By Ammar Awais – Hiba’s team writer
The doors of Allah’s (swt) forgiveness remain open for us as along as we keep turning to Him in repentance through our Dua and Ibadah. In this article, we explore six deeds mentioned in the Quran and Hadith that not only benefit others but also earn Allah’s (swt) forgiveness for many of our sins.
1) Taking a Stance for Justice
Allah (swt) urges us in the Quran to adopt an uncompromising stance for justice and not let our personal interests get in the way. He has promised forgiveness for those who are steadfast for the cause of justice: “O you who have believed, fear Allah (swt) and speak words of appropriate justice. He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins.” (Al-Ahzab 33:70-71)
Striving for justice includes giving the right testimony, being impartial in our dealings, and speaking in support of the truth. It requires us to be just and fair not just in courtrooms but also in our homes, workplaces, and social gatherings. We must not be scared of being criticized by people. In fact, Allah (swt) commands us to stand firm for justice even if it goes against ourselves, our parents, and other close relatives in case of transgression. (An-Nisa 4:135)
2) Adopting Ethical Business Practices
Being ethical and tolerant in our interpersonal dealings, and especially in our financial transactions, is a means of earning Allah’s (swt) forgiveness.
The Prophet (sa) once told his companions about a man who was forgiven by Allah (swt) because: “he was tolerant when selling, tolerant when purchasing, and tolerant when repaying.” (Tirmidhi – hasan)
In the preceding Hadith, tolerance implies being considerate towards people and having a regard for their circumstances. For example, if the seller is in urgent need of money, offering an exceedingly low price for the property – knowing that the seller has no option but to accept it – is strictly against the spirit of Islam. Similarly, selling a necessity item at an exorbitantly high price when it is short in the market is a vice. On the other hand, being kind and courteous towards others, even if means incurring loss or losing out on potential gain, earns Allah’s (swt) forgiveness and good pleasure.
3) Showing Leniency to Debtors
Giving someone a loan, whether for personal or business needs, without expecting anything in return is a noble practice; then showing leniency when the repayment is due is even more virtuous – something that entitles us to Allah’s (swt) forgiveness – especially where the debtor is poor or going through a lean financial patch. “There was a merchant who used to lend to the people,” the Prophet (sa) informed us, “And whenever his debtor was in straitened circumstances, he would say to his employees, ‘Forgive him so that Allah may forgive us.’ So, Allah forgave him.” (Bukhari)
At another time, the Prophet (sa) told his companions about a man who died, and when questioned by the angels about his deeds, he recounted the following: “I was a businessman and used to give time to the rich to repay his debt and deduct part of the debt of the poor.” Due to this noble practice, the man was forgiven his sins and admitted into Allah’s (swt) mercy. (Bukhari)
4) Feeding a Hungry Animal
Treating animals with empathy is an integral part of Islam, and the reward for feeding even a stray dog is massive. The Prophet (sa) once narrated the following incident, “A prostitute passed by a panting dog near a well and saw that the dog was about to die of thirst. She took off her khuff (leather sock or shoe) and tied it with her head-cover and drew out some water for it. So, Allah (swt) forgave her because of that.” (Bukhari)
According to another hadith, a man once climbed down a well to fetch water. After coming up, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of extreme thirst.
The man felt pity for the dog, so he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water, clenched it between his teeth, and climbed up again to serve the water to the dog. In response, Allah (swt) thanked the man for his kindness and forgave him. (Bukhari)
5) Removing a Hindrance from the Path
It is not just feats of great bravery or generosity that earn us Allah’s (swt) forgiveness. The same objective can be achieved by performing any meaningful act with the intention to please our Creator and benefit fellow creatures. Although common courtesies are overlooked by many Muslims today, they are an effective means to attain Allah’s (swt) mercy and forgiveness.
In fact, something as simple as removing a harmful object from the path is a source of divine forgiveness. The Prophet (sa) said: “While a man was on the way, he found a thorny branch of a tree there on the way and removed it. Allah (swt) thanked him for that deed and forgave him.” (Bukhari). The fact that Allah (swt) thanked this man for a deed that benefitted humans and animals shows the significance of being helpful and accommodating towards His creatures.
6) Forgiving Others
During the time of the Prophet (sa), in Madinah, a vicious slander was initiated against his beloved wife, Aisha Bint Abu Bakr (rta). Among those who spread the rumour was Mistah Ibn Uthatha (rta), a poor emigrant from Makkah who used to be financially supported by Abu Bakr (rta) – his cousin. After the allegation was proved false, and legal penalty was prescribed for the slanderers, Abu Bakr (rta) swore that he would never again provide financial assistance to Mistah due to his notable role in the slander.
Thereafter, Allah (swt) revealed the following: ‘And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.’ (An-Nur 24:22)
This verse, though universal in nature, was directed at Abu Bakr (rta) in particular. Despite the gravity of the sin committed against his daughter, Abu Bakr (rta) was urged to “pardon and overlook” – would he not like Allah (swt) to forgive his own sins in return?
Abu Bakr (rta) obliged, saying: “Yes, by Allah, I do love that Allah should forgive me,” and restored his financial assistance for Mistah (rta). (Bukhari)
Therefore, forgiving the people who wrong us is actually a means of being pardoned by Allah (swt) for our own sins. Even if we are greatly hurt by someone’s actions, it is wise to simply forgive, let go, and move on, because attaining Allah’s (swt) mercy and forgiveness is a far greater endeavor than holding onto a grudge.
May Allah (swt) Al Aziz – The Most Mighty, enable us to adopt these deeds to earn His compassion and forgiveness. Ameen.