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The Rewards are Proportionate to the Intensity of Love
Another point to be remembered is that, the intensity of one’s devotion is the means for the early forgiveness of ones sins. If love is more, the intercession is swift. Even the painful moments of death are converted into comfort by the help of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.). There was a poet by the name of Sayyid Himyari who died in 173 A.H. He was an ardent devotee of Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.) and has composed a Qasida (panegyric) on each and every quality of this exalted personality. Whenever there was a Majlis (gathering) in the honour of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) he always insisted upon reciting one of his poems. Various books of the Shias and Sunnis, like Al-Ghadīr (vol.3), Kitab Aghani, Manaqib Sarwari, Kashful Ghumma, Amāli of Shaikh Sadūq, Basharatul Mustafa and Rijāl Kashi mention about him. The following is the gist of the miraculous happenings at the time of his death.
Sayyid was very handsome and fair. At the time of his death he was surrounded by people. Among them were also those who were opposed to the Shias. The condition of the Sayyid deteriorated and all of a sudden a black spot appeared on his face. The stain spread on his face and his complete face turned charcoal black. The opponents were pleased to see his discomfort. The pain caused the Sayyid to lose his consciousness. When he regained his senses he turned towards Najaf al-Ashraf and pleaded: “O Amir ul-Mu’minīn ‘Ali (a.s.). O the centre of the hope for helpless people. Do you deal with your devotees in this way?” He repeated this phrase twice more. No sooner did he complete his entreaty that a spot of whiteness became visible on his face. It spread upon his face and soon his face became radiant once again like a full moon. Sayyid was filled with joy, and recited the following couplets extemporaneously.
“Who said ‘Ali (a.s.) could not save his followers from difficulties lied. I swear upon my Creator that I have entered Paradise with my sins all forgiven. I give this good news to those who are devoted to ‘Ali (a.s.) till death. And after him revere his eleven descendants who are the Imams.”
After reciting these couplets he confessed to the Oneness of Allah (S.w.T.) and the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (S) and the Wilāyat of Amir ul-Mu’minīn (a.s.). Then he closed his eyes and departed from this world.

Evil Desires are a Barrier to Devotion
 Sometimes the desire of this world and its material comforts can cause the love of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) in ones heart to decrease. An excess of such desires may even make the heart bereft of the love of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.). Such a person when he approaches his last moments will obviously not get any help from the material he had cherished in his life but he will be so unfortunate as to forfeit the intervention of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) to save him from a painful death. Several traditions to this effect are present in the books. It would be too lengthy to relate these here, as also it would be straying from our point. Only a casual mention of some traditions would suffice for our purpose.

A Persian Saying
There is a saying in Persian which means that, “Those who believe should try to develop as much as possible the love for the Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) in their hearts.” It could be further explained that one should also remove all other objects of desire from the heart and especially refrain from the Greater Sins so that (Inshāllah) they are safe from a dreadful death and the horrors of the Hereafter.

Do Not Use the Bounties for Committing Sins
 Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) wrote a letter to certain friends of his:
If you wish that your life and the hereafter be accomplished with the best of the deeds and that your soul be captured (death occurs) in this condition, then acknowledge the supremacy of Allah. Do not misuse the bounties and gifts granted to you by Allah in committing acts that are forbidden by Him and become disobedient to Him. Respect all those who remember us, Ahl ul-Bayt, and claim to love us. It is immaterial (for you) whether he is truthful or not. For you will be rewarded according to your intention and they (the liars) will be punished for their sins.
(Bihār al-Anwār)

The Gloom of Sins and the Glow of Repentance
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was explaining the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
“Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light.”
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:257)
He said,
“It means Allah takes them away from the darkness of the sins to the light of repentance. Because they were having ‘Wilāyat’ of all the just Imams (all twelve of whom are appointed by Allah). The next portion of the same verse is, “and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness.”
The Imam further explained,
“It only means those who followed the light of Islam initially but later started following each an every usurper (leader) not authorised by Allah. They left the light of Islam and entered into the darkness of disbelief (Kufr). Thus Allah ordained upon the disbelievers the fire of Hell.

Greater Sin and Lesser Sin
 The foregoing discussion has made it clear that sins are of two types- The Greater and the Lesser. The characteristics of the Greater Sins and their evil effects have also been explained. Now we shall enumerate various Greater Sins. The traditions regarding the number of Greater Sins are sometimes in disagreement with each other. It is not possible to study all such traditions due to their voluminous nature. It is also beyond the scope of the present book. Those who wish a detailed study may refer to the Exegesis of al-Kāfior ‘Arbaīn’ of Shaikh Bahai (a.r.).
All the scholars and the jurists agree that the most authentic tradition is the one quoted by the eminent jurist of the school of Ahl ul-Bayt, Sayyid Muhammad al-Kadhim Tabatabai Yazdi. He mentions four ways of recognising a Greater sin:

What is a Greater Sin?
1) All those sins are Greater which have been specifically termed as Greater in the Holy Qur’an and the traditions. The number of such sins exceeds forty and they all have been explained in the traditions of the Holy Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.). The explanation of these traditions will follow later.
2) All those sins are Greater about which the Qur’an and Hadith explicitly state that those who commit these sins will enter Hell. Or if it is not explicit then it should purport to mean the same. For example the tradition of the Holy Prophet (S):
“Certainly the Almighty Allah and His messenger disown such a person who willfully neglects prayers.”
In this tradition the punishment of Hell is not named specifically but it amounts to the same thing. Another report corroborates this assertion. Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,
“All those sins are Greater (the doer of which) is promised the fire (Hell).”
There is another tradition from Imam Zadeh Abdul Azīm Hasani, which shall be quoted later. Thus we understand that there is no difference whether the promise of the Divine punishment is given in the Qur’an or in a hadith.
3) Any sin, which is clearly Greater than a sin specified as a Greater one in the Qur’an and hadith; is also Greater. For example the killing of a person is a sin and it is clear from the Qur’an and hadith. Thus the tradition from Ibn Mahbūb clearly states that the killing of a ‘soul’ is a Greater sin. The Qur’an has promised Divine punishment for murder. Then if any other sin is proved to be more than the killing of a person, by the verses of Qur’an or authentic reports then this sin will also be considered as a Greater sin. For example the Holy Qur’an says that to spread corruption in the world is worse than murder:
 “And the (spreading of) mischief is Greater than murder.”
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:191)
 Hence we can conclude that the spreading of disturbance must also be counted among the Greater Sins.
 4) Any sin which has all along been regarded as a Greater one by the scholars and the jurists should also be considered as ‘Greater’. But it should be ascertained that such a sin has been regarded as Greater from the present time right upto the time of the Ma’sūmīn (a.s.). Examples of these types of sins are to descerate the Holy Ka’ba, or a mosque or to throw away a copy of the Qur’an. All such acts have been regarded as the Greater Sins. Now we shall mention the traditions that explain the Greater Sins.
 
First Tradition
1) Sadūq (a.r.) has recorded in Oyūne Akhbār that Imam Zadeh Hazrat Abdul Azīm the son of Abdullah Hasani said, “I heard from Abu Ja’far the second, Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) who heard from his respected father Imam Riďa (a.s.) who quotes Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) that he said,
“A person by the name of Umrū bin Abīd entered into the presence of Abu Abdillah Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.). After taking his seat he recited the following verse of the Qur’an:
 “And those who shun the great sins and indecencies...”
(Surah ash-Shūrā 42:37)
 Then he (Umrū bin Abīd) paused.
“Why have you become silent?” asked the Imam (a.s.),
“I would like to derive the Greater Sins from the Holy Qur’an.” he replied.
The Imam said,
“O Umrū, the Greatest of the Greater Sins is Shirk (to attribute partners) with Allah. The Almighty Allah says,
“Certainly whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the Garden (Paradise)...”
(Surah al-Mā’ida 5:72)
2) After this, is “to despair from the Mercy of Allah (S.w.T.).” As the Almighty Allah (S.w.T.) says,
“Surely none despairs of Allah’s mercy except the unbelieving people...”
(Surah Yūsuf 12:87)
3) Then, “not fearing the retribution of Allah (S.w.T.).” The High and the Mighty Allah (S.w.T.) remarks,
“But none feels secure from Allah’s plan except the people who shall perish.”
(Surah al-Ar’āf 7:99)
4) One of the Greater Sins is to disobey ones parents because the Glorified Allah (S.w.T.) has said,
“And dutiful to his parents, and he was not insolent, disobedient.”
(Surah Maryam 19:14).
Here the disobedience of the parents is considered a form of insolence or transgression.
5) To kill a believer is prohibited by Allah (S.w.T.). Because Allah (S.w.T.) has informed,
“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is Hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His Wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.”
(Surah an-Nisā’ 4:93)
6) To slander a believing man or a woman of adultery (or sodomy) is a Greater sin as is proved by the statement of Allah (S.w.T.).
“Surely those who accuse chaste believing woman, unaware (of the evil), are cursed in this world and the hereafter, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.”
(Surah an-Nūr 24:23)
7) The usurpation of an orphan’s property is a Greater sin, as is clear from the following verse:
“(As for) those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly, surely they only swallow fire into their bellies and they shall enter burning fire.”
(Surah an-Nisā’ 4:10)
8) It is a Greater sin to retreat from Jihad (Holy war) as the Divine verse says:
“And whoever shall turn his back to them on that day- unless he turn aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to a company- then he, indeed becomes deserving of Allah’s wrath, and his abode is Hell; and an evil destination shall it be.”
(Surah al-Anfāl 8:16)
9) One of the Greater Sins is to take “interest.” Allah (S.w.T.), the Almighty informs:
“One who swallows down usury cannot arise except as one whom Shaitan has prostrated by (his) touch does rise. This is because they say, trading is only like usury; and Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury.”
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:275).
 {Explanation: Some people say that taking interest is same as any other business. But this verse clearly says that usury is different from trade. Secondly, usury is forbidden whereas trading is permitted.}
10) And magic is a Greater sin. Thus Allah (S.w.T.) says,
“and certainly they know that he who bought it (the magic) should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls; had they but known this.”
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:102)
11) Among the Greater Sins is Adultery (fornication). Allah (S.w.T.) says in the Holy Qur’an,
“And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay a soul which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice, and (who) do not commit fornication. And he who does this shall find a requital of sin. The punishment shall be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he shall abide therein in abasement.
 (Surah al-Furqān 25:68-69)
12) One of the Greater Sins is taking a false oath. Allah (S.w.T.) says about it.
“(As for) those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah and their own oaths-Surely they shall have no portion in the hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them, nor will He look upon them on the day of resurrection nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful chastisement.”
 (Surah Āli- ‘Imran 3:76)
13) Among the sins which are specifically graded as Greater is a sin of “betrayal of trust, or to act unfaithfully. Allah (S.w.T.) has informed thus:
“And it is not attributable that he should act unfaithfully; and he who acts unfaithfully shall bring that in respect of which he has acted unfaithfully on the day of resurrection; then shall every soul be paid back fully what it has earned, and they shall not be dealt unjustly. Is then he who follows the pleasure of Allah like him who has made himself deserving of displeasure from Allah, and his abode is Hell; and it is an evil destination.”
(Surah Āli- ‘Imran 3:161-162)
14) Failure to pay the Zakat is a Greater sin. Allah (S.w.T.) says regarding it:
“and (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s ways, announce to them a painful chastisement.
(Surah at-Tawba 9:34)
15) To bear a false witness is also a Greater sin. Allah (S.w.T.) says
“...and avoid false words.”
(Surah Hajj 22:30)
16) Do not conceal evidence as it is a Greater sin. Allah (S.w.T.) says:
“...and do not conceal testimony and whoever conceals it, his heart is surely sinful; and Allah knows what you do.”
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:283)
17) Drinking of wine is a Greater sin. As it is prohibited by Allah (S.w.T.) in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
“They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit.”
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:219)
18) To wilfully avoid the prayers is a Greater sin.
19) The failure to perform any obligatory religious act is a Greater sin. The Holy Prophet (S) says:
“One who wilfully avoids the prayers is away from the protection of Allah and His Messenger.”
20) Breaking an oath is also a Greater sin. Allah (S.w.T.) has stated:
“Who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut as under what Allah has ordered to be joined, (that is mutual relationships) and make mischief in the land; these it is that are the losers.”
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:27)
21) To break ties with the relatives is one of the Greater Sins. In the Qur’anic verse quoted below, Allah (S.w.T.) says,
“and cut asunder what Allah has ordained......”
(Surah ar-Rā’d 13:25)
When Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) concluded his hadith the narrator, Umrū bin Abīd rose up and while going out stopped and said: “Certainly, one who does not follow the guidance of the Imams (a.s.) and gives his own opinion is doomed.” It means that those who refuse to follow the Imams (a.s.) are on the wrong path.

Second Tradition
Ibn Mehbūb has mentioned in his ‘Sahih’ that he and his companions had written a letter to Imam Riďa (a.s.) enquiring about the number of the Greater Sins. Also the method of determining their “greatness”. The respected Imam (a.s.) replied thus:
“The Greater Sins are those, the performers of which have been promised (Hell) fire. If any believer abstains from these or repents for the same Allah will forgive these sins. There are seven such sins, which have been promised (Divine) punishment.
 1.      To kill one whose murder is prohibited.
2.      To disobey parents.
3.      To accept usury.
4.      To return to ignorance after migration (Hijrat).
5.      To accuse a chaste woman of adultery.
6.      To consume wrongfully the property of orphans.
7.      To flee from the battlefield.
(Wasa’il ul-Shia).
 
Third Tradition 
Abu Samit has narrated from Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said:
The Greater Sins are;
1.      To associate others (attribute partners) to Allah.
2.      Killing anyone whose killing is prohibited by Shari’a.
3.      Wrongfully acquiring the property of orphans.
4.      To disobey parents.
5.      To accuse falsely a chaste woman of adultery.
6.      To flee (cowardly) from the battlefield.
7.      To deny any of the obligations of religion promulgated by Allah.
Abdur Rahmān Ibn Kathīr has narrated from the same Masūm (a.s.) that he said:
“Not acknowledging the rights of us (Ahl ul-Bayt) is a Greater sin.”
Abi Khadija has quoted a tradition that:
“To attribute falsehood to the Holy Prophet (S) and the Holy Imams (a.s.) is counted among the Greater Sins.”
Sadūq (r.a.) has quoted that: “To deprive anyone of his rights (What he rightfully deserves) by not mentioning him in one’s will is a Greater sin.”
The book Kanzul Ummal has mentioned in a tradition:
“Shedding blood in the precincts of the Holy Ka’ba is a Greater sin.”
This is because Allah (S.w.T.) has ordained it to be a protected sanctuary.

Fourth Tradition
In the Uyūn al-Akhbār ar-Riďa (a.s.) there is a tradition quoted by Fazl Ibn Shazān. He quotes from reliable authorities that Imam Riďa (a.s.) wrote to Mamun a letter prohibiting the following sinful acts, as they were Greater Sins:
1)      To kill those whose murder is prohibited by Allah (S.w.T.).
2)      Adultery.
3)      Stealing.
4)      Drinking of Wine.
5)      To disobey the parents.
6)      Fleeing from the battlefield (in Jihad).
7)      Usurping property of the orphans.
8)      Eating dead animals (animals not slaughtered in the Islamic way) blood and pigs without any compulsion.
9)      Accepting usury when it is obvious.
10)  Consuming prohibited (Harām) wealth.
11)  Gambling.
12)  Cheating in business by under-weighing.
13)  To accuse chaste women of adultery.
14)  Homosexuality.
15)  To despair of the Mercy of Allah (S.w.T.).
16)  Not fearing the Divine retribution.
17)  Not acknowledging the bounties of Allah (S.w.T.).
18)  Cooperating with oppressors.
19)  To associate with the oppressors.
20)  Taking a false oath.
21)  To obstruct the rights (of someone) without (any valid reason or compulsion).
22)  Lying.
23)  Pride (arrogance).
24)  Squandering wealth.
25)  Expenditure in ways not permitted by Allah (S.w.T.).
26)  To betray trust.
27)  To consider Hajj of the Holy Kabā unimportant.
28)  To fight the friends (devotees) of Allah (S.w.T.).
29)  To enjoy vain poccupations (like music).
30)  To persist in sins.
Insha’Allah these traditions shall be explained at the appropriate places.

A Difficult Problem and its Solution
 Some people raise the following objections regarding the subject of Greater Sins: -
1.      Why does the Qur’an not explain in detail such an important subject as the Greater Sins?
2.      Why are there conflicting reports from Ma’sumīn (a.s.) with regard to the Greater Sins? Some traditions mention that the Greater Sins are five, some give the figure as seven, nine, twenty one and thirty one. One of the traditions reported from Ibn Abbas says that the total number of Greater Sins are seven hundred and seven. Let us now consider these objections so that appropriate replies can be provided.

Reply to the First Objection
 It is Allah (S.w.T.)’s grace that He has not mentioned the total number of Greater Sins in the Holy Qur’an. There is hidden wisdom in this. Let us suppose that the fixed number of Greater Sins had been given in the Qur’an. Then the people would have abstained only from these sins. They would have freely committed other sins thinking that they are not doing anything against the Holy Book. In this way they would, be emboldened to perform all other types of misdeeds. Thus Allah (S.w.T.) has prohibited his creatures to avoid even the lesser sins. This is because if one becomes unmindful of the lesser sins, he will slowly be attracted to the Greater Sins too.

 To Persist in Lesser Sins is Equivalent to Committing a Greater Sin
 It is an established fact that if one repeatedly commits a lesser sin he eventually becomes liable for a Greater punishment. Insha’Allah we shall explain in detail the lesser sins in the chapter of “Persistence in Lesser Sins.”
By not specifying the number of Greater Sins the Almighty Allah (S.w.T.) has bestowed a favour upon the people. Had such a number been fixed, the people would have the tendency to abstain mainly from these sins. They would be inclined to regard other sins lightly and indulge in them, underestimating their seriousness. Such indulgence over a period of time makes an individual bold enough to perform other types of misdeeds. It is for this reason that Allah (S.w.T.) has commanded His creatures to avoid all types of sins, because, being unmindful of minor sins will gradually attract them towards Greater ones. It is indeed Allah (S.w.T.)’s Grace that by encouraging us to abstain from all types of sins, He keeps us safe from the most dreadful ones.
Another important and subtle point that should be stressed is the fact that considering a minor sin to be minor is itself a Greater sin. No sin is to be considered insignificant and trivial. This point shall also be explained in the future.

Deprived of Divine Rewards (Tawāb)
He who commits a minor sin is deprived of the Tawāb, he would have deserved, had he abstained from it. Also every sinful act has some evil repercussion or the other; so it happens that one who repeatedly commits minor sins slowly becomes susceptible to the Greater ones. On the other hand, he who refrains from such acts becomes the recipient of Allah (S.w.T.)’s blessings. Besides he who avoids Greater Sins has his minor sins spontaneously forgiven. Thus one who persists in minor sins will be doubly unfortunate. He will not derive the Tawāb that is reserved for avoiding these sins -and secondly he will be disqualified from Allah (S.w.T.)’s forgiveness for these sins.
This idea has been presented in the following tradition from the Masūm (a.s.):
“May Allah forgive the sins of the sinners. These people have surely been deprived of the Tawāb of good deeds.”

It is Necessary to Refer to the Holy Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.)
It may be mentioned here that another subject also dealt with briefly in the Qur’an but elaborated by the Holy Prophet (S) and the Imams (a.s.) concerns the absolute authority of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) as the representatives of Allah (S.w.T.) upon the Earth, to teach and demonstrate to mankind the laws of Allah (S.w.T.) about the right and the wrong.
Allah the Almighty Himself says:
“And We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them, and that haply they may reflect.”
(Surah an-Nahl 16:44) 
Allah (S.w.T.) makes it obligatory for the people to refer to the Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.). He orders in the Holy Qur’an:
“So ask the followers of the Reminder if you do not know.”
(Surah an-Nahl 16:43)

How the Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) are the People of Remembrance (Ahl ‘ul-Zikr)
Numerous traditions have reached us which explicitly state that the ‘Ahl ‘ul-Zikr’ mentioned in the Qur’an are the Holy Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.). One such tradition is the statement of Imam Riďa (a.s.) in the court of Mamun:
“We are Ahl ‘ul-Zikr.”
Sunni scholars present at the meeting objected to this statement and maintained that Ahl ‘ul-Zikr in the Qur’an means the Christain and the Jews; and Zikr refers to the Injīl (Bible) and Taurat (Torah). Imam Riďa (a.s.) replied:
“Glory be to Allah! How is it possible? How could Allah command the Muslims to refer to the Christians and the Jewish Scholars? If we refer to them they will consider their religion to be the true one and better than Islam, and will invite us to their point of view. Will you accept this invitation?”
(Uyūn al-Akhbār ar-Riďa).  
Mamun interjected, “Can you support your claim with the Qur’anic proof?” The Imam said,
“Yes, Zikr means the Holy Prophet and we are his people (Ahl). To prove my point I quote the following ayat:
“O (those) who believe! Allah has indeed revealed to you a reminder (zikr), an apostle who recites to you the clear communications of Allah.”
(Surah at-Talāq 65:10-11).  
Shahristani a Sunni scholar has reported that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and Hazrat ‘Ali (a.s.) said:
“We are the People of remembrance (Ahl ‘ul-Zikr)”.
Another argument is that since Allah (S.w.T.) has mentioned only in brief many of the important subjects in Qur’an, He must have appointed a point of reference for the guidance of the people, which would provide a detailed explanation to the subject. And this reference point is undoubtedly the Progeny of Muhammad (Ali Muhammad) in whom Allah (S.w.T.) has reposed His Knowledge and His secrets, not known to any of His other creatures. Those who desire knowledge and truth will forever be dependent on Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) and remain attached to them with love and devotion. And this devotion for the Ahl ul-Bayt itself is a blessing, which fetches Allah (S.w.T.)’s rewards and Mercy.

Reply to the Second Objection
From the traditions of the Pure Imams (a.s.) it is clear that they are not in favour of mentioning the exact number of Greater Sins, nor do they describe in detail the Greater Sins. Although time and again they do indicate the method of determining whether an act is a Greater Sin or not is exemplified by the already quoted tradition from Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.):
“The Greater Sins are those (sins) the doer of (those who commit them) are promised the fire of Hell by Allah.”
The reason for the Imam (a.s.) not to be specific is the same as stated above in the reply to the First objection.

Some of the Greater Sins are Included in Others
 The Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) did not specify some of the sins because they come under a broad classification of a sin they have stated to be a Greater one. Hence they are not mentioned separately. Abīd bin Zorara relates from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said:
“The Greater Sins as mentioned in the book of ‘Ali (a.s.) are seven:
1)      To disbelieve in the existence of Allah (S.w.T.).
2)      To kill a believer wrongfully.
3)      To disobey parents
4)      Accepting usury when it is clear (obvious).
5)      To wrongfully acquire any property belonging to orphans.
6)      To flee from the battlefield in Jihad.
7)      Reverting to disbelief after accepting Islam.
The narrator asked, “Are all these the Greater types of sins? “Yes”, The Imam (a.s.) replied. Then asked the narrator, “Which is the Greater sin, acquiring of a single Dirham (silver coin) from an orphan forcefully or neglecting prayers?” Imam (a.s.) replied,
“Neglecting prayers is comparatively a Greater sin.”
“Why did you not include the neglecting of prayers among the Greater Sins?” In reply Imam (a.s.) asked,
“What was the first Greater sin that I mentioned?” Disbelief in Allah.”
He said,
“The leaving of the prayers unattended is the same as disbelief.”
Hence he had not mentioned the neglecting of prayers as a separate Greater sin.
(Wasa’il ul-Shia).  
It is clear from the foregoing discussion that there is no tradition from the Ma’sūmīn (a.s.) which limits the number of Greater Sins. Hence we can say that none of the traditions are fully comprehensive in listing the total number of Greater Sins.
However if we study the Sahifa of Abdul Azīm Hasani carefully we can conclude that in the tradition related by Umrū bin Abīd, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has told about twenty one Greater Sins from the Holy Qur’an. Umrū ibn Abīd left the Imam’s assembly suddenly. Had he listened more patiently the Imam might have proceeded on the subject and enlightened him further.
I would like to inform the readers that I have explained in detail only those sins, which are the confirmed Greater ones. However it does not mean that all those sins which are not mentioned in this book are not Greater. Rather those sins, which are not established as the Greater ones are mentioned briefly.
It is not even confirmed that these are among the lesser sins. Hence pious people should exercise precaution and abstain even from these sins. There is always a possibility that the sin which we think to be small maybe a Greater one. We would be deceived only because its seriousness is not proved to us. We will now proceed towards the detailed explanation of the various sins that are confirmed as Greater Sins.

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