2 million Muslims get to go for Hajj each year. Leaving one billion five hundred sixty-eight million Muslims behind wishing they could be a tiny speck in those breathtaking pictures. Especially on a day like today, the day of Arafah, many Muslims hearts ache a bit wishing they were lucky enough to be of those Allah SWT is proud of:
“There is no day on which Allah frees servants of His from Fire more than [those freed on] the Day of `Arafat. And, verily, He draws near and then proudly speaks about them [i.e. the pilgrims] before the angels, saying, ‘What do these seek?'” (Muslim)
Some of you may feel left out as you’ve never been invited, others may be longing to go back.
Either way I’ve got a surprise for you.
What if I shared an activity or experience with you that had a Hajj like transformation? After all, aside from being a pillar of Islam, Hajj is meant to change you for the better and make you more conscious of Allah. This exercise will do just that.
A few months back I took an al-Kauthar course called Heart Therapy. As I mentioned in my post Talking your way out of Jannah, this course was a life changer.
When we reached the topic of anger and forgiveness, the shaikh went through the hadiths on the importance of forgiving people, the usual quotes on how its like drinking poison while expecting the other person to die etc etc. He explained that the act of forgiving someone is given a lofty status in Islam because it rids society of animosity and hate. Shaytaan causes us to hold grudges and hate others to cause disunity amongst the Ummah and especially within families.
Thin line between love and hate
Then he asked us to think of someone we are holding a grudge towards. Someone who has wronged us, hurt us, oppressed us in someway. Immediately someone came to mind. The truly frightening part is the face that comes to mind is that of someone you love in some capacity. Someone who is near and dear and then betrayed you somehow.
You may have been treated worse by strangers or people who don’t mean anything to you, but when someone close hurts you, you feel betrayed. It’s as if they infiltrated a part of your heart then put fire to it.
3 steps to truly forgiving someone.
Think of someone you refuse to forgive.
Imagine a ginormous oven/tandoor, one in which you can feel the heat from far away. Now imagine that person being thrown in there for a few hours. Most people wouldn’t be able to handle their worst enemy experiencing such excruciating pain..some could. Your refusal to forgive someone could be the reason they did not make it into Jannah. Holding grudges is not a petty issue, it can have the most severe consequences.
Raise your hands and ask Allah swt to have mercy on that person, ask Allah swt to forgive that person for hurting you or doing you wrong even if it was intentional. Ask Allah swt to bless this person.
At this point I was fiercely battling my nafs. NO! she shouted, my grudge and refusal to forgive him/her is all I have. It’s the only thing I walked away from that situation with. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO FORGIVE, how dare anyone try to take away my God given right for the sake of someone that treacherous???
That’s where my nafs was soo wrong.I will forgive for MY sake. Not someone elses. Yes, I will be giving up the chance to inherit their good deeds on the Day of judgement (how many good deeds can such a person have anyway), or having them be punished by Allah the Most Just for what they did to me; but by forgiving them, I walk away with so much more.
“The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with Allah…” (Ash-Shura, 42:40)
No one can take revenge like God.
I used to find much comfort in this statement. Statements like these make the weak feel powerful. For the sake of peace (and sometimes when we just don’t have the guts to fight back ), we may hold our tongues or not retaliate, all the while feeling a little bit better knowing that Allah will handle this for us.
Many of us get excited when we hear statements and quotes of Allah’s revenge.
We should actually be scared.
The same God who has details of every injustice committed against you, has details of every injustice you committed against someone else.
Think about all the people you hurt knowingly and unknowingly. Imagine none of them forgave you. It’s a million times more likely that you will forgive or be forgiven on this earth than in the Hereafter. On the Day of Judgement, a day so horrifying that your own mother will turn on you if it means saving herself from burning in a pit of fire- you will find absolutely no mercy in mankind let alone in those you’ve wronged. Each and every person you’ve ever hurt or wronged will have the chance to take away a portion of your good deeds. How many good deeds are worth each act of oppression? No one knows.
Perils of grudges
-animosity with in the ummah: the unforgivable person is most likely someone you’re close to .
– negative toll on your health
– your refusal to forgive someone might be what stands between them and Jannah
Virtues of forgiveness
“… They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(An-Nur, 24:22)
– You’re setting yourself free
– You’re ransoming yourself from Hell fire. You’re giving up your God given right so that Allah swt has Mercy on you as well
– You are promoting peace within the ummah.
March 22, 2015
One of the most interesting parts of the forgiveness exercise for me was that I had already forgiven the person whose face came to mind when the shaikh prompted us to think of that person you’re holding a grudge towards. Or so I thought. It wasn’t until I raised my hands, and asked Allah to forgive them that I truly felt the anger, grudge and hate leave my body. I felt lighter. I felt born again. I felt like a brand new person; pure, fresh and ready to enjoy life. On March 22nd, 2015, I forgave everyone that ever wronged me.
“… But if you pardon and exonerate and forgive, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(At-Taghabun, 64: 14)
I wasn’t afraid of anyone hurting or wronging me anymore. I no longer had to worry about the perfect comeback or course of retaliation. From now on I was going to forgive everyone because I want Allah’s forgiveness.
The biggest difference in my second forgiveness was that I consciously made duah for that person. I asked Allah -the One from Whom I was expecting revenge on my behalf-to forgive this person for what they did and to have mercy on them.
I had never felt so liberated and powerful in my life.
This experience was similar to Hajj in the sense that I am a different person now ever since that day. I have truly changed. Not only do I know what peace feels like, I have a whole new perspective on life. Having forgiven everyone, I am hoping for Allah’s Mercy.
It will take no longer than a couple of minutes. Forgive the person who you just can’t forgive. Not because they deserve it, but because you do. Trust me, it will change your life.