Shaykh Walead Mosaad talks about prophetic forgiveness, relating it to the most hopeful verse in the Qur’an, and what it means to let grievances go.
If we were to kind of summarize this idea of forgiveness, especially prophetic forgiveness, it has to be predicated number one on the idea that you shouldn’t expect it to begin with. Many of the scholars of the heart say that, whenever you affirm for yourself something; a particular State or maqam, then you’re not that thing.
If you say, I think I’m very humble, you’re not humble. I think I’m very generous, then you’re not generous. I think I am a salik, I am a seeker on the path to God, then you’re definitely not a seeker on the path to God, because your own awareness, and not just awareness but your own assertion, that you are this thing, it’s a veil. It’s actually an obstacle to being a seeker on the path to God – to being humble.
Most people who are on this particular path they just are. Without asserting or attributing to themselves those things or trying to be. True humility is seeing yourself as nothing. Not seeing yourself as humble, because if you see yourself as humble, that means you see yourself as something.
The Important Other
It’s to be unconcerned with the self and to be completely concerned with the other. The most important other that you have is Allah Most High. If all of your concern, if you’re completely consumed in that, who has time to worry about if this person should come and ask my pardon and ask my forgiveness. Or they walk in and they didn’t give me salami the same way they give to the other person. Who has time for that nonsense? right
You have this type of grudge that kind of grows in your heart and you’re expecting some type of acknowledgement of a mistake made and you want people to seek your forgiveness. You should want people not to seek your forgiveness. You should walk into rooms and say I forgive everybody in this room for everything they’ve ever done to me. You should go to sleep at night with salamat al-sadr, with a heart that’s free, that’s liberated.
All the grudges that you hold against people, they’re like nooses around your neck. They’re like handcuffs. They hold you hostage and prisoner and you are held prisoner to them until you liberate yourself. One of the ways to liberate yourself is to let all of that go.
1) to seek forgiveness from Allah Most High, and
2) don’t expect forgiveness from other people.
Don’t expect them to ask for that. Just let it all go and walk into rooms and say, I forgive all of these people.
Wanting Good for Others
This is what some of the Salaf used to do, as reported by Imam Sha‘rani. Just say, I’m going to read Sura al-Fatiha, and I’m going to have the ajr (reward) for all of these people. Walk into the marketplace where people are engaged in swearing and maybe lying and doing all sorts of devilish things, but nevertheless you say, I want good for these people.
I’m going to walk in there and say al-Fatiha and I make the intention that the reward is for all of them. And if that’s your intention, they’ll get it. That’s as simple as that. It’s the least you can do.
There’s this powerful type of da’wa we’re not availing ourselves up. We’re so into the very outward forms. This feeling of agency that we like to attribute to ourselves. I was doing this. I invited these people. I got him to become Muslim. When in reality that’s not how it works. All you’re doing is inviting.
And perhaps the silent but yet perhaps more powerful form is that which takes place within you; you wanting them surely and only for Allah Most High. That was the secret or one of the secrets of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and the early generations. They truly wanted the best for their people.
Remember he’s inviting his cousins, his uncles, his aunts, his tribesmen, his clansmen. These are all people the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, grew up with. These are people the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, who would call him al-Amin. They knew him and he knew them. He loved them, blessings and peace be upon him. He didn’t want punishment for them.
One time he had an incident that was so severe, blessings and peace be upon him. He, blessings and peace be upon him, was just praying in Mecca. And Abu Jahl came and he took some entrails of a camel and maybe even some fecal matter and stuff like this and he threw it next to the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him – perhaps on him.
Then Fatima, his young daughter ,who was maybe eight, nine, ten years of age at the time, she heard about it. And she ran to the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. While he was in sujud, blessings and peace be upon him, she was the one who was wiping it off.
The Most Hopeful Verse
Later on they mentioned that the angel of power and of the mountains, via Gibril, peace be upon him, comes to him and he says, “If you so desire, I can make the two mountains come and fall and destroy all of Quraysh for what they have done, for their transgression against you.”
If someone did that to me, I might be very tempted actually to go through with that. But the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “I am hopeful that from among their progeny, from those that will come after them, there will be those who will follow this way.” There will be those who believe in Allah Most High. And it was as he said, blessings and peace be upon him.
He said, “I am hopeful.” When the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, hopes for something Allah doesn’t disappoint him. Some of them were asked, “What is the most hopeful verse in the Qur’an?” Some of them said, “And have fear of the fire that has been prepared for the disbelievers.” (Sura al-Baqara 2:24) They said this is a very hopeful verse because it hasn’t been prepared for the believers and if I’m a believer then that’s not for me.
The Extent of His Love and Forgiveness
But some of them said, “That’s not the most hopeful verse. The most hopeful verse is “Surely, Allah will give you and you will be pleased.” (Sura al-Duha 93:5) And the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, would be displeased with any one of us finding our way to kufr and Hellfire. So, this is the most hopeful verse because his mercy and his forgiveness and his love didn’t extend only to the people around him, but to the people who will be coming after him, blessings and peace be upon him.
He said, blessings and peace be upon him: “I long and desire for my when my brothers and sisters.” And they said: “Are we not your brothers and sisters?” He said, “No, you are my companions. My brothers and sisters they will come after you. They will have difficulties. They will not have what you have.” They will not have the the aid and the help that you have. And he said, blessings and peace be upon him: “The amal of one of them is like 50 of you.” And the Sahaba were confused. They said, “50 of us or 50 of them?” He said, “No, 50 of you.”
In other words, the one person, despite their circumstances, will have an award equivalent to maybe fifty of the Companions. Why? Because there’s no one to help. I have to be honest we’re living this Islam, right now, despite ourselves. Despite all of the things that are happening. It’s actually somewhat miraculous.
Letting Things Go through Forgiveness
Allah is the one who is protecting this din. What if it was left up to us? There would be no din left. But we still have the prayer, we still have the Qur’an, we still know basically what Islam is. It’s well defined. We know how to practice it. But despite all of the difficulties and our inability or lack of resolve in practicing it in the way that it was meant to be, we still have the din. We still have Islam. That’s a beautiful thing.
The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, would be disappointed to find that any one of us would be disappointed. So when we think about forgiveness, let’s have prophetic forgiveness. Let’s not expect forgiveness. Let’s forgive people before they ask. Let’s let slights and things that some people will take the heart – just let it go.
Go to sleep at night and say, I forgive this person, that person, and it’s over with. and wake up the next morning like it’s not there. You may say, “Well, that’s really hard. That’s really difficult, because some people just will get on your nerves and and so forth. But if you really desire it and you really want it and you want to do it for Allah Most High, you will do it.