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Forgiveness in Islam Introduction
Forgiveness in Islam- Islam is one of the most peaceful religions in the world because it instills kindness and truthfulness in its believers. Not just that, it is also a religion of forgiveness, as many verses of the Quran and Hadith claim that Allah is the most merciful and forgiving.
Islam also emphasizes the significance of forgiving others strongly. Allah assures those who forgive others of special rewards.
In this article, we will discuss the key difference between repentance and forgiveness. The different types of forgiveness in Islam, and why Islam teaches the believers to forgive others. The correct way to repent and the virtues behind forgiveness.
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Types of Forgiveness in Islam
The concept of forgiveness in Islam is mostly related to the forgiveness of Allah on the repentance of the believers. However, there are two types of forgiveness in Islam.
1- Allah’s Forgiveness
Allah’s forgiveness is a personal matter between a believer and Allah. As human beings, we tend to commit a lot of sins in our everyday life, and most of us are not living our life according to the teachings of Islam.
But the beauty of Islam is that it tells the believer to repent no matter how many times a sin has been committed. And Allah will forgive him/her if the repentance was made sincerely. There’s no hard and fast rule that you have to follow to seek Allah’s forgiveness in Islam. You only have to realize your wrongdoings and make dua for him to forgive you.
Allah has 99 names, and all of them exhibit the beauty of his divine existence. One of his names is Al Ghafoor, which means The ever forgiving, or the All-forgiving. Allah not only forgives the believers completely, but he also hides their sins from the world.
Allah mentions Al-Ghafoor in Quran 72 times, in pair with the name Ar-Raheem, which means the most compassionate. Indeed, Allah is the most forgiving and most merciful.
Allah has encouraged the Muslims in Quran to repent as many times as they want, no matter how many times they go astray, their lord is ever forgiving and they can always come back to him with sincere repentance.
2- Human Forgiveness
Human forgiveness in Islam refers to the act of forgiveness by believers for each other. It’s very common for us to get into quarrels in our everyday life without realizing how we can end up hurting people’s feelings.
As we move forward in the world, we tend to forget that apologizing and forgiving are necessary to maintain healthy relationships in life. Therefore, Islam teaches Muslims to be kind and forgiving.
Before requesting Allah’s forgiveness for an act of evil, the wrongdoer must make amends with the person or people they hurt and seek their forgiveness. Islam says that if someone honestly pleads for forgiveness, they should be given it by the one who has been wronged.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him), our beloved, said: “Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), Allah will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins.”
Sometimes, forgiving people for the pain they have caused us is not easy, but if we expect Allah to forgive us, we must learn to forgive others too. One of the finest examples of forgiving others in Islam comes from none other than the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). The greatest man in the world Prophet (Peace be upon him) was the person who was most forgiving. He never hesitated to pardon his enemies.
He was harassed, abused, and stoned by Ta’if’s people when he arrived there to share the message of Allah. Infuriated and hurt, he fled the city. He sought refuge under a tree, and an angel of Allah came to him and informed him that Allah had sent him to destroy the Ta’if people because they had committed the sin of mistreating their Prophet. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) pleaded to Allah to save them. Because what the people of Ta’if did was the result of their ignorance.
What is the Benefit of Forgiving Others?
Although Islam does not force anything on its believers, it still places a strong emphasis on forgiving others. If we think about it with logic, at the end of the day Islam only orders things for the welfare of believers. A person can never attain peace of mind if he/she keeps grudges in their heart.
So it is better to forgive and forget. As a result of forgiving others, we can hope that we will also be forgiven by Allah. A hadith reported by Abdullah ibn Amr mentions that our Prophet (Peace be upon him) said that: “The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī
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Forgiveness in Islam in The Light of the Quran
For Muslims, the Quran is the sole reliable source of guidance since it contains the words of Allah as revealed to the Last Prophet (P.B.U.H). Muslims adhere to the teachings of the Quran in their daily lives and hold its words in the highest regard. The Quran includes various verses that beautifully convey the idea of repentance and forgiveness in Islam. A few of verses about Forgiveness in Islam are discussed below.
Forgiveness in Islam Mentioned in Surah Al Hijr
- وَمَا خَلَقْنَا ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَآ إِلَّا بِٱلْحَقِّ ۗ وَإِنَّ ٱلسَّاعَةَ لَـَٔاتِيَةٌۭ ۖ فَٱصْفَحِ ٱلصَّفْحَ ٱلْجَمِيلَ ٨٥
“We have not created the heavens and the earth and everything in between except for a purpose. And the Hour is certain to come, so forgive graciously.” 15:85
In Surah Al Hijr, Verse number 85, Allah has explained to the believers that this world was created with a purpose. Which is to remind the Muslims that soon they will return back to their creator. And it teaches us to forgive others regardless of the pain they have caused.
This verse was revealed to reassure the Holy prophet (P.B.U.H) that he will win in his fight against falsehood. Because it seemed like falsehood was winning out over truth at the time, such an assurance was desperately needed. This verse also tells us that Allah ordered the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) to forgive the disbelievers despite their misdeeds.
Forgiveness in Islam in Surah Az Zumar
- قُلْ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا۟ مِن رَّحْمَةِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” 39:53
In Surah Az- Zumar verse no.53 Allah explains to us that, no matter how many times we have sinned, we must never doubt the mercy of Allah and know that he will forgive us.
This verse was revealed when some people came to Prophet (P.B.U.H) and told him that they want to become Muslim, however, they had previously killed many people unfairly and had carried out many other despicable deeds. They approached the Holy Prophet and bowed down before him, saying, “The religion you invite us to is, without a doubt, very good, but we have an issue.” They were worried about all the grave sins they had already committed, and they were doubtful about their repentance being forgiven.
Surah Hud Forgiveness in Islam
- وَیَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُوا۟ رَبَّكُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوبُوۤا۟ إِلَیۡهِ یُرۡسِلِ ٱلسَّمَاۤءَ عَلَیۡكُم مِّدۡرَارࣰا وَیَزِدۡكُمۡ قُوَّةً إِلَىٰ قُوَّتِكُمۡ وَلَا تَتَوَلَّوۡا۟ مُجۡرِمِینَ
“And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him; he will send you (from the sky) abundant rain and add strength to your strength, so do not turn away as Mujrimoon (criminals, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah).” 11:52
This is verse no.52 from Surah Hud, in this verse Allah has explained the rewards of seeking forgiveness from him. And he has asked the believers not to become one of those that do not believe in the oneness of Allah.
Forgiveness in Islam in Surah Ash Shura
- وَجَزَٰٓؤُا۟ سَيِّئَةٍۢ سَيِّئَةٌۭ مِّثْلُهَا ۖ فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُۥ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ ٤٠
“The reward of an evil deed is its equivalent. But whoever pardons and seeks reconciliation, then their reward is with Allah. He certainly does not like the wrongdoers.” 42:40
The verse no.40 of Surah Ash-shura explains to us that although it is legal to take revenge against an evil deed, whenever pardoning might lead to reconciliation, it is preferable to do so over taking revenge. And because a believer can forgive another by repressing his own emotions, Allah declares that such a person will receive his reward from Him because he has repressed himself in order to rehabilitate the evildoers.
- وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَٱلسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُوٓا۟ أُو۟لِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَـٰكِينَ وَٱلْمُهَـٰجِرِينَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ وَلْيَعْفُوا۟ وَلْيَصْفَحُوٓا۟ ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌ
“Do not let the people of virtue and affluence among you swear to suspend donations to their relatives, the needy, and the emigrants in the cause of Allah. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love to be forgiven by Allah? And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 24:22
Surah An-Noor verse no 22, this verse was revealed when Abu Bakar said that he would no longer support the household of Mistah bin uthatha, as he had shown no gratefulness to Hazrat Abu Bakar. That’s when this verse was revealed and taught the believers that they should help needy people regardless of their behaviors.
Forgiveness in Islam in The Light of Hadith
Second to the Quran, Hadith is one of the major sources of guidance in Islam. Hadith refers to the sayings of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) encouraged his companions to ask for Allah’s forgiveness as much as they can. He told them Allah is kind and loves to forgive us. Let’s have a look at those Hadith.
Abu Hurairah Narration about In this article, we will discuss the key difference between repentance and forgiveness. The different types of forgiveness in Islam, and why Islam teaches the believers to forgive others.
Abu Hurairah Narration about Forgiveness in Islam
- Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.” [Muslim]
Forgiveness in Islam Narration from Ibn Abbas
- Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported that:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” [Abu Dawud].
Hazrat Aishah Reported about Forgiveness in Islam
- ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:
Before his demise, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to supplicate frequently: Subhan Allahi wa bihamdihi; Astaghfirullaha wa atubu ilaihi (Allah is free from imperfection, and I begin with praising Him. I beg forgiveness from Allah and I turn to Him in repentance.”
Forgiveness in Islam reported by Anas Bin Malik
- Anas Bin Malik reported that he heard the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) say:
“Allah the Almighty has said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me, and hope in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam were your sins to reach the clouds in the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I shall forgive you. O son of Adam were you to come to Me with an earthful of sins and were you then to face Me, without having associated anything with Me, I shall grant you an earthful of pardon.”
How To Ask for Allah’s Forgiveness
In Islam, the intentions of the believer are considered the basis for his evaluation. The relationship of the creator with his creation is sacred. The guilt followed by sin is one of the signs that Allah wants you to be on the right path and he wants you to ask for his mercy.
Islam has prohibited Muslims from engaging in certain actions, all for their own welfare. However, when a believer engages in a sinful he or she feels guilty. To ask for Allah’s forgiveness, one must decide not to repeat those sins again.
You can recite “Astaghfirullah” to seek Allah’s forgiveness in Islam. It translates into: “I seek forgiveness from Allah”. There are many other duas that you can recite, but it’s not obligatory that you recite a certain dua to be forgiven. Another dua that you can recite for forgiveness is
سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك و أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت أستغفرك وأتوب أليك
Translation: “Glory be to You, Allah, and with You Praise (thanks) and I bear witness that there is no deity but You, I ask Your forgiveness and I return to You (in obedience).”
Another dua that Allah’s Prophet told the believers that it is the best supplication that they can make to seek Allah’s forgiveness.
اللهم أنت ربي، لا إله إلا أنت ، خلقتني وأنا عبدك، وأنا على عهدك ووعدك ما استطعت أعوذ بك من شر ما صنعت أبوء لك بنعمتك علي، وأبوء بذنبي، فاغفر لي فإنه لا يغفر الذنوب إلا أنت.
Translation: “O Allah, You are my Lord, none has the right to be worshipped except You, You created me and I am Your servant, and I abide by Your covenant and promise [to honor it] as best I can, I take refuge in You from the evil of which I committed, I acknowledge Your favor upon me and I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me, for verily none can forgive sins except You.”
In another Hadith, the Holy Propet has mentioned a dua that believers can recite to be forgiven.
مَنْ قَالَ: سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ في يومٍ مِائَةَ مَرَّةٍ حُطَّتْ عَنْهُ خَطَايَاهُ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ مِثْلَ زَبَدِ الْبَحْر.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated directly from the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) that he said: “Whoever says “Glory be to Allah and praise be to Him” one hundred times, his sins will be unloaded from him, even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.”
Forgiveness in Islam FAQS
Q1. what are the different types of forgiveness in Islam?
There are two types of forgiveness in Islam. Allah’s forgiveness and Human’s forgiveness.
Q2. What is meant by Allah’s forgiveness?
In Islam after sinning, a believer is supposed to repent, so Allah can forgive him. Indeed Allah is the most forgiving.
Q3. What is the concept of human forgiveness?
Human forgiveness in Islam refers to the act of forgiveness by believers for each other. Islam encourages believers to forgive each other.
Q4. What are the benefits of forgiving others?
Allah has promised rewards for those believers who forgive others. And when you forgive others you achieve peace of mind as well.
Q5. What does Quran say about repentance?
The Quran tells the believers that Allah is most forgiving, no matter how many sins a believer has committed, he can always find his way back to Allah.
Q6. What is the difference between repentance and forgiveness?
Repentance is seeking Allah’s forgiveness of our sins, whereas forgiveness refers to the release of resentment and forgiving others for their faults.
Q7. How to ask Allah for forgiveness?
You can recite “Astaghfirullah” to seek Allah’s forgiveness. It translates into: “I seek forgiveness from Allah”.