If COVID-19 has taught me anything, it is that nothing and I mean, absolutely nothing, is worth stressing over. Being calm and stress free or having minimal stress is not only good for our mental health, but it also does amazing things for our physical health. Numerous studies have shown that people's immunity changes based on how they handle certain situations. With that being said, think about how much baggage you walk around with. You might be so angry at the world and everyone around you because of something that happened to you in the past. However, it is not part of our deen (faith) to hold on to grudges and be so angry with anyone. Our deen teaches us to be kind, forgiving, and always to give people the benefit of the doubt. Now, with Ramadan here in such difficult circumstances, it would be the perfect time to start forgiving people for the sake of Allah subhanah wa talla.
Here are a few tips to help make it a little easier to forgive people:
- Connect more with Allah. It seems simple, but it really isn't that simple. It's not about doing the basics of the deen, such as praying all the fardh and sunnah prayers, reading Quran regularly, and fasting. It's more than that. It's about finding different ways to connect with Allah. It's about researching the deen and studying all the authentic material you could find. It's about digging deeper into Tawheed, Fiqh, Tafseer, and just learning about different aspects of our beautiful deen. Subahan Rabi Jala Jalalah, these experiences will bring a sense of comfort and just utter calmness. At least from my experience, they absolutely did.
- Allah subahan wa talla ordered our beloved Prophet to forgive people in this hadith:
Abdullah bin Az-Zubair said: Allah ordered His Prophet to forgive the people their misbehavior (towards him). (Sahih Bukhari)
وَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ بَرَّادٍ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أُسَامَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامٌ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ، قَالَ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ نَبِيَّهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنْ يَأْخُذَ الْعَفْوَ مِنْ أَخْلاَقِ النَّاسِ. أَوْ كَمَا قَالَ.
If the Prophet (صَلّى االلهُ عَلَيْهِ وسَلَّم) was asked to forgive, who are we to keep grudges against people? If the best of mankind was ordered to forgive, does it not seem like it would be healthier for us to follow his footsteps?
- Allah created us so we can sin and be forgiven, as this hadith states:
Abu Ayyub Khalid bin Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Were you not to commit sins, Allah would create people who would commit sins and ask for forgiveness and He would forgive them". (Sahih Muslim)
وعن أبي أيوب خالد بن زيد، رضي الله عنه ، قال سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، يقول: "لولا أنكم تذنبون ؛ لخلق الله خلقاً يذنبون، فيستغفرون، فيغفر لهم" (رواه مسلم).
Should we not apply this to our family and friends? Should we not forgive them after they've wronged us?
- In Surat al Nour Allah asked us to forgive people:
“. . . and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Surat al Nour:22]
وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ.
So remember, no matter how much pain you experienced from someone, forgiving them means you are doing it for the sake of Allah subhanah wa talla.
This ayah actually reminded me of our local Saint Louis brother, Dr. Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud. In this article by CNN, it shows how he forgave his son's killer. Subhan Allah, he didn't hate him or go around hating the world because his son was killed. Instead, he forgave his son's killer... I mean, seriously, how many people could do that? MashaAllah that takes a lot of strength and more importantly, a lot of eman.
Another story about forgiveness is of sister Asma Jama. She forgave the woman who threw a mug at her face, which landed her in the hospital needing multiple stitches.
Subhan Allah, these are just two stories of many more. It's just an example of forgiveness in our day and time. Looking back at the Prophet's time, you will be able to find even more examples.
Please remember that nothing is worth holding a grudge over. Take this time to forgive and move on without carrying extra baggage. Do it for the sake of Allah. Do it for the sake of your emotional and mental wellbeing.