When permission was given for migration from Makkah to Madinah, the companions of the prophet ﷺ set out on the journey leaving their homes, families, and wealth behind. Under such hardship, some companions’ families were hesitant for such a great sacrifice and asked their husbands to stay in Makkah. Some of the companions delayed their migration under the pressure of their families, but later when they finally migrated to Madinah, they found that the companions who had migrated prior had learned new Islamic rulings and other vital information that they missed. They also felt a great loss for the time they were away from the prophet ﷺ and his guidance.  For that, they were angry with their families and even boycotted them.

After such an act, Allah ﷻ revealed this verse to the prophet ﷺ: {O you who believe! Indeed, among your spouses and your children are those who are enemies to you. So beware of them. Yet if you pardon and excuse and forgive, then [let it be known that], indeed, God is all-forgiving, mercy-giving.} 64:14. In this verse, Allah ﷻ stated that yes, in some cases family can be a barrier between you and the truth, in faith of God and Islam, but in such a case, a purely human case, nothing works but pardoning, giving excuse, and forgiving, and if you want God’s mercy, then you should practice it.

This verse mentioned three Arabic words that are similar in meaning but each has a specific detail to it:

The term { تعفوا } translated as pardon means to drop the punishment while you are able to inflict it.

The term { تصفحوا } translated as excuse means to open a new page as if the wrong act is in the past and is not to be brought up again.

The term { تغفروا } translated as forgive means to wipe out by covering such an act as if it did not even happen.

All such terms I believe are an outcome of the concept of mercy that is explained in another verse in the Quran. After losing the battle of Uhud, Allah ﷻ revealed a verse to the prophet ﷺ teaching him how to deal with such people who were a cause and a reason for such a loss when they disobeyed him. Allah ﷻ said: {And so, [O Mohammad], it was by the sheer mercy of God that you were lenient with them. For had you been harsh and hard-hearted then they would have disbanded from around you. So pardon them. And seek forgiveness for them. And take counsel with them concerning the [community’s] affairs.} 3:159. In other words, only because of the sheer mercy that Allah ﷻ had granted, such forgiveness was possible.

After Allah ﷻ cleared the mother of the believers, A’isha, through revelation from the false accusation of adultery, it was the cousin of her father Abu Bakr, Mistah Ibn Utahtha, who fell into repeating such an accusation. Abu Bakr used to even give him Sadaqah! When he knew of what Mistah had said, Abu Bakr made an oath to not give him Sadaqah anymore. Upon that, Allah ﷻ revealed this verse {Moreover, let not people of [moral] excellence and affluence among you swear off giving [charitably to] close relatives, and the indigent, and the Emigres in the path of God [in reproach for a wrong done]. But, rather, let them pardon and overlook [it]. Do you not love that God should forgive you? Indeed, God is all-forgiving, mercy-giving.} 24:22. Upon hearing this verse, Abu Bakr said: Indeed, I shall forgive, and he cleared his oath and started giving his relative Sadaqah again.

In marriage relationships, Allah ﷻ spoke about the foundation of coping with your spouse and enjoying tranquility between each other that is based on love and mercy. Allah ﷻ said {And of His [wonderous] signs is that He has created for you, from yourselves, mates, to that you may repose in them. And He has set between you genuine [mutual] love and [tenderhearted] mercy. Indeed, in [all of] this there are sure signs for a people who will reflect.} 30:21.

As we are entering a new year and ending one passed, we are in such need for mercy among each other to be able to practice forgiveness.

May Allah ﷻ make all our days full of mercy and forgiveness, ameen.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha