What are the types of minor sins?
What are the punishments (if Judged by Him and declared punishable) for minor and major sins after judgment is delivered to an individual in the hereafter. Is the individual thrown into hell fire the only punishment for minor and major sins? Are there other punishments?
I understand that for major sins and if an individual does not repent that he cannot be transferred from Hell to Paradise. But how about a person with minor sins is punished, would the individual be transferred from hell to paradise in that case.
My answers to your questions follow:
All those misdeeds which are not mentioned in the Qur’an as deserving eternal punishment in Hellfire are generally held to be minor sins or Sagha’ir.
First of all, the Qur’an has told us that if a person refrains himself from the major (i.e. kabeerah) sins, God will forgive him his minor sins (i.e. sagha’ir) . However, the Qur’an also warns us that if a person remains totally engrossed in misdeeds and does not repent and correct himself, then this in itself can amount to a major sin, rendering him deserving of eternal punishment in hellfire. Furthermore, the Qur’an has not made a distinction between the punishments of minor or major sins. Nevertheless, it seems only a matter of justice that there would be various sections of hellfire with a difference in the severity of the punishment delivered therein. The Qur’an has made a passing reference to this fact in one of the verses, where it says: ‘These Hypocrites will be in the farthest depth of Hellfire’ (Al-Nisaa 4: 145), implying that this part of hellfire will be severer in punishment than other parts.
In my earlier response to a question, I had written:
In my opinion, an explanation worth considering may be that the Qur’an has told us that God will never forgive associating partners with Him. Besides this, God may forgive any sin for anyone (see Al-Nisaa 4: 48, Al-Nisaa 4: 116, Al-Maaidah 5: 72). Moreover, there are a few sins mentioned in the Qur’an, which deserve the everlasting punishment of hellfire. Thus, it may be that on the Day of Judgment, all those whose bad deeds are heavier than their good deeds, are sent to Hellfire. In other words, they are among the As’haab al-Shimaal on the Day of Judgment. From among those who are sentenced to Hell, for sins other than ascribing associates with Allah or for sins other than those for which the Qur’an has sentenced an everlasting punishment, the Prophet (pbuh) would request Allah for His forgiveness, and the people for whom Allah shall please, shall be forgiven. I think this interpretation also removes any contradiction between the referred narratives and the referred verses of the Qur’an.
I hope this helps.
October 22, 2004