major sins (الْكَبَائِر)
The plural form of kabīrah, which refers to any serious act of disobeying God and every sin that incurs a particular punishment, such as adultery, theft, undutifulness to parents, cheating, wishing evil to befall the Muslim community, etc.
المعنى الاصطلاحي :
Any sin that entails Hadd (corporal punishment) or threat of punishment in Shari`ah (Islamic Law).
الشرح المختصر :
Sins are of different ranks and degrees. Some sins lead to apostasy, like polytheism (Shirk) and disbelief in Allah (Kufr), whereas others diminish one's Islam and Imaan (faith) but do not take him out of the fold of Islam. This second kind of sins is classified into two categories: "kabaa'ir" (major sins) and "saghaa'ir" (minor sins). The "kabaa'ir" are the sins that deserve corporal punishment (Hadd) in this world and the threat of punishment (Wa`eed) in the Hereafter. The corporal punishment refers to the punishment specified by Shari`ah, like cutting the hand for stealing. As for the threat, it refers to threatening and frightening with Hellfire, divine wrath, cursing and expulsion from the mercy of Allah, etc. As for "saghaa'ir", they are the sins that entail no corporal punishment or threat of punishment. However, they could turn into "kabaa'ir" by insistence on committing them.
التعريف اللغوي المختصر :
"Kabaa'ir": plural of "kabeerah", which means something serious and grave. Opposite of "kabeerah": "sagheerah" (something small).