Power to Forgive

Salman Rasheed

The writer is a Karachi-based research analyst and political consultant.

When we talk about the power to forgive or the power of forgiveness, we don’t mean Allah (SWT) forgiving us for our sins but in the context of us having the capacity to forgive those who have wronged us.  Many of us might be thinking that why must we forgive those who have done injustice to us and allow people to walk over us?

However, what we don’t realize that forgiving people empowers us.  The pent-up anger derived from the injustice or abuse that we experienced can allow other people to use this against us.  These are the moments that we need to empower ourselves to show others that we are in control of what is going to make us feel happy or sad.  Also, to show we are in control when it comes to who we forgive, when we forgive, and for what reasons.

Forgiveness is the attribute of the Prophets of Allah (SWT).  On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told his enemies to go and live their lives, as he (SAW) forgave them for the injustices of the past. How could our Nabi (SAW) do this? He (SAW) did so because he was now in command and had the authority. 

The Prophet (SAW) at this moment is teaching us that we don’t need to take revenge to attain justice in this life.  As Muslims, we must realize that we can never achieve absolute justice in this Dunya, and thus, holding onto all the anger and lacking the ability in our hearts to forgive is like a type of imprisonment that we inflict upon ourselves.

Forgiving and handing over the matter to the court of Allah (SWT) who will give us justice maybe in this Dunya or the Hereafter doesn’t mean to stop pursuing all avenues of justice that are available to us in this life.  Rather it means we recognize that no matter if we obtain justice in this life or not but contented knowing we will always receive justice in the court of Allah (SWT).

The Prophet in the following narration informs us, “I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarreling even if he were in the right,” (Sunan Abi Dawood 4800).  This is telling us that the one who is self-confident and doesn’t need to argue with other people will receive this great reward from Allah (SWT). 

Forgiveness compels us to fulfill the rights of others. For example, someone might owe us money for years but invites us to his/her child’s wedding. As Muslims, we must attend as they have a right upon us to attend their child’s wedding even though we have a claim against them.

May Allah (SWT) allow us to seek justice but grant forgiveness, as the balance of our faith is not based on resentment and bitterness. Allah (SWT) asks us in the Quran, “Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Nur, Ayat 22).  Therefore, are we not able to forgive others as we desire Allah (SWT) to forgive us?