Thursday, 17 March 2011

Islam Combines an Equal Amount of Love, Fear, and Hope.

Iblis (Satan), the cursed one, out of envy to Adam, has promised to himself "to attack children of Adam on their way to their journey toward God, so that those who fall prey to his attack will also have the same fate as himself (I'll take you down with me!).
Allah subhanahu WA Ta’aala has granted intellect to human beings. The intellect entails responsibility. The more intellect a person has the more he/she is responsible. When the intellect is missing, the responsibility is also not there. Little children are not held responsible, because their intellect has not yet developed. The insane are not responsible, because they have lost the intellectual capacity. However, part of our being human is also that we make mistakes. Sometime we make mistakes without deliberation and intention. But sometime we knowingly and deliberately sin and do wrong to others. It is said, “To err is human and to forgive is divine.” Both parts of this statement are very true. As human beings we are responsible, but we do also make mistakes and we are constantly in need of forgiveness. Islam speaks about two aspects of forgiveness: a) Allah’s forgiveness; b) Human forgiveness. We need both, because we do wrong in our relations to Allah as well as in our relations to each other.

Allah (SWT), who named Himself Ar-Rahman (The Beneficent) and Ar-Rahim (The Merciful), is also Al-Ghafoor (The Forgiving). His Mercy overtakes His punishment and anger. He is more merciful to His creations than a mother can be to her infants. He created "man with weakness"; thus He knows and we should know that "to err is human," and "no one is perfect."

God’s name “Al-Ghaffar” (The All-and Oft-Forgiving) comes in the Quran under three forms which mean that God forgives all kinds of sins everywhere and at all times as He is the Oft-and-All-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

The second form is “Al-Ghafoor” as in God’s words: {and your Lord is Al-Ghafoor (the Oft-Forgiving), the Owner of Mercy. Were He to call them to account for what they have earned, then surely, He would have hastened punishment for them; but they have their appointed time, from which they will find no escape.} (Al-Kahf 18: 58) He also says: {And He (Allah) is Al-Ghafoor (the Oft-Forgiving), the Compassionate.} (Al-Buruj 85: 14). Also: {Declare (O Muhammad) unto My slaves that truly, I am Al-Ghafoor (the Oft-Forgiving), the Most Merciful.} (Al-Hijr 15: 49), and in His words: {Say to My salves who have transgressed against themselves: ‘Do not despair of Allah’s Mercy. Verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Al-Ghafoor (the Oft-Forgiving), the Most Merciful.} (Az-Zumar 39: 53).

The third form of this divine name is “Al-Ghaffar” as in God’s words: {And verily, I am Al-Ghaffar (the All-Forgiving) for him who repents, believes and does righteousness and is moreover rightly guided.} (Ta-Ha 20: 82), and: {I said: ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord, (for) verily, He is Ghaffar (All-Forgiving). He will send rain to you in abundance, and give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.} (Nuh 71: 10-12)

Thus, “Ghâfir”, “Ghafoor” and “Ghaffar” are all used to the same purport in the Quran, for they are derived from the same Arabic root, “Al-Maghfirah” (Forgiveness).

Some scholars said: “A person who disobeys Allah is described in the Holy Quran as being “Zhalim”, “Zhaloum” or “Zhallam”.
If a man is “Zhalim” (a wrong-doer), God is “Ghâfir” (the Forgiver); if a man is “Zhaloum” (does a lot of injustice to himself), God is “Ghafoor” (the All-Forgiving); and if a man is “Zhallam” (frequently does wrong to himself), God is “Ghaffar” (the Oft-Forgiving).

In other words, the way man commits sins or does wrong to himself determine the way in which God responds and forgives such sins or wrong-doings.
Allah (God’s) name “Al-Ghâfir”, some scholars said, means that He forgives your sin in the sense that He obliterates it from the Scrolls of your deeds, His name “Al-Ghafoor” means that He obliterates your sins from the Records of the Scribes (Angels who record man’s deeds), and His name “Al-Ghaffar” means that He makes you forget such sins altogether.
Allah( God) is “Al-Ghaffar” that He veils a believer’s sins and misdeeds and does not show them. For that, if a believer were to see the evil things that he formerly did when he was ignorant and heedless, he would get burnt of regret. When a believer turns to God with repentance, He forgives him and his sins. But if he were to remember the evil things that he did in times of ignorance, he would bite his fingers of regret.

Therefore, due to His infinite divine mercy upon believers in Paradise, God veils all their sins and misdeeds, so that neither they nor anyone else can see any of such sins or misdeeds. That is why God says: {The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment, the Bestowal of Favors, there is no god but He, to Him is the Final Return} (Ghâfir 40: 3)

In interpretation of the above Quranic verses, some scholars said: {Allah forgives sins out of His Bounty; He accepts repentance out of His Grace; He is Severe in punishing disbelievers; and He bestows His Favors upon those whom He loves.

Al-’Afuw: This has another aspect of forgiveness. This name occurs in the Qur’an five times. Literally the word ‘Afw means “to release” “to heal”, “to restore”, “to remit”. Thus in relation to Allah it means “to release us from the burden of punishment due to our sins and mistakes”, “to restore our honor after we have dishonored ourselves by committing sins and making mistakes.” Sometimes in the Qur’an both names: ‘Afuw and Ghafoor come together.

On the authority of Anas, who said: I heard the messenger of Allah say?
Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.”

This is truly a beautiful hadith. Very touching many non Muslims think our religion is too hard and that we view Allah as only to be feared. In reality, Islam combines an equal amount of Love, Fear, and Hope. 

May Allah make our efforts sincere and keep us all on the straight path...........

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