The Most Hopeful Verse and Prophetic Forgiveness

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.

Powerful Da’wa

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.

Just Forgiving–Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat

Forgiving someone is perhaps one of the most difficult virtues we are called upon to practice. Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat discusses the theme of forgiveness in the life of the Prophets, as well as the Companions.

We all are wounded at some time or another. Some wounds afflict the flesh, sapping our strength and affecting our ability to function as we did before. Usually, the skilled hand of medicine can mend these wounds.

Others, however, are deeper. They cannot be nursed, bandaged or even seen by those around us; yet their pain is just as keenly felt, if not more. Sometimes it is a harsh sentence from a loved one; or the betrayal of a friend; or unfair treatment from others. Whether real or perceived, these wounds are a part of life felt by everyone – even the elite of the Messengers, those of great resolve (Uluʾl-ʿAzm): Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, ʿIsa and Muhammad (Allah bless them and grant them peace).

The followers of Musa frequently said hurtful things about him, despite all that he had endured and done for them, which made it all the more painful. The Qurʿan tells us his pained response to them, ‘My people! Why do you keep offending me when you know that I am the Messenger of Allah [sent] to you?’ (61:5).

When wrongfully accused of being unfair, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) consoled himself with the knowledge that people have treated other Messengers like this before him. He said, ‘May Allah be kind Musa; he was insulted with worse than this and was patient’ (Bukhari).

The Example of Abu Bakr

If this is the case, then how are we – as believers – to treat those who wrong us and cause us pain? What kind of response should we demand from ourselves? But, more importantly, how can we transform what hurts us into what heals us?

To answer these questions, let us look at a significant event in the life of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace): the false accusation of infidelity which was levelled against his wife ‘Aʾisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr. In this incident and the verses revealed regarding it, are a multitude of lessons for us all, as well as foundational principles for a healthy society. It behoves every believer to study it detail.

In short, ʿAʾisha was accidentally left behind when the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and a group of his followers we returning from a military campaign. She waited where they had camped the night before only to be noticed by Safwan b. al-Muʿattal, a young, righteous man of Quraysh, whose job was to pick up any items the army may have left behind. Upon seeing her he said nothing more than ‘We belong to Allah, and we are to Him returning’ expressing that he realised that the whole scenario was a test from Allah. He then gestured to ʿAʾisha to mount his camel and, without a word or a backwards glance, led her to where the rest of the army had next set up camp.

ʿAbdullah b. Ubayy, the chief of the hypocrites, wasted no time in spreading false rumours about the two; and unfortunately, several of the good believers, in moments of weakness, got caught up in the matter: Hassan b. Thabit, Hamna bint Jahsh, and Mistaḥ b. Uthatha all spread the vicious rumours. They circulated around Medina, causing a great deal of trouble amongst the Muslims for a month until Allah revealed verses exonerating ʿAʾisha. The latter three repented, and were given the punishment for falsely accusing a chaste woman. Ibn Ubayy was not punished because Allah had promised a terrible punishment for him in the Afterlife.

Our focus here, however, shall be on Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the foremost of this umma, and the father of ʿAʾisha. His virtues and rank in Islam are unrivalled by anyone who is not a prophet, and his close relationship to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is known to all. He was also the cousin of Mistah b. Uthatha, who, incidentally, was also related to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Let us now imagine what Abu Bakr and his family must have endured during this time. The pain this rumour brought on them must have been immense. As must have been the pain he felt on behalf of his daughter and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) due to his immense love for them. When ʿAʾisha learned of the accusations he expressed that his family had never been accused of such a thing in the jahiliyya, so how was it possible that they do such a thing after having been honoured with Islam?

Not knowing the facts with certainty for over a month must also have taken its toll on him. In fact, as the verses were being revealed, ʿAʾisha – unfazed due to being her being certain of her innocence – noticed fear on the faces of her parents, lest the rumours be proved true.

It is difficult to imagine the full impact of these rumours on Abu Bakr given his social and religious standing, righteousness, great love for ʿAʾisha, and close relationship with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). However, what is clear is that he must have felt betrayed, and a great deal of anger towards Mistah. Mistah was a close relative – and not only that – but Abu Bakr had been financially supporting him since they left Mecca due to Mistah’s poverty.

Before progressing, it is important to realise that events which hurt us  are always beneficial for us in the long term. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘No Muslim experiences any  tiredness, illness, worry, grief, offence, depression – not even being pricked by a thorn – except that Allah wipes out some of his sins [because of it]’ (Bukhari). Everything benefits the believer. The intelligent believers seek to maximise this benefit.

How Abu Bakr Was Called to Forgive

Abu Bakr did not respond by directing any verbal or physical aggression towards Mistah – which speaks volumes about his virtue and the supreme standard of conduct he imbibed from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) over the years. But, due to the pain caused to him by Mistah, he vowed that he would never give Mistah any more money after that day. This is a very understandable and human response; it embodies the restraint he showed due to the impact of religion on his life, and that he deeply felt the pain of this incident – something which makes his overall reaction even more amazing.

Allah, however, wanted to call him – and by extension, us – to an even higher standard of conduct. He revealed a verse addressing Abu Bakr primarily, but we are more in need of its instructions than he was.

‘Those of great religious virtues and wealth from amongst you should not swear that they will not give [anything] to close relatives, nor the destitute, nor to those who have emigrated for the sake of Allah. So pardon fully and overlook out of kindness. Do you not greatly desire that Allah forgives you? And Allah is All-Forgiving, Ever-Kind’ (24:22).

First, the verse clearly established the great virtues of Abu Bakr, which is a way of praising him, appealing to those praiseworthy qualities, and preparing him for another great quality he can add to these virtues. We should take this as in invitation for us to take on this noble quality too, as we are in much more need of virtues than Abu Bakr.

Next, Allah reminded Abu Bakr of the wealth that he had, which he spent on Mistah. In this is a reminder to us that all that we have is a gift from Allah, and that any favours we do to others are purely from the favour of Allah upon us.

Also, if those who we have been kind to do something to hurt us, then we should think of our sins in the face of the uncountable favours of Allah. Realising this means that we should go out of our way to embody the kindness Allah shows us despite our sins when dealing with those who have hurt us.

Allah then used a very interesting rhetorical device in the verse: He mentioned three qualities of Mistah – being a close relative, being poor, and being someone who left his home, wealth and property, to emigrate to Medina for the sake of Allah. Allah separated each of them with  the conjuction ‘wa’. The effect of this is that we are made to think that there are three individuals being discussed – not one. This a common usage in the Qurʾan, and its purpose here is to highlight each quality as being important enough to make Mistah deserving of the financial support he was getting.

His being related to Abu Bakr meant that Abu Bakr should take care of him for the sake of Allah, and the ties that bind them. In fact, those closest to us can usually cause the deepest pain, as was the case here, but that pain does not end the relationship.

His poverty made him deserving of financial aid because Allah has distributed His blessings amongst His servant so those who have more can give to those who have less. Helping the poor should not be seen as a favour to them; rather, it should be seen as means of thanking Allah for what we have been given.

Emigrating from Mecca to Medina was a great act Mistah did for the sake of Allah, and consequently, Allah praised him by mentioning it, and deemed him worthy of receiving continued financial support from Abu Bakr for it. Leaving one’s home, loved ones, friends, and comforts for the sake of Allah is a difficult experience, and usually riddled with tests and trials. In this is a reminder to us that we should never forget the good others have done, whether it is to us, or in general.

The verse then calls to two monumental character traits: ʿAfuw and Ṣafḥ. The former has a meaning of covering up and looking away from something which is usually given a lot of focus. Khalil b. Ahmad al-Farahidi, the great polymath, genius and authoritative scholar of Arabic, said the word implies not punishing someone who deserves punishment.

How Do We Forgive?

This is significant because the Qurʾan does not call us to put ourselves in the life of fire from someone who is actively trying to harm us. Rather, we learned from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that ‘the believer is not bitten [by an animal] from the same hole twice’ (Bukhari). Practical steps to ensure one’s safety should be taken.

However, this does not mean that one should fixate on the harm others cause us as this usually makes the pain worse and longer lasting. Pardoning someone despite their wrongs is beneficial to one’s mind, body, and soul. Fixating on wound makes one angry, resentful and mistrusting of others. The constant dwelling triggers the body’s fight or flight response, exposing oneself to more stress and illness in the long term. It also prevents one from being a kind, forgiving person who wishes well for all of humanity – which is central to good character and the sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

The latter trait discussed is ṣafḥ, which has a sense of turning oneself from something so one’s side faces it, and not focusing on the cause of pain. Some Qurʾanic philologists have suggested that this implies an underlying sense of kindness which would be the motive of such an act.

The verse then focuses on a very strong motive indeed: self preservation. It asks ‘do you not greatly desire that Allah forgives you?’ We are told to respond to the offences we receive from others in the way we wish Allah to respond to our crimes: forgiveness. There is a great dichotomy in not forgiving the servants of Allah, yet wishing for Him to forgive our sins.

Rather, what is implied in the verse is that forgiving – just forgiving – is a means to being forgiven by Allah. The verse ends with a strong, emphatic statement which can only be understood as a promise of forgiveness and more favours from Allah to those who forgive others: ‘And Allah is All-Forgiving (Ghafur); Ever-Kind (Rahim).’

The word gha-fa-ra – the root of the name al-Ghafur – has a sense of forgiving something that deserves punishment. Coupled with it is a nuance that implies Allah’s hiding one’s faults from others, and protecting one. The name al-Ghafur has a sense that no matter how great the amount of sins one has, nor their severity, Allah is prepared to forgive them.

The name al-Rahim comes from a root which implies a strong, inherent desire to do good to others and to be kind to them, and the name itself suggests that Allah is eternally like this. Exegetes of the Qurʾan mention that coupling these two names together means that Allah not only forgives criminals, but He then goes on to shower His gifts on them too. If that is the case with criminals, how will He be towards the righteous such as Abu Bakr.

Upon hearing this verse Abu Bakr exclaimed, ‘Of course; I do greatly desire that Allah forgives me!’. Thereafter, he not only forgave Mistah, but he actually doubled the amount of money he regularly gave him, and thereby embodying the meanings of the two names too.

All that remains is for us to to ask ourselves how we will respond to those who have hurt us…

Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. He moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time, such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.
In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies in Fiqh, Usul al Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Resources for Seekers



Be a Guardian (30 Deeds, 30 Days), Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa

Be a Guardian: conceal someone’s faults and shortcomings, Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa

30 Days, 30 Deeds
Sacred Acts to Transform the Heart

Every night, our scholars in residence explore one simple deed that could have far reaching spiritual impact on our lives – and the lives of others. Every day we’ll make the intention to put that teaching into practice. Whether it’s forgiving someone who’s wronged us or putting service to others at the top of our list of priorities, these powerful lessons will remind us of the great gift the Prophet ﷺ‎  gave us: the best of character.

Daily at 8:10 pm EST. Attend in person at SeekersHub Toronto or watch live.

Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

Photo credit: Rignam Wangkhang

Day 12 In A Nutshell – Forgive: Your Key To Internal Heaven & Hell, #YourRamadanHub Xtra

If you missed the livestream of the two extraordinary short talks Shaykh Walead Mosaad gave, you can listen to them in full on the SeekersHub podcast on iTunes. Please subscribe for automatic updates. If you could take a moment to rate the podcast and leave a review, we’d really appreciate it! In the meantime, we present you with #YourRamadanHub Xtra – the best of the day’s events in a nutshell.


Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

The Art of Prophetic ﷺ Forgiveness, by Shaykh Walead Mosaad

The Art of Prophetic Forgiveness

In this special Ramadan edition of our regular Circle of Light gathering in remembrance of the Prophet, we have special sacred songs, special supplications and talks from our Ramadan scholars on the life and character of the Prophet ﷺ‎ and how he sought and exemplified the mercy, forgiveness and the pursuit of salvation.

In this episode, Shaykh Walead Mosaad speaks about the art of prophetic forgiveness – how the Prophet manifested beauty in the way he forgave those who had wronged him even in the most extreme circumstances.  How can we learn this prophetic art and apply it into our own lives?

Weekly at 7:45 pm EST on Fridays.
Attend in person at SeekersHub Toronto or watch live.


Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

Cover Photo by Holly Penny

Human Forgiveness: What You Need To Know About It, by Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Human Forgiveness: What You Need To Know About It, by Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Capturing the Spirit of Ramadan
Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation

Every night our Ramadan scholars will explore one of the three key spiritual goals of Ramadan. Each talk will conclude with a dynamic conversation as we explore mercy, forgiveness and salvation deeply and see how we can attain these divine gifts practically. These talks will enliven and inspire us as we begin our nightly ‘isha and tarawih prayers.

Daily at 10:00 pm EST. Attend in person at SeekersHub Toronto or watch live.


Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how.

The Prophet’s ﷺ Reminder to Allah of His Promise

Ibrahim-Osi-EfaThe Virtues Tour has over the years become a highlight in the calendar of British Islamic events. It’s led by Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa, who is joined by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya, Sidi Amir Sulaiman and Sidi Nader Khan.
In 2015, the tour was focused on the ethics and moral practice of prophecy. In the above recording, Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa reminds us how much love the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has for those who believe in him. He has our back, as the saying goes – so much so that he, peace upon him, reminded Allah, Lord of the Worlds, of His Promise that He would not punish anyone who seeks forgiveness from Allah through the Prophet. SubhanAllah!

Do You Want to Learn More?

Consider taking an online course with SeekersHub. It’s free to anyone, anywhere in the world. There are over 30 titles to choose from, including Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Part I), Medinan Nights: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Part II) and Understanding the Prophetic Way: Imam Nawawi’s 40 Hadith Explained. Shaykh Yahya Rhodus himself teaches Principles of Islamic Spirituality, The Marvels of the Heart and Essentials of Spirituality: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance Explained.

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Shaykh Faraz Rabbani was asked, “I have committed so many sins – can I even hope for Allah’s forgiveness?”