“If the heart’s busy with Allah, endowed with the truth and learning, then you’ve given the heart its rights.” Ibn Taymiyyah’s Fatawa (V. 9, P. 313)
One of the hardest, yet most important things that one can do to soften the heart, is to forgive. How does a person learn to forgive so easily, and not hate? You know when someone you love so dearly does something so unexpected? The trust gets broken. You find it so hard to forgive the one who hurt you, betrayed you, and broke you. The wound cuts deeper and you’re left with the responsibility of pulling that knife out yourself. This type of betrayal is different when it comes from someone you love versus someone you don’t know. It’s because it came out of nowhere. So how do we forgive when the pain was so bad? How do we let go and just be?
You see, with hating and holding grudges, the heart becomes tainted. You leave no room for improvement. It confines not only the heart, but the mind. Your thoughts become so absorbed with what they’ve done, that every time you remember, it haunts you. It brings back those same, horrible feelings again. You relive that same anger that rushes through your body. What about that cooling feel we so desperately want to feel? This is what forgiveness can do. It does so much to the heart. It frees you. It frees you from your pain, and allows you to live how you want to live. It gives you the potential to strengthen yourself. You have a sense of control. So what do you lose when you forgive? You don’t lose anything. In fact, you gain.
Letting go of negative emotions, is different from condoning. When you condone, it means that you’ve accepted what someone has done to you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean acceptance to how they’ve hurt you. It’s acceptance to what has happened and moving on from it. It just means that you are stronger than the mistake. That you overcame the situation and the pain. It means that you’re strong enough to not let the mistakes of others control and affect you, your inner peace and your book of deeds. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you have to resolve whatever the problem was, but rather recognizing that it’s over. You don’t even need to include the person in your life.
So Forgive. Even if you feel like they don’t deserve it. Even if every piece of you wishes to seek revenge. The best revenge is forgiveness. Wouldn’t you want Allah Azwajjal to forgive you on the day when you will so desperately be in need of His forgiveness?
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that “whoever does not show mercy will not receive mercy, and whoever does not forgive will not be forgiven.” Isn’t it crazy how we’re so afraid of being punished for our sins, that we end up slipping, trying to hold on to the door leading to God? Allah Azwajjal has never declared that He will close His doors so long as you keep coming back to Him sincerely. As long as you keep asking for forgiveness. Even if you feel like your sins are unforgivable, He is The Most-Forgiving. So if we’re so aware of this, why do we find it so hard in ourselves to forgive others? Why won’t we allow ourselves to make more room in our hearts for forgiveness and remove hatred? Why do we close the door of forgiveness for others but expect an open door from Allah Azwajjal?
Take the time this month to make amends with anyone that you’ve hurt, or anyone that has hurt you. Remember that we’re not alone. We feel alone, but we’re not alone. Those pains that we feel are so huge to our hearts, seem so small to everyone around us…but do you think that Allah Azwajjal is unaware of them? Take a moment to forgive. Allah ﷻ is always and will always be with you. Even when you feel like no one else is there, He Azwajjal will be. Does He ﷻ not say, “And indeed We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.” (Quran 50:16) ?
I can say with confidence, that once we identify the compositions and complexities of our every step, forgiving becomes so much easier. To forgive someone is to take away your pride and appreciate that life’s too short to hate. So tonight, before you go to bed, think of everyone whose ever hurt you and make the intention to forgive them. Go to bed with a clean heart and let the pain be washed away. If you’ve ever hurt someone, message them privately or call. Let them know you’re sorry and that you’re aware that whatever you did to hurt them was wrong.
Make that intention. Ask Allah Azwajjal to forgive you in the process and know that understanding Allah ﷻ and His beauty, remembering your Creator, the One who loved us before anyone else… that’s the only meaningful pursuit.