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The Unlimited Forgiveness of God

We’re continuing our discussion about the beautiful Names of Allah Almighty and today let’s talk about His Name Al-Ghafoor – The Most Forgiving.

Allah’s Names come from intensity in meaning; they indicate that He embodies the most intense form of the meaning of the word.

The Most Forgiving

So with the name Al-Ghafoor, it means that He’s intensely forgiving, the Most forgiving, in fact He’s constantly forgiving.

There are other forms of this word found in the Quran one of that indicates that Allah is immediately forgiving, He forgives immediately, not like us, get upset or insulted and we need time to cool down and to finally come around and say “ok I forgive you”.

Allah Almighty Al-Ghafoor, He forgives immediately. He forgives abundantly; there is absolutely no limit to His forgiveness.

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In the Hadith, we find that if one of us were to come seeking forgiveness would come to Allah with sins that fill the entire earth or from the earth to the limits of the heaven, Allah would match that amount of sins with His forgiveness; He would forgive all of it, His forgiveness is limitless.

There is a chapter in the Quran that is entitled Ghafir (the Forgiver), Allah said in the third verse describing Himself {The forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance} (48:3)

Then He goes on to say that He is severe in punishment, and that He mentions that He is the owner of abundance. There is no deity except Him and to Him is the final destination.

So He affirms that He is the Forgiver here, but He reminded us in this verse that this is not our final destination. We’re all travelling back to Allah and this worldly life has a purpose, therefore there are consequences.

The Concept of Sin

The concept of sin, I think is not fully grasped in some aspect of the society, especially the secular side that lack religious knowledge. They say: “why would God care about what I wear or what I say, or how I live my life?”

But in Islam we understand that we have not been created aimlessly, we are not here for no reason; we do have a purpose and it must be fulfilled in order to be successful.

Sins are not haphazard, Allah Al-Ghafoor, describes sin as being against ourselves. When we sin, we are the only ones to get harmed.

Allah Almighty is free of need, we can’t harm Him, we can’t hurt Him, we can’t do anything to Him, or take anything away from Him and He doesn’t gain anything by us doing good deeds or by us staying away from sin.

In chapter Az-Zumar verse 3, Allah says:

{Say, O my servants who have transgressed against themselves by sinning, do not despair by the mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah forgives all sins. Indeed it He who is the forgiving the merciful.} (39:3)

Here, He’s commanding us. First of all, He’s pointing out that when we do wrong then that we are transgressing against our own souls. But He’s commanding us that do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Do not give into those sins. Do not give into losing hope.”

Hope in Allah’s Mercy

Always have hope in the mercy of Allah Almighty so as we turn to Him. He goes on in the chapter to talk about returning to Him in repentance submitting to Him and following the guidance that He revealed.

So it’s a very simple recipe basically. We just stay in contact with our Lord and constantly come back to Him, seeking His forgiveness, being aware of our actions, and then we submit to His Will and we follow the guidance that we have so graciously, generously, and mercifully revealed.

If we deny this generous gift that He’s giving us in this guidance and this opportunity and the countless of opportunities that He gives us to turn back to Him and instead we decide that we want to turn away, then we’re ultimately destroying ourselves, and that’s the ultimate loss.

When I think about turning to Allah and when I think about the idea of fleeing to Him, it reminds me of my daughter. She’s just 4 years old, she’s really cute, and when she does something wrong and she realizes she’s in trouble, she runs to me, crying, usually tears streaming down her face. Her face is getting red and she hugs my legs and she would say “I love you mommy” or she told me that she’s sorry… so adorable, so sincere and genuine and it’s so endearing and honestly it’s quite affective.

So comparing that a child runs to his or her parent in remorse out of love wishing and hope that their love would not be removed.

The child is fearing that the love of their parent, their affection will somehow be taken away from them, that it would be changed. They’re crying from that fear, that the beautiful relationship they have will be altered…

Comparing that to us, as believers, we need to run to Allah Almighty Al-Ghafoor in a similar way to this.

In fact we should be running to Him with more love than a child would to their parents and with more fear.

He’s the one who’s given us life. He’s the one who provides us with every single bit of sustenance and happiness and family that we have and it is to Him that we’ll return and if we fail, we have a lot more to lose than a child would by losing in their parent.

Turn to Him

The fact that Allah has promised us His forgiveness no matter how many times we come back asking for it. It reminds me of a psychologist of parenting, they tell parents even “don’t tell your child that you are ungrateful, you are stupid, for example…” you never tell the child that they are the embodiment of a bad action. Instead, you correct them by pointing out the action that they did, like when you say that, you are ungrateful, to say that or it was not a wise decision when you did this.

Instead of saying: “you’re not wise, you’re stupid, you’re ungrateful…” you don’t characterize the child by their actions, instead you pick the action out and you explain why it is incorrect.

So what I learn from the fact that Allah Almighty is Al-Ghafoor, that He’s constantly forgiving, it means that we don’t embody our sins, we’re not characterized by our sins. Our sins are actions that we may do, but we can break free from them, we can rid ourselves from them, we can be netter than that.

So if I did something wrong, it doesn’t mean that I’m that way, that means we’re separate from our actions, that we can change, we can go forward in life and we can be better.

It means that the doors to self improvement are always open as we are alive and well. Isn’t that beautiful?

Forgive Others

I want to make one last point, in chapter An-Nour, Allah Al-Ghafoor says:

{Part and overlook, would you not like that Allah should forgive you. Allah is the Most Forgiving Most Merciful} (24:22)

He’s pointing out, reminding us that our state that we desire to be forgiven. When one we love doesn’t like to forgive us, it causes us pain and turmoil. The thought of running to Allah seeking His forgiveness and then not being forgiven! Just imagine if that were the case… it would be devastating.

But that’s not the case, instead He wipes away our misdeeds and covers them up. So this needs to translate into our own actions and the way that we deal with our fellow human beings.

This verse basically points out that we should be treating others as we hope to be treated. We desire forgiveness from Allah, therefore we should strive to also be pardoning and lenient with people, and avoid wishing any less on anyone than we would hope for ourselves.

By striving to be more forgiving and merciful ourselves, we can completely alter what kind of energy we are in the world. Imagine how it would change your life if you were to let things go more easily, if you were to turn to people you love most especially with mercy instead of anger and resent.

I pray to Allah that we might be of those people who constantly remember and turn back to Allah Al-Ghafoor, knowing with certainty that He is the Most Forgiving, the most abundantly, constantly forgiving.

I pray that each one of us, you and I, can ponder over this Name as we read it throughout the Quran, in our prayers, in duas, supplication such that it transforms us into more forgiving, loving and merciful people. Ameen.

Thanks for listening.

(From Discovering Islam archive)

About Danielle LoDuca
Danielle LoDuca is a third generation American artist and author. Drawing inspiration from personal life experiences, her writings highlight the familiarity of Islam in a climate that increasingly portrays the Islamic faith as strange. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute and has pursued postgraduate studies in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Foundation for Knowledge and Development. LoDuca’s work has been featured in media publications in the US and abroad and she is currently working on a book that offers a thought-provoking American Muslim perspective, in contrast to the negative narratives regarding Islam and Muslims prevalent in the media today