By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.
Dear brothers and sisters, know that, seeking forgiveness from Allah with repentance is a virtue. Human beings are not perfect. Forgiveness is a critical aspect of Islam as everybody makes mistakes in life and unintentionally commits sins. Muslims believe that Allah is Merciful and Forgiving.
There are two kinds of forgiveness in Islam: Allah’s forgiveness and human forgiveness. We as human beings are in need of both since we make mistakes in our relations to Allah as well as our relations to each other. In Islam, all that is needed is to recognise the mistake or sin, improve it and seek forgiveness from Allah Almighty and also from other human beings.
In Qur’an, the word “Allah is Most Merciful” is repeated many times. In Islamic religion, anyone who has committed sin can ask forgiveness directly from Allah, there is no one between Allah and the one who is asking forgiveness from Him. In Qur’an, Allah Almighty says:
“Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and He loves those who keep themselves pure.”
From this Qur’anic verse, we can conclude that if someone asked forgiveness with repentance then Allah will love him/her and surely He will forgive him/her but there is one condition and that is he/she should not commit that sin or mistake again.
If someone did wrongs to another human being, the act must first be redressed with the wronged person or human being who should be asked for forgiveness before asking forgiveness from Allah. Islam teaches human beings to be forgiving and if someone sincerely asks for forgiveness, the wronged person should forgive him. Our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), Allah will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins.”
If we expect forgiveness from Almighty Allah then we also have the ability to forgive others.
In the noble Qur’an, “forgiveness” and “mercy “are mentioned around 100 and 200 times respectively. An entire chapter of the Qur’an is devoted to the quality of mercy that is (Surah Rahman). We all know that Allah is the Most Merciful and He forgives those who ask forgiveness with repentance. There are so many Qur’anic verses related to forgiveness in Qur’an some of them I will discuss below. In the noble Qur’an Allah Almighty says:
“. . . and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an, 24:22]
In this Qur’anic verse we are given the greatest motivation to push ourselves to forgive; it’s Allah’s forgiveness. In another verse of the noble Qur’an, Allah Almighty says:
“The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah.” [Qur’an, 42:40]
Whoever forgive others from the heart then Allah Almighty will give him reward and we know Allah’s rewards are best from all. Allah Almighty says:
“Whosoever desires honour, power, and glory then to Allah belong all honour, power, and glory [and one can get honour, power, and glory only by worshipping Allah (Alone)]. To Him ascend (all) the goodly words i.e. and the righteous deeds exalt it (the goodly words i.e. the goodly words are not accepted by Allah unless and until they are followed by good deeds), but those who plot evils, – theirs will be a severe torment. And the plotting of such will perish.” [Qur’an, 35:10]
In another verse of the noble Qur’an, Allah Almighty says:
“That [is so]. And whoever responds [to injustice] with the equivalent of that with which he was harmed and then is tyrannised – Allah will surely aid him. Indeed, Allah is Pardoning and Forgiving.” [Qur’an, 22:60]
From this Qur’anic verse, we can say that Allah Almighty is all forgiving and pardoning we should seek forgiveness from Him and try to forgive others too.
Our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) was so kind and forgiving with all, no matter he is a believer or non-believer. We have so many examples from the life of Prophet (Peace be upon him) about forgiving others and show kindness to even those who were so rude to Him. Some of the examples from the life of Prophet (Peace be upon him) are mentioned below:
Abdullah Ibn Amr reported that, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]
If we forgive others then Allah will forgive us, so try to be kind and forgiving so that we can get kindness, love, and forgiveness from Allah Almighty.
Abu Abdullah Al-Khadali reported that, I asked Aisha about the character of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Aisha said:
“The Prophet was not indecent, he was not obscene, he would not shout in the markets, and he would not respond to an evil deed with an evil deed, but rather he would pardon and overlook.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi]
One example of Prophet Muhammad’s practice of forgiveness can be found in the Hadith, as follows:
“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was the most forgiving person. He was ever ready to forgive his enemies. When he went to Ta’if to preach the message of Allah, its people mistreated him, abused him and hit him with stones. He left the city humiliated and wounded. When he took shelter under a tree, the angel of Allah visited him and told him that Allah sent him to destroy the people of Ta’if because of their sin of maltreating their Prophet. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) prayed to Allah to save the people of Ta’if because what they did was out of their ignorance.”
Aisha (RA) reported that, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), said:
“O Allah, You are forgiving and generous. You love to forgive.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi]
Abu Hurairah (RA) said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) saying:
“I swear by Allah that I seek Allah’s Pardon and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.” [Bukhari]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“O people! Ask for the forgiveness of Allah and repent to Him as I ask for the forgiveness of Allah and repent to Him one hundred times a day.”
These are some of the examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and sayings of Him. From these examples and sayings we came to know that: Whoever does not show mercy will not receive mercy. Whoever does not forgive others will not be forgiven. Whoever does not pardon others will not be pardoned. Whoever does not protect others will not be protected. So try to forgive others to receive mercy and forgiveness from Allah Almighty and others.
There are so many benefits of asking forgiveness from Allah Almighty some of them are given below:
• Forgiveness from Almighty Allah brings joy, reassurance and peace of mind. Allah Almighty says in Qur’an:
“And [saying], “Seek Forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He Will Let you enjoy a good provision.” [Qur’an, 11: 3]
• Forgiveness from Allah Results in the healthy and strong body free of diseases and disabilities.
• Forgiveness saved from Fitnah and afflictions.
• If someone wants righteous kids, lawful money and expanded sustenance then he/she should ask forgiveness from Almighty Allah.
• Want to increase rewards and sins to be forgiven ask forgiveness from Almighty Allah. The Almighty Allah Says:
“And say, ‘Relieve us of our burdens.’ We will [then] forgive your sins for you, and We will Increase the doers of good [in goodness and reward].” [Qur’an, 2: 58]
• In the noble Qur’an, Allah Almighty says, Kind Speech and Forgiveness are better than Charity:
“A kind and courteous word and forgiveness are (much) better than the charity that is followed by (such an emotional) abuse. Allah is free of all wants and the most Forbearing.” [Qur’an, 2:263]
In short, when sincerely asking for forgiveness, the intention should be not to knowingly repeat the same sin again. A Muslim is to think better of Allah. No denying the fact that Allah is Mighty, Just and Wrathful, however, at the same time He is Merciful and forgiving. May Allah give us the strength to forgive others and also ask forgiveness from them, ameen.
Respected servants of Allah, most of us know there are several Qur’anic verses that talk about the importance of forgiving others in our lives.
Then the interesting bit comes — bringing it into practice. To be really honest with yourself, have you always forgiven others for the wrongs they’ve done to you? Or have you just said, “I forgive you,” while the ill feelings lingered in your heart? Let’s look at one part of this beautiful verse:
“. . . and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an, 24:22]
Allah Almighty created us and He knows what is best for us. This is something we often seem to forget. Allah knows it can be very hard to really forgive someone who hurt you and in this verse we are given the greatest motivation to push ourselves to forgive; it’s Allah’s forgiveness.
Allah Almighty is telling us here what the big motivator is for us suppressing our nafs (ego) and forgiving other people, even when they don’t even ask for our forgiveness.
That is the importance of forgiveness. There’s no space for a big ego if you want to be forgiven by Allah the Most High.
When we think of forgiveness we mostly think of Allah’s forgiveness and we forget how important it is that we also forgive. We need to remember both, because if we don’t forgive we do wrong in our relationship with Allah as well as in our relationships with each other. How can we expect Allah Almighty to forgive us, while we are not even willing to forgive others?
American scientists recently discovered that stress-related backache, insomnia and stomachaches were significantly reduced among individuals who had the habit of forgiving others.
So forgiving others improves your physical ability and lightens your heart, which makes it the recipient of a great source of reward from Allah Almighty — also an amazing productivity tip!
Our journey to the Hereafter is full of difficulties and tests, this is our way to prove who we are and this process includes injustice being done to us at the hands of others. If we truly want Allah’s love and forgiveness we must remember that the hurts of this world are only temporary.
Look at this beautiful treasure from our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him):
“I guarantee a house in Jannah (Paradise) for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a house in the middle of Jannah (Paradise) for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah (Paradise) for one who has good manners.” [Abu Dawud]
To motivate us to be the first in showing our good behaviour, there is a beautiful Hadith. How many of us know that it is not allowed to be in an argument and keep away from another Muslim for more than three days? The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“It is not permissible for a man to forsake his Muslim brother for more than three days, each of them turning away from the other when they meet. The better of them is the one who gives the greeting of salam first.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Forgiving others is crucial for our success in the Hereafter; one forgives to seek forgiveness. But forgiving others also brings lots of physical and spiritual benefits in this world!
To inspire us to fight our ego and really try to forgive with our hearts and not only with our lips, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying:
“When the believers pass safely over (the bridge across) Hell, they will be stopped at a bridge (the Sirat) between Hell and Paradise where they will retaliate against one another for the injustices done among them in the world, and when they are purified of all their sins, they will be admitted to Paradise. By Him in Whose hands the life of Muhammad is, everybody will recognise his dwelling in Paradise better than he recognises his dwelling in this world.” [Bukhari]
So think about Allah, your Most Beloved, and think about your ego. The choice is yours.
Imagine that moment on the Sirat when those who you wronged will be free to take away your Hasanat (good deeds) and you might end up not having enough left to pass to Jannah (Paradise).
• Ask forgiveness from others and forgive those you have ill-feelings for asap.
You can make a general email or a text for all your friends/family/colleagues saying e.g: “Dear brother/sister, please forgive me if I ever said anything which made you upset or hurt you, I love you for the sake of Allah. May we be reunited in Jannah (Paradise.)”
• If there are specific people you are in an argument with, to whom you haven’t spoke for a while, take action.
Phone them or visit them to ask for their forgiveness and tell them you forgive them! A beautiful idea is to give especially these persons in your life a little gift, suffice is the statement of Prophet (Peace be upon him) that:
“Give gifts and you shall love one another.” [Bukhari]
Lastly, dear brothers and sisters, know that, for Allah to forgive us, we also have the ability to forgive others!
May Allah Almighty give us all the ability to forgive others for the wrong they do to us and make us more productive Muslims through this and may Allah forgive us all for our sins, ameen.
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudges, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.
I ask Allah for peace and good health, and to protect us and all the brothers and sisters, ameen.
May Allah send His Salah and Salam upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
And all praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: email@example.com or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumadah Thani 29, 1442 AH (February 12, 2021).