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Let Them Forgive and Forbear

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A reminder about truthful forgiving with reference to the story of Abu Bakr, may Allah be Pleased with him.

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When ever I read Surat An Nur and reach this verse where Allah (May He be Glorified and Exalted) says:

{وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ}

(Interpretation of the meaning):
{Let those among you who are bounteous and resourceful not swear to withhold giving to the kindred, to the needy, and to those who have forsaken their homes in the cause of Allah; rather, let them forgive and forbear. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Allah is Ever Forgiving, Most Merciful.}   [Verse 22]

I ponder and look deep inside my heart if I am fulfilling what Allah is asking me in regards to forgiving others who have harmed me in many various ways and wiping the damage they have caused as if it wasn't there. This verse was revealed after the slander against our mother Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), in which she was absolved from, and Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) revealed verses from the seven heavens declaring her innocence.

One of the people who were involved in spreading the false accusation against Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was Mistah bin Uthatha, Abu bakr's own relative whom Abu Bakr supported him financially. When the above verses were revealed and our mother Aisha was declared innocent, Abu Bakr swore that he would no longer support Mistah bin Uthatha. This is when Verse 22 was revealed.

The amazing immediate action Abu Bakr responded with when he heard the verse, especially at the end of the verse where Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) said (what means) "let forgive and forbear. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? "
Abu Bakr replied with "By Allah! We do want that Allah should forgive us.”
And he again started helping Mistah.

What great character Abu Bakr had, he didn't only forgive the person who accused his daughter for something she didn't do-which also affected his own family honor-but he also wiped away all harm Mistah did to him.

Honestly speaking, years ago it was easy for me to say "I forgive you" but to really wipe away the pain, hurt, damage they had caused me, was really heavy on my heart.


I remember it taking me years to do that, saying so now that I try my best to contemplate the words of Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) and show it in my character, it really shocked me that it still takes few months to do so.

As you can sense the difference between both forgiveness and forbearing is that forbearing is much greater, as you will need to treat the person who hurt you the same way before that damage happened. Forgiving, however, is to let go of their shortcoming but you might still have in your heart the remains of their actions.

Whenever I go through those tough times with people I try to remember the story of Abu Baker as a way to assess my reaction.

A few weeks ago a sister that I have no close connection with really hurt my feelings, accusing me of things I have never said or did. Her words were like bullets aimed directly at my heart.

I failed to sleep peacefully and perform my daily routines. Although she was apologetic the next day, I couldn't look at her face. She was asking for forgiveness. It took me a minute to say "yes I forgive you" but that's not what I wanted. I really wanted to go a level up and wipe the thought of her hurtful words, but something was holding me back. It won't take a year now, last time it happened with a friend it took me a good four months to be able to go her house and let go of everything. So with this particular sister, even though we are not close, but in this year especially I would see her once a week. I didn't know what to do.

I also want for Allah to forgive my short comings. Subhanallah, as I had that at the back of my head, I received what I call a message from Allah, where a sister sent me this same verse in Surat at Nur and the only thing that came out of my mouth was
"By Allah! We do want that Allah should forgive us"

Most of you would wonder why I struggled this much to let go? For those who went through hardship-in particular that which comes from people-would know it's not easy, for me. I didn't want to forgive her with words, but rather with my heart pure and no resentment for the person that hurt my feelings.

Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) said in another verse:

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

(interpretation of the meaning):
{The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel [the evil] with one which is better; then verily he between whom and you there was enmity (will become) as though he was a closed friend.}
[Surat Fussilat:Verse 35]


So you must be in a state of repelling in order to reach that level where the person who just caused your pain ends up as your best friend. But the secret comes in the verse after this:

{وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ}

(interpretation of the meaning):
{But none attains to this except those who are patient and none attains to this except those endowed with mighty good fortune. } [Verse 36]

It's having patience in assessing yourself and struggling to finally let go and reach the state of forbearing (As Safah) and none will reach that except those who relied on Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted), and did it for his sake. In deed those will be the ones that have good fortune.

I Ask Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) to bestow in our heart the ability to forgive and forbear others in order to attain his forgiveness in this world and the hereafter. Ameen!

Fawzia Mohammed

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