Who here knows how to actually forgive someone? to actually forgive ‘wholeheartedly’ , i.e., with no ill feelings or grudges afterwards, and be like nothing ever happened.
This was a question I was struggling with until recently. I wanted to forgive. Just didn’t know how to.
In Arabic, there are 2 sets of root letters that denote forgiveness. One of them is ʿafā (عَفَا). And one of Allah’s (SWT) names is Al Afuw. ‘Afûw is said to be like the desert wind completely obliterating footprints in the sand. This is an image of the wind blowing across the desert vastness and completely erasing all the tracks in the sand. It is as if no one had ever walked there. Such a fundamental image in the root of the word shows us that with al-‘Afuw, you do not even notice the fault.
So, ideally, if we are to forgive it must be like there’s no trace of any fault, whatsoever, left in our hearts.
How on earth are we to do that??
Well, this is what I discovered, by the Will of Allah, and pray that it helps you realize what I did, and help you move forward in life by letting go of all the baggage we’ve accumulated.
- Learn about Hellfire and how horrible it is. We may joke about it by saying things like, ‘Go to Hell!’ or ‘See you in Hell,’ but it’s no laughing matter. I, for one, would not like to even spend one second in it, let alone go anywhere near it. If there’s any goodness left in my heart I’d not wish such a horrible fate on anyone. Not even my sworn enemy.
- I would want Allah SWT to spare me from such a fate by seeking His forgiveness. By forgiving someone, as per the metaphor of ‘Afûw, I am eligible to earn His Forgiveness and Mercy. Allah knows best, but what if that one instance of mercy on my part is my ticket into Paradise (Jannah)? And what is better than Allah’s (SWT) mercy?
- Also, the only being who’ll never want any Son of Adam to escape Hellfire is Shaitan. By holding onto grudges I am putting myself extremely close to his character (sunnah) of seeking vengeance, and wishing ill on others.
- Even after all this, if I couldn’t bring myself to forgive, then I need to ask myself: Is my grudge greater than entering Jannah (Paradise)? Greater than Allah’s (SWT) Mercy?
Mercy is a fundamental aspect of Islam. When Allah SWT suggested that it was better for Abu Bakr (RA) to forgive Mistah for the Al Ifk incident which involved his own daughter, A’isha (RA), it highlights the importance of mercy and forgiveness in Islam. Nothing is greater than Allah’s (SWT) Mercy.
Forgive others, wholeheartedly, and earn Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness for yourself.