In the name of God the compassionate, ever merciful
All of us at one point in our lifetime come to the point that we have to make that decision to whether or not to forgive others for some wrong that we believe was done to us. This is to put it mildly because in fact we come across this decision for numerous times in our lifetime, depending on how old we are and what type of personality we have. So it is in no strange way that many years ago I would receive a ‘special’ message in this regard as well.
Firstly, what does it mean to forgive another? The general description is to give up what we perceive to be our right to be resentful, vengeful, demanding or expecting towards another for some wrong that has been done to us.
But forgiveness is also a form of charity. The only difference is that most charities require that we give up something to others who have not done us any harm, which is not difficult. In giving charity in the form of forgiveness, we are expected to give up something to others who have done us harm! So it is easy to understand why forgiveness is not favored by most people.
Many forgive others for their own reason which could be religious or non-religious. For those who believe, they know that forgiveness is a Godly attribute. There is a verse from the holy Quran that gives the believers the following injunction and guidance:
Sureh Ash-Shura, Verse 40:
“The recompense for harm received (injury) is harm returned, equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah; For (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong.”
On the surface this seems clear enough. However following it properly and understanding some of the reasons behind it may not be, and that is what will be discussed here.
For a start, if one decides not to forgive and return the injustice and harm done to them, they should be careful that it is done in less or “equal thereto (in degree)” as it’s indicated, otherwise if the harm they return is in a higher degree than the one received, they will be in transgression.
Not forgiving, could promote a cycle of bad deeds and actions which could lead to further bad actions and hence widening or elevating of an existing conflict. For example how many times a personal issue between two people ended up in a family feud? How many times a simple argument ended up in separation of couples or end of friendships? How many times wrong words spoken or wrong actions by some sparked a racial, ethnic or religious conflict? The list is endless, but all could be avoided if one or more who could forgive but they chose not to.
Not forgiving could result in causing harm to other non-involved parties in the process of retaliation which will in turn be considered a very significant negative act in the eyes of God. One may not be held responsible for their retaliation against the one(s) who harmed them, but will be held responsible for the harm caused to innocent others in the process. So the next time one tries to return the harm done, they should make sure that their action has absolutely no effect on anyone else besides the one(s) who did them wrong, because if it does then the one who did not forgive will be in sin!
Not forgiving and returning harm to another due to a misunderstanding will be considered a sin for the one who misunderstood and not forgive and acted out of ignorance. So before we retaliate we need to make sure there is absolutely no misunderstanding, if we choose not to forgive.
Not forgiving can result in buildup of hate which will consume the human soul. Hate will poison the better judgment of people and will sicken their minds and bodies which will lead into sin and transgressions.
However if one forgives and if their act of forgiveness is understood by their opposition, it can promote positive feelings and may even result in peace and friendship which will then look good in the eyes of God.
Even if our act of forgiveness is not acknowledged by the opposition, it’s not important for us to know whether or not God will punish the ones we forgave because that is God’s business and he knows, what we do not.
The lesson here is that since most human beings are not the forgiving type, the holy Quran gives an option to us that should be exercised with great caution if we choose not to forgive and still remain just.
But the holy Quran also tells us that instead if we do choose to forgive, which is the better and maybe the safer option, then there is also a SURE reward from God.
As a final note, I would like to indicate that the life examples that have been and will be provided in my blogs do not correlate with my personal life, unless I specifically mention them to be so. These are general examples that are merely created to give one a point of reference and some clarity. I have now declared this truth in earnest.
Thank you for taking time reading this.