Quranic Reflection No. 370 Āyat 24:22 – The Beauty of forgiveness

وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
Walya‘fū walyasfahū, alā tuhibbūna an yaghfirallāhu lakum, wallāhu ghafūrun rahīm
And they should excuse and forbear. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.
(Sūratun Nūr, No.24, Āyat 22)

As the month of Ramadan sadly comes to a close we hope that we have received one thing we have been asking for since the beginning of the month – the forgiveness of Allah ‘azza wa-jall. It is a plea reiterated in many Du‘ās we recited every night: O One who favors and none favors You, favor me by saving me from the Fire, [and make me] amongst the ones You favor. In another Du‘ā we say:forgive me those great sins (that I carry), for surely, none can forgive them except You. It is also what the Prophet sallalāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wa-sallam emphasized in his sermon at the beginning of the month when he said: Your souls are pawned by your deeds therefore, release them by seeking Allah’s forgiveness. In fact he (s) also said: The unfortunate one is the one who is deprived of Almighty Allah’s forgiveness during this great month.

Thus the most coveted thing in this month is the forgiveness of Allah subhānahu wa-ta‘āla. Apart from directly pleading with Allah for forgiveness one way to achieve it is to forgive others and overlook what they may have done. In the verse above Allah links the forgiveness of human beings to His own. He says forgive others, do you not want that I should forgive you? All believers want to achieve closeness to Allah through His forgiveness. Then we also should be forgiving. Forgiving others and overlooking the wrong they have done is to set the ground for Allah forgiving you. In the verse Allah names two of His qualities – the Forgiving, the Merciful, inviting us to follow those qualities and perhaps assuring us that one who forgive others will deserve Divine Forgiveness and Mercy.

This verse tells us that the Almighty with all His power and greatness and the obedience due to Him, still forgives. Why is that we lowly human beings hang on to the wrongs of others and refuse to forgive?

Many Hadith talk about the nobility of forgiving others:
• No servant of Allah pardons a wrong done to him seeking the pleasure of Allah except that Allah will increase him in honor on the Day of Judgment. (Holy Prophet [s], Jāmi‘us Sa‘ādāt, v.1, p.303)
• Give people your forgiveness and pardon just as you would like Allah, the Glorified, to grant [it] to you, and never regret showing forgiveness [to others]. (Amīrul Mu’minīn Imam Ali [a], Ghurar l-Hikam, Eng. Tr., p. 682)
• When wrong is done to you overlook and pardon the way you like to be pardoned.(Imam Ali [a]. Tuhafal Uqūl, p.147)

Forgive others on these last of the holy nights. Think of specific people who may have wronged you and release your anger against them. Tell yourself, and pledge to Allah (swt), that you have forgiven them and harbor nothing against them. Then turn to Allah and tell Him you forgave them for His sake so that you may be worthy of His forgiveness. This exercise will be profoundly therapeutic. It will relieve you of your inner anger and bring down the waves of Allah’s forgiveness and mercy on you. It is a fitting way to end the holy month.

Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh;http://www.alketab.org/