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Asking others for forgiveness We are now in the second ten days of Ramadan, the days when Allah invites us to turn to Him in repentance. Before we do that we should ask forgiveness from those whom we have wronged. This is our duty. It is necessary for us to move out of the ego and abase ourself if we are truly sorry for what we did, or said. When we make a mistake, when we say or do something, sometimes without thinking through the consequences, we hurt or insult others. When we do or say something that is wrong, our bodies will tell us so, we will experience a feeling of unease, and we may exclaim silently: “I can’t believe I just did/said that”. The thing to do is to immediately say: “I am sorry I said/did that”. Firstly you clear yourself and bring ease back to your body, secondly the other person has no time to take offence and get angry. Apart from anything else, it will make you feel better. After all we do not really mean to hurt or insult people; as humans and creations of Allah we are naturally predisposed to be good. When we say we are sorry we practise kindness, this is a good

first step to forgiving. When we may find ourselves in a situation where we have injured or insulted someone, respect that person enough to admit the mistake and apologise. Once you have done that, you will feel free. In the event that forgiveness is withheld, do not dwell on it. You have done the right thing and showed sincere repentance. Ask Allah for forgiveness, and move on.
In Muhammad (SAW), we have the perfect example, no matter what people did to him, no matter how horrifying and despicable the acts were, he freely forgave. As Muslims, we are supposed to follow Allah and his Rasool (SAW)
When we refuse to forgive, it is like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die.
Forgiving others

What if someone has wronged you, or hurt you? Are you still carrying that resentment? And for how much longer will you do so?
Often we believe that in forgiving someone we are we are either excusing or condoning the behaviour. Sometimes we even decide that their crime was so awful that they are not worthy of forgiveness. When we forgive, we are giving peace to ourselves. It releases us from feelings of hurt, anger, and resentment.  These feelings poison us and affect every emotion and action.  It is like being stuck in a time warp  and most times the other person is unconcerned whether they have been forgiven  or not.
The phrase that occurs most often in the Holy Quran is “Allah is most forgiving, most merciful”. If Allah is so forgiving, who are we to withhold what is so freely and divinely given.  Most of the time it is our ego which refuses to allow us to forgive.
How many families are split due to anger, judgment and a refusal to forgive? Allah says in the Holy Quran in Surah Ar Rad that those who sever family ties, their home is the Jahannam
We also have tendency to take things personally, everything is about us. Things are said carelessly, perhaps with no real intent of malice, but we take the high road and refuse to speak to that person again. So we harbour these poisonous feelings of hatred and resentment, and in the process we harm ourselves. The person we refuse to forgive goes on with his or her life, totally unaware. That person is occupying rent free space in your life.
There comes a point in time when we know we have to forgive. It is the point when we realise that we cannot move beyond the pain or hurt that someone has inflicted upon us. Forgive, when you reach the point when you believe that you cannot get any satisfaction from the belief that you are less worthy than who you are. At this point remember that others are human too, and that they are also prone to make mistakes. When we forgive we show kindness, which is almost a vanished phenomenon today. Kindness leads to empathy, and empathy allows you to have compassion for others.

Forgiving yourself
There is one type of forgiveness which we find very hard to give. It is the forgiveness of the self. We constantly hark back to things we did or said when we knew no better, or when we were not in a very good emotional space. We punish ourselves and find it very difficult to forgive our own mistakes. Our self-worth is so low that when we have a bad experience we think we deserve it. This is because we believe others have the power to control or alter our destiny.  This is not so, it is our beliefs, whether mistaken or not, that will ultimately determine what we will do or be in life.
We learn valuable lessons in our mistakes. It enables us to know what works and what doesn’t so that we don’t repeat the same mistake. The divine spirit within us is self correcting. It will point out our mistakes in the form of pain and suffering, mental uneasiness and emotional imbalance. Forgive yourself for the belief that your truth can be altered by another human being.

We will now turn to begging Allah’s forgiveness, and to do that we have to repent.
Repentance is the action or process of turning from sin and dedicating one self to the amendment of one’s life. It also means to feel regret and sorrow. Tawbah refers to the act of leaving what God has prohibited and returning to what He has commanded.  In Islam we have been born sinless, in a state of submission to Allah known as the Fitrah. Through sin man turns away from Allah, and by repentance he turns away from sin and returns to the path of Allah. Repentance is a means by which we can strive for purification and thus return to our original sinless state of the Fitrah. By the Mercy and Grace of Almighty Allah, the act of repentance is itself an act of worship through which man may earn his own salvation,
By sincerely obeying Allah’s command to turn to Him in repentance, the penitent sinner embarks on an act of worship which is so great that it can totally absolve him of his sins. In pardoning those who repent Allah manifests Allah’s divine attributes of Mercy and Forgiveness.  The process of falling into error, realizing the mistake and seeking Allah’s forgiveness is also a channel for man’s spiritual growth. It develops man’s love for the Almighty and increases his respect and consciousness of Allah when he turns to Him in humility and devotion.
Allah will forgive anyone who turns to Him repentant. When a person commits a sin by disobeying the commandments of Allah, he is responsible before Allah for his sin, and as such, he has to shoulder full responsibility for it by himself.  Allah is pleased when a sinner turns to Him in repentance, because He created man with a natural tendency to err, in order that he would repent and be forgiven from Allah’s infinite mercy. Hence when man turns to Allah in repentance he is fulfilling Allah’s wish as well as a part of the reason for his creation. Repentance then becomes an act of righteousness and worship greatly pleasing to Allah.
“Surely Allah loves those who constantly turn to Him in repentance and those who keep themselves pure” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:222
Although repentance is fundamentally a personal pact between the sinner and Allah, there are certain conditions which must be met. Guidelines have been set by Muslim scholars down through the ages, gleaned from the texts of the Final Scripture and the teachings of the final Prophet (pbuh). These have to be observed to insure real sincerity and the fulfilment of Allah’s rights as well as those of man. The desired result is Allah’s forgiveness and His pardon and absolution from the consequences of the sin. For this to take place, the repentance must first be acceptable to Allah. Consequently the guidelines actually represent the necessary conditions which must be met in order for the act of worship of Allah through repentance to be valid. However although repentance has been commanded by Allah it should not be forgotten that it is not He who needs our repentance, but we who need His remission. Thus Tawbah has been legislated primarily for man’s benefit; for his spiritual growth through rising above sin and the remembrance of God. The conditions are as follows:
1.     “Those who having done something shameful or (having) wronged their own souls, remember Allah and immediately ask forgiveness for their sins” (Surah Aal Imraan 3:135).
2. Immediacy. “Surely Allah will forgive those who do sins in ignorance and soon turn in repentance. These Allah will forgive, for Allah is all-Knowing, all-Wise” 4:17.
3. Cessation. The immediate turning in repentance has to be accompanied by an immediate abandonment of the sin for which forgiveness is sought.
4. Exoneration. If the sin for which repentance is sought involves the violation of the rights of other human beings, these rights must be restored for absolution to be granted.
5. Sorrow It is also essential that the penitent feel deep sorrow and regret for his transgression. Remorse is the foundation of the act of Tawbah. Without it repentance becomes a meaningless ritual devoid of any sincerity and substance.
6. Righteous Deeds. True Tawbah is not only expressed in feelings from the heart and words on the lips but also in the penitent individual’s actions. He should be driven by his desire for absolution to correct whatever wrong he has done and make amends.
“If any of you does evil in ignorance, then repents and makes amends, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (6:54).


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