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How many majors sins are there? Are there seven or seventy major sins?

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Bismillah,

I think you are referring to the hadith about the seven sins that doom a person to hell (السبع الموبقات).

اجتنبوا السبع الموبقات، قالوا: وما هن يا رسول الله؟ قال: الشرك بالله، والسحر، وقتل النفس التي حرم الله إلا بالحق، وأكل الربا، وأكل مال اليتيم، والتولي يوم الزحف، وقذف المحصنات الغافلات المؤمنات.

“Avoid the seven sins that doom a person to Hell.” We said: What are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “Associating others with Allah (shirk); witchcraft; killing a soul whom Allah has forbidden us to kill, except in cases dictated by Islamic law; consuming orphans’ wealth; consuming riba; fleeing from the battlefield; and slandering chaste, innocent women.”

These 7 sins are not the only major sins, the Prophet (PBUH) referred to them as "sins that doom a person to hell" because they are so evil, and their evil is greater than other sins' (majors or minors).

Now, there is no consensus that the major sins are seven or seventy as you mentioned. Some scholars listed way more than seventy as major sins. However, the consensus is, a major sin is the sin that either has Hadd punishment in life (حد) OR a warning and a severe punishment in the Hereafter (وعيد)

Allah knows best!

  • 1
    Yes, because there are many other Hadith which also include adultery, disobedience to parents etc. in major sins. So, there could be many and your last suggestion helps. – servant-of-Wiser Feb 26 '16 at 0:20
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Wikipedia writes:

Scholars differ as to how many major sins there are. In contrasting major sins with minor sins (al-sagha'ir), the eighth-century Shafi'i scholar Al-Dhahabi found the hadith collections of Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj listed seven major sins, while the tradition from Abd Allah ibn Abbas stated that there were closer to seventy major sins.

The list of seventy major sins given by the Shafi'i (Sunni) scholar Al-Dhahabi (available as pdf), are as follows:

  1. Ascribing Associates To Allah, The Most High (Shirk)
  2. Killing A Human Being
  3. Sorcery
  4. Not Performing the Prayer
  5. Not Paying Zakat
  6. Breaking One's Fast During Ramadan Without an Excuse
  7. Not Performing the Hajj When Able to
  8. Showing Disrespect to One's Parents
  9. Severing the Ties of One's Relatives
  10. Adultery
  11. Sodomy
  12. Accepting Usurious Gain
  13. Wrong Consuming an Orphan's Property
  14. Lying About the Prophet
  15. Fleeing From the Battlefield
  16. The Leader Who Misleads His Followers, the Tyrant and the Oppressor
  17. Arrogance, Pride, Conceit, Vanity and Haughtiness
  18. Bearing False Witness
  19. Drinking Alcohol
  20. Gambling (Qimar)
  21. Accusing a Woman of Adultery
  22. Misappropriating Spoils of War, Muslim Funds or Zakat
  23. Theft
  24. Highwaymen Who Menace the Road
  25. The Engulfing Oath
  26. Taking People's Property Through Falsehood
  27. Collecting Taxes
  28. The Consumption of Haram
  29. Suicide
  30. Telling Lies
  31. The Dishonest Judge
  32. Bribery
  33. Women Imitating Men and Vice Versa
  34. The Pimp and the One Who Permits His Wife To Fornicate
  35. Marrying Solely to Return to the Previous Husband
  36. Not Freeing Oneself of All Traces of Urine
  37. Showing off in Good Work
  38. Learning Sacred Knowledge for the Sake of this World or Concealing It
  39. Breach of Faith
  40. Reminding Recipients of One's Charity to Them
  41. Disbelieving in Destiny
  42. Listening to the People's Private Conversations
  43. The Talebearer Who Stirs Up Enmity Between People
  44. Cursing Others
  45. Breaking One's Promise or Pledge
  46. Believing Fortunetellers and Astrologers
  47. A Wife's Rebellion Against Her Husband
  48. Picture-making
  49. Loudly Lamenting For the Dead or When Afflicted With an Adversity
  50. Excess Against Others
  51. Overburdening and Arrogance Against Others
  52. Hurting One's Neighbor
  53. Hurting or Reviling Muslims
  54. Harming the Servants of Allah
  55. Dragging the Hem of One's Garment Out of Conceit
  56. Men Wearing Silk or Gold
  57. Fleeing of the Slave
  58. Slaughtering in Other Than Allah's Name
  59. Falsely Claiming Someone is One's Father
  60. Arguing, Picking Apart Another's Words, and Quarreling
  61. Withholding Excess Water From Others
  62. Stinting When Weighing or Measuring Out Goods and Similar Merchandise
  63. Feeling Secure From Allah's Devising
  64. Despairing of the Mercy of Allah and Losing of Hope
  65. Forgoing the Congregational Prayer to Pray Alon e Without A Legal Excuse
  66. Constantly Missing the Friday and Congregational Prayer Without A Valid Excuse
  67. Bringing Loss to the Bequest
  68. Deception and Evil Schemes
  69. Spying on the Muslims and Revealing Their Weaknesses
  70. Disparaging the Companions of the Prophet

The text goes into the details as to why each individual sin is viewed as a major sin.

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