Learning how to forgive others may be one the hardest skills I have learned. There’s this guilt isn’t there? This mentality of a good Muslim forgives and so if you don’t you can’t be a good muslim. Sure, forgiving a minor thing is relatively easy, but what about when this person stripped you of your self worth and identity? What about the rage? Isn’t forgiveness the same as just saying what they did is OK?
Let’s break this down slowly in sha Allah. Firstly, YOU DON’T HAVE TO FORGIVE! Wanting justice for yourself isn’t haraam! It is better to have patience and forgive (for your own peace and soul) but if you cannot, your Lord is Merciful:
“And if you punish [an enemy, O believers], punish with an equivalent of that with which you were harmed. But if you are patient – it is better for those who are patient.” (An- Nahl 16:126)
Allah knows best, maybe you are able to forgive your oppressor after they have been punished. It is also permissible to make dua against the one who oppresses you. And that dua, Allah swt says is always answered.
Secondly, note one thing: whilst you are busy hurting and hating over what someone did to you, there is every chance they aren’t hurting. Maybe they got on with life and forgot about the incident while you on the other hand ruined your peace and happiness by crying and reviving the past. I’m sorry, I know that sounds harsh, but it may well be true, it was for me.
My ex didn’t care about the fact that he hit me – as soon as he found out nothing was broken. The emotion he DID feel at the time was panic; panic that he would get in trouble. As soon as that threat was removed so was his remorse. 14 years later, I have still never received an apology. Did he give a crap? Nope. So why should I?
I carried this hatred inside for so long. It was muddled up with self hatred, thinking I somehow brought it on because everyone seemingly defended him. It made me question myself. Oh, I hurt for so long because of labels others wanted me to carry!
And then one day I watched a video that changed my mind. It was about a survivor of the Holocaust talking about how she forgave Dr Mengle, aka the Dr of Death. He had a penchant for experimentiing on twins. He did unspeakable, awful things to her and her twin. Things that would cause them to suffer in the years to come. And yet she managed to forgive him. How? she decided to end the power he had over her by forgiving him. It was HER choice to forgive him or not, she held the power and by doing so she ended his reign of terror over her heart.
Forgiving the person doesn’t make what they did OK. Allah swt is going to make sure that person pays the penalty for what they did in a worse way than you ever could. You ARE going to get justice from Allah as this is one of His attributes. Forgiviness releases the hold they have on you. It sets your heart free, free to feel peace. When you constantly go over what someone did to you it can put your life on hold. You become consumed with the past instead of living in the present.
We also forgive to earn the love and pleasure of Allah swt. Remember anything Allah commands is for our betterment – we just don’t always have the wisdom to see why at the time.
“Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.” (al- Imran 3:134)
It’s not easy habibti, of course it isn’t, but these people have wronged their own souls more than they have wronged you because they have strayed off the path of Allah by doing this to you and even more so if they haven’t repented. Subhanallah, imagine their punishment on the Day of Judgement when their own limbs will testify against them. They cannot escape the punishment!
We as Muslims believe in qadr: both the good and bad happens by the permission of Allah swt. This incident was written 50,000 years before the earth was created. You could not escape it. And for you my sister, it was a test. Painful and difficult, but a test to level you up in Jannah in sha Allah. Don’t forget Ibrahim (as) was given much harder tests – he was thrown into a fire for standing up for Allah swt. Who can say they have gone through that?! And the reward? Jannah. Blissful Jannah! And to be given the title Khalil (friend) of Allah. Subhanallah! what a reward!
I realised the key was to change my mentality. I couldn’t undo the past any more than you could, but I could change how I saw the future and how I chose to live my life now. Taking back control empowered me!
Allah swt didn’t put you through this trial to punish you, not if it brings you closer to Him, but to purify you. And why do we need purifying? Because just like a degree, Jannah has to be earned otherwise it wouldn’t be Jannah would it? There would be no reason to strive or have morals or do anything if we were all guaranteed Jannah. What state would humanity be in without rules? Finally, when you see someone going out of their way for you it increases your love for them, and isn’t that our end goal? To be loved by Allah swt?