I don’t know about you, but my friends and I have been talking about a new feature that has evoked many painful emotions – Facebook memories. At first, I thought that I would hurt the most when reading the wall posts by friends who are no longer in my life. I was wrong. What troubles me the most is how careless I had been with social media. For example, when someone upset or angered me, there were occasions when I took to Facebook to rant and whine. Although I used cryptic language to hide the identity of the person, let’s face it – it’s not difficult to figure it out. In that moment of distress, I felt like it was justified. However, we have to remember this – even if what I ranted about was true, it is backbiting. Allah says that backbiting is like eating the flesh of a dead brother. Is it worth it? Why didn’t I make wudu’ to extinguish my fury? Wouldn’t it have been better to turn to Allah instead? Our Prophet SAW mentioned in a powerful Hadith, “The powerful man is not the one who can wrestle but the one who can control himself at the time of anger.” He also said, ““If one of you becomes angry then he should stay silent.” How I reacted showed the condition of my heart. I also failed to realise that my rash words could easily be screenshot and forwarded to hundreds of people, even after I take down my post. Astaghfirullahal ‘Adzim.
In contrast, our beloved Prophet SAW was extremely forgiving. We all know how cruel the people of Ta’if were when he went there to spread Allah’s message. They persecuted him. They maligned him. They even struck him with stones. What would we have done? He SAW prayed, “O Allah, guide these people, as they did not know what they were doing.” Subhanallah. Imagine having people tormenting you and your loved ones for years and years. Imagine if someone murdered your uncle in cold blood, maimed his body and then chewed on his liver. What would we do if we subsequently held the position of a leader? What would we do if we knew that we could order their execution in a blink of an eye? Our beloved Prophet SAW graciously said, “Today I shall say to you what Prophet Yusuf said to his brothers, ‘No blame on you today. Go, you are all free.’ ” Subhanallah. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what others did to us was alright. It also doesn’t mean that we have to keep these people in our lives. It means that we are willing to let go of the hurt and pain, for the sake of the One we love – Allah.
How do we start cultivating such compassion? I’ve found that nothing is more humbling than thinking about our mortality. Every step we take is a step closer to death. Where do we want to end up? Once, our Prophet SAW was sitting with a group of the Sahabah (ra) in the mosque. He said, “A man will now enter, who is from the people of Paradise,” and a Sahabi (companion of the Prophet SAW) walked in. Later it happened again, and then a third time. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘aas (ra) wanted to find out what was so remarkable about this man. So he asked the man if he could stay in his home for three days. The man allowed him to stay. ‘Abdullah noticed that the man didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. For example, he didn’t fast all the time and, he slept some of the night and prayed some of the night. After three days, ‘Abdullah told him the real reason he requested to stay with him, and asked him why he was from the people of Jannah. The man (ra) couldn’t think of anything. However, after a bit, he said, “Every night, before I go to sleep, I forgive whoever has wronged me. I remove any bad feelings towards anyone from my heart.” Ma shaa Allah. Our purpose here is to know, love and worship Allah. Ultimately, we want to get to Jannah. We want to return to Him in the most beautiful way. Forgiving is difficult, but we need to trust Allah. Every experience is planned by Him, and He is the Best of Planners. Every experience is a blessing. Every experience is a chance to draw closer to Him. Be at peace, knowing that Allah sees everything. He knows exactly what you are going through. Let it go. Forgive them, even if they are not sorry. Our focus is not on them. It’s on Him. When we have mercy on others, Allah will have mercy on us too. When we choose to forgive, Allah raises our status in the hereafter. At the end of the day, isn’t attaining Jannah the only destination that matters? May Allah forgive all our sins, bless our wonderful families and grant us the highest Jannah, Aamiin.