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In the Name of God بسم الله
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peace seeker

Forgiveness And Islam

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

In The Name of Allah, The All-Merciful, The Ever-Merciful. 1:1

 

Already the first sentence of the Noble Quran includes the Names of Allah that show His Mercy/Compassion/Forgiveness/Forbearance/etc. from root word Rahma in Arabic.

 

This first sentence in all 114 but one chapter (Tawba/ Repentance (9) ), shows us how vital the theme of Mercy is in Islam. The first verse of the "Opening" 1:1 Chapter of the Quran, as well as a repeat two verses later in # 1:3,  have those unique most merciful Names of Allah. So thinking of Mercy is the opening of opening chapter of the Quran, and can also be seen as the key to it. 

 

Notice that the Quran ends with the verse "Of the jinn and the people" 114:6 من الجنة والناس

 

So the Quran order starts with Allah al Rahman al Raheem, and ends with Jin and people. 

 

 

Here are verses of the Noble Quran that show how vital forgiving other people is:

 

 

  • The issue of eye for an eye is in context of what was revealed in Torah Old Testament, while giving up this right is encouraged in form of charity:

 

 

إنا أنزلنا التوراة فيها هدى ونور يحكم بها النبيون الذين أسلموا للذين هادوا والربانيون والأحبار بما استحفظوا من كتاب الله وكانوا عليه شهداء فلا تخشوا الناس واخشون ولا تشتروا بآياتي ثمنا قليلا ومن لم يحكم بما أنزل الله فأولئك هم الكافرون

 

Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah , and they were witnesses thereto. So do not fear the people but fear Me, and do not exchange My verses for a small price. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers. 5:44

 

 

و كتبنا عليهم فيها أن النفس بالنفس والعين بالعين والأنف بالأنف والأذن بالأذن والسن بالسن و الجروح قصاص فمن تصدق بهفهو كفارة له ومن لم يحكم بما أنزل الله فأولئك هم الظالمون

 

And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for atooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as]charity, it is an expiation for him (mending of sins). And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the wrongdoers. 5:45

 

 

  • again, this verse shows that even as muslims we should judge people by their own books, and the eye for an eye issue is part of Jewish books:

 

 

و أنزلنا إليك الكتاب بالحق مصدقا لما بين يديه من الكتاب ومهيمنا عليه فاحكم بينهم بما أنزل الله ولا تتبع أهواءهم عما جاءك من الحق لكلّ جعلنا منكم شرعة و منهاجا و لو شاء الله لجعلكم أمة واحدة و لكن ليبلوكم في ما آتاكم فاستبقوا الخيرات إلى الله مرجعكم جميعا فينبئكم بما كنتم فيه تختلفون

 

And We have revealed to you, the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. 5:48

 

 

  • Forgiving the people of the book who may try to remove us from our religion due to envy:

 

 

و د كثير من أهل الكتاب لو يردونكم من بعد إيمانكم كفارا حسدا من عند أنفسهم من بعد ما تبين لهم الحق فاعفوا واصفحوا حتى يأتي الله بأمره إن الله على كل شيء قدير

 

Many of the People of the Scripture wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of envy from themselves [even] after the truth has become clear to them. So pardon and overlook until Allah delivers His command. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent. 2:109

 

 

  • forgiveness as precaution:

 

 

قول معروف ومغفرة خير من صدقة يتبعها أذى و الله غني حليم

 

Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing. 2:63

 

 

  • forgiveness as means to maintain loyalty:

 

 

فبما رحمة من الله لنت لهم و لو كنت فظّا غليظ القلب لانفضوا من حولك فاعف عنهم و ا ستغفر لهم و شاورهم في الأمر فإذا عزمت فتوكل على الله إن الله يحب المتوكلين

 

So by mercy from Allah, you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude and harsh in heart,they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]. 3:159

 

 

  • wether we forgive or not, will make no difference in the outcome:

 

 

إن ينصركم الله فلا غالب لكم و إن يخذلكم فمن ذا الذي ينصركم من بعده و على الله فليتوكل المؤمنون

 

If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely. 3:160

 

 

  • Allah commanding us to forgive: 

 

 

خذ العفو وأ مر بالعرف و أعرض عن الجاهلين

 

Hold to forgiveness ( 3afwa ); command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant. 7:199

 

 

  • forgive beautifully with future in mind:

 

 

و ما خلقنا السماوات وا لأرض و ما بينهما إلا بالحق و إن الساعة لآتية فاصفح الصفح الجميل

 

And We have not created the heavens and earth and that between them except in truth. And indeed, the Hour is coming; so forgive with gracious (gamil) forgiveness. 15:85

 

recipe for success in Islam: 

 

 

و الذين يجتنبون كبائر الإثم والفواحش و إذا ما غضبوا هم يغفرون

 

And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive, 42:37

 

 

و الذين استجابوا لربهم و أقاموا الصلاة و أمرهم شورى بينهم و مما رزقناهم ينفقون

 

And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend. 42:38

 

 

و الذين إذا أصابهم البغي هم ينتصرون

 

And those who, when tyranny strikes them, they defend themselves, 42:39

 

 

و جزاء سيئة سيئة مثلها فمن عفا و أصلح فأجره على الله إنه لا يحب الظالمين

 

And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation - his reward is [due] from Allah . Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers. 42:40

 

 

و لمن انتصر بعد ظلمه فأولئك ما عليهم من سبيل 

 

And whoever avenges himself after having been wronged - those have not upon them any cause [for blame]. 42:41

 

 

إنما السبيل على الذين يظلمون الناس و يبغون في الأرض بغير الحق أولئك لهم عذاب أليم

 

The cause is only against the ones who wrong the people and tyrannize upon the earth without right. Those will have a painful punishment. 42:42

 

 

و لمن صبر وغفر إن ذلك لمن عزم الأمور

 

And whoever is patient and forgives - indeed,that is of the matters [requiring] determination. 42:43

 

 

  • Forgiving people who deny truth to enable Divine Justice, as a way to set stage for recompense. Ironically Allah tells us here that we should forgive in order to He may punish His enemies. subhan Allah ! For the people awaiting Justice, this verse is really deep!

 

 

قل للذين آمنوا يغفروا للذين لا يرجون أيام الله ليجزي قوما بما كانوا يكسبون

 

Say, to those who have believed that they forgive those who expect not the days of Allah so that He may recompense a people for what they used to earn. 45:14

 

 

  • Forgiving enemy spouses and kids according to Noble Quran. Not only this, but even our forgiveness from Allah is linked to our forgiveness of our enemy family members:

 

 

يا أيها الذين آمنوا إن من أزواجكم وأولادكم عدوّا لكم فاحذروهم و إن تعفوا وتصفحوا وتغفروا فإن الله غفور رحيم

 

O you who have believed, indeed, among your wives and your children are enemies to you, so beware of them. But if you pardon and overlook and forgive - then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. 64:14

 

 

  • Prophet Joseph was envied, thrown in a well by his brother, then sold off as a slave. What did he end up doing? He forgave them for it and gave them shelter.

 

 

لقد كان في يوسف و إخوته آيات للسائلين

 

Certainly were there in Joseph and his brothers signs for those who ask, 12:7

 

 

  • they repented, both prophet Joseph and Jacob forgave them:

 

قالوا تالله لقد آثرك الله علينا و إن كنا لخاطئين

 

They said, "By Allah , certainly has Allah preferred you over us, and indeed, we have been sinners." 12:91

 

 

قال لا تثريب عليكم اليوم يغفر الله لكم و هو أرحم الراحمين

 

He ( Joseph ) said, "No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful." 12:92

 

 

قال سوف أستغفر لكم ربي إنه هو الغفور الرحيم

 

He ( Jacob )said, "I will ask forgiveness for you from my Lord. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful." 12:98

 

 

فلما دخلوا على يوسف آوى إليه أبويه وقال ادخلوا مصر إن شاء الله آمنين

 

And when they entered upon Joseph, he took his parents to himself and said, "Enter Egypt, Allah willing, safe." 12:99

 

 

  •  Again Merciful forms of retribution for murder, as manifestations of God's Mercy:

 

 

يا أيها الذين آمنوا كتب عليكم القصاص في القتلى الحر بالحر والعبد بالعبد والأنثى بالأنثى فمن عفي له من أخيه شيء فاتباع بالمعروف و أداء إليه بإحسان ذلك تخفيف من ربكم ورحمة فمن اعتدى بعد ذلك فله 

 

O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered - the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conductThis is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy.But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment. 2:178

 

 

  • forgiving the deceiving, word-distorting, forgetful children of Israel who are cursed by God, after breaking their divine Covenant. It is highly interesting here that Allah tells us how He cursed people, and in the same verse asks us to forgive them:

 

 

و لقد أخذ الله ميثاق بني إسرائيل و بعثنا منهم اثني عشر نقيبا و قال الله إني معكم لئن أقمتم الصلاة و آتيتم الزكاة و آمنتم برسلي و عزرتموهم و أقرضتم الله قرضا حسنا لأكفرن عنكم سيئاتكم ولأدخلنكم جنات تجري من تحتها الأنهار فمن كفر بعد ذلك منكم فقد ضل سواء السبيل

 

And Allah had already taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and We delegated from among them twelve leaders. And Allah said, "I am with you. If you establish prayer and give zakah and believe in My messengers and support them and loan Allah a goodly loan, I will surely remove from you your misdeeds and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow. But whoever of you disbelieves after that has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way." 5:12

 

 

فبما نقضهم ميثاقهم لعناهم و جعلنا قلوبهم قاسية يحرفون الكلم عن مواضعه ونسوا حظّا مما ذكروا به و لا تزال تطلع على خائنة منهم إلا قليلا منهم فاعف عنهم واصفح إن الله يحب المحسنين

 

So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They distort words from their usages and have forgotten a portion of that of which they were reminded. And you will still observe deceit among them, except a few of them. But pardon them and overlook. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. 5:13

 

 

  • A beautiful connection between us pardoning and overlooking, and God forgiving us as the ultimate Forgiver. Basically, if we want Allah to forgive us, then we must forgive fellow creatures, subhan Allah, alhamdulilah staghfr Allah Al Atheem.

 

 

و لا يأتل أولو الفضل منكم و السعة أن يؤتوا أولي القربى والمساكين و المهاجرين في سبيل الله و ليعفوا وليصفحوا ألا تحبون أن يغفر الله لكم و الله غفور رحيم

 

And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants forthe cause of Allah , and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. 24:22

 

 

Again, a link between seeking Allah's forgiveness by forgiving others. Also restraining anger being a bridge to pardoning people. Pardoning is a key to the promised gardens: 

 

 

و سارعوا إلى مغفرة من ربكم و جنة عرضها السماوات والأرض أعدت للمتقين

 

And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous 3:133

 

 

الذين ينفقون في السراء و الضراء و الكاظمين الغيظ والعافين عن الناس و الله يحب المحسنين

 

Who spend during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people - and Allah loves the doers of good; 3:134

 

 

  • How to react upon hearing bad speech. By sending good speech or simply peace:

 

 

و إذا سمعوا اللغو أعرضوا عنه وقالوا لنا أعمالنا و لكم أعمالكم سلام عليكم لا نبتغي الجاهلين

 

And when they hear ill speech, they turn awayfrom it and say, "For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace upon you; we seek not the ignorant." 28:55

 

 

  •  again close to giving the other cheek of Jesus (notice the previous verse says we must turn away in peace) The idea of repelling bad with good, is key theme in Islam. The point is that this opens the doors to people's salvation, which is the ultimate goal. Forgiving people for their sake as well as ours, in divine benefit of God.

 

 

و لا تستوي الحسنة و لا السيئة ادفع بالتي هي أحسن فإذا الذي بينك وبينه عداوة كأنه ولي حميم

 

And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel by that  which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity as though he was a devoted friend. 41:34

 

 

  • Again pardoning being something Allah loves and leads to Him pardoning us:

 

 

إن تبدوا خيرا أو تخفوه أو تعفوا عن سوء فإن الله كان عفوّا قديرا

 

If you show good or conceal it or pardon an offense - then surely Allah is ever Pardoning and Competent.. 4:149

 

 

 

Now when we look at some narrations of our Prophet and Imams

 

 

"The best deed of a great man is to forgive and forget."

 

Nahjul Balagha  Sermon 203

 

 

  • pitying the sinner, looking at our own sins as greater than those of others can help (not taking our own salvation for granted), overlooking other people's sins:

 

Those who do not commit sins and have been gifted with safety (from sins) should take pity on sinners and other disobedient people. Gratefulness should be mostly their indulgence and it should prevent them from (finding faults with) others. What about the backbiter who blames his brother and finds fault with him? Does he not remember that Allah has concealed the sins which he committed while they were bigger than his brother's sins pointed out by him? How can he vilify him about his sins when he has himself committed one like it? Even if he has not committed a similar sin he must have committed bigger ones. By Allah, even ifhe did not commit big sins but committed only small sins, his exposing the sins of people is itself a big sin.

 

O creature of Allah, do not be quick in exposition anyone's sin for he may be forgiven for it, and do not feel yourself safe even for a small sin because you may be punished for it. Therefore, every one of you who comes to know the faults of others should not expose them in view of what he knows about his own faults, and he should remain busy in thanks that he has been saved from what others have been indulging in.

 

Nahjul Balagha Sermon 140

 

 

 

  • Interesting Sayings from Nahjul Balagha about ideal context of forgiving and how one can do so via thankfulness to God:

 

10. If you overpower your enemy, then pardon him by way of thankfulness to Allah, for being able to subdue him.

 

52. Only he who has the power to punish can pardon. 

 

203. The best deed of a great man is to forgive and forget. 

 

 

 

  • Here is one of the most powerful instances of pure forgiveness in history of Islam. Imam Ali telling us how he forgives the man who just fatally back-stabbed him while praying in the Kufi Mosque, and asks his family and shias to forgive his murderer as well. Also, notice that the reason for forgiving is so that Allah may forgive us. Not only this, but he even seems to be thankful and welcoming his martyrdom.  Even if we follow the Laws of God and follow legal retribution, it's in our benefit to forgive them in our hearts.

 

Until yesterday I was your Amir (Prince), today I am only an object from whom you can take lesson and warnings, and tomorrow I shall part company with you. If I survive this fatal wound I shall be at liberty to decide how to treat the man who attempted to kill me. If I die then my worldly life comes to an end. If I forgive my assassin then it will be to gain the Blessings of Allah for forgiving a person who has harmed you, and it will be a good deed if you also forgive him. Do you not desire to be forgiven by the Lord? I swear by Allah that death is not coming to me suddenly and unexpectedly that I may hate or abhor, neither is it such a visitor whom I may refuse to meet. So far as death by martyrdom is concerned I always expected and desired it and I now welcome it like a thirsty person who finds water when he is extremely thirsty. I am a seeker whom martyrdom finds what he was seeking for. To the pious people the best is that which they find with Allah. 

 

Nahjul Balagha Letter 23

 

  • Our dear Prophet's words: 

 

H ,1777CH ,49h 1

Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from ibn abu ‘Umayr from ‘Abd Allah ibn Sinan from abu ‘Abd Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, who has said the following:

 

“The Messenger of Allah said in a sermon, ‘Should I tell you what is the best faculty of creatures of this world and of the next world? It is forgiveness for those who do injustice to you, to establish good relations with those who ignore you, to do favors to those who harm you and to give to those who deprive you.’”

 

al-Kafi Volume 2

 

 

H ,1784CH ,49h 8

 

Itis narrated from him from ibn Faddal who has said the following: 

 

“I heard abu al-Hassan, recipient of divine supreme covenant, saying, ‘Whenever two hostile parties face each other, the one who forgives to a greater degree comes out victorious.’”

 

 

al-Kafi Volume 2

 

 

 

Imam Ali: “Pardoning is the zakat (obligatory charity) of triumph.”

 

Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 75, Page 268

 

 

 

 117. To bear enmity towards the people is the worst provision for the journey to the Hereafter.

 

(MUSNAD AL IMAM REZA (A.S.), VOL1, P 292)

 

 

  • It is worth mentioning at this point back to Quran, that chronologically the last verse that came down through our prophet is 110:3, Suret Nasr / Victory Chapter 


فسبح بحمد ربك و استغفره إنه كان توابا

"Then exalt with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance." 

This is a nice way to end this note, by emphasizing the vital importance of asking for forgiveness.

 

 

thank you,

 

fi aman ilah

 

walaikum salaam

 

 

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