Akhlaaq – Forgiveness
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) once said that wealth does not increase because of charity, when you spend money, your wealth does not decrease. And Allah increases his slave in honor when he forgives others and no one humbles himself before Allah, but Allah will raise him in status. If we would like to go and talk about this hadeeth it would probably take us a long time, but what I would like to talk about is forgiveness. The Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) said that Allah increases his slave in honor when he gives others. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing, people today when someone forgives others; they label him as weak and coward. They talk him out of it, why do you forgive? Why didn’t you avenge yourself? Why did you do this, why did you do that? Not knowing that it is one of Allah’s beautiful attributes that He is forgiving, the Almighty Allah. And forgiveness leads to not punishing a person for what he has done and to wipe off that sin and that is why it is described in the Quran, it is He who accepts repentance from his servants and forgives sins and He who knows what you do, this is Allah the Almighty. Our Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) was asked by mother Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) O Prophet of Allah, imagine I have noticed and I have seen the night of decree/Laylatul Qadr, what should I say if I was successful in seeing that night which Allah compared to more than one thousand months of worshipping him, so the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) said you should say, ‘O Allah you are All forgiving and you love forgiveness so forgive me’. This is how you supplicate to Allah, you always mention the name that is suitable for what you are requesting. So if you are supplicating against the enemies of Islam, you don’t say O Allah you are most forgiving, punish your enemies. This does not come, and when you ask Allah to forgive you, you do not say O Almighty, O Powerful, forgive me. You have to say the name or use the attribute of Allah, the beautiful attribute that coincides/that goes side by side to what you are asking for and that is what the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) taught Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her). He taught her to say ‘O Allah, you are All Forgiving and you love forgiveness so forgive me’. Forgiveness is a characteristic found in all Messengers of Allah. Prophet Joseph (Peace and praise upon Him), Yusuf, he was mistreated by his own siblings. They went to the extent that they threw him in a well (in the desert, in the wilderness) and they abandoned him, not knowing what would happen to him. Yet, he forgave them and after years and years, when they came to Egypt, not knowing that he was who he was, he forgave them after all they had done to him. Our Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) also forgave the people of Makkah, he forgave his enemies who got him out of his own town, of his own house and forced him to migrate to Madina. He forgave those who killed his loved ones, who killed Hamza Ibn Abdul Muttalib, his uncle, and the rest of his companions. He forgave who tortured and killed his beloved companions. Wahshi Ibn Harb, was an Abyssinian slave, who was given the reward of freedom from slavery, providing that he executes/that he kills Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam). He did this, but then later on regretted it and reverted to Islam, and came to the Prophet (SAWW) because people told him that the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) would never do anything wrong to you if you accept Islam. So he came and he embraced Islam in front of the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam). After he embraced Islam, the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) asked him about his name and he told him my name is Wahshi. The Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) recognized that this is the man who killed his Islam. Yet he was a Muslim, and Islam wipes everything that preceded it, and the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) forgave him. The Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) forgave those who came to assassinate him, we were told that Umair Ibn Wahab Al Jumahi, he collaborated with Safwan Ibn Omaiya, in the Haram near to the Kaaba, when they sat and they chatted, they talked together, no one was with them, and Umair’s son was captured and taken as a prisoner by the Muslims in the Battle of Badr. So he wanted to go and pay his ransom but he did not have money, and he wanted to free his son. So as they were talking, two disbelievers, Umair said to Safwan that if it were not for a debt that I had to pay and for children that I have and no one to provide for them, if it were not for those, I would have gone and killed Muhammad (Peace be upon Him, Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam). So Safwan said do you mean what you say, he said yes I do, so Safwan said well as far as your children, they are with my children, I will take care of them until they grow up. As for your debt, it is done, I have paid it. So Umair went and dipped his sword in strong poison and immediately got his ride and travelled to Medina without disclosing this affair with anyone, without waiting (Immediate Effect). So he the majlis of the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam), the sitting area, and Omar (May Allah be pleased with Him) looked at his face and said Prophet of Allah, this man does not come with good news, he intends to do bad things, I can see it in his face. So the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) calmed him down and said sit down Omar, I will take care of this. So the man comes and stands in front of the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) with his sword in his neck which means that he is in a distance which allows him to kill the Prophet (SAWW) by just touching him. So the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) looked at him and said Umair what brings you. And he said I come to free my son whom you have taken as a prisoner of war after the Battle of Badr. So the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) said then what about this sword you have and you are carrying and the man replied (trying to hide his true intention) and he said these swords are worthless, they did not even do us any good on the day of the battle of Badr, what good did they make us. At that moment, the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) looked at Umair and he said Umair didn’t you and Safyan Ibn Omaiya sat last night close to the Kaaba, and he told you that he will take care of your children and he will pay off your debt so that you come and kill me? Imagine the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) is saying this to his assassin and the man immediately said I believe and testify that there is no God but Allah worthy of being worshipped and that you are his Messenger. No one was with us and no one knew about this except the two of us and definitely you are a Messenger of Allah. The Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa salam) forgave him, he did not execute him, while he could have done that but he did not. The Prophet (Salla Allahu aalhi wa sallam) was so forgiving that he would never avenge himself as Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), the mother of the believers, said he would never avenge himself unless someone did a sin, then he would avenge it for Allah’s cause (Peace and praise be upon him).
The Prophet (Salla Alahu alahi wa sallam) as Anas tells us, was once walking and he was wearing a garment that was made of hard wool and he was not wearing anything underneath, and this nomad comes from nowhere and he grabs the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) from his garment and he pulls him harshly saying that O Mohammad give me from Allah’s money because you are not giving me from your own. So this is a beggar, begging for money in this rude manner. Anas says I looked at the neck and shoulders of the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) and they were red because this hard wool garment affected it. The Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) looked behind him, not startled, not angry, smiling to the man, asking his companions to give something for the sake of Allah and so they did. This was our Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) – forgiving and he pardons people. And what is the difference between pardoning and forgiving? In Arabic, it’s called as-safh and al-affu. So pardoning is sort of forgiving but on the surface, so you would not retaliate, you would not punish those who have done you wrong, but you will not forgive them with your heart. You will not punish them, you will pardon them, but you do not forget this with your heart. While forgiving someone means that you will not punish them, and you will not even remember that they had done you wrong at all. And this was mentioned in Allah’s Quran, in the book of Allah, in the story of Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) and his cousin Mistah Ibn Uthatha, who slandered Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), his cousin’s daughter, and accused her of adultery which she did not commit and which was completely false and Allah revealed the innocence of Aisha in the chapter known as Surah un Noor. So Abu Bakr in the beginning used to support Mistah, because he was among the first to migrate to Medina, he did not have any money, he was extremely poor so he used to give him a monthly allowance because he was his cousin and also because he was among the Muhajjireen, but when he said what he said and when he had done what he had done, Abu Bakr said by Allah I will not give him a single Ayota, I will not give him one single Dirham or Dinar because of what he had said. And then Allah revealed the beautiful verses of the Quran, where our Prophet (SAWW) went to Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) and told him Abu Bakr didn’t you hear what Allah revealed to me and he recited what translates to ‘and let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth, let them not swear to give any sort of help to their kinsman’. Those who are blessed by Allah should not swear that they would not give this money or that to the next of kin or their kinsman, Allah the Almighty says and masakeen (the poor) and those who left their homes for Allah’s cause. Mistah can be called the three of these, he’s the kinsman of Abu Bakr, he is among the poor and he left all of his homes and property for the sake of Allah. Allah goes on to say let them (Allah is referring to Abu Bakr and those who have wealth and grace) pardon and forgive. Two things, pardon (that they should not inflict any form of punishment) and forgive (that they should not hold any grudge). ‘Let them pardon and forgive do you not love Allah that he should forgive you, and Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful’. The minute Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) heard this verse, he said to the Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) ‘By Allah, I would love Allah to forgive me and to pardon me, I make you my witness O Prophet of Allah, that I will not whatever I give and support and provide to my cousin, Mistah Ibn Uthatha. Allah the Almighty has encouraged us to forgive, although we know that it is an eye for an eye, this is universal that when you punish someone for something wrong that he did for you, if it is equal in punishment, this is OK and permissible, generally speaking. Allah the Almighty says the punishment for evil is an evil like thereof, but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah. This is enough for a believer, when you know that your reward is with Allah, you should not even think of the reward because it is beyond your comprehension. It’s beyond whatever you can imagine. So it’s a well know fact it’s an eye for an eye but whenever you forgive and reconcile, Allah will reward you greatly. And the best form of forgiveness is when you forgive with an ability, sometimes we forgive others but not because we are able to forgive but because we are forced to forgive. For example, if someone does wrong to me and he does something that requires punishment, it’s my God given right to punish him, but if he is like 6’4 and weighs 350 pounds, it’s a little bit difficult for me to get even so in this case I would probably forgive him. Not because I want to but because I have to, I am forced to do this. So this forgiveness is not for the sake of Allah, this is incomplete. The complete and perfect forgiveness is when you are able to do this. The Prophet (Salla Allahu alahi wa sallam) tells us that whoever controls his anger at the time when he has the means to act upon it, Allah will call him before all of mankind on the Day of Judgment and will let him of the hoor al ain whoever he wants. What a beautiful reward, it shows us that it is complete and perfect forgiveness when you are able to act upon your anger. When you control your anger and when you oppress your feelings of revenge and vengeance, when you do this for the sake of Allah, Allah will reward you greatly. And among the worst reasons that prevent a person from forgiving are anger, vengeance and arrogance. Anger, rage, many of us do things that they regret immediately after doing it, but at the time the cause of doing it was pure rage. Arrogance prevents us from forgiving, when someone tells you why don’t you forgive and I say why should I, he is way below my status, I am a better, noble person, this man has to be punished, humiliated, he has to know where he is and where I am – Arrogance. And also the love of vengeance, just to have these feelings of hatred and enmity coming out of your heart being expressed in such punishment. A Muslim does not have this in his heart, a Muslim always forgives and pardons and that is why we should be careful. It is said that beware of the pride of anger, when you are angry, you have this pride that makes you do things that you regret. Beware of the pride of anger for it leads to the humiliation of apology. And this is inevitable, to reconcile you have to apologize for the wrong things that you had done so instead of doing this and going to that place, better more that you do not express your anger, you do not do accordingly. And who are the best people to forgive and to pardon? They are the closest to you, they are your wife, children, relatives – They are humans, they all have their shortcomings as you have your own shortcomings. We have to forgive them, they make mistakes as we do, and we have to be compassionate, merciful, forgiving, so that Allah would treat us in the same manner. We have to do this for the sake of Allah, we have to hope for them all the best to know that what they had done was human weakness; they did what they did to us because they are humans. We should avoid anger and arrogance, we should avoid the feeling of vengeance, and we should say whatever they had done to me, I will make it for the sake of Allah and I will forgive, knowing that treating people with such gestures, when you treat others with gestures of forgiveness and generosity, you are inflicting more humiliation to them than if you would punish them, than if you would reprimand them with harsh words or actions. They will feel touched, they will realize the amount of error they did in your favor.