Islam does not change; that is one thing that Muslims around the world take pride in. Our values do not change. No matter where we were born and raised. No matter what our race or nationality is. No matter what time period we are born in. Islam does not change. Islam is one and WE are one. The wrongs in our ummah do not come from Islam, they come from us. Allah (SWT) is the All-Forgiving; we all know that and we hope and pray that He (SWT) blesses us with His mercy. At the same time, we struggle to be merciful to the people who surround us: the people we claim to have loved. One mistake tears friends apart, families apart, our ummah apart. If only we would look back at our own mistakes, imagine the consequences if that one person had not forgiven us. Or maybe even if we imagine the deep pain we could suffer for eternity if Allah (SWT) stops bestowing His constant mercy and forgiveness upon us. Maybe if we constantly reflected on those things, then we could forgive with true sincerity.

To live our lives in the best of ways, we must use the best of examples that Allah (SWT) has blessed us with. There are countless examples: stories of our prophets (PBUT) and our Muslim leaders in history. Looking back at our beloved prophets (PBUT) and respected leaders, we see them showing mercy and forgiveness in the most difficult of situations to people who had a hand in making their lives much harder than what we could ever handle. In fact, we have two prophets and one excellent ruler who show this mercy with the same phrase: “No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the Most Merciful of all the merciful” (Quran 12:92). In this specific quote from the Quran, we see Yusuf (AS) showing a great deal of mercy towards his brothers, the same brothers who oppressed him immensely and caused him a great deal of difficulty in the past. In their time of weakness and at a time where he held all the power, Yusuf (AS) completely let them off the hook, leaving the decisions to Allah (SWT). That is what true trust in your Creator (SWT) is; that is how true forgiveness and mercy is given. Following that, in a completely different time period, we see our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) showing that same mercy and as he comes back to Mecca: a city filled with people who have hurt him in so many ways, including killing his people. As he rides into the city, he is saying that same verse from the Quran, 12:92. To let go of a grudge against people who have done such negative things to you and your people is truly a beautiful trait. Our grudges, compared to his, are nothing. However, we still let them tear us apart. Again, as Sulahuddin, a noble Muslim soldier (and later king), was going in to claim Jerusalem back for the Muslims, he tells the current ruler that same Quranic verse. As the ruler and his people are terrified they are going to get slaughtered, Sulahuddin reassures him that he will be forgiving and leave the rest up to Allah (SWT). These three examples, following the true Islamic way, realized that holding a grudge and causing harm to people in revenge is not the way to go about things. On top of that, they go as far as making duaa that Allah (SWT) forgives them and leave it up to Him (SWT). Afterall, if it was any of us, we would want and NEED Allah’s forgiveness, so who are we to not forgive?

As you reflect on these extraordinary examples of our past, these people we should be looking up to, I ask that you consider every grudge you still hold in your heart. Also, although it may be hard, I ask that you find it in you to be merciful and forgive. After all, none of us would enter Paradise without Allah’s mercy, and to receive mercy, we also have to give out mercy. May Allah (SWT) give us all the strength to forgive and may He (SWT) forgive us for our past, present, and future mistakes. Ameen.

By Aydah Nofal