In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
My dear brother!
Know that the sins for which repentance is sought are of two types: major and minor.
Evidently, Qur’an, Sunnah and consensus of the Ummah have agreed on this division. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins…” [an-Nisa 4: 31]
And Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only (committing)… ” [an-Najm 53: 32]
And that which is lamam is lesser than major.
And the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The five daily prayers and Friday prayer to the next Friday prayer, and the fasting of Ramadan to the next Ramadan, is expiation of the sins committed in between them, so long as major sins are avoided.” [Muslim]
How merciful is Allah isubhanahu wa ta’ala that He gives us chances to get cleansed of our sins. The acts of worship that we sometimes take as burden are actually a relief from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to lighten our load of sins. May He allow us to taste the pleasure of worship, aameen.
These Qur’anic ayaat and Prophet’s saying teach us that the condition to get our minor sins forgiven is staying away from the major sins. If a person is committing Shirk and at the same time he is regular in his prayers, then such a person’s prayers will not be accepted. Likewise, if a person lives off on an interest-based income and also goes for Hajj, his deed will not be accepted. Recall that in the last post we addressed the sequence of making repentance. One must first abandon the major sins and seek forgiveness from them, and then the minor sins and disliked deeds.
If we want our Tawbah to be accepted, we must first learn what the major and minor sins are. Then we must reflect on ourselves and see how many sins we are indulged in. Repent and ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to distance us from our sins as the distance between east and west.
One should seek repentance from the major and minor sins and then increase his righteous deeds (without advertising them).
Do you know hurting others is also a sin? As we studied in our hadeeth post, siblings who fight among one another, tease one another, hide each other’s things or parents who treat their children as inanimate objects and say anything to him having no regard for their feelings, need to repent for their behavior. A parent must discipline their child but not crush their personality. Learn from the Sunnah the etiquette of raising Muslim children and control your hands and tongue.
But this division does not mean that obligatory Tawbah is only for the major sins. It is necessary that a person repents from the minor sins along with the major sins. In fact, in the Sunnah it appears to warn against being languid about the minor sins. Its evidence can be drawn from this saying of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: Fear small sins because they collect on man. You bring one twig, another man goes and bring a twig so-much-so that they gather a stack. Then they lit fire and cook whatever they throw in it.
We learn that we should seek repentance from both major and minor sins. One should not wait for a sign or their habits to change to make Tawbah, as soon as one realizes their mistakes and learns that they should repent they should hasten to act on it. Tawbah not only removes past sins but also improves one’s future. A person is more conscious of his actions.
Tawbah is similar to taking bath. Just as bath cleanses our body and freshens us up similarly Tawbah freshens a person and he focuses on the future and doing good deeds.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not wish to throw us into Hellfire, He has given us many opportunities and options to repent. Will we repent?