Understanding, Tolerance and Forgiveness

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according to allah's command,"… be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbours who are related to you and neighbours who are not related to you, and to companions and travellers and your slaves" in verse 36 of surat an-nisa', believers behave well towards those around them. they are never quarrelsome, contrary or negative but interact with people positively and correctly. because they live according to the teachings of the qur'an, they display a character that is conciliatory and open to communication. they know that the anger, quarrelsomeness and argumentativeness of those who live without the deen have no place in the way taught by the qur'an. for this reason, they are forgiving, tolerant and try to see the good in the other. in the qur'an, allah draws our attention to this as an expression of a superior character:

but if someone is steadfast and forgives, that is the most resolute course to follow. (surat ash-shura: 43)

allah commands us to be understanding, tolerant and forgiving toward others. he commands this in the following verse:

those of you possessing affluence and ample wealth should not make oaths that they will not give to their relatives and the very poor and those who have emigrated in the way of allah. they should rather pardon and overlook. would you not love allah to forgive you? allah is ever-forgiving, most merciful. (surat an-nur: 22)

for this reason, a believer is careful to treat any believer he has to deal with in his daily life with understanding and tolerance. for example, he will be understanding towards a believer who makes noise and wakes him up in the morning. he knows that he acts only by allah's decree; allah wanted him to wake up at that moment and the person making the noise was his instrument. this is one possible way of seeing it. however, this would be an occasion for some people to become irritated and quarrelsome. a believer is careful to behave politely to other believers who harm him by accident. no matter how serious the situation, he does not become angry, lose his composure or upset those around him. he hopes for the same kind of understanding from others when he himself makes a mistake. as we said earlier, he hopes that allah in his infinite mercy will forgive him his wrong actions. if he does not attempt to exemplify allah's attribute as the "ever-forgiving" in his own behaviour, he knows that this attitude will lead him to act contrary to the teachings of the qur'an.

a person who lives according to the teachings of the qur'an will have fine qualities of character. because of the maturity he shows in the course of the day at home, at school or at work, he prevents any tension or anxiety from arising. moreover, the behaviour of a believer will be an example to others. the most important thing is that his behaviour is that which is praised in the qur'an and he acts in a way that is pleasing to allah.

from the information he collected from scholars, imam al-ghazali wrote the following about the exemplary behaviour of our prophet, may allah bless him and grant him peace, towards those around him:

"… he used to be the first to greet one whom he met. he did not stand up or sit down without remembering allah... … he used to call his companions by their honorifics to honour them and he used to give honorifics to those who had none. … he was very affectionate and kind in dealing with people." (imam al-ghazzali's ihya ulum-id-din)

surely what we have to emulate is the noble character of our prophet, may allah bless him and grant him peace. those who adopt the values of the qur'an and follow the sunnah of our prophet, may allah bless him and grant him peace, can hope to live a good life in this world by allah's will and receive a great blessing from allah in the hereafter.

you have an excellent model in the messenger of allah, for all who put their hope in allah and the last day and remember allah much. (surat al-ahzab:21)

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