By Ms. Seen Noon
Muslims all over the world are observing the Holy month of Ramadan, a month full of blessings, forgiveness, repentance, good deeds, charity, and Allah’s special gift of forgiving the sins of a believer if he exercises all his religious duties with piety and wholeheartedness. The need is to be honest and steadfast in our faith, in order to follow the teachings of Allah and our Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), that we are taught by them, in order to reap the benefits of this Holy Month.
Let’s review how Allah, the Almighty, pardons people and forgives them with His infinite mercy:
Afuw is, when a person repents, seeks forgiveness, begs for mercy for his voluntary and involuntary sins, asking for Allah’s infinite blessings so that all his sins are removed from one’s book of deeds. If Allah forgives and grants afuw, then the punishment for the sin is stopped in this world and maybe in the afterlife. But the person still has to face consequences of the sin, and face the blame for them.
Maghfirah is another level of afuw, when Allah, the Almighty, forgives the seeker, accepting his repentance, blessing him with infinite blessings, by removing one’s sins completely, from his book of deeds, as if they never happened at all. Allah will not ask him about those deeds on the Day of Judgement (unlike in afuw). May we all be the fortunate ones towards whom our Lord bestows maghfirah and forgiveness.
Mention of Maghfirah and Afuw in Quran
Reviewing some of the instances of these words mentioned in the Quran will give us a clearer picture about them:
O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment. (2:178)
And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much. (42:30)
And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers. (42:40)
For Maghfirah & Afuw
O you who have believed, indeed, among your wives and your children are enemies to you, so beware of them. But if you pardon and overlook and forgive – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (64:14)
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (2:286)
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (39:53)
Dua For Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power)
It was narrated from ‘Aishah that she said: “O Messenger of Allah, what do you think I should say in my supplication, if I come upon Laylatul-Qadr?” He said: “Say:‘Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul-‘afwa,fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Forgiving and love forgiveness, so forgive me).’ Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
Our beloved Holy Prophet S.A.W. advised us to read the aforementioned dua in the last ten days of Ramadan. This dua asks Allah, the Almighty, to stop the punishment for our sins, so that we may be saved from the hell fire, if Allah wills. In this Night of Power, our Lord spares all who seek mercy, pardon, forgiveness, sparing them from being written down as dwellers of hell, recording them as the forgiven ones, by His infinite mercy of course. Even there would be people who will ultimately reside in heaven, on the account of their good deeds, but unfortunately would have to pay for their sins prior to that by being thrown in the hell fire first. So, a believer needs to ask Allah, on a repeat mode, throughout Ramadan, but specially in the last ten nights, to stop the hell fire from reaching them, so that they are amongst those who are the forgiven ones. So, my beloved readers, simply asking Allah that may He make us to belong to a group who will live in heaven in the afterlife is not enough, rather, to ask Allah to make us from among those who are spared from the wrath of the hell fire altogether!
Although the whole month envelopes special gifts and bounties for anyone who fasts and seeks forgiveness and blessings of Allah, but the last ten nights hold great importance. And it is during one of those nights that the Night of Power lies, in which Quran was revealed, when Allah opens His special doors of mercy and forgiveness, blessing the ones who sacrifice their sleep and rest, rather choosing to spend the night in prayer and supplication, asking for forgiveness and repentance.
We need to make sure that we develop a habit of reciting this aforementioned dua as much as possible into our daily routine during Ramadan. Who knows when we are fortunate enough to seek Allah’s mercy with our heart and soul that the Almighty accepts our sincere pleas, granting us maghfirah for all our past sins, raising our faith (iman), increasing our dedication and desire to learn and practice the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).
Supplications for Maghfirah & Afuw
There are numerous supplications for asking Allah for maghfirah and afuw:
“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” Surah Al-Aa’raf 7:23
“Our Lord, make us not [objects of] trial for the wrongdoing people. And save us by Your mercy from the disbelieving people.” Surah Yunus 10: 85-86
“Our Lord, forgive us our sins and the excess [committed] in our affairs and plant firmly our feet and give us victory over the disbelieving people.” Surah Ali Imran 3:147
Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous. Surah Ali Imran 3:193
‘’My Lord, forgive and have mercy, and You are the best of the merciful.” – Surah Al-Muminun 23:118
“Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” Surah Al Baqarah 2:286
[Who say], “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.” Surah Ali Imran 3:8
“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication. Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established.” Surah Ibrahim 14: 40-41
“My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils, And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they be present with me.” Surah Al Muminun 23:97-98
“Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” Surah Al Baqarah 2:201
“Our Lord, indeed we have believed, so forgive us our sins and protect us from the punishment of the Fire,” Surah Ali-Imran 3:16
‘Our Lord, we have believed, so forgive us and have mercy upon us, and You are the best of the merciful.’ Surah Ali Imran 3:109
“There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” Surah Al Anbya 21:87
Narrated Shaddad bin Aus: The Prophet (ﷺ) said “The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is:
‘Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa anta, Khalaqtani wa ana `Abduka, wa ana `ala `ahdika wa wa`dika mastata`tu, A`udhu bika min Sharri ma sana`tu, abu’u Laka bini`matika `alaiya, wa abu’u laka bidhanbi faghfir lee fa innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta.”
“O Allah, You are my Lord, There is none worthy of worship but You. You created me and I am Your slave. I keep Your covenant, and my pledge to You so far as I am able. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I admit to Your blessings upon me, and I admit to my misdeeds. Forgive me, for there is none who may forgive sings but You.”
The Prophet (ﷺ) added. “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 6306)
It was narrated from Abu Bakr Siddiq that: he said to the Messenger of Allah (saas): Teach me a supplication which I can say during my prayer. He said:
“Say: Allahumma inni zalamtu nafsi zulman kathiran wa la yaghfirudh-dhunub illa Anta, faghfirli maghfiratan min ‘indika warhamni, innaka Antal-Ghafurur-Rahim”
“O Allah, I have wronged myself greatly and no one forgives sins but You, so grant me forgiveness from You and have mercy on me, for You are the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Sunan Ibn Majah 3835
In this materialistic world, a believer faces trials and obstacles, inhibiting him from walking the path of a pious, righteous Muslim, so it becomes the duty of a believer to abstain from indulging in a sinful action, while remembering Allah, performing prayers and reciting the given supplications for seeking forgiveness and ultimately the pleasure of Allah. Allah is observing how we all are reacting to the infinite blessings He has blessed us with. Making use of the worldly bounties for the welfare of the poor and the needy, helping those in need, loving your near and dear ones only to gain Allah’s forgiveness and pleasure etc will help us in passing this trial, if Allah wills.
Our Lord is the most merciful, He forgives even if a believer only thinks in his mind, embarrassed after committing a sin, repenting on his lack of control over himself, that he has crossed the boundaries set by Allah, gaining his displeasure. Only on one’s thought of repentance, our merciful Allah opens His doors of mercy and forgiveness, allowing the believer to be forgiven, blessing him with maghfirah. You may find it trivial, but even the permission from Allah for a believer to repent on his sins is a sign that He has opened His gates of maghfirah for His creature. Otherwise, years may go by without one’s realization of any misconduct carried on by one-self.
This artificial show-facing life will not be of any benefit to us when our dead bodies are being laid down in the pitch dark grave of ours. No insta story or facebook post will come to our rescue, but rather, only the deeds acted on by our heart and soul will be recorded in our book of deeds, and for those we are answerable to our Lord.