How Do We Forgive Those Who Wronged Us without Resentment?

Answered by Shaykh Bassem Itani


How can we forgive those who have wronged us and not feel resentment towards them if they have not asked for our forgiveness, especially when we are still suffering from the effects of their injustice?


All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace be upon our master Muhammad, his family, and all his companions.


Forgiving and overlooking the wrongs done to us is among the noblest of morals, characteristic of prophets, messengers, and the righteous, devout, and pious servants of Allah. Forgiveness is to refrain from punishing those who have wronged you, even when they have not sought your forgiveness, and you have the power to claim your right and to punish them justly while seeking your reward from Allah (Most High).

Allah (Most High) says:

“But whoever pardons and seeks reconciliation, then their reward is with Allah.” [Quran, 42:40]

One of the hardest things after forgiveness is to overlook the wrongs of those who have wronged or mistreated you. Overlooking means cleansing your heart from any grudge against the wrongdoer and removing the lingering effects of that wrong from your soul. This requires purification of the soul, for your ego tends to seek revenge, to harm them, and to withhold forgiveness and forbearance, not to mention the instigation of Satan in the hearts of people to create enmity amongst them. Both the ego and Satan are obstacles to advancing in the ranks of spiritual closeness to Allah.


I will guide you, in sha’ Allah, to steps that will enable you to free yourself from the burdens of resentment and the effects of injustice after forgiveness, if you are able to follow them:

The First Step: Embracing Allah’s Attribute of Pardoning

Bring to mind the name “Al-Afuw” (The Pardoner), one of the beautiful names of Allah mentioned in His Noble Book: “Surely Allah is Ever-Pardoning, All-Forgiving.” [Quran, 22:60]

Reflect and contemplate its meaning, that Allah, The Pardoner, overlooks the sins of His servants and their self-injustice, pardons, and graciously forgives them. Remember and repeat this name with your tongue until it is imprinted in your heart. Embody the essence of this name (Al-Afuw), because Allah loves His servants to embody the implications of His names and attributes, as much as is suitable for a creature. Allah is Generous and loves the generous, Merciful and loves the merciful, Pardoning and loves those who pardon. Imagine becoming beloved to Allah for your forgiveness and overlooking those who wronged you, for being beloved to Allah is a high status attained only by those with great fortune.

Reflect, if you forgive and overlook those who wronged you and embody the meaning of forgiveness, then Allah will reciprocate with forgiveness, overlooking, and mercy. Consider this noble verse representing this meaning:

“Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love to be forgiven by Allah? And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Quran, 24:22]

How can you not hasten to clear your heart from the remnants of the injustice you suffered, to attain Allah’s forgiveness and mercy?!

The Second Step: Following the Prophet’s Example of Forgiveness

Follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who is the best role model. Allah (Most High) says:

“Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example.” [Quran, 33:21]

A believer struggles to emulate the Prophet in speech, action, and state. Emulation is not limited to growing a beard, wearing Sunna clothing, or using a miswak for cleaning teeth alone. It also involves emulating the character of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, which is the highest form of emulation. True emulation is applying the appropriate character in the right context, like in your case, where you forgive but find it difficult to overlook and erase the impact from your heart. Your love for the Prophet motivates you to follow his example in these two qualities: forgiveness and overlooking. Reflect on his noble state, as he was forgiving and overlooking, as Abu Abdullah al-Jadali narrated: I asked ‘Aishah about the character of the Messenger of Allah. She said:

“He was not obscene, nor uttering obscenities, nor screaming in the markets, he would not return an evil with an evil, but rather he was pardoning and forgiving.” [Tirmidhi]

The Third Step: Drawing Lessons from Stories of Prophets, Scholars, and Saints

Reflect on the stories of the Prophets – peace be upon them – in the Quran or the Prophetic Sunna regarding these two great moral attributes, as this will greatly impact your self-awareness and essence, leading to a sense of spiritual strength to change your behavior.

“In their stories there is truly a lesson for people of reason.” [Quran, 12:111]

Read Surat Yusuf in the Holy Quran and deeply follow the story of  Sayyiduna Yusuf with his brothers. Consider the immense injustice he faced from his brothers, yet he was patient, forgiving, and overlooking. He had the power to punish, reproach, and blame them, but the Quran immortalized his words, which we still repeat today when reading Surat Yusuf:

“Joseph said, ‘There is no blame on you today. May Allah forgive you! He is the Most Merciful of the merciful!’” [Quran, 12:92]

This is the pinnacle of forgiveness and forbearance from Prophet Yusuf – peace be upon him – in refraining from reproach and blame towards his brothers for their actions against him. Instead, he showed further kindness in his dealings with them by praying for their forgiveness and mercy from Allah, as he is among Allah’s good servants.

You can also look into the stories of scholars and saints who have forgiven and overlooked, whether written in books or known among people. There are many such stories, and these can provide solace in your trials and motivate you to clear your heart of any burdens.

The Fourth Step: Seeking Help through Prayer

Seek refuge in Allah (Most High) through prayer, persistently asking Him to remove the effects of the injustice you have suffered from your heart. Continue this until it is alleviated. Prayer is the essence of worship, and Allah (Most High) will not leave you empty-handed. He will replace your burden with high mental peace, so your heart does not feel constrained.


Overlooking is a peace that fills your heart with goodness and purity. It eliminates hatred, grudges, and all that is vile from yourself, and transforms your interactions into ones filled with love, affection, and beauty. Overlooking is magnanimity of the soul, peace of heart, ease of mind, and tranquility of conscience. Do not let your spirit be imprisoned by resentments and grudges. Overlook, overlook, and overlook until you reach the rank of beautiful overlooking. Allah (Most High) says:

“So forgive graciously.” [Quran, 15:85]

May Allah help me and you in removing all malice, hatred, and pretense towards any of Allah’s servants from our hearts, and enable us to fully forgive and beautifully overlook.

[Shaykh] Bassem Itani

Shaykh Bassem Itani has a rich background in both academic and administrative fields. He has held significant positions in many governmental and non-governmental institutions in Lebanon and abroad. This includes his role as a member of the Academic Committee at SeekersGuidance and a senior teacher with the free online global seminary.

From 2020 to 2021, he served as the Dean of the College of Da‘wa – University for Islamic Studies (Lebanon) – Postgraduate Studies. He was the Director of Dar Iqra for Islamic Sciences from 1998 to 2018. Shaykh Itani is a well-versed teacher in several academic subjects, including Fiqh, Usul, Aqida, and Tafsir. He has supervised and examined numerous Master’s and Doctoral theses at various universities and colleges in Lebanon.

His contributions to Islamic sciences are also evident in his writings and research. His notable works include “The Relied-upon Statements of Imam Zufar in the Hanafi School,” “Collective Ijtihad: The Sublimity of Thought in the 21st Century,” and “Custom and its Impact in Islamic Jurisprudence.” Shaykh Itani has actively participated in numerous scientific conferences and seminars, both in Lebanon and internationally. He is linguistically adept, excelling in Arabic, proficient in French, and comfortably conversant in English.