In Islam, a sin is defined as any act which contradicts the commandments or Will of Allah (the One God, the Creator). Some sins are regarded as major, while others are considered minor. What are the differences between the two?
Some scholars assert that there are seven major sins, based on the following narration (hadith) by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): "Avoid the seven noxious things:
1.associating anything with Allah,
3. killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just case,
4.consuming the property of an orphan,
6.turning back when the army advances, and
7.slandering chaste women who are believers but indiscreet." (Bukhari and Muslim)
Other scholars cite evidence that Islam's major sins are actually much greater in number.
These religious scholars define major sins as acts which are expressly forbidden in the Qu'an or by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), or for which there is a hadd punishment under Islamic law. A hadd punishment is a punishment specified by Allah in the Qur'an.
Under this definition, the list of major sins includes (but is not limited to) the following acts:
Worshiping others, or associating partners with Allah (shirk)
Believing in superstition, fortune telling and astrology
Using magic or sorcery
Bearing false witness
Committing adultery or fornication
Cheating, stealing, and lying
Charging or paying interest or usury (riba)
Consuming pork or alcohol
Consuming the wealth of an orphan
Not fasting for Ramadan
Not observing daily prayers
Not paying zakat (annual charity)
Oppression and unjust leadership
betraying trusts and
Backbiting and slandering
Breaking the ties of kinship
Disobeying or not honoring one's parents
Minor Sins in Islam:
Minor sins are acts which are displeasing to Allah but for which no specific punishment or severe warning has been issued. In this case, a Muslim's conscience and heart help him to know that an act is sinful.