By forgiving others it does not mean we are weak. On the contrary, it will develop our character and increase our patience. Patience will help to tame our ego, and will purify our hearts.
Blessed Friday Jemaah,
Today is the first Friday in Syawal, after the blessed month of Ramadan has left us. Let us strive to enhance our takwa to Allah s.w.t. by increasing our supplications to Him, so that we can continue to taste the sweetness of ibadah that we have attained in Ramadan.
One of the practices of our community during the month of Syawal, which has become our culture, is to seek forgiveness from one another; among family members as well as friends and relatives. In Islam, this practice should not be restricted only during Syawal. In fact, this attitude of mutual forgiveness is a commendable trait, highly encouraged by Islam. Allah s.w.t. says in surah al-A’raf verse 199:
Which means: “Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant.”
Allah says in surah an-Nur verse 22:
Which means: “And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
Forgiving others is a reflection of one of the attributes of Allah s.w.t. The Most Forgiving. The verse above explains that just as how we are always hoping for Allah’s forgiveness and would feel happy if we were to be forgiven, others will also feel the same when we forgive them and seek their forgiveness. This attitude can bring about a positive impact on one’s soul, which is naturally in constant pursuit of calmness. Our soul is also always wanting to be free from the burden of envy and resentment that is felt by one who finds difficulty in forgiving others.
If we fall into the trappings of jealousy, we will tend to make doa for bad things to happen to others, such to be deprived of sustenance (rizq), to suffer misfortunes and so on. Worse, if we resort to haram and shirk practices such as using black magic, engaging a bomoh, using charms and things that are prohibited in Islam, and can affect our aqidah and faith. Wal ‘iyaazu billah! That is why we should not treat this matter lightly, for it starts from jealousy and resentment that stems from a heart that is unwilling to forgive.
Forgiving attitude is also a noble trait of our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. There are many examples in the sirah of the Prophet s.a.w. where he was attacked and threatened, but Rasulullah s.a.w. did not retaliate. Instead, he forgave those who were malicious to him. Subhanallah! How noble is the Prophet’s character. He was not only willing to forgive the mistakes of his friends and companions, but also those who fought against him and those who were hostile towards him.
It was narrated by Ibn Hisham that a man named Fudhaalah ibn Umair attempted to kill Rasulullah s.a.w. when the Prophet came to conquer Mecca. And Fudhaalah tried to approach the Prophet s.a.w. when Rasulullah was doing his tawaf around the Ka’abah. Everytime Fudhaalah was close by, Rasulullah s.a.w. would turn to him smiling, and Rasulullah s.a.w. asked: “What is in your heart O Fudhaalah?” Fudhaalah replied: “I am only making zikr to Allah”. Then Rasulullah s.a.w. placed his hand on Fudhaalah’s chest and patted it. Then Fudhaalah said: “By Allah, when Rasulullah placed his hand on my chest, there was no man that I hated more than him. But when he removed his hand from my chest, there was no man that I loved on this earth more than him."
Do we not want to emulate this noble trait of Rasulullah s.a.w? If we do, then we should learn to forgive the mistakes of others, mistakes that may have hurt us. But why should we choose to bear resentment and be hostile with friends and family members, and end up not talking to each other for years?
Indeed, it is not easy to forgive someone, especially when we’ve been hurt or even oppressed. Even the Qur’an promises retribution for those who commit acts of evil. However, Allah s.w.t. teaches us that forgiveness should be our priority and Allah s.w.t. has promised a huge reward for those willing to forgive others.
Allah says in surah As-Syura verse 40:
Which means: “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.”
By forgiving others it does not mean we are weak. On the contrary, it will develop our character and increase our patience. Patience will help to tame our ego, and will purify our hearts. This would go well with the spirit of Eidul Fitri that calls upon us to cleanse ourselves, like the fitrah of the hearts of believers. Imam As-Syafi’i said, which means: “When I forgive and do not resent others, that is when my heart is calm from any feelings of hostility”.
May we attain Allah’s forgiveness and mercy, and may we increase our love and compassion for our family and the entire
Muslim ummah. May we be able to attain success in this world and the hereafter, and be raised among the true believers in hereafter. Amin ya Rabbal Alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
August 2014 / 5 Syawal 1435