Is it possible to find glad tidings about forgiveness in the light of the verses of the Quran and hadiths?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is possible to find some glad tidings about forgiveness in the light of the verses of the Quran and hadiths.

The pardoning and forgiveness by Allah are expressed through various means in the Quran; it is definitely shown that forgiveness is a divine attribute and a high ethical virtue. According to the Quran, the return for a bad deed is a penalty equal to it, which is a necessity of justice. No criminal is punished more than the harm he causes to a person or by a penalty more than the one expressed in the law for that crime. Such a penalty would be oppression.  

On the other hand, if a person that is harmed forgives the criminal,

“his reward is due from Allah.” (ash-Shura, 42/40)

For, the person who forgives waives voluntarily his right to punish and does a good deed by forgiving.  

Forgiveness is the closest virtue to taqwa, which forms the basis for all virtues. (see al-Baqara, 2/237) Therefore, the Quran states the following when it calls people to this virtue:

“Let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you?” (an-Nur, 24/22)

All ethicists agree unanimously that a person who harms and wrongs another person can be forgiven by the person who is wronged and that it is a virtue. They also agree unanimously that a person cannot be forgiven by another person or institution unless the wronged person agrees.

In fact, it is pointed out in the Quran that forgiveness will motivate the feelings of thanking and gratitude (see al-Baqara, 2/52); the Prophet (pbuh) gave the following glad tidings:  

“Allah definitely makes a person who forgives a bad deed honorable and mighty.” (Musnad, 2/235, 238)

“Wealth will not decrease when you do charity (give sadaqah). If a person forgives the mistakes of others, Allah will increase his honor. A person’s honor will not decrease when he forgives a mistake.” (Musnad 2/235)

"If a Muslim screens the sins and mistakes of a believing brother and the things that he does not want others to see, Allah will screen his mistakes on the Day of Judgment. If he shows and reveals the sins and mistakes of a believing brother and the things that he does not want others to see, Allah will reveal his mistakes. Allah will disgrace him even in his own house. A person who screens the mistakes of a believing brother is like a person who revives a dead person." (Bukhari, Mazalim, 3; Muslim, Birr, 58; Tirmidhi, Birr wa Sila, 85)

“On the Day of Judgment, there will be a caller who will call out, 'Where are those whose thawabs are on Allah? Let them enter Paradise!' People will ask 'Who are those whose thawabs are on Allah? ' Thereupon, only those who forgave others will stand up.” (Alusi, Ruhul Maani, 2/58; from Elmalılı, Aa-li Imran interpretation of verse 134)

Raghib al-Isfahani states that the happiness obtained by forgiveness cannot be obtained through punishing and that this virtue will make a person respectable in the community; he describes preferring forgiveness despite having the power to punish as a respectable deed. [see adh-Dhari'a ila Makarimish-Shari'a (published by Abul-Yezid al-Ajami) Cairo 1405/1985, p. 344]

Therefore, the importance of forgiveness is great in every issue, time and place. (see TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi, Af item)

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