We’ve talked about Ramadan as the month of improvement, the month of patience, and the month of a few other attributes. What we haven’t addressed yet is Ramadan as a month of forgiveness, so let’s do that.
If you have ever needed anyone’s forgiveness, you know this is not an easy subject.
If you have ever needed to forgive someone, you know exactly how not-easy this subject is.
Isn’t it interesting how the difficulty of a situation can change depending on our circumstance?
Here’s the thing about forgiveness that I think makes the subject so difficult to address in any situation – it requires us to realize that someone is at fault.
Someone made such a big mistake that it altered our relationship with them. Our perspective of them is now skewed and we’re considering what kind of relationship we can have from here on out.
Now sometimes the situation can be a little one, like you promise to pick up flowers for an event and you forget to do your assigned task…for the umpteenth time. Forgiveness required; relationship change: your friends have finally come to the conclusion that your intentions are dependable, not your actions. You’ve lost their trust.
But what about the big situations?
Say your sister confides in you about an issue she’s having at work or school, and it’s really affecting her confidence. You obviously comfort your sister and give multiple reassurances that this information is between the two of you. However, a few hours later you’re on the phone with your mother whom you share everything with and without meaning to, you let slip the problems your sister is having. You just wanted some advice as to how to help your sister best right? But your sister has heard you and she’s pretty heart-broken that you would betray her trust. Forgiveness required; relationship change: your sister realizes that your intentions are dependable, not your actions.
You’ve lost her trust.
See the difference in the extremity of the two situations and their outcomes?
Forgiveness requires a lot from the persons involved, yet it is so necessary for us to move on and mend the aftermath of our blunders.
In both situations described above I made us out to be the bad guy, per say. Why?
Because a lot of the time we forget when we are in that vulnerable position.
When the tables are turned and it’s our turn to show forgiveness, we can become proud or stubborn. It’s so tempting, and easy, to hold on to our grudges and remain upset. We don’t want the bad guy in our situation to have it easy, they deserve to suffer a little, right?
Would we want this when we’re the ones at fault?
Of course not.
When we’re at fault we want compassion and understanding.
That’s the double standard we have got to fight during Ramadan.
How can we expect others to play the bigger person with our fumbles when we don’t grant the same right to people fumble with us?
I know it’s a cliché concept, but the concept still stands as strong as ever – start a change by being the change.
And if Ramadan is the month of improvement, it can be the month of forgiveness as well.
Don’t just seek forgiveness of those you may have wronged, be the bigger person and forgive those who have wronged you. It’s not easy, but if it was easy it wouldn’t be worth it (I know this post is full of tried and true clichés, but…they’re tried and true!).
I couldn’t explain it better:
“We cannot expect Allah’s forgiveness unless we also forgive those who do wrong to us. Forgiving each other, even forgiving one’s enemies is one of the most important Islamic teaching. In the Qur’an Allah has described the Believers as “those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive.” (al-Shura 42:37) Later in the same Surah Allah says, “The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah.” (al-Shura 42:40) In another place the Qur’an says, “If you punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith you were afflicted. But if you endure patiently, indeed it is better for the patient. Endure you patiently. Your patience is not except through the help of Allah (al-Nahl 16:126-127)”
I haven’t hit all the aspects of forgiveness in this post so I’m linking two videos here that say it far better than I could have.
Watch, contemplate, forgive.
The 30 Days of Ramadan series is written by Sobia Siddiqui, CAIR-TX Communications Intern. Enjoy more of her writing on her personal blog, Religion in the Melting Pot.