June 24, 2021 | Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah 14, 1442
Ash-Shura (The Consultation)
Chapter 42: Verses 39-42
Principles of Retaliation
"And those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) help and defend themselves. The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God: for (God) loves not those who do wrong. But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress men and wrong-doing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a penalty grievous."
The believers do not fall prey to the tyrants. Their tender heartedness and forgiving nature is not the result of any weakness. Their nobility demands that when they are victors they should forgive the errors of the vanquished; when they possess the power, they should avoid vengefulness and when a weak or subdued person happens to commit a mistake they should overlook it; but when a powerful person, drunk with authority, commits violence against them, they should resist and fight him with all their might.
These verses introduce three basic principles of retaliation:
1. The right limit of retaliation is that one should return the same sort of ill treatment that one has received; one has no right to return a greater ill treatment.
2. Although it is permissible to retaliate against the one who has committed violence, wherever pardoning can be conducive to reconcilement, pardoning is better for the sake of reconcilement than retaliation. And since man pardons the other by suppressing his own feelings, Allah says that the reward of such a one is with Him, for he has suppressed his own self for the sake of reforming the evil-doers.
3. One should not become a wrongdoer oneself in the process of avenging a wrong done by the other. It is not permissible to do a greater wrong in retaliation for the wrong done. For example, if a person slaps another, the other can return only one slap; he cannot shower his blows and kicks. Likewise, it is not right to commit a sin in retaliation for a sin. For example, if a wicked man has killed the son of someone, it is not right to go and kill the son of the former. Or, if a person has violated the chastity of another person's sister or daughter, it is not lawful for him to rape the former's sister or daughter.
"The Meaning of the Quran" - By Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Vol. 4, pp. 551, 552
From Issue: 510 [Read original issue]
Forgiveness is often a one-time, one-issue experience for most of us. Someone harms us, they may or may not ask us for forgiveness, and we offer it.
Many of us do it for the sake of Allah, remembering that, as Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, once said, "All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent" (Ibn Majah). Or we may do it because forgiveness benefits us psychologically and physically.
Regardless of the reasons, for many of us, forgiveness is not a habit we engage in a systematic, regular manner. But this is key to gaining its spiritual, psychological, and health benefits.
One of the best examples can be found in the following incident found in Kitab al-Zuhd by Ibn al-Mubarak, Number 694:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was sitting with a group of the Companions in the Masjid and he said, "A man will now enter (who is) from the people of Paradise." The man walked in. Later it happened again, and then a third time.
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas wanted to find out what was so special about this individual, so he asked the man if he could stay over at his house for three days, making an excuse to stay. The man allowed him to do so.
Observing him carefully in his home, Abdullah noticed that the man didn't do anything out of the ordinary. He didn't fast all the time, he slept some of the night and prayed some of the night, and so on. So after the three days, Abdullah told him the real reason why he requested to stay with him, and he asked him what it was that could be the reason why he was from the people of Jannah.
His host couldn't think of anything, but after some time, he said, "Every night, before I go to sleep, I forgive whoever has wronged me. I remove any bad feelings towards anyone from my heart."
Forgiveness was as natural to this man as brushing our teeth before bed is for the rest of us. It was something he had developed the habit of "just doing". It became part of his life in an integral way, the way prayer, fasting, paying Zakah and other acts of worship are for a Muslim. And how many of us offer these Ibadat while holding grudges, bitterness, and resentment toward family members, friends, or strangers.
Similarly, the following Hadith gives us an even stronger incentive to forgive regularly.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "The deeds of people would be presented every week on two days, Monday and Thursday, and every believing servant would be granted pardon except the one in whose (heart) there is rancour against his brother and it would be said: Leave them and put them off until they are turned to reconciliation" (Muslim).
"Cultivating The Forgiveness Habit" - Samana Siddiqui
From Issue: 1042 [Read original issue]
Not too far from us, a few blocks away, there are kids without enough to eat and without parents who care. A little further away, hours by plane, are people unable to reach their goals because they live in a community that just doesn't have the infrastructure to support them. A bit further away are people being brutally persecuted by their governments. And the world is filled with people who can't go to high school, never mind college, and who certainly can't spend their time focused on whether or not they get a good parking space at work.
And so, the obligation: don't settle.
To have all these advantages, all this momentum, all these opportunities and then settle for mediocre and then defend the status quo and then worry about corporate politics - what a waste.
Flynn Berry wrote that you should never use the word "opportunity." It's not an opportunity, it's an obligation.
I don't think we have any choice. I think we have an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game, and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible.
"Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us" - Seth Godin, pp. 134, 135
From Issue: 537 [Read original issue]