Groups Of Sins
It is written in the first paragraph of the third chapter of Riyâd-un-nâsikhîn, “Sins other than disbelief and bid’at are classified in two groups. The first group are sins that are between Allâhu ta’âlâ and man. Having alcoholic drinks, not performing namâz and the like. Of these sins, we should very much avoid the small ones as well as the grave ones. Rasûlullah ‘sall Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘alaihi wa sallam’ declared: “Avoiding a mote of [very small] sin is better than the worships of all genies and men.”
All sins are grave because sinning means not doing Allah’s command. However, some of them seem small when compared with others. For example, looking lustfully at a nâmahram woman is less sinful than committing fornication. [What is less sinful than both is to satisfy one’s desire with one’s hand.] Not doing a small sin is more valuable than the supererogatory worships of the whole world. For, it is not fard to do supererogatory worships, whereas it is fard for everbody to avoid sins. It is permissible to commit a small sin in order to avoid a graver sin, when there is no other way.
The second group of sins are among the human beings; making tawba for them requires pleasing the human being also. It is written in the book Kimyâ-i sa’âdat that a hadîth declares: “Make the tawba for a sin secretly which has been done secretly! Make the tawba for a sin publicly which has been done publicly! Make sure that those who know of your sin hear your repentance!”