him in person. In another Hadith it is mentioned:

Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (Radi Allahu Anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “One of the major sins is a man insulting his parents.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), do people really insult their parents?” He said, “Yes, a man insults another man’s father so he insults his father, or he insults another man’s mother so he insults his mother.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 5973 & Sahih Muslim Hadith 130

So in the end, we need to take care and respect not only our parents but also need to do the same for others’ parents as well. No good deed is ever wasted and will surely be rewarded on the Day of Judgment.


  1. Uttering False Speech & Acting As A False Witness

Bearing false witness, spreading fake news, submitting wrong testimonials, telling lies are sins related to each other. Believers should keep away from these habits. Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has included bearing false witness along with great sins like shirk (associating partners with Allah) and doing harm to parents. This itself signifies the severity of this vice.

‘Not to associate anything and anyone in worship with Allah’ means understanding the creator in real sense and then submitting all forms of worships only to Him. ‘Not to be undutiful to parents means keeping the sanctity of family relations. Prophet(Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has told in another incident that the very first in strong and sacred relations is the relation with parents and the greatest obligation of a person is to his mother and then to his father.

The level of purity and moral uplift we should keep in social life is signified by ‘do not bear false witness’. It is one of the first norm of Islamic culture that one should not harm his fellow beings either by his words or through his deeds. We can see numerous mentions of this in Quran and Hadith. Not only with words or deeds, but even with a gesture or physical expressions a believer should not harm those who are his brothers and fellow beings.

Prophet(Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Believers with his tongue or his hands. And a Muhajir (an emigrant) is the one who gives up (abandons) all what Allah has forbidden.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari

When explaining the traits of righteous believers, Allah tells in Quran:

And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.

Surah Al-Furqan, Ayah 72 (25:72) Translation: Muhsin Khan

The importance Islam gives to the way a believer treats his fellow beings is significant from above verses.

A false witness may cause for innocent people being tortured and a verdict being falsified. Though those who bear a false witness will have a temporary gain in this world, it will definitely be a great cause for grief in the later life and the Hereafter.

Falsehood causes relationships to fall apart, sprout suspicions and creates divisions in society, all these are the aftermaths of false witness and spreading false information in this world and this will surely cause for a great disaster in this world and the Hereafter. Believers should be careful and it is an absolute necessity for them to stay away from falsehood as much as possible.

None of us were created perfect so each and every one of us are always standing in the precipice of sinning. We all need to strengthen our gratitude towards Allah. The key is to never stop in seeking refuge against the whispers of Shaitan and also asking for His forgiveness and guidance.


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