If a person has violated the rights of somebody and then repents and asks forgiveness from the person whose rights he has violated, but if that person does not forgive him, what will happen to him?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Only the servant whose right is violated can forgive person who has violated his right. Accordingly, it is necessary to find a way to compensate for that right while one is still in the world. If he cannot find it, it will be left to the hereafter, which is more dangerous.

The person who does not forgive the violator in this world will demand that right from him in the hereafter. However, if the person has sincerely repented, it is hoped that Allah will make the servant who demands the right give up his right by bestowing bounties upon him.

Man is an honorable creature. An injustice to the spiritual rights of a person like his freedom, dignity and honor as well as an attack on his life and property involve great responsibility.

A person may have acted unfairly toward someone, knowingly or unknowingly. He may even have acted in a way that will make him a victim and deprive him of some of his rights. No matter how much we try to control ourselves as individuals and are determined to act righteously, we cannot get rid of some mistakes and faults completely.

What should we do in the face of such a state, which is peculiar to humans?

- Is it enough for a person to regret and say, “It happened once; I will not do it again; I wish I had not done it” to himself?

- Or, is it necessary to make up for the issue, to express one’s regret by correcting his mistake and asking for forgiveness?

In Islam, there are rights of Allah and rights of individuals. The rights of Allah are the duties of worship that every person must perform toward his Lord. He begs Allah for any mistake, sin or deficiency he has committed, repenting and asking for forgiveness.

However, the right of an individual is not like that. There is only one compensation for it: to talk to the person who has been wronged and whose law has been lost, and to apologize to him; to ask for forgiveness and to make up for the material loss, if any.  

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

“Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else, he should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Judgment when there will be no money (to compensate for wrong deeds), but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to his oppression which he has done, and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him.” 1

Yes, according to the advice of our Prophet (pbuh) too, there is nothing else to do but to ask for forgiveness in that case. Even if a person becomes a martyr, Allah forgives all of his sins except for other people’s rights. Therefore, what matters is to win the heart of the owner of the right and to gain his consent. You need to go to the person to whom you harmed, confess that you made a mistake, apologize to him and ask him to forgive you. If he had a material loss, you need to make up for it to the extent that he shows consent.

Thus, you will have done your best. If the other person welcomes you and shows tolerance and understanding, your responsibility will be lifted and you will be freed from the reckoning and torment in the hereafter by being forgiven by that person while you are in this world as it is explained in the hadith.

However, if you suffer from remorse, you can also repent.

“Regret itself is repentance.”

“He who repents of his sin is regarded as if he has never sinned.” 2

As the hadiths above indicate, you will attain peace in the eye of Allah.

How does a person understand that his repentance is accepted and that he is saved from sins? How can it be sensed?

Let’s learn the answer from the Prophet (pbuh):

“A person who repents after committing a sin and does a good it is like a person who wears a very tight armor. If he does a good deed after committing a sin, one of the rings of the armor is loosened. If he does one more good deed, the other ring is also loosened. At the end of the good deeds, the armor falls to the ground.” 3

If a person who commits a sin against his Lord or acts unjustly to a human being acts with remorse after that sin and mistake and does good deeds and increases his services and works related to the Quran and belief, the rings of his armor of sin will be unbuttoned one by one, and he will get rid of those sins in a short time. There is no need for him to suffer from remorse, to be restless and to be saddened after that because, as a servant, he is deemed to have done his best with a sincere intention.

By the way, we should not forget the following verse:

“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.” 4

References:

1. Bukhari, Mazalim, 10.
2. at-Targhib wat-Tarhib, IV/97.
3. ibid, IV/106.
4. az-Zumar, 39/53.

Author:
Mehmet PAKSU

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