Al-Ghaffar (The All-Forgiving)

Al-Ghaffar means the one that pardons and shows mercy a lot, the one that forgives the crimes the most and the one that covers and hides ugliness and mistakes. What differentiates this name from 'al-Afuww' is as follows: the name al-Afuww includes forgiving the sin and not punishing. The name al-Ghaffar does not punish the crime; in addition, it does not put the sinners to shame or humiliate them.  

If someone commits a crime against you and if you do not punish him but rub it in, the name al-Afuww will be manifest in you. If you do not punish him and do not rub it in, the name al-Ghaffar will be manifest in you.

Allah is al-Afuww when he does not punish but reminds His slave of his crime. When Allah eliminates the sin and does not embarrass His slave, He is al-Ghaffar. 

Therefore, when we pray we say, “O Allah! Forgive us and pardon us." We ask Him to forgive us and not punish us through His name al-Afuww; we ask Him to forgive us and not to humiliate us through His name al-Ghaffar.  

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith: 

Angels record the sin of a person and then ascend to the sky. When they ascend, they see that the sin does not exist in his book of deeds and that good deeds that he did not do are recorded there. They address Allah as follows:

“O our Lord! We did not persecute him. We recorded what he did.” Thereupon, Allah says, "Yes, you are right. My slave committed those sins and did not do the good deeds written in his book of deeds. However, he repented and asked me to forgive him in tears. I forgave him and treated him generously. I am the most generous of the generous.”

Allah states that He is Ghaffar through the following verses in the Quran:  

 “Unless he repents, believes, and works righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (al-Furqan 70)

“Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(az-Zumar 53)

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states that we should take refuge in the name al-Ghaffar as follows:  

“O man! You have a will known as the power of choice which is extremely weak, but whose hand in evil acts and destruction is extremely long, and in good deeds extremely short.

Give one of the hands of that will of yours to supplication, so that it may reach Paradise, a fruit of the chain of good deeds, and stretch to eternal happiness.

And give its other hand to the seeking of forgiveness so that it may be short for evil deeds and will not reach the Zaqqum-tree of Hell, which is one fruit of that accursed tree.

That is, just as supplication and reliance on Allah greatly strengthen the inclination to good, so too repentance and the seeking of forgiveness cut the inclination to evil and break its transgressions.”

What we need to learn from this name is as follows:

With His name al-Ghaffar, Allah hides our mistakes and does not remind us our mistakes. Similarly, we should have the characteristic of the name al-Ghaffar and cover the mistakes of others and should not rub it in.

Thus, we will be a mirror of the name Ghaffar and attain the glad tidings given by our Prophet (pbuh) in the following hadith:  

“If someone covers the sin of a believer in the world, Allah will cover his sin both in this world and in the hereafter.”

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