Will Those Who Commit Major Sins Be in the Hellfire Forever?

Answered by Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib


Will those who commit major sins be in the Hellfire forever?


In the name of Allah, all praise is for Allah. May peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family, his companions, and those who follow him.

Islam unequivocally prohibits sins and cautions against their commission. The Quranic and Sunna texts emphasize this stance, categorizing sins into various degrees, encompassing minor lapses and major sins (kaba’ir). Each sin bears distinct rulings and punishments within Islamic law. This discussion focuses specifically on major sins.

Major sins (kaba’ir, plural of kabira) incur severe punishment, as indicated by Quranic and Sunna warnings, such as in the case of usury consumption. Allah (Most High) states, “Indeed, Allah does not forgive associating others with Him (in worship) but forgives anything else of whoever He wills.” [Quran, 4:48]

A believer who commits a major sin will face punishment proportional to their transgression, but they will not endure eternal damnation in Hell like disbelievers.

The Quran does contain a verse suggesting eternal Hellfire for one who intentionally kills a believer: “And whoever kills a believer intentionally, their reward will be Hell—where they will stay indefinitely.” [Quran 4:93].

However, this verse pertains to a disbeliever who kills a believer due to their faith, leading to eternal punishment. A Muslim who wrongfully takes a life or commits suicide, while sinful, remains within the fold of Islam. The Quran outlines expiation for such offenses: “It is not lawful for a believer to kill another except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer unintentionally must free a believing slave…” [Quran, 4:92]

Prominent scholars, including Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi and Imam Ghazali, concur that the verse addresses the legitimization of killing, emphasizing that anyone who kills a believer for their faith is a disbeliever, warranting eternal Hellfire. The verse does not apply to a sinful Muslim who kills unjustly.

Imam Halimi, in his work “al-Minhaj fi Shu‘ab al-Iman,” classifies people on Judgment Day into three categories: righteous believers without major sins, believers with mixed deeds, and disbelievers. The righteous will have their good deeds outweigh minor sins, while those with mixed deeds will face judgment based on the balance of good deeds and sins, with faith serving as the foundation for the former. Disbelievers will endure Hell for their disbelief and sins.

Imam Laqqani, in “al-Jawhara,” emphasizes that eternal Hellfire is not the fate of a repentant sinner. The discussion presented here is a summary, and for more in-depth exploration, one should refer to commentaries on al-Jawhara. May Allah grant success to those seeking understanding.

[Shaykh] Dr. Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib is a prominent Islamic scholar from Yemen, born in Shibam, Hadhramaut in 1976. He received his degree in Shari‘a from Al-Ahqaf University, a master’s degree from the Islamic University of Beirut, and a Ph.D. in Usul al-Din from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

He studied under great scholars such as Shaykh al-Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad, Shaykh Fadl Ba‘ fadl, Habib Salim al-Shatiri, Habib Ali Mashhur bin Hafeez, and others. He has served as the Director of Publications at Dar al-Fiqh, the former Deputy Director of Cultural Relations at Al-Ahqaf University, a former Assistant for Employee Affairs at Atiyah Iron Company, a researcher at the Sunna Center affiliated with the Dallah al-Baraka Foundation, and a researcher at Al-Furqan Foundation’s Makka al-Mukarrama and Madina al-Munawwara Encyclopedia branch.

Currently, he is a researcher at Al-Furqan Foundation’s Makka al-Mukarrama and Madina al-Munawwara Encyclopedia branch, teaches traditionally through the Ijaza system at Dar al-Fuqaha in Turkey, supervises the Arabic department at Nur al-Huda International Institute (SeekersGuidance), and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Manuscript House in Istanbul.

His works include “The Efforts of Hadhramaut Jurists in Serving the Shafi‘i School,” “Contributions of Hadhramaut Scholars in Spreading Islam and its Sciences in India,” “Hada’iq al-Na‘im in Shafi‘i Fiqh,” in addition to verifying several books in Fiqh, history, the art of biographies, and Asanid (chains of narration).