I am starting another series at this blog, which will run interchangeably with Reading the Koran. It is based on the classical manual of fiqh for the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence. called Reliance of the Traveller, authored by an Islamic scholar Shihabuddin Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn an-Naqib al-Misri (AH 702-769 / AD 1302–1367). I’ll be posting excerpts from chapter Enormities, which describe what a Muslim must avoid to escape hellfire in the afterlife and Sharia punishments in this life. Here’s the author’s introduction to the chapter:
page 652 pO.O Enormities
THE AUTHOR’S INTRODUCTION
(n: The first of the books translated as appendices to our basic text ‘Umdat al-salik concerns the enormities alluded to above in the context of court testimony (dis: 024.3), and has been edited from the Kitab al-kaba’ir [Book of enormities] of Imam Dhahabi, who defines an enormity as any sin entailing either a threat of punishment in the hereafter explicitly mentioned by the Koran or hadith, a prescribed legal penalty (hadd), or being accursed by Allah or His messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace)
pO. 1 In the name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.
o Lord, facilitate and help. The sheikh, Imam, and hadith master (hafiz, def: w48.2(end)) Shams ai-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Uthman Dhahabi (may Allah forgive him) said:
Praise be to Allah for true faith in Him. His books, messengers, angels, and decrees. Allah bless our prophet Muhammad, his folk, and those who support him, with a lasting blessing that will grant us the Abode of Permanence near to Him.
This is a book useful in knowing the enormities, both in general and in detail. May Allah by His mercy enable us to avoid them. Allah Most High says, “If you avoid the enormities of what you have been forbidden, We shall acquit you of your wrongdoings and admit you to a generous place to enter” (Koran 4:31).
In this text, Allah Most High promises whoever avoids the enormities to admit him to paradise.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The five prescribed prayers, and from one Friday prayer to another entail forgiveness for what is between them as long as you do not commit the enormities.”
So we are obliged to learn what they are, that the Muslim may avoid them.