Pardoning, a Manner of the Noble (Imam Zein el Abideen (a.s.) a Paradigm)
The main axes of the subject:
1- The crown of noble qualities
2- The principles of pardoning
3- Be a gracious forgiver
4- A comprehensive pardoning
We will explain the spiritual value of pardoning and forgiveness with respect to people coupled with the positive effect on a forgiving person in this world and the afterworld. We will first explain the essence of pardoning and give an example of Imam Zein el Abideen (a.s.).
Exporting the subject:
Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “If anger strikes you strike it back with pardoning; on the Day of Resurrection a caller will call saying: he who deserves a reward from Allah stand up. As a result, only the forgivers will stand up. Didn’t you hear the words of his exaltedness: “…But whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah.”1
The crown of noble qualities:
The linguists said that pardoning is a favor, in other words, it is someone who did a favor. Al Khalil said: “Pardon is favor. He added: it means you are letting a human being that deserves punishment go because you forgave him; and Allah is the pardoning forgiver.”2
Since favor was strongly apparent in the act of pardoning, this is why it became the most notable evidence for it. Therefore, we find that Allah (The Exalted) markets his deity as being the pardoning forgiver in the context of being graceful to the servants as well as confirm the value or level of strength and capability; “Indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving.”3 In addition, commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying on the greatness of Allah: “His command is a destiny and wisdom; His satisfaction is security and mercy; He ordains out of knowledge and forgives out of prudence.”4
Moreover, Imam al Sadiq (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Three things are part of the noble qualities in this world and the afterworld: You pardon who wrongs you; you visit who disconnect with you; and you act with prudence when you are treated with ignorance.”5 These issues are truly part of the noble qualities. In addition, commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Pardoning is the crown of the noble deeds.”6
– The principles of pardoning:
Not every forgiveness means pardon. Instead, a number of terms must be available that will render such act as a principle of pardoning. In order to deem an act as being a pardon, these are some of the most important required terms:
1- The continual wrongdoing by the pardoned person towards the forgiver. Commander of the faithful (a.s.) taught us the following words: “O Lord, my crime grew further if you are the contender. My guilt grew larger if you are the demander. However, each time I remember how serious my crime and how greater your forgiveness, I find out that the result out of the two is the greatness of your forgiveness.”7
Moreover, in the accounts, the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Would you like me to show you the best creatures in this world and the afterworld: pardon he who wrongs you.”8
2- That the upper hand belongs to the abuser not to the abused. This is because someone claiming to be a forgiver when he cannot payback the same abuse is not appropriate. Therefore, he who has the upper hand has the priority to forgive. For example, Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “The one among the people who has the priority to pardon is the one most capable of punishment.”9
Besides, in the accounts, commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “When there is a complete power, the virtue of pardoning emerges.”10
3- That there should be alternative options for pardoning and forgiveness regarding the abused. For example, there is a supplication for commander of the faithful (a.s.) that reads: “And if you forgive, who is more worthy in doing so than you are. And if you punish, who is more just than you in giving the verdict…”11 Commander of the faithful (a.s.) was also quoted as saying: “O Lord, treat me with your pardon and never treat me with your justice.”12
– Be the beauty of pardoning:
Pardoning should be an act for overlooking the outcome of abuse. Someone said: pardoning means erasing the traces of the outcomes. In other words, it is forgiven with time, which means time erased it. Besides, pardoning has beautiful qualities and marks, such as:
1- Never to revenge at sometime later. For example, Imam al Sadiq (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “The beautiful forgiveness is that you do not punish for the wrongdoing.”13
2- Never to blame the pardoned by the forgiver. For example, commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Guilt is not forgiven if it is associated with blame.”14
He was also quoted as saying: “Blame is the most bitter of the two punishments.” 15
3- Never admonish. For example, when explaining the verse of his exaltedness “So forgive with gracious forgiveness,” Imam al Sajjad (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Forgiving without blaming.”16
Moreover, Imam al Rida (a.s.) summed these qualities in one speech when he said: “Pardoning without punishment, reproach or blame.”17
– The effect of pardoning:
Allah (The Exalted) is a forgiver who loves forgiving. Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.), when asked by his wife about the night of Qadr, was quoted as saying: “You should say, O Lord, you are a forgiver who loves forgiving, so forgive me.”18
Here are some of the results of a man’s pardoning his brother:
1- Living longer with a credited extended lifetime. For example, the Prophet (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “He whose pardoning increases his lifetime will be extended.”19
2- Ridding of the rancor inside your heart. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Forgive each other and the grudges amongst you will fall.”20
3- It brings self-esteem. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Pardoning will only increase the pride of a servant, therefore, forgive and Allah will esteem you.”21
The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) was also quoted as saying: “He who forgives wrongness, Allah will reward him esteem in this world and the afterworld.”22
4- The reward for pardoning comes from Allah. For example, Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “If a servant is halted, a caller will call saying: those who deserve a reward from Allah stand up. And he was asked: who is he whose reward comes from Allah? He replied: Those who forgive the people.”23
There are uncountable fruits of pardoning, which cannot be included in this summary.
– The comprehensive pardoning:
Imam Zein al Abideen (a.s.) had several attitudes regarding pardon. There was an incident for which he was famed and was reported by different authors of the accounts. It reads: “He had a bondwoman that was pouring water on his hand when he wanted to perform ablution (Wudu). Suddenly the jug fell from her hand on his sacred head injuring him. The bondwoman said: And those who suppress their anger. The Imam replied: I suppressed my anger. She added: And those who forgive people. He replied: Allah forgives you. She continued: And Allah loves the beneficent. He replied: Go, you are free for the sake of Allah.”24
1- A’alam al Dailami, 337
2- Al Ayn (the eye), by al Khalil bin Ahmad al Farahidi, Vol. 2, P. 1240, pardon material
3- Surat An-Nisā’ (The Women), verse 43
4- Nahjul Balagha, sermon 16
5- Al Kafi, by al Kulaini, Vol. 2, P. 107, H. 3.
6- Ghorar al Hikam, by al Qadi al A’midi, P. 520
7- Al Balad al Amin (the Safe Country), by sheikh al Kaf’ami, P. 312.
8- Al Kafi, Vol. 2, P. 107, H. 1.
9- Ma’ani al Akhbar, by Sheikh al Saddouq, P. 196, H. 1.
10- Ghorar al Hikam, H. 6215
11- Al Balad al Amin (the Safe Country), P. 316.
12- Nahjul Balagha, sermon 227
13- Tuhaf al Uqul, by Ibn Shu’bah al Harrani, P. 369
14- Ghorar al Hikam, H. 9567
15- Same source, H. 1688
16- Al A’mali, by Sheikh al Saddouq, P. 276, H. 14
17- A’alam al Dailami, 307
18- Sunan Ibn Majah, P. 3850
19- A’alam al Deen, P. 238, H. 7.
20- Al A’mali, by Sheikh al Saddouq, P. 238, H. 7
21- Kanz al Ummal, by al Muttaqi al Hindi, H. 7012
22- Al A’mali, by Sheikh al Tousi, P. 182, H. 306
23- Kanz al Ummal, H. 7009
24- Damascus History, by Ibn Asakir, Vol. 36, P. 155; also Siyar A’alam al Nobala’a, by al Thahabi, Vol. 4, P. 397; also al A’mali by al Saddouq, P. 168, H. 12; also al Ershad by al Mufid, Vol. 2, P. 146; and others…