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“I have pardoned every Muslim who has harmed me.”

When the life of Shaykh al-Islām Ibnu Taymiyyah is discussed the focus, many a time, is on the dimensions of his knowledge, his flawless memory, his Jihād, his enjoining of good and forbidding of evil, his trials, his ʿIbādah, his fearlessness and bravery, and his eloquence. But, such discussions often miss one of the most beautiful dimensions of the life of this marvel of a man, a dimension which the Ummah of Islām needs now more than any other time before. This is the dimension of the pardoning of others. One of his slogans in life was:

 أحللت كل مسلم عن إيذائه لي

“I have pardoned every Muslim who has harmed me.”

What was even more amazing than this statement of his is his application of it. How easy it is to put together expressive words pertaining to the Musāmaha (pardoning of others); how easy it is to share and retweet them; how easy it is to photoshop beautifully decorated designs which frames maxims pertaining to Musāmaha, and yet, it is at the arena of application where many crumble.

Let us consider how he lived by the principles that he called towards.

Ibnu Taymiyyah and his adversary ʿAli Ibn Yaʿqub Al-Bakri Al-Sūfi

Ibnu Taymiyyah had authored a piece titled “Al-Istighātha” which speaks about the rulings pertaining to the asking for help in Duʿā’. An academic piece which was substantiated with evidences. Instead of challenging this piece intellectually, his adversary ʿAli Al-Bakri issued a Fatwah declaring that Ibnu Taymiyyah was a Kāfir. Not only that, he would hurl insults at Ibnu Taymiyyah and urged the state to persecute him. In the year 707AH, those in power decided to do so but ʿAli Al-Bakri insisted that Ibnu Taymiyyah should in fact be executed.

The Fitnah continued to escalate, for in year 711AH, an extreme group of the Sūfiyyah, led by ʿAli Al-Bakri followed Ibnu Taymiyyah until he was alone. They then cornered him and began to beat him. This in fact happened more than once. As the allies of Ibnu Taymiyyah caught wind of what was happening, they began hunting for ʿAli Al-Bakri to teach him a lesson. SubḥānaAllāh, time continued to pass and now the state itself was on the search for ʿAli Al-Bakri and so he went on the run. The state asked Ibnu Taymiyyah to advise on how he wished that ʿAli Al-Bakri be dealt with; his response was remarkable. He said,

أنا ما أنتصر لنفسي

“I do not take revenge for myself”

They were not happy with this response and urged him to take revenge. He responded,

” إما أن يكون الحق لي، أو لكم، أو لله ، فإن كان الحق لي فهم في حل، وإن كان لكم فإن لم تسمعوا مني فلا تستفتوني؛ وافعلوا ما شئتم، وإن كان الحق لله فالله يأخذ حقه كما يشاء ومتى يشاء”.

“The right which you want me to claim either belongs to me, or to you or to Allāh. If this right belongs to me, then I have pardoned him. If it belongs to you, then if you will not listen to me then do as you wish. If this right belongs to Allāh, then Allah will claim His right when and how He wishes.”

The state however was not going to let ʿAli Al-Bakri go. So when ʿAli Al-Bakri realised this, where did he choose to hide? He went to Egypt and hid in the house of Shaykh al-Islām Ibnu Taymiyyah himself. Ibnu Taymiyyah then interceded and persuaded the Sultan to drop the case of ʿAli Al-Bakri.

Ibnu Taymiyyah would be jailed time and time again for no other reason than the fabrications of the envious. They were people who had collapsed at the arena of debate and thus found no way to let out their spite against Ibnu Taymiyyah other than approaching the state. He would be jailed and tortured, and one of these smear campaigns was led by Nasr Al-Munjibi, Al-Amīr Rukn Al-Dīn Bebers (the student of Al-Munjibi) and several other Fuqahā and scholars who were supporting the new government that had overthrown the previous one.

Time would pass however and the previous ruler, Nasir Ibn Qalāwūn, would regain power and instantly freed Ibnu Taymiyyah. He honoured him and invited him to the palace, where he would stand up upon seeing Ibn Taymiyyah and displayed tremendous respect to Shaykh al-Islām. The ruler then sat in privacy with Ibn Taymiyyah and expressed to him his intent to execute certain scholars and jurists because of their support for the overthrow of government when he was in power. He requested from Ibn Taymiyyah Fatāwa to justify his intent, as he reminded him of what these scholars had done to him. But he was above this.

Ibn Taymiyyah began praising them and told him that they must not be harmed and said,

إذا قتلت هؤلاء لا تجد بعدهم مثلهم من العلماء الأفاضل

“If you kill these men, you will not find anyone like them”

The sultan responded,

لكنهم آذوك وأرادوا قتلك مرارا ؟

“They abused you and wanted to kill you!”

Ibn Taymiyyah said,

من آذاني فهو في حل، ومن آذى الله ورسوله فالله ينتقم منه، وأنا لا أنتصر لنفسي !

“Whoever harms me, I have pardoned him. But whoever levels harm at Allāh and His messenger, Allāh will avenge Himself. As for me, I do not avenge myself.”

The Sultan tried and tried but Ibn Taymiyya was insistent until he persuaded the Sultan to pardon them all.[1]

Al-Qādi Ibnu Makhlūf Al-Māliki was one of those scholars who were pardoned by the Sultan. Ibnu Makhlūf would therefore say,

ما رأينا مثل ابن تيمية ، حرضنا عليه فلم نقدر عليه وقدر علينا فصفح عنا وحاجج عنا..

“We have never seen a man like Ibnu Taymiyyah. We incited people against him but failed to get hold of him. But when he got hold of us, he pardoned us and argued on our behalf.”

He would say,

“فَلَا أُحِبُّ أَنْ يُنْتَصَرَ مِنْ أَحَدٍ بِسَبَبِ كَذِبِهِ عَلَيَّ، أَوْ ظُلْمِهِ، وَعُدْوَانِهِ، فَإِنِّي قَدْ أَحْلَلْتُ كُلَّ مُسْلِمٍ، وَأَنَا أُحِبُّ الْخَيْرَ لِكُلِّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ، وَأُرِيدُ لِكُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ مَا أُحِبُّهُ لِنَفْسِي. وَالَّذِينَ كَذَبُوا وَظَلَمُوا فَهُمْ فِي حِلٍّ مِنْ جِهَتِي (الفتاوى [28/

“I do not want anyone to avenge me, even if they have lied against me, or oppressed and commit aggression. I have pardoned every Muslim and I want goodness for all of them just as I want it for myself. As for those who have lied and oppressed me, I have excused them all.”

Why is this topic so important? Because every single one of us has made mistakes in the past and continues to do so, and there is somebody out there whom we have wronged and thus we need their forgiveness before Allāh is to forgive us. Therefore we must treat others the same way we need them to treat us; forgive people the same way we need certain individuals to forgive us.

Would you not like that Allāh should forgive you?[2]

This Āyah on its own should be enough for us, if we are genuine and sincere, to immediately make amendments, pardon others and extend the bridges of Salām once again.

How did Abū Bakr (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) react when he heard this Āyah? He cried and he forgave the one who did wrong to him, Mistah b. Uthātha (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu), his very own cousin. He was a poor man from the Muhājirūn (immigrants) who was living entirely off the spending of Abū Bakr. When the slandering of our mother ʿĀ’isha (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha) began to spread, falsely accusing her of a very evil sin, there were a few companions who spoke negatively about our mother. However Āyāt from Sūrat Al-Nūr were later revealed, declaring her innocence from what they had attributed to her. At this point, Abū Bakr became angry at how Mistah said what he said about his daughter and he took an oath to never spend on Mistah again. But Allāh revealed an Āyah addressing Abū Bakr, saying:

“Those of virtue among you and wealth should not swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allāh, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allāh is Forgiving and Merciful.”

Abū Bakr cried and said, “Yes, I do want you to forgive me!” So he rushed back to Mistah and his family and vowed to never stop spending on him again.

This is how Abū Bakr reacted to this Āyah, al-Siddīq al-Akbar, this was his behaviour. The greatest human being to walk the earth after the Prophets and Messengers wanted Allāh to forgive him and so he forgave.

How will we react to this Āyah? Are we scared of our sins? Do we have serious sins that need dropping before we meet Allāh? If yes, emulate the prophets, emulate the Siddīqūn: prove your desire for forgiveness by forgiving those who have wronged you.

Shayṭān will stand in every one of our paths when journeying to Allāh and will persuade us to re-route, to go back, it is a dead end.

[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].”[3]

Whatever good Muslims try to do, we will find him there and he will do what he can to turn us back. The path of Islāh (reconciliation) is one of which he will try blocking and he will debate with you. Let us go through the conversation which usually takes place between a person and Shayṭān when wanting to reconcile with another Muslim.

He will say, “If you suppress your anger and do not retaliate, your heart will fill with spite and these poisons will not be healthy! Go and let out some anger!” How do we respond? With the ḥadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

وما مِن جرعةٍ أحبَّ­­ إلى اللهِ من جَرعةِ غَيظٍ يكظِمُها عبدٌ ما كظَمها عبدٌ للَّهِ إلَّا ملأَ جوفَه إيمانًا

“There is not a swallowing which is more beloved to Allāh then the swallowing of anger for the sake of Allāh. Whenever one does so, Allāh will most certainly fill him with īmān”[4]

Notice, Shayṭān says ‘suppressing it will fill you with poison’, Allāh says, ‘suppressing it will fill you with īmān’

Shayṭān will try again however and will say, “Look, you have so many other good deeds! You pray at night, read Qur’ān, take part in circles of knowledge, so surely Allāh will pardon you for this one fallout!” How do we respond to this? With the ḥadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

تُعْرَضُ الأَعْمَالُ في كلِّ اثْنَيْنِ وَخَمْيسٍ، فَيَغْفِرُ اللهُ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ لا يُشْرِكُ باللهِ شَيْئًا، إِلاَّ امْرَءًا كَانَتْ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ أخِيهِ شَحْنَاءُ، فَيقُولُ: اتْرُكُوا هذَيْنِ حَتَّى يَصْطَلِحَا

“The deeds of people are presented to Allāh every Monday and Thursday and Allāh forgives the sins of every Muslim who does not associate a partner with Allāh, with the exception of two people who have fallen out. It is said, “Do not forgive their sins until they reconcile”.[5]

Despite an individual’s many good deeds this “one fall out” will block the forgiveness of their sins.

Shayṭān will not give up and he will say, “Do not retaliate. Make friends, but not now. Give it a year or so” How do we respond to this? With the ḥadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

أَبي خِراشٍ حَدْرَدِ بنِ أَبي حَدْرَدٍ الأسلميِّ رضي الله عنه: أنَّه سمع النبيَّ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يقولُ: «مَنْ هَجَرَ أخَاهُ سَنَةً فَهُوَ كَسَفْكِ دَمِهِ». رواه أَبُو داود بإسناد صحيح (كما قال النووي العراقي والألباني)

“Whoever boycotts his brother for over a year then it is as if he has spilled his blood”

Shayṭān will say, “Very well; not a year, but give it a week or so. You both need to cool down!” How do we respond? With the ḥadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

عن أَبي هريرة – رضي الله عنه – قَالَ: قَالَ رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم: «لاَ يَحِلُّ لِمُسْلِمٍ أَنْ يَهْجُرَ أخَاهُ فَوْقَ ثَلاَثٍ، فَمَنْ هَجَرَ فَوْقَ ثَلاَثٍ فَمَاتَ، دَخَلَ النَّارَ». رواه أَبُو داود بإسناد عَلَى شرط البخاري ومسلم.

“It is not permissible for a Muslim to boycott his brother for over three days, and whoever does so and then dies, will enter the fire.”

“Do not retaliate or hate or even leave it for a week. But, at least wait for him to initiate the apology!” How do we respond to this? With the ḥadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

وخَيْرُهُما الَّذِي يَبْدَأُ بِالسَّلاَم

“The best of the two who have fallen out is the one who initiates Salām first.”[6]

“Ah! But what if he rejects your apology?!” Shayṭān will say, “Your effort to reconcile is wasted.” Respond with the ḥadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

وعن أَبي هريرة – رضي الله عنه: أنًّ رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قَالَ: «لاَ يَحِلُّ لِمُؤْمِنٍ أَنْ يَهْجُرَ مُؤْمِنًا فَوقَ ثَلاَثٍ، فإنْ مَرَّتْ بِهِ ثَلاَثٌ، فَلْيَلْقَهُ فَلْيُسَلِّمْ عَلَيْهِ، فَإنْ رَدَّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامَ فَقَدِ اشْتَرَكَا في الأجْرِ، وَإنْ لَمْ يَرُدَّ عَلَيْهِ فَقَدْ بَاءَ بِالإثْمِ، وَخَرَجَ المُسَلِّمُ مِنَ الهِجْرَةِ».[7]

“It is not permissible for a believer to boycott his brother for over three days, therefore if three days pass, let him meet him and give him Salām. If he responds, then they are both rewarded. But if he rejects him, then only he will be sinful whilst the other has freed himself from blame.”

Shayṭān will make one last effort as he begs us to change our mind and he will say, “Your pride will be thrown out the window if he rejects your apology! Then that is a point scored against you!” Respond with the ḥadīth where our Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) this time takes an oath by Allāh’s name that this is false, when he said:

ثَلَاثٌ أُقْسِمُ عَلَيْهِنَّ: مَا نَقَصَ مَالٌ مِنْ صَدَقَةٍ، وَمَا زَادَ اللَّهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلَّا عِزا، وَمَنْ تَوَاضَعَ لِلَّهِ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ

“There are three things which I take an oath by Allāh’s name will happen: 1 – When one gives wealth in charity, your wealth has not decreased. 2 – When one pardons, Allāh will increase you in dignity. 3 – Whoever humbles himself for the sake of Allāh, Allāh will raise him.”[8]

After hearing all of this, what do you make of a person who insists in continuing the boycott? Who insists on not picking up the phone and apologising? This is a person who is arrogant, whose heart has died, who does not want paradise and is not afraid of the fire.

Be the better believer, humiliate Shayṭān. Pick up the phone, apologise and remove every obstacle in your way before arrival at the court of Allāh. We have already got enough to be asked about as it is.  Therefore do not be a person who is ‘difficult to repair’. Al-A’mash said that Al-Sha’bi said,

إن كرام الناس أسرعهم مودة ، وأبطؤهم عداوة ، مثل الكوب من الفضة : يبطئ الانكسار ، ويسرع الانجبار ، وإن لئام الناس أبطؤهم مودة ، وأسرعهم عداوة مثل الكوب من الفخار : يسرع الانكسار ويبطئ الانجبار

“The honourable are the quickest of all people to make up and the slowest to make enemies. They are like silver vessels; Hard to break and easy to repair. As for the ill-mannered, they are the slowest of all people to make up and the quickest to make enemies. They are like glass vessels; Easy to break and hard to repair!”[9]

Let us ease up, accept apologies and continue our journey to the home of the hereafter with the fewest enemies possible.

Allow me to now issue a special message to those brothers and sisters who have put themselves forward for Allāh’s cause; those who are concerned for the Da’wah and are planning and contributing within their capacity. I say to them, carry the most abundant portion of this quality over anyone else. This is because, those who tread the path of Islāh (reconciliation) will be blamed for the problems of the world, will be slandered and backstabbed the most, and sometimes by Muslims; will be abused and accused the most, and sometimes by Muslims; will be labeled as backward or extreme, and sometimes by Muslims, thus you will not be able to continue on this beautiful path until you equip yourself with this trait. As such, it was part of the personality of every Prophet and Messenger, and at the forefront of them was our Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). He is described as follows in the Old Testament:

عنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، قَالَ: لقِيتُ عبدَ اللهِ بنِ عمرِو بنِ العَاصِ رضِيَ اللهُ عنهمَا : قلتُ : أخبِرنِي عن صفةِ رسولِ اللهِ صلَّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلمَ في التورَاةِ ، قالَ : أَجَلْ ، واللهِ إنَّهُ لموصوفٌ في التورَاةِ ببعضِ صِفَتِهِ في القرآنِ : { يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا} . وحِرْزًا للأُمِّيِّينَ ، أنتَ عَبْدِي ورَسُولِي ، سَمَّيْتُكَ المُتَوَكِّلَ ، ليسَ بِفَظٍّ ولا غَلِيظٍ ، ولا سَخَّابٍ في الأسْوَاقِ ، ولا يَدْفَعُ بالسَّيئَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ ، ولكنْ يعفُو ويغْفِرُ ، ولنْ يَقْبِضَهُ اللهُ حتى يقِيمَ بهِ المِلَّةَ العوجَاءَ ، بأنْ يقولوا : لا إلهَ إلَّا اللهُ ، ويفْتَحُ بهَا أعْيُنًا عُمْيًا ، وآذَانًا صُمًا ، وقُلُوبًا غُلْفًا

‘Ata Ibn Yasar said, “I met Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As and asked him, “Tell me about the description of Allāh’s Prophet as was mentioned in the Old Testament.” He replied, “Yes. By Allāh, he is described in Torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the Qur’ān as follows: “O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness and a giver of good news and a warner. And guardian of the illiterates. You are My slave and My messenger. I have named you “Al-Mutawakkil” (reliant upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noise-maker in the markets. And you do not meet evil with evil, but you forgive and pardon. Allāh will not let him die until he straightens the crooked religion, by making them say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allāh” and until blind eyes, deaf hearts and enveloped hearts are opened through him.[10]

Of course, Islām is the way of balance, nuance and human reality, and as such not absolutely every mistake and sin must be overlooked; for example those sins that involve serious violation of rights of others, or ongoing abuse, must be taken to an appropriate authority for justice. However, the pardoning of others discussed in this article is in reference to those fallouts between Muslims which are not Islamically justified, over petty matters, when the conditions of Al-Hajr (Islamic boycott) are not fulfilled. The overwhelming majority of our fallouts with other Muslims are of this category; not justified in the least. Even those who claim that their boycotting (Hajr) of another Muslim is for Allāh, ask them “What are the condition of Al-Hajr?” and they do not know, which makes it evident that their boycotting of this person is due to Hawā (desire) and no portion of it is for Allāh.

To conclude, we must take heed of Allāh’s saying,

فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ

“Whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allāh.”[11]

And be amongst those who:

وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ

and when they are angry, they forgive.”[12]

Work with Allāh’s advice,

ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ (34) وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ (35)

“Repel evil with what is better. Then he, whom between you and him was enmity, will become like a close friend. But none are given this quality except those who are patient, and none are given this quality except those who have a *mighty great fortune*”[13]

Source: www.islam21c.com

Reconcile, the Islamic arbitration service, specialises is bringing hearts together. If you have a dispute with anyone click below to learn more.

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Notes:

[1] Al Bidāya wa anNihāya

[2] Al-Qur’ān, 24:22

[3] Al-Qur’ān, 7:17-18

[4] Ibnu Abbas, Musnad Ahmad

[5] Muslim, Abū Hurairah

[6] Mutafaq, Abu Ayyub

[7] Abū Dāwūd, Hassan

[8] Muslim, Abu Hurairah

[9] Rawdatul ‘Uqalaa’

[10] Bukhari

[11] Al-Qur’ān, 42:40

[12] Al-Qur’ān, 42:37

[13] Al-Qur’ān, 41:34-35

About Ustādh Ali Hammuda

Ustadh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is an educator and writer on Islam. He is of Palestinian origin but was brought up in the UK and although an architect/planner by profession, he currently works with Al-Manar (Cardiff) as the English Islamic programmes officer. Ali is known as the author of various books including 'Origins of the Mosque of Cordoba' and 'The End of Times', and continues to deliver sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country. He is a regular writer on Islamic issues to a wide audience.

5 comments

  1. Mashallah very influencing reminders in the form of beautifully written articles. May Allah make us among those who follow the prophetic paths.

  2. blind eyes, deaf hearts and enveloped hearts

    isn’t it deaf ears* not deaf hearts

  3. JazakAllahKhair for a wonderful article.
    I must admit I struggle with this and tend to cut troublesome people from my life. And I do believe that, forgiving is better. I just struggle with it. I will print this out and frequently.

    • I’m with you on this one sis! I cut troublesome people out too. I just cant handle the headache. I dont block off completely though, I just reduce my interaction and avoid potential conflict situations. May Allah help us all. Salam!

  4. JazakAllahukhairun Ali. Your reminders are always continuing to help us with the daily struggles that we face…and are a reminder that we need to forgive and turn toAllah with our duaa. May Allah give us patience and strength to continue with the dawah at this trying time.

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