Getting to Know Allah
Allah's list of sins which will get you an invite to an eternity burning in Hell is lengthy by the standards by which such list are measured, with the Ten Commandments at the more succinct end.
The Greater Sins (or Grave Sins) are those where the Koran, or a saying of the Prophet explicitly state, or imply that those who commit these sins will go to Hell; or where there is a consensus among Islamic scholars that the sinner is going to Hell. It does not matter if the sin is committed in secret.
6:120 Avoid open and secret sins. Surely those who commit sin shall be punished for what they have perpetrated.
Indecency and unwarranted aggression are sins, the following revelation setting them apart notwithstanding.
7:33 Say: “My Lord has only forbidden open and secret indecencies, sin, unjust aggression, and your association with Allah that for which He sent down no authority, and your saying about Allah that which you do not know.”
You need not worry about small indecencies.
53:31 And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and on the earth, that He may reward the evildoers for what they did, and reward the righteous with the fairest reward;
53:32 Those who avoid grave sins and foul acts, except for venial ones. Your Lord’s forgiveness is indeed ample. He knows you very well since He produced you from earth, and while you were still embryos in your mothers’ wombs. Do not commend yourselves, He knows very well who is the God-fearing.
The importance of knowing the difference between an evil deed and a grave sin cannot be overstated!
4:31 If you avoid the grave sins you are forbidden, We will remit your evil deeds and let you enter into an honourable place (Paradise).
Your "evil deeds" will be forgiven if they were committed out of ignorance and when it became clear to you that what you did was evil, you repented immediately and not because you were threatened with death or on your death bed. Unbelievers, however, can repent all they want, it won't do them any good.
4:17 Allah has taken upon Himself to accept the repentance of those who commit evil in ignorance and then repent immediately after that. Those, He will forgive and Allah is All Knowing, Wise.
4:18 But not the repentance of those who commit evil deeds, and when one of them is faced with death, he says: “Now I repent”; nor the repentance of those who die as unbelievers. For these, we have prepared a very painful punishment!
The Greatest Sin of All
Considering Allah relentless invectives against would-be competitors it should come as no surprise that worshipping other gods is the greatest sin of all and for which men, women and children have been slaughtered in their tens of millions with Indus the most unfortunate, the murdered estimated at 70 million (K. S. Lal, Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India, 1973).
17:39 That is part of what your Lord has revealed to you of wisdom. Do not set up with Allah another god, or else you will be cast in Hell, despised and rejected.
22:12 He calls, besides Allah, on that which neither harms nor profit him (other gods). That is the worst (the farthest from the Way) error.
22:13 He calls upon him whose harm is likelier than his profit. Wretched is the Master and wretched is the ally!
The Top 40
17:38 The evil of all this is hateful in the sight of your Lord.
Forty greater sins in descending order of evilness:
1. Shirk (polytheism), associating other gods with Allah.
2. Yās (despair), to doubt Allah’s Mercy.
3. Qunut (despondence), losing hope in Allah.
4. Not fearing Allah’s punishment.
6. Parental disobedience.
7. Breaking up with relatives.
8. Usurping the property of orphans.
9. The charging of interest on borrowed money.
10. Fornication (adultery).
12. Wrongfully accusing a chaste believer of adultery or homosexuality.
13. Drinking alcoholic beverages
15. To neglect an obligatory religious duty.
16. Playing musical instruments or listening to music.
19. False oaths.
20. False testimony.
21. Concealing evidence.
22. Breaking a promise.
23. Misappropriation of property.
25. Short weighing or cheating in business.
26. Eating of what is unlawful.
27. Usurping the rights of others.
28. Avoiding Jihad.
29. Becoming A’Arāb after Hijrat, “the condition when a desert Bedouin before acquiring the necessary knowledge of religion turns back to his ignorant ways.”
30. Helping the oppressors.
31. Not helping the oppressed.
33. Extravagance e.g. wasteful expenditures.
35. To war against Muslims.
36. Eating of carrion, pork and blood.
37. Omitting prayer intentionally.
38. Non–payment of Zakat (obligatory charity).
39. To consider the Hajj (mandatory pilgrimage) insignificant.
40. Persistence in minor sins (committing a lesser sin repeatedly).
On the order of greater sins and type of sins Allah and His Messenger may have disagreed, with God prevailing of course.
I asked the Prophet, "What is the greatest sin in the Sight of Allah?"
He said, "That you set up a rival unto Allah though He Alone created you."
I said, "That is indeed a great sin."
Then asked, "What is next?"
He said, "To kill your son lest he should share your food with you."
I asked, "What is next?"
He said, "To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbor."
10 Made Up Sins
Greater Sins for which there is no explicit verse or saying of the Prophet damning the sinner to an eternity roasting in Hell.
42. Telling tales.
43. Insulting a believer.
44. Intrigue, deception and breaking covenants.
45. Hoarding and selling on the black-market.
46. Disrespect of the Qur’an.
47. Disrespect of Ka’ba.
48. Disrespect to Masajid (mosque).
49. Disrespect of the Tomb of the Prophet.
50. Disrespect to the soil of Imam Husain’s Grave (Shia Islam).
Tips for Avoiding the Grave Sins
Amid all the hate and the cruelty, every now and then Allah will surprise you with the odd revelation about being kind and thoughtful, like the following which may prove helpful in navigating the mine field of grave sins.
Be kind to your parents.
Considering Allah’s decrees that a believer must disown a parent who will not submit to His Will, the following revelations about being kind to your parents has to apply to believing parents only.
17:23 Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and to be kind to your parents. If either of them or both reach old age with you, do not say to them “Fie”, nor tell them off, but say to them kind words.
17:24 And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say: “Lord, have mercy on them, as they took care of me when I was a child.”
17:25 Your Lord knows best what is in your hearts. If you are righteous, He is All-Forgiving to those who repent.
Give your kinsman his due.
Women are not mentioned, but Allah’s heart, as it was with his revelations about being kind to your parents, is in the right place, if only in passing, so He too should be given His due.
17:26 And give the kinsman his due, and to the destitute and the wayfarer, and do not squander your wealth wastefully.
17:27 Surely the spindrifts are the brothers of the devils; and the Devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord.
If you have nothing to give, say something nice.
17:28 But if you turn away from them (the kinsman, the destitute and the wayfarer), seeking a mercy (because you have nothing to give and are seeking the bounty of your Lord)you expect from your Lord, then speak to them kindly.
And if you do have some wealth to spare, the ever practical Allah suggests that you don’t give away so much of your wealth as to become like them; follow His example, revelation 17:30.
17:29 Do not keep your hand chained to your neck, nor spread it out fully, lest you sit around condemned and reduced to poverty.
17:30 Surely your Lord gives generously to whom He pleases, and He gives sparingly [to whom He pleases]. He knows and observes His Servants well.
Do not kill your children for fear of poverty.
17:31 Do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We will provide for you and for them. To kill them is a great sin.
This is not a universal declaration against killing your children! Remember, not killing your children, if they decide to abandon Allah or behave in a manner He disapproves of, especially where girls and sex are concerned, is the greater sin, which may explain many of the so-called honour killings of females.
Remember the orphans
17:34 Do not go near the orphan’s property except in the fairest way until he comes of age; and honour your pledge, because the pledge involves responsibility.
Be honest in your weights and measures
17:35 And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a just balance. That is fair and better in the end.
Don’t be arrogant.
17:37 And do not walk in the land haughtily; for you certainly will not pierce the earth, nor equal the mountains in height.
Allah knows much about arrogance.
17:43 Glory be to Him and may He be greatly exalted above what they say.
17:44 The seven heavens, the earth what is in them praise Him, and there is nothing which does not celebrate His praise; but you do not understand their praise. He is indeed Clement, All-Forgiving.
59:23 He is Allah. There is no god but He, the King, the Holy, the Peace-Giver, the Faith-Giver, the Overseer, the All-Mighty, the Overlord, the Haughty. May Allah be exalted above what they associate.
59:24 He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most Beautiful Names; whatever is in the heavens and on the earth glorifies Him. He is the All-Mighty, the Wise.