Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “There are three types of people Allah will neither speak to on the Day of Resurrection nor purify them from sins, and they shall have a painful punishment. They are:
(1) A man possessing superfluous water (more than he needs) on a way and he withholds it from travelers.
(2) A man who gives a Bai’a (pledge) to an Imam (ruler) and gives it only for worldly benefits; if the Imam gives him what he wants, he abides by his pledge, otherwise he does not fulfill his pledge.
(3) A man who sells something to another man after the Asr prayer and swears by Allah (a false oath) that he has been offered so much for it whereupon the buyer believes him and buys it although in fact the seller has not been offered such a price.” [The Book of Al-Ahkam: Sahih Bukhari]
Hoarding what one has an excess of while others need it, especially a necessity like water, is a major sin. The enormity of this sin can be judged by the fact that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will neither look at such hoarders on the Day of Judgement, nor purify them of their sins, but in fact punish them with a painful punishment.
The second major sin mentioned in this hadith is disregarding one’s pledge to an Imam. There are two types of pledges (Bai’a). The minor one can be a pledge of obedience given to a ruler or religious leader but the major pledge (Bai’a) is the one given to the Khaleefa. It is the major pledge that is required of every Muslim man and woman. Disobeying the Imam who rules according to the Hukm (laws) of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), for the sake of one’s personal desires is an enormous sin.
The Khaleefa is called the Imam because the Khaleefa is also the supreme religious authority. This is signified by his leading the Muslims in prayer as was done by the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and by the Khulafa Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali (radi Allahu anhum) and all the scores of Khulafa that came after them. In fact, the Prophet’s desire to have Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) take over the leadership of the Muslims after his death, is indicated by the fact that he appointed Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) to lead the Muslims in prayer in his mosque while he lay in his final illness.
The third major sin mentioned in this hadith is lying in order to sell an item. Lying is an enormity although one couldn’t imagine that, were one to see with what ease and frequency Muslims lie these days. This very practice, of swearing falsehoods in order to sell an item at a certain price, has become commonplace and standard practice in Muslim societies.