Forgiveness in Islam
[ March 25, 2016 ]
Human beings are not perfect, everybody commits mistakes in life and unknowingly commits sins. So forgiveness is a critical aspect in Islam. Muslims believe that Almighty Allah is merciful and forgiving. There are two kinds of forgiveness in Islam: Almighty Allah’s forgiveness and human forgiveness. Human beings are in need of both since they make mistakes in their relations to Almighty Allah as well as their relations to each other.
In Islam, all that is needed is to recognize the mistake/sin, rectify it and seek forgiveness. The first step in asking for forgiveness is to recognize and admit the fact that you have made a mistake or committed a sin. This is a grave step because, many times, the ego prevents individuals from even acknowledging that they have wronged. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “O Allah! Make me among those who, when they commit an act of virtue, feel good, and when they commit a mistake, they seek forgiveness.” The words “Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” are repeated many a times throughout the holy Quran. In Islam, individuals who commit a sin ask for forgiveness directly from the Almighty Allah there is no intermediary.
Even if an individual does accidentally repeat the offence, forgiveness should be asked for again, for there is no limit to Almighty Allah’s forgiveness as narrated in the holy Quran.
If an individual wrongs another human being, the act must first be rectified with the wronged individual who should be asked for forgiveness before seeking forgiveness from the Almighty Allah. The Prophet Muhammad(SAW) said, "Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else, he/she should beg before him to forgive him/her before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money (to compensate for wrong deeds), but if he/she has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him/her according to his oppression which he has done, and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him." Islam also teaches human beings to be forgiving and if someone sincerely asks for forgiveness, the wronged person should forgive him/her. The Prophet Muhammad(SAW) said, "Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), God will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins." While sincerely asking for forgiveness, the intention should be not to knowingly repeat the same sin again and again. However, even if an individual does accidentally repeat the offence, forgiveness should be asked for again, for there is no limit to Almighty Allah’s forgiveness as narrated in the holy Quran. In a hadith, Almighty Allah says “O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of me, I would forgive you."