The Battle of Forgiveness

To err is human, to forgive divine.

Allah loves forgiveness.

If you want Allah to show you mercy, show mercy to others.

These are all common sayings regarding the art and battle of forgiveness, and I am certain there must be about a hundred more. These all exist, to my mind, for one purpose: to encourage us to do one of the most difficult things in the human existence. They’re salves to the ego, when forgiveness is sought. When you are asked to forgive a slight, a crime, an injustice, you forego your chance for achieving retribution, or at the very least, working toward it. You give up the possibility of justice, at least in this temporary world. You are left to deal with the injustice in a way that seems, really, to tip the scales in favor of the one who has done you wrong.

Forgiveness is never a split-second decision. It’s a process, and a long-drawn-out one at that. The person who came for forgiveness may have taken a day, a month, a year, a decade, or a lifetime to do so. It took them that long to realize they might have done something that was not quite apropos. Is it not reasonable to expect that the person who must forgive might need a few hours to reconcile the denial of the promise of justice?

When the person who has committed some slight, great or small, against you comes to ask for your merciful and ever-willing forgiveness, all theories about forgiveness go out the window. Some will tell you that when you forgive another human being, you give yourself the chance to heal. Others will tell you all of the stories from Islam in which forgiveness transpired, and will make it seem like it was the easiest thing in the world for the ashaab kareem radiAllaahu anhum ajma’een to do, and if they could forgive such huge things as the slandering of Sayyida A’isha radiAllaahu anha, then who the heck are we to withhold forgiveness for minor, inconsequential nothings? Except that sometimes, they may not be so inconsequential, even though they certainly are when compared to other events. And perhaps, if we remember the saying, “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear,” we might realize that our maximum capacity for pain may very well be less than another’s…but that does not make the pain any less burdensome.

I’m human, and a horrible one at that. I need time. So, if you ask for forgiveness after a year of pretending like the problem was all in my very own stupid little head, then give me the courtesy of expecting a year to forgive you. Or a few hours. Asking for a split-second, instantaneous, pre-notorized certificate of forgiveness is asking for way too much. I guess I’m not well versed in the art of forgiveness. For me, it really is a battle.

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14 Responses to The Battle of Forgiveness

  1. realistic bird says:

    Salaam,

    I hear you, forgiving someone especially if the harm was great and affected you in many ways is not an easy thing to do. In the event you want to forgive in such a case it does take a while and is not immediate. I know someone who went through this phase. The person I know finally let go much of the hurt even though not forgotten after the person who hurt her passed away. I guess she felt that she can’t be mad anymore at a person who died, not a perfect example I know but I felt her view changed a lot after it.

    It is a complicated and jumbled package of feelings that one has to untie to reach forgiveness.

  2. Wasalaam πŸ™‚ Yes, it is indeed complicated. And that was quite a perfect example. I never thought about forgiveness as something to struggle with…and still don’t think of it as much of a choice. If someone asks for forgiveness, there is no such a thing as granting it if I want…it’s something I usually think I must do, for they humbled themselves enough to ask for it. So it’s the least I can do, especially as I hope for Allah to be forgiving of my million and one misdeeds. But, it really is a struggle. And I can only admire those who give it freely and easily. If those people do in fact exist.

  3. realistic bird says:

    Yeah there are people like that not many I think though. I know of a man who forgave men who wanted to end his life without them seeking forgiveness.

    May Allah SWT give us the enlightment and big heart to forgive ones who have hurt us and reward us for it, ameen.

    wasalaam πŸ™‚

  4. Ameen! I want to be THAT MAN! Thank you for that bit of inspiration. MashaAllah.

  5. Digital Jewel says:

    Forgiving is one thing, forgetting is another… Anyways, I won’t get into this cuz I understand both sides, and you’re not wrong, neither are you a horrible person. I’ll come there and smack you or tickle you (whichever I feel would be a worse punishment) the next time you say that. πŸ˜›

    • I was *a bit* wrong, and am *a bit* horrible, but hey, I ain’t dead yet, so I’ve got time to improve, right? InshaAllah. Ummmm…I’ll opt for the smack, thanks 😯

  6. dailyislamicthought says:

    Asalamualaikum, great post MashAllah. Accepting an apology is difficult, especially when the person takes a long time to come clean with his/her apology. What is even harder is when two people are angry with eachother, and are both at fault, putting aside your ego and being the first to apologize is extreamly difficult. JazakAllah Khair for your post

    • Wa AlaykumusSalaam πŸ™‚ What actually would be hard for me, in the second scenario, is seeing where I am at fault. If I can see that I am as much at fault, then the apology is not so hard. I have tunnel vision, so seeing my blame is difficult 😦

      I have to say, I accepted the apology by the time I wrote my post. But I had to write it coz I felt compelled to share the difficulty of doing so.

      JazakiAllah Khair for reading and taking the time to comment πŸ™‚

  7. realistic bird says:

    Lol DN don’t we all? πŸ˜› Ok someone like him insha’Allah.

    Hey DJ, a virtual smack perhaps πŸ˜†

    wasalaam

    • πŸ˜† Yeah, someone like him, inshaAllah! lol I can’t believe I said I want to be HIM. 😳

      Don’t you be encouraging her! hahahaha you called her DJ. Oh, you better fly. πŸ˜†

  8. realistic bird says:

    Yikes! Shhhhh I’m not here, I should change my id now πŸ˜†

  9. Digital Jewel says:

    Oh no, changing your ID won’t help. I’ll always know who you are and where you live. *evil laugh*

    Pshhh…you can call me DJ. 😳 Hehehe.

  10. Hey salaams!
    I’m totally with you on this post – I love this so much, it’s like you expressed my exact feelings on forgiveness! πŸ™‚

    When I was upset with someone who I dearly loved, I forgave her without her even asking for forgiveness, because I couldnt bear to be stubborn and hold on to something which would hurt both of us so much.

    In another instance, an aunt did something so hurtful and painful towards my grandparents, and although they have forgiven her, I dont know if an eternity will be enough for me to do the same. She has never been appreciative of her “mistake” (nothing immoral, just somethign hurtful), but I saw the hurt and pain and tears which left their eyes, and I dont know if I can be that bigger person.

    I believe in forgiving and forgetting, but sometimes, I think it is better not to hold grudges, and ask Allah to guide us appropriately.

  11. Wasalaam πŸ™‚ Sometimes, it’s much easier than other times. It’s usually when the hurt involves more than just one person that makes it difficult to forgive and forget. Well, forgetting is not really ever an option…that is emotional suicide, opening you up into repeating the cycle. After all, just because someone has repented to you, it doesn’t mean they definitely won’t try to repeat it. Holding a grudge, though…not really the best emotional strategy, either. (There is a difference between remembering and bearing a grudge…in my mind, anyway.)

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