The Difference between Minor Sins and Major Sins

  • A minor sin is one that doesn’t earn Allah’s anger or Hell. It’s a sin that a person isn’t promised retribution in the hereafter, a curse in this life, or a legal punishment.

Practicing good deeds serve as expiation for minor sins; as long as the person doesn’t commit major sins.

Allah says, “If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall remit from you your (small) sins, and admit you to a Noble Entrance (i.e. Paradise).[ An-Nisa’ 31 ]


The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: The five daily prayers, Juma’h prayer till Juma’h prayer, Ramadan till Ramadan expiates everything between them, if you avoid the major sins.” [ Muslim 233]

Ash-Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Barrak (may Allah preserve him) said, “ The words if you avoid the major sins show the condition for having the minor sins forgiven. The minor sins aren’t forgiven unless the major sins are avoided. “

Some examples of minor sins are:

  1. Looking at something prohibited
  2. Stealing something, which doesn’t earn the legal punishment. i.e the value of something less than a quarter dinar.
  3. A mother lies to her son and says come here and I will give you something. When he comes she doesn’t give him anything.
  • A Major sin is one that earns Allah’s anger or Hell. It’s a sin that a person is promised retribution in the hereafter, a curse in this life, or a legal punishment. A major sin is one where faith is denied for its doer and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) freed himself from its perpetrator.

Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawzee said,” People differ over the exact number of major sins. “ [Jawabul Kafee]

Abdul Azeez Ar-Rajhi said, “ The scholars differ over the number of Major sins. Some ulema say they are seven, some say seventeen, and some say seventy. In addition to these opinions some scholars say the number of majors sins are seven hundred. [ Sharh Al-Aqeedahtut Tahaweeyah ].

Majors sins are only removed by performing sincere repentance or by having the legal penalty imposed. Expiation for Major sins can also occur  when the good deeds outweigh the bad deeds.

Some examples of Major Sins are:

  1. Shirk
  2. Cutting family ties
  3. Bearing false testimony
  4. Zina
  5. Deception

Imam Ath-Thahabi and Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab wrote books about the major sins.

** These points were taken from Abdur Rahman ibn Nasr Al-Barrak’s and Abdul Azeez Ar-Rajhi’s explanation for Aqeedatut Tahaaweeyah (may Allah preserve them) Al-Hamdulilah both of these scholars are still alive today and are from among the students of the late Abdul Azeez bin Baz (may Allah rest him in Firdous).  Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih Al-Uthaymeen said before his death, “ After I’m gone ask Fawzan and Al-Barrak.” **

Their websites:

Translated and compiled by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle

Doha, Qatar 1431 ©

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