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Forgiveness:

My Thoughts on the Holy Quran by Dr. Obaidullah Saeed


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

The 2nd verse of the Holy Quran declares Allah to be Beneficent and Merciful. His qualities of forgiveness, mercy and compassion are mentioned many times in the Holy Book. Some examples are given below:

1:1–2 Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful.

2:143 And thus We have made you an exalted nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you. And We did not make that which thou wouldst have to be the qiblah but that We might distinguish him who follows the Messenger from him who turns back upon his heels. And it was indeed a hard test except for those whom Allah has guided. Nor was Allah going to make your faith to be fruitless. Surely Allah is Compassionate, Merciful, to the people.

4:64 And We sent no messenger but that he should be obeyed by Allah’s command. And had they, when they wronged themselves, come to thee and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.

4:110 And whoever does evil or wrongs his soul, then asks forgiveness of Allah, will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.

11:90 And ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him. Surely my Lord is Merciful, Loving-kind.

One can become a better Muslim by emulating this quality of Allah. Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said, “Allah has no mercy on him who is not merciful to men.” (Bukhari & Muslim-Mishkat 24:15). This shows that the only way to deserve the mercy and forgiveness of Allah is by showing the same mercy to others that we expect ourselves.

Following verses from the Holy Quran teach us that forgiveness is the preferred way in Islam and that Allah loves those who treat others with kindness and compassion.

2:263 A kind word with forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing.

3:134 Those who spend in ease as well as in adversity and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men. And Allah loves the doers of good (to others).

24:22 And let not possessors of grace and abundance among you swear against giving to the near of kin and the poor and those who have fled in Allah’s way; and pardon and overlook. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

42:37 And those who shun the great sins and indecencies, and whenever they are angry they forgive.

42:40 And the recompense of evil is punishment like it; but whoever forgives and amends, his reward is with Allah. Surely He loves not the wrongdoers.

42:43 And whoever is patient and forgives — that surely is an affair of great resolution.

It is interesting to note from the aforementioned verses and the Hadith that forgiveness is not prescribed specifically for Muslims, but for all mankind. Allah also advises us to show mercy and forgiveness to people belonging to other religions, non-believers as well as our enemies.

2:109 Many of the people of the Book wish that they could turn you back into disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from themselves, after truth has become manifest to them. But pardon and forgive, till Allah bring about His command. Surely Allah is Possessor of power over all things.

3:159Thus it is by Allah’s mercy that thou art gentle to them. And hadst thou been rough, hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around thee. So pardon them and ask protection for them, and consult them in (important) matters. But when thou hast determined, put thy trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust (in Him).

5:13 But on account of their breaking their covenant We cursed them and hardened their hearts. They alter the words from their places and neglect a portion of that whereof they were reminded. And thou wilt always discover treachery in them excepting a few of them — so pardon them and forgive. Surely Allah loves those who do good (to others).

45:14 Tell those who believe to forgive those who fear not the days of Allah that He may reward a people for what they earn.

The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, also laid stress on being kind and compassionate to all mankind. When joining the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam one vows to the following:

4) I will not inflict any injury on the people generally, and in particular on the Muslims, under any undue provocation by tongue or hand or in any other manner.

9) I will be compassionate with all mankind for Allah’s sake only, and as far as possible, I will utilise my God-given energies to benefit them with Allah’s favours.

The 'Terms of the Pledge' can be viewed online.

The translation has been taken from the English Translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali.

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