Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself

By Aisha Mohsin

This one time I remember I was trying to open a jar lid. Let me replace the word trying with “struggling” instead.

So I started off by grabbing the jar in my hand and with the back of a teaspoon gave a few taps on the rim. It should’ve had come off easily but it didn’t.  From running the lid under hot water for a couple minutes to holding it upside down, to wrapping it in a tea towel and applying force etc, none of it worked.

Clearly, it was a difficult jar and it had an agenda; basically to challenge my patience and strength! Both of which were biting the dust shortly after my failed attempts. “Rarely have I ever had a jar this stubborn,” I thought defeatingly in my head.

My mum who had been busy doing something a couple feet away from me, quietly took the jar from my hand; she lit the stove burner, carefully rolled only the lid of the jar around the flame a few seconds, pulled it away, wrapped the tea towel around its neck, twisted the lid and… pop!

Yes, it opened right there & then. Just like that.

Websites like BuzzFeed and ScoopWhoop are always telling us there are things we’ve been doing wrong all our lives. And it’s clever of them to come up with practical hacks of doing things that otherwise claim so much of our time and energy almost on daily basis.

Because time & energy, these are two most important commodities in life. Anything that’s limited is precious. Likewise in life, we believe in living life a certain way There are behaviours we repeat religiously that apparently look right but are essentially and inherently wrong.

One of such behaviours is our attitude towards forgiveness.

Forgiving can be the most powerful transformation there can be. Allah swt reassures in the Quran:

“Who spend [in His way] in time of plenty and in time of hardship, and hold in check their anger, and pardon their fellow-men because God loves the doers of good”. (3:134)

Islam talks about forgiveness as one of the highest and incomparably noble virtues anyone can possess. It’s the epitome of good akhlaq (character), it’s the Prophetic way of living life.

Knowing how extremely difficult it is to let go the resentment when someone has wronged you, is obviously the hardest choice one could’ve ever made. Islam gives us the right to settle scores, to retaliate if we choose not to forgive and it seems only justifiable at the time our heart is hurting and seeking compensation.

I read the following quote quite sometime ago and it did help put things into perspective for me.

“It maybe indefinitely worse to refuse to forgive than to murder, because the latter maybe an impulse of a moment of heat, whereas the former is a cold and deliberate choice of the heart”. 

– G. MacDonald

I’ve come to realise that among many other things, it’s our cold unforgiving attitude towards others that serves as an invisible hurdle between us and God. Why is it a hurdle? Because grudges, resentment, hatred, revengefulness – it’s all toxicity and darkness in one form or another.

Hearts are divine courtyards, the only place within us where the presence of God is felt. Negativity always walks into our lives with an evil ambition. That is to ultimately drive us away from the centre of our being. From God so to speak.

Upon entering the recesses of our heart, it slams the door shut in the face of positivity. It then sets the stage for hurt, anger, resentment to replay the act time and again down to its smallest details. Someone hurt us only once but we torment ourselves again and again never allowing healing to happen. How sad is this?!

We preserve bitterness in the folds of our heart hoping to return it to the person who caused it but it actually gets perforated through the folds of our heart & starts to leak into our lives projecting in other relationships.

We pray to feel better but wrath, anger, clamour burden our heart to such an extent that it loses its valour & strength. We pray but without power. And by not forgiving, we are only giving power to all things negative to further make us powerless.

Not to mention, how badly impaired does a body get on the physical plane; that requires another article itself.

Although, majority of the times, it may seem only right to hold on to the hurt/loss someone once tossed in our direction, the truth is, we are going to incur a bigger loss by keeping that hurt safe in the pocket of our heart. That hurt will grow, expand, multiply. Not only will it claim our peace of mind but it’ll leave us in pieces!

Remember we should give out what we most want to come back. Be it love, peace, hope, encouragement, and of course forgiveness.  God really wants us to be the recipient of peace and harmony. But in harbouring the darkness, we unknowingly are deflecting the light God is sending our way.

I strongly believe in taking time to internalise the lesson but not the pain. And forgiving even if someone is not sorry. And it’s a favour first & foremost to our own selves and than to someone who ever wronged us. So let Allah take charge because He knows how to compensate.

The real alchemy of forgiveness comes from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) who even forgave his archenemies.

Oh dear heart, 

they say

you are weak..

so to prove them wrong 

you hold on to hurt tighter..

mourn if you’ve to, cry if you want 

but remember ..

you aren’t a victim but a fighter ..

 

Let go of hate, let go of greed

they’ll only make you bleed

they house your heart only to deceive 

please open your hands, so you’ll receive 

The love of God that’s pure & divine

will take away the pain, yours & mine!

 

aisha mohsinAisha Mohsin is a Melbourne based blogger and a seeker of inspiration in the ordinary. Her writings are grounded in a quest for self identification. She   aims to reach out & connect with people and help them live better n’ happier. You can find her here: www.aishamohsinblog.wordpress.com  Facebook: Aisha Mohsin (All too Human)
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