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The Capacity to Forgive is a Sign of Magnanimity



وَسَارِعُواْ إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ، الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاء وَالضَّرَّاء

وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And vie with one another to attain to your Forgive-meSustainer's forgiveness and to a paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, which has been readied for the God-conscious, those who spend [in His way] in time of plenty and in time of hardship, and hold in check their anger, and pardon their fellow-men because God loves the doers of good [Q 3:133-134].

الا اخبركم بأفضل من درجة الصلاة و الصيام و الصدقة ؟

اصلاح ذات البين و فساد ذات البين هي الحالقة

Shall I inform what is on a higher level than prayer, fasting and charity?

Making reconciliation among yourselves. Discord among yourselves will lead to your detriment. [Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)]

Among the common problems we are increasingly encountering in close relationships, family circles, among supposed loved ones… is the tendency to hold grudges, and the inability to want to forgive. In these desperate and trying times, when compassion and understanding in the home environment is so important, the generosity of spirit to forgive is so necessary.

Carrying the Burden of Hurt

It is a reality of life that you will occasionally experience pain, frustration, offence, loss, and injury. Life is filled with such experiences; whether physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual; whether individual or familial; and someone, somewhere at some time will contribute to a negative experience that will hurt, anger or disappoint you.

Many individuals are journeying through life with emotional and psychological stress and strain from a variety of past hurts. Some may have resentments against a parent, relative, or friend who has wronged them in the past. The pain or loss occurred sometime BEFORE, it was the PAST. The event is over now, even though some of the consequences may continue. How it continues and for how long is greatly determined by the one bearing the hurt.

Afw ~ Forgiving & Healing

There are many names of Allah given in the Qur’an which reflect divine attributes. Some of these names are directly related to His compassion and Divine Forgiveness…

  1. Al-Ghafoor / The most Forgiving
  2. Al-Tawwab / The Acceptor of repentance.
  3. Al-Haleem حليم / The Clement.
  4. Al-Rahman and al-Rahim / The most Merciful and Compassionate.
  5. Al-’Afuw: Literally the word ‘afw عفو means “to release” “to heal”, “to restore”, “to remit”. Thus in relation to Allah it means “to release us from the burden of punishment due to our sins and mistakes”, “to restore our honor after we have dishonored ourselves by committing sins and making mistakes.” Sometimes in the Qur’an both names:‘afuw عفو and ghafoor غفور come together.

The Qur’an teaches that Allah is the ultimate Judge, Who punishes, but is not bound to punish. The justice of Allah, according to Qur’an is that Allah does not and will not inflict undue punishment on any person nor will He ignore the good of any person. His mercy is unlimited and His love is infinite. “O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of Allah's mercy: behold, Allah forgives sins totally; verily, He is indeed Most Forgiving, Dispenser of Grace!”[Qur'an 39:53]

There are many verses in the Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him( on the love, mercy and forgiveness of Allah.

In one of the prayers that the Prophet taught, he said, “O Allah, Thou art the most Forgiving, Thou love to forgive, so please forgive me.

Human Forgiveness:

Just as it is important to believe in the mercy and forgiveness of Allah, it is also necessary to base human relations on forgiveness. We cannot expect Allah’s forgiveness unless we also forgive those who do wrong to us. Forgiving each other is one of the most important Islamic teaching. In the Qur’an Allah has described the Believers as “those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive.” [Qur’an 42:37].The recompense for wrongdoing is a fitting punishment, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is with Allah.” [Qur’an 42:40]

The capacity for compassion and the wisdom to forgive one another for past wrongs, hurts, and misunderstandings is one of the greatest attributes any human being can possess and exercise. The faithful ones are …

والذين يجتنبون كبائر الاثم و الفواحش و اذا ما غضبواهم يغفرون

they who avoid major sin and impropriety; and even when they have cause to be angry, they forgive. [Qur'an 42:37]


We are in many ways products of our life experiences and it is easy to allow some past events to effect our current thoughts and feelings. Negative experiences of the past often gets stuck in our minds due to vengeful thinking, and be aware that thinking in a particular pattern creates a mental path, which directly affects our attitude and our behavior. As long as you hold on to the anger, victimization, and pain, you will have this negative energy locked inside you; affecting you mentally, spiritually, and physically.

This inevitably fans the flames of resentment in a person without actually dealing with the reality of the issue.

Capacity to Forgive

Have you ever intentionally (or unintentionally) done something or said something to another person that hurt or angered them? Recall a few of these, particularly the ones that gnaw at your guilty conscience and turn these guilty feelings into growth awareness.

It is not easy for many of us to forgive others, especially if we feel that we have a good reason to be upset. The ability, compassion and wisdom to forgive one another for past wrongs, hurts, and misunderstandings is one of the greatest attributes any of us can possess and exercise. Can you imagine how many marriages and strained family relationships could be healed and restored with love and genuine respect if individuals would truly forgive each other?

We must keep in mind that as much as we need Allah's forgiveness for our own sins and mistakes, we must also practice forgiveness towards those who do wrong to us. Sayyedna ‘Ali echoed the same sentiments when he asked, How do you expect the mercy of the Most Merciful Who is most merciful to those who show mercy to others?

 Remember, Allah is most merciful to those who are merciful to others.

Readiness to Pardon

We will be more ready to forgive if we realize that…

~ people did, do and will hurt us (just as we at times hurt others)

~ we too need forgiveness (just as others deserve ours)

~ resentment hurts us more than the person against whom they are held

~ our faith prefers forgiveness over resentment and vengeance

و ا ن تعفوا و تصفحوا و تغفروا فان الله غفور رحيم

If you pardon, reconcile and forgive;

(know that) surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Qur’an 64:14]

~ forgiveness has truly been extended when you can think or talk about the one who hurt you without feeling resentment towards that person.

Realize that ...

·                                 Forgiveness is the most pervasive of all Divine acts [Qur'an 7:156]

·                                 when we forgive we may not change the negativity of the past, but we certainly can affect the future in a positive way

·                                 responding to negativity in such a positive manner is no ordinary matter. Strength of character is required. Allah says in the Qur'an: "Never can good and bad be equal. Repel the negative with something better, in such a manner that the person between you and whom there was animosity, turns to close friendship; None shall be inclined to this except those who possess the capacity for patient perseverance, and those with tremendous resolve." [Qur'an 41:34]

Remember that seeking forgiveness is a sign of humility,

o                       forgiving others is a sign of magnanimity. May Allah make us of the humble and the  magnanimous. The Prophet (pbuh) said,

ما زاد الله بعفو الا عزا

The capacity to forgive increases the honorability of the forgiver in the estimation of Allah

By: Br. Sadullah Khan

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