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Forgiveness in the Quran and Sunnah

January 7, 2014

Forgive increases honor in Islam

By Abu Amina Elias

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Allah the Exalted said:

وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Let them pardon and overlook. Would you not love for Allah to forgive you? Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Surat An-Nur 24:22

And Allah said:

خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ

Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.

Surat Al-A’raf 7:199

And Allah said:

وَإِنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَآتِيَةٌ ۖ فَاصْفَحِ الصَّفْحَ الْجَمِيلَ

Verily, the Hour is coming, so forgive them with gracious forgiveness.

SuratAl-Hijr 15:85

And Allah said:

الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

The believers are those who spend in charity during ease and hardship and who restrain their anger and pardon the people, for Allah loves the doers of good.

Surat Ali Imran 3:134

And Allah said:

وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَ لِمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

The angels glorify and praise their Lord and seek forgiveness for those on the earth. Verily, Allah is the Forgiving, the Merciful.

Surat Ash-Shura 42:5

And Allah said:

وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ

Whoever is patient and forgives, verily, that is among the matters of steadfast determination.

Surat Ash-Shura 42:43

And Allah said:

قُل لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَغْفِرُوا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ أَيَّامَ اللَّهِ لِيَجْزِيَ قَوْمًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

Say to those who believe that they should forgive those who expect not the days of Allah, as it is for Him to recompense people for what they have earned.

Surat Al-Jathiyah 45:14

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: I saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, tell the story of a prophet who was beaten by his people and he wiped the blood from his face, saying:

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِقَوْمِي فَإِنَّهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

My Lord, forgive my people for they do not know.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6530, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ وَمَا زَادَ اللَّهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلاَّ عِزًّا وَمَا تَوَاضَعَ أَحَدٌ لِلَّهِ إِلاَّ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ

Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives except that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2588, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was upon the pulpit and he said:

ارْحَمُوا تُرْحَمُوا وَاغْفِرُوا يَغْفِرْ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ

Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 7001, Grade: Sahih

Abu Abdullah Al-Khadali reported: I asked Aisha about the character of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. Aisha said:

لَمْ يَكُنْ فَاحِشًا وَلَا مُتَفَحِّشًا وَلَا صَخَّابًا فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ وَلَا يَجْزِي بِالسَّيِّئَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ وَلَكِنْ يَعْفُو وَيَصْفَحُ

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.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2016, Grade: Sahih

Ata ibn Yasar reported: I met Abdullah ibn Amr and I said, “Tell me about the description of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, in the Torah.” Abdullah said:

أَجَلْ وَاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَمَوْصُوفٌ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ بِبَعْضِ صِفَتِهِ فِي الْقُرْآنِ‏ ‏يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا‏ وَحِرْزًا لِلأُمِّيِّينَ أَنْتَ عَبْدِي وَرَسُولِي سَمَّيْتُكَ الْمُتَوَكِّلَ لَيْسَ بِفَظٍّ وَلاَ غَلِيظٍ وَلاَ صَخَّابٍ فِي الأَسْوَاقِ وَلاَ يَدْفَعُ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ وَلَكِنْ يَعْفُو وَيَغْفِرُ

By Allah, he is described in the Torah with some of what is mention in the Quran: O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness, a bringer of glad tidings, and to give warning, (33:45) and to guard over the illiterate, for you are My servant and messenger. I have called you a trustworthy man who is neither rude nor loud in the markets, nor does he return evil with evil, but rather he pardons and forgives.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 2018, Grade: Sahih

Uqbah ibn Amir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

يَا عُقْبَةُ بْنَ عَامِرٍ صِلْ مَنْ قَطَعَكَ وَأَعْطِ مَنْ حَرَمَكَ وَاعْفُ عَمَّنْ ظَلَمَكَ

O Uqbah, reconcile whoever cuts you off, give to whoever deprives you, and pardon whoever wrongs you.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 16999, Grade: Sahih

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عُفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ

O Allah, You are forgiving and generous. You love to forgive.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 3513, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported:

مَا رَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رُفِعَ إِلَيْهِ شَيْءٌ فِيهِ قِصَاصٌ إِلَّا أَمَرَ فِيهِ بِالْعَفْوِ

I never saw a case involving legal retaliation being referred to the Messenger of Allah except that he would recommend pardoning the criminal.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4497, Source: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: A man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, with the killer of his relative. The Prophet said:

اعْفُ عَنْهُ

Pardon him.

But the man refused. The Prophet said:

خُذْ الدِّيَةَ

Take the blood money.

But the man refused. The Prophet said:

اذْهَبْ فَاقْتُلْهُ فَإِنَّكَ مِثْلُهُ

Go and kill him, for you are like him.

Anas said:

فَخَلَّى سَبِيلَهُ

So the man let him go.

Source: Sunan An-Nasa’i 4730, Grade: Sahih

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

فَإِنَّ الْإِمَامَ أَنْ يُخْطِئَ فِي الْعَفْوِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَنْ يُخْطِئَ فِي الْعُقُوبَةِ

Verily, it is better for the leader to make a mistake forgiving the criminal than it is for him to make a mistake punishing the innocent.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1424, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Umar reported: A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, how many times should I pardon my servant?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

كُلَّ يَوْمٍ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً

Seventy times in each day.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1949, Grade: Hasan

Ibn Abbas reported: A man entered the presence of Umar and he said, “O son of Khattab! You do not give us enough, nor are you just with us!” Umar became angry and was about to strike him when Al-Hurr said:

يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى قَالَ لِنَبِيِّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ  خُذْ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنْ الْجَاهِلِينَ وَإِنَّ هَذَا مِنْ الْجَاهِلِينَ

O leader of the believers, Allah said to His Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him: Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199). Verily, this man is ignorant.

Ibn Abbas said:

وَاللَّهِ مَا جَاوَزَهَا عُمَرُ حِينَ تَلَاهَا عَلَيْهِ وَكَانَ وَقَّافًا عِنْدَ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ

By Allah, Umar became still when this verse was recited upon him. He always adhered strictly to the Book of Allah.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 4366, Grade: Sahih

Qabisa ibn Jabir reported: Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

مَنْ لا يَرْحَمُ لا يُرْحَمُ وَلا يُغْفَرُ مَنْ لا يَغْفِرُ وَلا يُعْفَ عَمَّنْ لَمْ يَعْفُ وَلا يُوقَّ مَنْ لا يَتَوَقَّ

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.

Source: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 366, Grade: Hasan

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.