Allah Most High says, “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.” (Qur’an 3:134)
Forgiveness is a unique act of good. It relies more on the strength of the heart rather than the strength of the limbs. This is why it can be so difficult to do. In truth, being able to forgive tests the depths of our iman and exposes the reality of our faith.
The process of pardoning involves an interesting psychology too. People often hesitate to forgive because they think that they are losing by letting go. Quite the contrary, we only gain more when we forgive.
If you are having difficulty with forgiving another person for what they did to you, the following reasons will help pave the way to productive pardoning InshaAllah.
Reason #1: Forgiveness sets us free.
When we hold back from forgiving others, we hold on to the energy of bad memories. As we continue to replay past events over and over in our minds, telling ourselves that we are just trying to make sense of it all, we can unduly torture ourselves. This can lead to forming deeper resentment and bad grudges, which may lead to a longer period of unnecessary misery.
By forgiving others, we free our minds from the shackles of thoughts that do not benefit us. We also lift any dead weight from our hearts, which in return gives us the ability to live life peacefully – from the inside out. In an essence, forgiveness saves us from the prison of our minds and sets us free.
Reason #2: Forgiveness restores our sight.
No one is perfect – no matter who they are. As such, there is a strong possibility that the people who we care about the most will disappoint us and hurt us. It may not be personal or intentional either. It could be that they had the best intentions but did not realize that their actions hurt more than they helped.
When we are hurt or upset, it can be doubly difficult to see another person’s humanity. We can become blinded by our perspective and our version of the story. We can feel sidelined, attacked, mistreated, and wronged. We easily lose grip of the Prophetic way of keeping a good opinion about other people’s motives and actions. Instead, we blame, criticize, or look down upon the other party.
Forgiveness restores vision. It calms down our emotions and helps us to think clearer. We soon see another side to the story and create a more balanced view. We begin to accept the bad and embrace the good in the situation, which can be very healing for a wounded heart.
Reason #3: Forgiveness is our teacher.
Things happen for a reason and we know that Allah Most High has a wisdom in what He wills for us.
Forgiveness gives us the space to recognize and appreciate that wisdom. When we are able to step back and analyze our situation from a third-party perspective, we start to understand the many lessons that Allah Most High is teaching us in the situations that He tries us with in our lives.
Maybe through that run-in with someone rude, we experienced pain, and this helps us to learn how to NOT treat others.
Maybe through that heartbreak with someone we love, we went through a roller coaster of hurt, and this guides us to be more careful in selecting our friends or spouses.
Maybe through that violation of trust with someone we put so much hope in, we fell into a never-ending well of disappointment, and this motivates us to rely less on creation and more on Allah Most High.
The point is that the hurt we experience can push us to grow in different ways. It can be a stepping stone towards making wiser and better choices for ourselves. Yet, we cannot seize the opportunity to learn from it all until we seize the chance to forgive.
Reason #4: Forgiveness helps us to move forward in this world and the Next.
Resentment and grudges are like quicksand. Once we get trapped in them, it feels like we are stuck and cannot move in another direction. The longer we stay there, the deeper we sink, making it harder to pull ourselves out.
Forgiveness keeps us moving. It causes us to clear our minds and learn from our experiences. This will make us excel in our lives because it cultivates a breeding ground for advancement and change.
We experience life differently now. We raise our standards for ourselves. We practice showing more mercy towards others. We treasure someone’s kindness at a whole new level. We give ourselves permission to live life once again.
And…to worship again.
When our minds are cluttered with bad thoughts, our prayers are polluted with worldliness. We lose focus on Who we are worshipping and why we are here in this world. Forgiveness helps us to move in a direction that is for the sake of our Creator.
Reason #5: Forgiveness leads to being forgiven.
Allah Most High 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 a narration by the Prophet ﷺ, he says, “Be merciful to others and you will be shown mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you.” (Ahmad)
Allah Most High has given us the greatest motivation of why we should forgive others, and it is to attain His forgiveness. When push comes to shove, even if we don’t want to forgive someone, we do it for Allah’s sake.
We must treat others how we want to be treated in this life and the Next. After all, how can we expect Allah to forgive us, while we are not even willing to forgive others?
However, no one said forgiveness is easy, and it doesn’t always happen overnight. Sometimes forgiveness is a process that involves several steps, but keep in mind that the level of difficulty in acts of ibada are often met with a weightier reward.
In summary, when we forgive others, we open the door to greater connection and intimacy. Many times we close the door on ourselves. We resolve that we’ll ONLY forgive when the other person does ‘x.’ But forgiveness is not conditional – it is a gift that we choose to give someone from the genuineness of our souls and the depths of our faith.
In our coaching sessions, we teach our clients how and why to forgive others. Sign up for a session and better your life today inshaAllah.
© Muslima Coaching, 2019.