Story No. 359– Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as): Gunah-e-Saghira and Gunah-e-Kabira
Two men came to Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (as) and said that they would like to do Tawbah (ask for forgiveness and put right) for their sins. The first man said that he had done a lot of small sins/minor sins (Gunah-e-Saghira) whilst the second said that he had committed two big sins/major sins/greater sins (Gunah-e-Kabira).
Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (as) told the first man to pick one small pebble for each small sin (Gunah-e-Saghira) that he had committed. Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (as) told the second man to bring a large boulder for each of his big sins (Gunah-e-Kabira). After a while both men came back to Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (as) having brought what they were asked to bring. Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (as) now asked both of them to put back every stone in its place. The man with the two large boulders found it difficult to carry them back in their original place but eventually he managed. The man with the many small pebbles could not remember where he had picked all of them so he could not put them all back in their original place.
Hence, it is very difficult to do Tawbah for the sins which seem small because we forget and take them for granted. That’s why Imam Ali (as) has said: “The biggest sin is that which the doer considers the smallest.” or “The worst sin is that which the sinner takes lightly.”