Khutbah – 5/20/2011 – Forgiveness

bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

As salaam alaykum!

Islam attaches great importance to the concept of pardoning of sins by Allah (swt) so that we may be saved from Hellfire. On several occasions, The Holy Quran gives such prayers as

002.286 رَبَّنَا لا تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِنْ نَسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنْتَ مَوْلانَا فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

rabbana la tu-akhithna in naseena aw akhta/na rabbana wala tahmil ‘alayna isran kama hamaltahu ‘ala allatheena min qablina rabbana wala tuhammilna ma la taqata lana bihi wao’fu ‘anna waighfir lana wairhamna anta mawlana faonsurna ‘ala alqawmi alkafireena

Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith.”

Allah assures us that no matter what our sin, if we truly repent and seek His forgiveness, and take steps to put right our wrongs, He will forgive us. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “My heart is clouded until I have asked God’s forgiveness seventy times during the day and night.”

And just as we can depend on the mercy and forgiveness of Allah (swt) we are likewise asked to show mercy to our fellow humans.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran Sharif:

090.017 ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ

thumma kaana min ‘alladhena ‘aamano wa- tawaas.aw bi- as.- sabr wa- tawaasaw bi- al- marhamah

Then will he be of those who believe and enjoin patience (constancy and self-restraint) and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.

Since God is Himself forgiving, He desires that people should cultivate this attribute and show forgiveness to other human beings.

024.022 وَلا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلا تُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

wa- laa ya’tali ‘olo al- fadl min -kum wa- as- sa’ah ‘an yu’to ‘ole al- qurbaa wa- al- masaaken wa- al- muhaajiren fe sabel ‘allaah wa- li- ya’fo wa- li- yas-fah-o ‘a-laa tuh-ibbon ‘an yaghfir ‘allaah la-kum wa- ‘allaah ghafor raheem

Let not those among you who are endowed with grace and amplitude of means swear to withhold their help from their relatives, the indigent and those who left their homes for the cause of Allah – rather let them forgive and overlook – do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

The Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught his followers that the individual who pardons his enemy, even while having the power to extract revenge, will be nearest to God in the Hereafter. Once the Prophet (saw) was asked, “How many times are we to forgive our servants’ faults?” He remained silent. The questioner repeated his question. But the Prophet gave no answer. But when the person asked a third time, he said, “Forgive your servant seventy times a day.”

And Allah (swt) is aware of the problems, trials and tribulations that we go through in our daily lives. The pressure of families and of work and living in this world are great. Even then we must remember the kindness and mercy which is shown to us by Allah (swt) should guide our actions towards our family members as well. Allah (swt) says in the Quran Sharif:

064.014 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ وَإِنْ تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

yaa ‘ayyuhaa ‘alladhena ‘aamano ‘inna min azwaaj -kum wa- awlaad -kum ‘adow la-kum fa- ih-dharo -hum wa- ‘in ta’fo wa- tasfah-o wa- taghfiro fa- ‘inna ‘allaah ghafor raheem

O believers! truly sometimes your spouses and your children are like enemies to your faith: so beware of them! But if ye forgive and overlook and cover up (their faults) verily Allah is Forgiving and Most Merciful.

And when we are greeted in our lives with that which makes us angry. Allah (swt) makes it clear in the Holy Quran that a strong, adverse, emotional reaction such as anger does not befit the true believer, and instead cites as a mark of excellence the quality of forgiveness:

042.037 وَالَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الإثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ

wa- ‘alladhena yajtanibon kabaa’ir al- ‘ithm wa- al- fawaah-ish wa- ‘idhaa maa ghad-ibo hum yaghfiron

And those who shun the worst of sins and indecencies and, when they are angry, they are forgiving

We must take these instructions to our hearts, we know that when we are far from Allah (swt) in our actions then our hearts become hardened and our remembrance of Allah (swt) in our daily lives becomes less. We must resolve ourselves to these right actions and behave in accordance to the way Allah (swt) has shown us. Be more forgiving of others just as Allah (swt) is forgiving of us.

Part 2

Some sayings reported from the Salaf that can serve as an encouragement to do good deeds:

Taubah ibn Samat used to take account of himself and is reported to have counted the number of days in his life at the age of sixty. He found there were 21,500 days and shrieked: “What will happen to me if I meet the King with 21,500 sins? What will happen if there are 10,000 sins in each day?”

Al-Hasan al-Basri would say, “From the signs that one has drowned in sins, is lack of delight in fasting in the day and praying through the night.”

Alqamah Ibn Qais asked Abu Nu`aim – who was a devout worshipper – why he was hard on his body. “I want this body to be comfortable later on,” he replied.

Of Al-Ahnaf Ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told: “You are an aged elder; fasting would enfeeble you. But he replied: ‘By this I am making ready for a long journey. Obedience to Allah, Glorified is He, is easier to endure than His punishment.'”

So I remind myself as well as I remind you my brothers and sisters to go from here today, resolved to show forgiveness and raheem to ourselves and to those around us, to shun harsh emotions such as anger and that which comes with it. And to do those good deeds, such as fasting, which we can do to prepare ourselves for this journey to Allah (swt). Wa Allahu alim.

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