Ramadhan Diaries 4: Forgiveness, the way to Peace

This is the last segment of my “Ramadhan Diaries”. I hope that you will enjoy this read as you have the others. The most important and sought after days of Ramadhan are the last ten nights, knows as the Nights of Qadr (Night of Light, Night of Power).

 “We have indeed revealed this (Quran) in the Night of Qadr: And what will explain to you what the Night of Qadr is? The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) by Allah’s permission, with every decreed command. Peace it is until the rise of Dawn!”(Quran 97: 1-5)

In these Nights, it is believed that the heavens are open and it is a chance for one to catch up or make up for any shortcomings in worship during the beginning and middle of Ramadhan. It is also the Night where the decree of every human being is written. On this particular night, all the provisions, wealth, agricultural products, who is to live and die that year, and everything on the Earth concerning mankind, is to be decided.

It is also the Night when the Holy Quran was  sent down. The first part of it was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad on the Night of Qadr, and the rest revealed to him gradually over a period of 23 years.

Because the exact Night of Qadr has not been identified, but it is known to exist among the last 10, it is highly recommended to spend these closing nights in worship and seeking forgiveness.

But one does not merely enter the nights of Qadr expecting to attain maximum benefit. There are certain criterion and the three most important, aside from daily practices in Ramadhan are, Charity, Making Dua (Supplication) and Seeking Forgiveness – which were the basis of these Ramadhan Diaries

 Forgiveness.

Man is quick to err. But seeking forgiveness is often overlooked, and although all religions call to seek forgiveness from the divine for the sins or mistakes commited, rarely does man take the opportunity to turn inwards, reflect on his misdeeds and seek repentance for them.

Forgiveness is a huge concept in Islam. I know that Islam has been viewed as a very harsh and non-forgiving religion, but our God, just like any other is merciful and forgiving.

. . . and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Quran 24:22]

 Forgiveness for Self

For one to receive the mercy of God, one must

Recognize the offense – a very grave step in seeking forgiveness, as many times, the ego prevents one from acknowledging the wrong that they have committed.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 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.”

Make an intention not to repeat the offense again – sincerity in seeking forgiveness comes from the understanding that the crime, sin or mistake will not be knowingly committed again. However, even if one does accidentally commit the same offense, forgiveness should be sought again, for there is no limit to God’s forgiveness.

“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.”

Asking for forgiveness from God – surely, the words “Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” are repeated many times throughout the Quran, to demonstrate the forgiving nature of our Lord.One should seek forgiveness with the belief that God will show them mercy.

“O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Forgiveness towards Others

This is a very important aspect of forgiveness, and something that I would like to focus on in this article.

It is very difficult for us to find forgiveness in our hearts towards those who may have wronged us. Or we may find ourselves “forgiving” them while we still harbor ill-feelings towards them in our hearts.

It is believed that one must forgive to be forgiven, and the benefits of forgiving other outweigh the feelings of resentment that linger within.

“Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), God will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins.”

The benefits of forgiving others can be summed up into three categories:

Spiritual Benefits – One of the biggest benefits of forgiving others is suppressing our Egos. When we forgive those who have not sought forgiveness from us, we are humbling ourselves and strengthening our relationship with each other. There is nothing more that pleases God than crushing our egos and building strong bonds with our fellow brothers and sisters. Also, how can we expect God to forgive us when we are not willing to forgive others.

Psychological Benefits – When we fail to forgive others, we carry a lot of hurt and insecurity within us, and we tend to project these feelings of bitterness and anger onto others.  When we reflect on the hurtful behavior of others, we are able to empower ourselves and become better people by ensuring that we do not do the same to others. When we forgive others, it makes us sympathetic towards the situations that cause people to act in such hurtful ways, thus separating the person from their deeds.

Physical Benefits – Modern science has been able to establish a direct relation between body pain and emotional well being. When we carry a lot of grudges and negativity within us, we often suffer from stress related ailments such as backaches, increased pressure and heart rates , insomnia, stomach problems, feelings of depression and lack of control. By letting go of the negativity and forgiving others, our hearts are lightened and  we are able to function more productively.

It has been a wonderful experience covering this journey of Ramadhan with you. I pray that these small pearls of wisdom have benefited you, my dear readers.

As we come to the end of Ramadhan, and as we take account of our selves, I pray that may we receive the the strength to forgive others for their faults, and may we be forgiven our own.

With Blessings and love, until the next Ramadhan.


Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. 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. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.”


 

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