Forgiveness as a Way of Life

Ever wonder what life would be like if our family and friends never forgave us for the mistakes we made?

Take a moment to reflect on your own life. Think hard about it. What images do you see more often? Do you see yourself apologizing more or waiting for an apology?

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Now try to forget about all of those times when you felt someone else should have been asking you for forgiveness but did not come around to it.

Forget about all of those times when you felt you deserved an apology but one was not forthcoming. This is not about everyone else, it is about you.

It is about you making an intentional decision, a deliberate choice to internalize forgiveness as a way of life.

What Is Forgiveness?

All of us, at one point or another in our lives, have had an experience that frustrated us, made us upset, resentful, or angry.

The sources of difficulty might have been the words or actions of a family member or friend, or the words or actions of a stranger. Based on the intensity of the pain or harm we perceive from such difficult moments or incidents, we sometimes find that it is not possible for us to move on, to overlook, or to look past the pain or hurt.

Even worse, we sometimes find it impossible to resume normal interactions with the individual or individuals who have caused us the pain.

Forgiveness is the subsiding and ultimate elimination of feelings of anger, frustration, and resentment towards the individual or individuals who have caused us the pain, followed by a resumption of normal interactions with the individual or individuals concerned.

Ultimately, forgiving a person wipes away the active memory of whatever pain or hurt that caused the rift to begin with.

Allah Is the Oft-Forgiving

This notion of wiping away, of starting anew, is rooted in Islamic teachings. One of the attributes of Allah Almighty is that He is Al-Ghaffar (the Forgiving). There are frequent occurrences in the Quran highlighting the notion of Allah forgiving us; and of covering or wiping our sins away. Among the numerous examples in the Quran, a part of one verse in particular stands out; {for Allah does blot out sins and forgive again and again} (An-Nisaa’ 4:43)

And in this same surah, Allah Almighty reminds us again of people who strive to do good and struggle in the path of Allah;

{For these, there is hope that Allah will forgive: For Allah does blot out (sins) and forgive again and again.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:99)

The reference to blotting out our sins reminds us of a renewal of sorts so that the slate of our actions is wiped clean. Similarly, when forgiving a person or persons, we strive to reach a level of self-restraint; so that our actions are no longer guided by anger or resentment, but rather by a desire to reestablish the bonds which exists between family and friends.

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