The Ummah is like a building with the Muslims as its bricks, brotherhood is the cement. Without forgiveness you cannot have brotherhood.
Do you hate someone? Do you really hate someone? You haven’t spoken to him for a while? You’ve been blaming him? You’re not the only one; the Muslim Ummah today is diseased with this to the extent that almost every Muslim knows another Muslim who he hates.
Ok then, he wronged you. He deceived you. He backbited you. He lied to you. But even in these extreme situations the Qur’an and the Hadith teach us that we have to forgive others (especially those who hurt us the most) if we wish to earn the forgiveness of Allah on the day of judgement. We have all committed many sins, made many mistakes and no doubt we have wronged others, we have deceived others, we have backbited others and no doubt we have lied to others.
So what makes us focus onto brothers and sisters errors while we remain unconscious of our own? Not to forgive is like to live in arrogance, and ignorance of our own shortcomings. Forgiveness is linked with piety and God-consciousness, is there anybody who is not without sin? Is there anybody who can be arrogant enough to say that he does not need to forgive? Do we not know that Allah forgives those who forgive others? Therefore, we should realise the difficulties of others and forgive them. Allah says in the Qur’an:
”Be quick in the forgiveness from your Lord, and pardon (all) men - for Allah loves those who do good.” [Surah al-Imran; 3:133-134]
And we know that Allah Himself is Ar-Rahmaan (the Most Compassionate) and Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful) and that His Mercy is infinite, and that no matter the sin (except shirk) Allah is always willing to answer the person’s call for forgiveness. In fact Allah loves the tear drop that falls from the eye of one who sincerely seeks the forgiveness of his Lord.
And Allah loves us to have hearts that are ready to forgive.
The Prophet (Pbuh) once asked his companions;
“Do you know what will cause you to have high walled palaces in Paradise (as a symbol of great reward) and will cause you to be raised by God?” When they replied in the negative, he said, ”To be forgiving and to control yourself in the face of provocation, to give justice to the person who was unfair and unjust to you, to give to someone even though he did not give to you when you were in need and to keep connection with someone who may not have reciprocated your concern.”
Similarly the Prophet (Pbuh) said that the best of people are those who are slow to get angry and quick to forgive. On the other hand the worst of people are those, he said who get angry quickly but are slow to forgive.
The characteristic that makes a person most likely to forgive is the purity of his or her heart. Apologies must be accepted, the Prophet (Pbuh) said that:
”Whoever apologises to his brother and that apology is not accepted, then the person who refuses to accept the apology bears the sin of one who takes the property of another unjustly.
If we look at the example and the character of the Prophet (Pbuh) we can see that he was always forgiving and never showed enmity to anyone except those who waged war against him. There was an old lady who used to throw rubbish in his way every day, on one occasion she did not throw rubbish in the street, so he decided to go and see what was the matter. She was ill in bed, to her amazement, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) came to see her and find out about her. She accepted Islam.
This is the example of the man whom we claim to follow. Thumamah, as the chief of his tribe had killed many Muslims. On his travels, he was caught by the Muslim soldiers and was taken to the Prophet’s masjid and tied to one of the pillars. The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) commanded his companions to untie him and give him the best food. The Messenger of God (Pbuh) was indeed a mercy for the worlds.
We should similarly be merciful with each other. First of all, we ourselves should not do anything to upset our brothers and sisters (because this is in itself a part of mercy) and then we should forgive those who have upset us or made us angry. We will never be a strong ummah if we are not able to forgive.
Some might say that to forgive is a sign of weakness and humiliation, and for them it is better to be strong and preserve their honour. But honour in the eyes of Allah lies in forgiveness.
”But indeed if any shows patience and forgives that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs.” [surah 42:43]
If we are to be really strong then we have to be strong against Shaytaan and forgive our brothers and sisters, and in this way may be Allah will decide Insha Allah to forgive ourselves for our many mistakes.