Is it a sin to hold a grudge against a Muslim, even if he/she is wrong?

Details of the Question

Holding a grudge against a Muslim is called a sin. For example, if someone from my family died because of someone, is my hatred of him a sin? I mean, is it a sin for me to hold a grudge against him, even if he is wrong?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Holding a grudge is one of the spiritual diseases; it harms society, starting with the one who is holding a grudge in the first place and then the narrow circle.

For this reason, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) regarded it as haram for a Muslim to be estranged from another Muslim for more than three days. (Bukhari, al-Adab 57, 58, 62; Muslim, al-Birr 23)

The reason for limiting estrangement to a maximum of three days is to prevent people from holding grudge, to prevent reconciliation and forgiveness from becoming difficult.

As a matter of fact, when we look at the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who was sent to us an example in every issue, we clearly see that he did not nurture hatred in his life.

For example, the Prophet’s preferring forgiveness even though he was capable of punishing the people of Mecca who did not give up persecuting him, not even cursing the Taif people who ensanguined his feet even though he only called them to heaven express how he treated the disease called hatred, and show us how to behave in this regard.

A believer should not allow the seeds of grudge to sprout in his heart; he should seek forgiveness.

One of the names and attributes of Allah is that He is ”afuww", that is, His forgiveness. In addition, Allah (swt) states that He loves those who forgive and encourage people to be forgiving. For example, the following is stated in a verse: “But whoever pardons and seeks reconciliation, then their reward is with Allah.” (Surah ash-Shura, 42/40); the following is stated in another verse, “Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love to be forgiven by Allah?" (Surah an-Nur, 24/22) It is declared that forgiveness will be rewarded greatly and that forgiveness will lead to divine forgiveness.

In the hadiths that draw attention to the importance of affection, brotherhood and solidarity among Muslims, they are asked not to nurture feelings such as hatred, envy and grudge towards one another. (see Musnad, 2/494; Bukhari, al-Adab, 57, 58; Muslim, al-Birr, 23, 24, 28, 30-32)

Forgiveness can be difficult for the soul because the soul and the devil try to prevent a person from forgiving. In order to defeat them and to be forgiving, it is necessary to consider the following points:

a) To think that forgiveness is a great virtue.

b) Knowing that forgiveness will lead us to divine forgiveness.

c) To take refuge in Allah from not being able to forgive, to pray to be forgiving.

d) To consider that making mistakes is a human characteristic, and that people make mistakes even against the Supreme Creator, so mistakes made against us should not be exaggerated.

e) To take into account that forgiveness exalts man in the sight of Allah (swt).

f) Seeing that forgiveness is very "sweet" in the end even if it is too hard for us at first.

We think that the good news in the following hadith will be sufficient to answer the issue in the question:

One day, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said three times, "Now a person of heaven will come here” and each time the same person, Saʿd ibn Abi Waqqas (r.a.) came.  Thereupon, Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As (r.a) wondered about his deeds that made him a person of heaven and became a guest in his house to explore and learn about the subject. Eventually, he learned the reason of it. Saʿd ibn Abi Waqqas said to him:

“I do nothing but what you have seen, but I do not hold grudges against any Muslim and I am not jealous of anyone because of a good thing that has been given to them by Allah (swt). (Musnad, 3/166; Abdurrazzaq, Musannaf, 11/287)

Shuaib Al Arna'ut, editor of Musnad, states that the hadith is sahih (sound). (see Musnad, 20/124-125)

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