NARRATED Ibnu Abbas, may Allah be pleased with both, commenting on: “Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, only (falling into) small faults,- verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness.” [53:32] he said: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him [pbuh] said: «Lord, when You forgive, You forgive abundantly»
[Reporter: at-Tirmizi …. Rank: Authentic]
Obeying Allah, as the scholars said, is achieved through the obedience of His Commands, normally referred to in our modern military language as a “Direct Order”. These direct orders are two types: DOs and DONTs. When a person sins, it is either he neglected a “do” command, or committed a “don’t” command. Both fall under the category of “Sin”.
In general, there are two categories for the “sin”, namely: Major and Minor. The scholars derived this category from His Saying in the Glorious Qur’an: “If you shun the great sins which you are forbidden, We will do away with your small sins and admit you to a noble entrance (into Paradise)” [4:31]
To avoid the major sins, one must be aware of them. Narrated Abu Hurairah may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] said: «Beware of the seven destroying sins. The companions asked: What are they O Messenger of Allah? He [pbuh] said: (1) Associating a deity with Allah, (2) sorcery, (3)Killing (a respected) soul except in truth (in modern legal phrase: without due process of law), (4) consumption of usury, (5) (Unlawful) consumption of an orphan’s wealth, (6) running away in the battlefield, and (7) false accusation of believing women».
The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] termed these sins as “destroying sins” because each one of them destroys the sinner in this life and the hereafter. However, these destroying sins are not confined to the above listed sins. Both Al Bukhari and Muslim reported in their authentic collections a narration from Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] asked: «Shall I inform you of the major destroying sins? We replied: Yes O Messenger of Allah. He said: Associating a deity with Allah, disobeying the parents – and he was leaning at the time – he then fixed his sitting and said: and the false testimony, and the false testimony, and the false testimony. He [pbuh] kept repeating it, to the point we wished he stopped».
Many scholars listed 70 and others 90 destroying sins under this category, which for many of us these days, count as “minor” sins.
On the other hand, some scholars expanded the categories to add sins committed against Allah, and others committed against human. It suffices, according to these scholars for the Muslim to seek forgiveness from Allah over sins committed against Allah the Exalted. To illustrate; drinking liquor is a violation of the DON’T category. If the sinner repented to Allah, Allah is oft-Forgiver. However, if this sin is extended to violate other people’s rights or lives, then forgiveness must be sought from both parties, otherwise justice will be served one way or the other in this life, the hereafter or both.