Forgive & Forget
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the most forgiving man to ever live. His life compared to any of ours makes our lives seem so easy. He had the up most tolerance towards disrespectful, ignorant people. He constantly forgave people who threw trash in his path, who put animal guts on his back while he prayed, the Jewish women who deliberately tried to kill him by poisoning his food, the people of ta’if and the children who spat and threw rocks at him driving him out-of-town.
He was such an amazing human being. The story of ta’if shows us how merciful he was.
He goes with humility in his heart to talk to the people of Ta’if about Islam. He is rejected and the chiefs of the town have the people on the street and all the kids of the town drive him out by throwing rocks at him. As he is running, blood is dripping down our Prophets legs, he is injured, heart-broken, and exhausted. As he finally makes his way out of the gates of Ta’if he takes rest under a palm tree’s shade. Blood is pouring from our beloved Prophets legs. It is at this time Angel Gabriel comes down to him and asks him to say one word and he would destroy the whole town. This is where the Prophets reply makes us feel ashamed of how we treat those who have wronged us. Imagine, having been thrown out of a town you were only trying to help. Being chased out by kids, injured, bleeding, with tears running down your eyes. Imagine, the anger you would feel, the justice you think these people would deserve. If you were asked the question our Prophet was, what would you say?
Our Prophet, in his immense humility, prays to Allah and he says: “O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and the humiliation I have been subjected to by the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the week and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me?
To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favor is of a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descends upon me. I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased.
There is no power and no mite except by You.”
How amazing! He asks Allah if he has done something wrong that has caused Allah to be angry with him. That is the first thing he says. He doesn’t pray to Allah for the destruction of these people, for vengeance, for blood. He asks Allah to be happy with him, he seeks refuge in Allah. “I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased” Words don’t describe the amount of patience, depth, and true belief in Allah this illustrates.
How many times does someone say a couple of words to us and we get distraught. A couple of words, and we are up in arms. Our faces turn red, our hearts start beating fast, and our eyes glaze over with a fury to hurt that person. To seek vengeance, to repay them with pain and anger. Family members quarrel between each other, friends break bonds with each other, a man of high status looks down and spits on those lower than him…and at the end of the day they all go to sleep feeling like they embody what it means to be Muslim.
Being Muslim is a GIFT, it is not something to be taken lightly. We are ambassadors of this great religion, but more importantly we are people who embody what it means to have humility. To put people first, to understand that if everyone is stubborn then only evil spreads. We must take it upon ourselves to reflect the Prophets character.To be mirrors that shine light into this world of utter chaos and darkness. If we become dark empty wells then the whole world goes black. It is hard, it is hard to be the one who has to take the pain, the anger, the depression, the emotional hurt and swallow it. To push it back down our throats, and to do it only out of the love for Allah and His messenger. It is painful to be the one who has to take the abuse and absorb it, to deflect it away instead of reflecting it back into the world. It is hard, but it becomes easy if you do it for the love of Allah. It becomes easy if you do it to be like our Prophet. It becomes easy when your heart understands this pain is temporary, it is short-lived but the reward is everlasting. It becomes easy when the reward is being loved by Allah and meeting our Prophet in Paradise. That should make us all want to challenge ourselves at being better than each other in character. To stop competing for material good, for status, and rank and instead compete and push each other in who can be the most forgiving, who can take the most hurt, who can reflect the Prophets forgiving character the best. For it is the harder challenges in life that giveaway to the sweetest rewards.
May Allah forgive us all of our anger and our sins this blessed Friday. May He wash away our past stained with anger and help our futures be filled with mercy and forgiveness.
- Omar M