Khutbah: Friday 1 June 2018: Manifesting Forgiveness by Shaykh Sadullah Khan

Khutbah: Friday 1 June 2018: Manifesting Forgiveness by Shaykh Sadullah Khan

Manifesting Forgiveness

Al-hamdulillah, we are blessed to witness another month of Ramadaan; a month of seeking forgiveness, of focusing on pursuing taqwa, a month of increased generosity, of controlling our negative urges and emotions; and of heightening our capacity to improve ourselves.  All of these pursuits for excellence is captured in a verse of the Qur’an …

وَسَارِعُواْ إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاء وَالضَّرَّاء وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And strive with one another to attain to your Sustainer’s forgiveness and to a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, which has been prepared for the muttaqin/God-conscious. Those who spend charitably in times of plenty and in times of hardship, and those who control their anger, those who pardon/ forgive their fellow human beings; and Allah loves the doers of good. [Ale ‘Imran 3:133]

Reference to Forgiveness, aiming for Paradise, Allah-consciousness, selfless generosity, controlling emotion and of doing good and being the best we can be.  

 

One particular aspect which we shall focus on is that of forgiveness, as the whole notion of Ramadaan is replete with the theme of forgiveness.     

*A hadith documented in Sahih al-Bukhari the Prophet is reported to have said;

مَنْ صَام رَمَضَانَ إيمَاناً وَاحْتِسَاباً غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ. متفق عليه

 Whoever fasts Ramadaan, with propriety, faith and due consideration of accountability; Allah will forgive such a person

*The most popular prophetic supplications for Ramadaan we often repeat is

اللَّهمَّ إنَّك عفُوٌّ تُحبُّ العفوَ فاعْفُ عنِّي )سنن ابن ماجة(

O Allah, You are Forgivng, you love to pardon so forgive us

 

Islam considers two aspects of forgiveness

  1. a) Divine Forgiveness

There are many names of Allah given in the Qur’an which reflect divine attributes. Some of these names and attribtes are directly related to His compassion, pardoning and forgiveness…

  1. Al-Ghafoor / The most Forgiving. (Occurs in the Qur’an more than seventy times.)
  2. Al-’Afuw: in relation to Allah means “He releases us from the burden of punishment due to our sins and mistakes”, “He restores our honor after we have dishonored ourselves by committing sins and doing wrong.” (This name occurs in the Qur’an five times.) Sometimes in the Qur’an both names: ‘afuw عفو and ghafoor غفور come together.
  3. Al-Tawwab / The Acceptor of repentance. Allah accepts the repentance of those who sincerely repent and turn to him.

(This name of Allah is mentioned in the Qur’an about 11 times.)

  1. Al-Haleem / The Clement. This means that Allah is not quick to judgment. He gives time. He forebears and is patient to see His servant to return to Him.
  2. Al-Rahman and al-Rahim / The most Merciful and Compassionate. )

 

 

*The Qur’an teaches that Allah is the ultimate Judge, Who can punish wrongdoers, but is not bound to punish. The justice of Allah, according to Qur’an, is that Allah does not and will never inflict undue punishment on anyone nor will He ever ignore the good of any person.

مَن جَاء بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَمَن جَاء بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلاَ يُجْزَى إِلاَّ مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ

Whoever shall come with a good deed will gain ten times the reward thereof; but whoever shall come with an wrongful deed will be repaid with no more than the like thereof; and no one shall be wronged in any way. [An’am – 6:16]

**Allah’s mercy is unlimited and His love is infinite.

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of Allah’s mercy: behold, Allah forgives sins totally; verily, He is indeed Most Forgiving, Dispenser of Grace!”[ Az-Zumar 39:53]

***We must keep in mind that as much as we need Allah’s forgiveness for our own sins and mistakes, we must also practice forgiveness towards those who do wrong to us.

  1. b) Human Forgiveness:

Just as it is important to believe in the mercy and forgiveness of Allah, it is also necessary to base human relations on forgiveness. We cannot expect Allah, the Creator’s forgiveness unless we also forgive those of Allah’s creation who do wrong to us and are in need of our forgiveness.

Forgiving each other is one of the most important Islamic teaching. In the Qur’an Allah has described the Believers as   الكاظمين الغيظ و العاقين عن الناس     “those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive.” [Shura 42:37].

فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ

whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is with Allah.” [Shura 42:40]

The capacity for compassion and the wisdom to forgive one another for past wrongs, hurts, and misunderstandings is one of the greatest attributes any human being can possess and exercise.

  1. i) Example of the Prophets (peace be upon them)

Forgiveness is an attribute which has received due attention in Islam and which has been extensively discussed in the Qur’an and in numerous Prophetic traditions. In a well-known tradition the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Allah has commanded him about nine things. One of these was                           و ان اعفو عمن ظلمني   that I forgive those who wrong to me.

The Examples of Prophets are beacons of light for all humanity:

  • Prophet Moses (pbuh) asked: “O my Lord! Who is the best honorable of Thy servants to Thee?”

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال موسى بن عمران عليه السلام

 يَا رَبِّ ! مَنْ أَعَزُّ عِبَادِكَ عِنْدَكَ ؟ قَالَ : مَنْ إِذَا قَدَرَ غَفَرَ

Allah responded: “He who forgives when in a position to hurt/take revenge.

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” ثَلاثٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ آوَاهُ اللَّهُ فِي كَنَفِهِ ، وَنَشَرَ عَلَيْهِ رَحْمَتَهُ،  وَأَدْخَلَهُ فِي مَحَبَّتِهِ ، قِيلَ لَهُ : مَنْ ذَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟ ،

قَالَ : مَنْ إِذَا أُعْطِيَ شَكَرَ ، وَإِذَا قَدَرَ غَفَرَ ، وَإِذَا غَضِبَ فَتَرَ

If people have three qualities or habits, Allah’s benefaction/patronage will protect them; Allah will dispense for them His mercy and enter and embrace them in His love; Someone asked who are such people: 

Prophet replied: Whoever is thankful when receiving, whoever forgives when is in position/authority (to punish) and who can cool his temper when angry.

  • Prophet Muhammad said that while Jesus (peace be upon both) was being tortured by his detractors, he prayed, اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِقَوْمِي فَإِنَّهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ O Lord! Forgive my people for they know not what they do [see also Luke 23:34]
  • Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was ostracized, threatened and eventually had to flee his hometown of Makkah. His detractors persecuted him, his family and his followers; and even when settled in Madinah, they waged wars against him and his followers. When he returned 8 years later with an army of 12 000 and forgave his enemies, it served as a magnanimous example of magnificence of character, depth emotional wisdom and the pinnacle of spiritual strength. {Among the people the Prophet forgave was Hind who had caused the murder of his uncle Hamza. After killing him she had his body mutilated and she chewed his liver.}

* Prophets responded to negatives with positives, used love and forgiveness    

        rather than hate, thus turning foe into friends.

Responding to negativity in such a positive manner is no ordinary matter. Strength of character is required. Allah says in the Qur’an:

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ

 Never can good and bad be equal. Repel the negative with something better,  in such a manner that the person between you and whom there was animosity, turns to close friendship; None shall be inclined to this except those who possess the capacity for patient perseverance, and those with tremendous resolve.” [Fussilat 41:34]

It is not easy for many of us to forgive others, especially if we feel that we are hurt or have a good reason to be upset. The ability, compassion and wisdom to forgive one another for past wrongs, hurts, and misunderstandings is one of the greatest attributes any of us can possess and exercise.

We realize that when we forgive others we may not change the negativity of the past, but we certainly can affect the future in a positive way.

 

As we enjoy the blessings of Ramadaan and pursue the pathway to righteousness let us realize…

فَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَمَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

والذين يجتنبون كبائر الاثم و الفواحش و اذا ما غضبواهم يغفرون

Whatever ye are given (here in this world) is (but) a convenience of this life: but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting: for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord… those who avoid major sin and impropriety; and who, even when they have cause to be angry, they forgive. [Qur’an 42:37]

Wise ones have said that forgiveness is God’s invention for coming to terms with a world in which, despite their best intentions, people do wrong each other and people do hurt each other. Allah began by forgiving us and He invites us all, to forgive each other. His way of forgiving is the model for our forgiving. And we should remember that seeking forgiveness is a sign of humility, forgiving others is a sign of magnanimity

In the final analysis, forgiveness is not merely a set of behaviors, but is rather an attitude, a great attitude, , a positive attitude, an attitude of the Divine and an الغفار The` Forgiving.

Remember, the words of Allah…[At-Taghabun 64:14]

و  ا ن  تعفوا  و  تصفحوا  و  تغفروا  فان  الله  غفور رحيم

If you pardon, reconcile and forgive;(know that) surely Allah is Most Forgiving,

  • Creating effective pieces of communication for educators, learners, and parents.
  • Actively manage ongoing relationship management between the various heads of schools

 

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