Is shaving the Beard a Major Sin ?
By: Shaykh Abu Abdul Mu’iz Muhammad Ali Ferkous Al-Jaaza’iree(May Allah Preserve him)
Question: Is shaving the beard a Major Sin ? May Allah reward you.
Answer: Praises are due to Allah, Lord of All the Worlds. And Peace and Blessings are due to Allah’s Messenger, the Mercy for Jinn and Mankind. May Allah’s blessings be upon His household, Companions, and all the Prophets until the Last Day. As for what follows:
The beard is among the slogans and signs of Islam which distinguish a Muslim from a non-Muslim. This distinction is a command from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in numerous Ahadeeth. He ordered us to grow the beard unlike the Jews and the Christians. For that reason to shave the beard is a sin; as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) commanded us to let it grow. Moreover, Allah said: “And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad ) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).”[Al-Hashar 7].
Nonetheless, shaving the beard isn’t a major sin. Reason being, a Major Sin is one which earns capital punishment in the Dunya, a punishment in the Herafter, Allah threatens the doer with Hell, His Anger, His curse or a punishment. What’s more, a Major sin is when Allah and His Messenger call the act a Kabeer (A Major Sin). The acts which earn a person any of these consequences are considered Major Sins, so any other action which isn’t attached to these penalties isn’t counted as a Major Sin.
The knowledge is with Allah. Our closing supplication is Praise to Allah Lord of All the Worlds. And May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, His family, the other Prophets until the Day of Resurrection.
Taken from : http://ferkous.com/home/?q=fatwa-591
Algeria, 16th, Dhul Hijah 1427H,
 Shaykh Ferkous was born on November 25th, 1954 in Algeria. He began his studies at first by blind following the mathhab of that country. He learned the Quran from Shaykh Muhammad As-Saghir. After this he enrolled in a school which was the closest thing around at that time as a learning center for Shar’iah. After graduating from this center he had a strong zeal to learn more about Islam to become well grounded. Allah favored him with the opportunity to be accepted at Madinah University. While at the university he learned from Scholars like ‘Attiyah ibn Muhammad Salim(may Allah have mercy upon him),Shaykh Abdul Qadir ibn Shaybah , Muhammad Mukhtar Shanqeentee(may Allah have mercy upon him) and others. Along with this he would attend the theses debates where Bin Baz and Hamad Ansari(may Allah have mercy upon them both) would debate. He returned to Algeria in 1982.Shaykh Ferkous is among the pioneer professors to teach at the Islamic Learning Institute in Algeria. He was later appointed as director of studies. While serving as director he desired to complete his doctorate studies, so he traveled to Rabat in Morroco. There he enrolled in the doctorate program at Muhammad Khamis Univerity. His Doctorate thesis is the first Islamic one for Algeria, and people inside or outside the university still gain benefit from this marvel. We ask Allah to preserve him.