August 14, 2010
Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: Musa (as), the son of Imran once asked, "Oh my Lord! Who is the most honourable of Your servants? And He replied, the person who forgives even when he is in a position of power." (Baihaqi)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) said: "Whoever wishes that Allah (SWT) may favor him with His blessings and accommodate him in Paradise should refine his morals, behave justly with the people, take pity on orphans, help weak and the helpless and be humble before Allah who has created him."
You know what I'm referring to - those times when you get into an argument(s) with a family member, friend, boss, employee, coworker, classmate, teacher or whoever. You know your facts are right or that you've been wronged with an insulting remark, sarcastic comment or rudeness.
And so, you choose to hold a grudge. After all, you've got a right to. Nobody should be treated this way. Why should you forgive? You're not the one who started this. You're not the one who doesn't have the facts straight.
True. You may be right. You may be in that position of power mentioned in the Hadith above. But forgiving others, apart from positively affecting our health (less stress) and our minds (one less negative thing to focus on), is a necessary step to closeness to Allah (SWT).
How can we move up the ladder of spiritual development when we hold bitterness and anger towards another person? While we may have been in the right, is it worth sacrificing our energy on a grudge instead of on growth?
Is there not something strange about asking for God's forgiveness of our sins while withholding our forgiveness from someone who has hurt us?
We cannot expect for Allah's forgiveness unless we also forgive those who do wrong to us. Forgiving each other, even forgiving one's enemies is one of the most important Islamic teachings. Allah (SWT) says in Holy Quran: And those who shun the great sins and indecencies, and whenever they are angry they forgive. (al-Shura 42:37)
One of the distinguishing features of Ramadan is forgiveness. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) explained in one Hadith that Ramadan is a month whose beginning is Mercy, whose middle is Forgiveness and whose end is freedom from the Hellfire. This makes it a great time to ask Allah (SWT) for His Forgiveness. It's also a wonderful time to open our hearts and cleanse them of grudges and bitterness by forgiving others.
Let us use these remaining days of forgiveness this Ramadan to open our hearts to those who have wronged us and forgive them as we beg Allah (SWT) to forgive us.
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong". Mahatma Gandhi
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