The Prophet (saw) said: “The most virtuous of virtues is to connect and have good relations with those who cut you off, to give to those who deny you, and to overlook and pardon those who revile you.” (Ahmad)

The above hadith tells us about some of the loftiest moral virtues that every family, community, and society needs in order to lead lives of harmony and peace. These virtues are among many that the Prophet (saw) taught, inculcated, and nurtured in his companions. This made them the best of all generation to be emulated, unparalleled in human history.


If we take the harsh, rough approach of cutting off relations with those who turn away from us, and we withhold our goodness from those who deny us, and we take revenge upon all those who wrong us, then what kind of lives are we going to lead? They will be lives of misery, complaints, anxiety, worries, guilt, hatred, anger, and enmity.


That is why the Messenger of Allah (saw) said it is virtuous to refrain from reciprocating these hurtful actions. “One of the companions of the Prophet (saw) came and said to him: O Messenger of Allah! I stayed with a man who did not entertain me nor show me any hospitality. Now he has come to stay with me. Should I reciprocate the same to him? The Prophet (saw) said: No, entertain him.” (Tirmidhi)


These are the lofty moral teachings taught in Islam that bind the community together. These teachings help to nurture good relations, even with those who wronged us, by pardoning their shortcomings and mending relations with them. Allah (swt) in several passages of the Glorious Qur’an advises us about taking this moral high ground: “Pardon (show forgiveness), enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (without punishing them).” (Al-A’raf: 199)


Once, the Prophet’s wife, who was the daughter of his close companion Abu Bakr (ra), was falsely rumoured to have committed adultery by the hypocrites whose aim and objective was to discredit the Prophet’s status in Madinah. The rumour of the false accusation against Aishah (ra) was being spread by one of Abu Bakr’s own relatives, and this made Abu Bakr swear to cut off relations with the relatives who were involved in spreading the rumour and not to help them or give them any more charity.


Abu Bakr was a kind-hearted and generous man, but when he confirmed that the rumour was being spread by one of his relatives, this hurt him deeply. This made him swear to cut off the charity and acts of kindness that he used to extend to them. When Abu Bakr made that oath, Allah (swt) revealed verses of the Qur’an advising, and those who would have such feelings in the future, to overlook and pardon: “Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their relatives, those in want, and those who have left their homes in Allah’s cause. Instead, let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (An-Nur: 22)


Pardoning people who have wronged us is not an indication of weakness on our part. Rather, it is a position of strength of character and personality. The weak cannot forgive. Forgiveness is only an attribute of the strong. Abu Bakr (ra), the close and beloved companion of the Prophet (saw), was at the highest level of faith. Thus, Allah (swt) reprimanded him with such sublime words as quoted in the previous verse. Another incident that happened to Abu Bakr in the presence of Allah’s Messenger, shows us the strength of Abu Bakr’s character and personality with respect to amicability.


It was narrated that Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyab said: “While the Messenger of Allah was sitting and his companions were with him, a man reviled Abu Bakr and offended him, and Abu Bakr remained silent. Then he offended him again and Abu Bakr remained silent. Then he offended him a third time, and Abu Bakr retaliated. The Messenger of Allah stood up when Abu Bakr retaliated, and Abu Bakr asked: Are you angry with me, O Messenger of Allah? The Messenger of Allah said: An angel came down from heaven and refuted what he said to you, but when you retaliated Satan joined in, and I do not want to sit where Satan has joined in.” (Abu Daud)


To show amicable relations to those who wrong us and cut us off and even deny us our rights is a great moral virtue that requires a strong personality, belief in Allah’s help, and belief that  He is always with those who patiently persevere with endurance through all the harm done to them.

(Prepared by Uztad Abdul Muhaemin Karim)