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This beneficial General Level course is essential for every believer. It is based on the text Kitab al-Kaba’ir (The Book of Major Sins), a short treatise, written by the encyclopedic Damascene scholar Imam Dhahabi.

The Major Sins, or the Enormities, are sins that are so grave that they come with a curse or threat of punishment in this world or the next for the one who commits them without repenting. Allah Most High tells us in the Quran that if these sins are avoided, it will result in forgiveness of the minor sins and entry into Paradise (Quran 4:31), with minor sins being forgiven through the worship and good deeds one does. It behooves every Muslim to know what these Major Sins are in order to avoid them.

The goal behind learning the major sins is to use this knowledge to protect oneself and those around them from those things which bring harm in this life and ultimately, to one’s soul in the next life. Every one of the major sins is also tied to saving humanity from difficulties and hardships that occur as a result of those sins. This course contains vital information to protect both the individual and society from detriment and wrong. Protecting oneself and community then leads to justice and goodness in this life and the next.

This course gives a foundational level of Taqwa (God-Consciousness) that is essential for every Muslim, but especially important for anyone embarking on the journey of seeking Islamic knowledge to avoid hypocrisy in one’s state and actions. Each of the major sins is tied to a practical benefit and avoidance of a societal or personal injustice that should be avoided. It starts with safeguarding faith and then enables a society free from killing, exploitation, family discord, corruption, and despondency.

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Total Lesson: 11
Number of hours: 14
Weightage: 0
Skill Level: Beginner
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About the text:

The Book of Major Sins is an important text in the Islamic tradition because it succinctly lists and provides the primary evidence for 70 major sins according to Islam. Imam Dhahabi based each sin in his list of enormities on the primary sources of Quran and Hadith without writing at length to facilitate the average reader to read and comprehend what major sins to avoid. This makes it ideal for students and laypeople alike to grasp the essentials of what must be avoided to safeguard oneself and establish a base level of Taqwa (God-Consciousness) in one’s life as a Muslim. It is essential knowledge (fard-’ayn) and therefore becomes a pre-requisite for any further study of Islam as the avoidance of harm and sin takes precedence over the doing of good, let alone seeking further knowledge of Deen.

About the Author:

Imam Hafiz Shams al-Din al-Dhahabi (1274 to 1348 CE/ 637-748 AH) was an encyclopedic Damascene scholar. He was an expert hadith critic and historian of Islam. He authored Siyar A’lam al Nubala, a biographical work of major Islamic personalities through history, and Mizan al-I’tidal, an encyclopedic reference work on hadith narrator criticism, among many other works.

He was known to be a strict critic of hadith narrators and a commentator on hadith texts. It was said about him that it was as though all the famous personalities in Islamic history were standing in front of his mind’s eye, and he could tell every detail about their lives through his prodigious memory.

His notable teachers include Shaykhs Ibn Daqiq al-’Eid and Ibn Taymiyya, while his famous students include Ibn Kathir and Ibn Rajab al Hanbali (may Allah have mercy on them all). Hadith expert Imam Ibn Hajr al Asqalani, who lived after Imam Dhahabi, used to drink ZamZam water with the supplication that Allah grants him “Imam Dhahabi’s rank in hadith.

Who is this course for:
  • This course is for every single Muslim, even those who are younger but would like to enter adulthood aware of the major sins to avoid.
  • It is particularly beneficial for those who would like to know the wisdom of why certain acts were classified as major sins and why they are harmful to society and one’s soul.
  • This course can also be taken by anyone who is interested in Islamic law, or basic spirituality, and Islamic ethics.
  • It is a beginner-level course. It should be the prerequisite before any other study is undertaken.
Learning outcomes:
  • Understand what the agreed-upon major sins are.
  • Understand the wisdom and benefits behind why the major sins are classified as such and the practical benefit in avoiding them.
  • Implement the avoidance of the major sins to avoid divine punishment in the Hereafter or worldly crimes related to the major sins.
  • Actualize Taqwa (God Consciousness).
  • Understand the difference between a major and minor sin, and realize in reality what changes even a minor sin into a major sin, and vice versa.
  • Learn the method of true repentance and how to atone for the sins one committed in the past
  • Understand how to overcome a sinful past, and work towards a better, happier relationship with one’s Lord, oneself, and fellow creation in the present and in the future.
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