The Forgiving Memory

As mentioned in The Trustworthy, here’s the short reflection on and explanation of the Muslim direction regarding letting people recover from their past mistakes – this idea that we’re not to raise it again.

Tawbah is the religious term for one’s conversation with Allah regarding an error. Simple steps: Error. Fix. Tawbah. Loosely translated, it means you will strive to never do it again, with sincerity. It’s just a promise, some words between us and God. No one needs to hear it.

The two (of 99) most common names we use to refer to Allah on the daily is how we open our prayers – the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Al-Rahmaan, Al-Raheem.

Forgiveness for acts that one has committed against themselves comes from Him and our own self; which is why guilt, rather than shame, is a critical point in that it ought to help us pivot without diminishing from our sense of self.

Forgiveness for acts in which harm comes to others is the only time Allah cedes his power. Meaning, if we harm another, the only way that Allah will forgive us is if they forgive us first.

Forgiveness is a purification of the heart. It, rather than festering anger at a harm caused, is an elevated state.

The following concept crosses all manner of harm (committed against oneself, and others) – don’t remind them, after the thing has been dealt with (preferably with them, but sometimes people just cannot face themselves and we are left to forgive them on our own. That’s the harder move, but it’s worth the purification of our hearts).

If you forgive them, even better.

If you don’t forgive them, then move out of their way and get out of theirs.

It is not good addab to ever point out a thing for which someone has illustrated contrition.

And while I am often so heartbroken by this dunya, I don’t wish to make it harder for people to be here. Even if they’re idiots, and even if they have harmed me. I really believe that we harm others because we ourselves are harmed, not because we are actively going out to do harm (though there is certainly a subset of people whose malice falls outside of this, but they are the exception, not the rule).

We are all absolutely riddled with things about ourselves which we wish to forget, and which (I hope) we’re all trying to improve. We have to give people the room and the space to also leave a thing of their past, in their past. It’s that simple.

I love someone who is a recovering addict. We never discuss the harm he did to me while he was using; I understood where his behaviour was rooted even then, so I forgave it in the spot. When he got clean, he apologized and I accepted. There is never a reason for me to bring it up again; he does when he wants to joke about it, and that’s fine. It’s been so many years that he can laugh about it now. So can I. But still, I never am the one to initiate even a joke about this matter.

What purpose would it serve for me to do so? We have addressed it, and I want us to look forward, not back. He’ll get stuck otherwise, and potentially spiral. This serves no one, and it would shatter my fu(king heart.

While using is an extreme example, the concept holds.

Simply, be gentle with one another. Forgive forgive forgive.

If not for yourself, then for Allah. Forgive others, so that He might extend to you the same Mercy. ❤️

I love you.


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