Dear Sweet Peas,
From now until next Sunday, be aware of repeat offenders whether they be someone you know or someone in the news. Jot down a few things you took notice of and the emotion evoked.
How did you feel when someone was punished accordingly? What about how you felt when someone got away with doing something wrong?
Journal your understanding of reconciliation and forgiveness before and after the reading. How has your understanding changed? Write about one benefit you gained from this week’s reading.
Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-’Uthaimeen
The Meaning of Extending Kindness
A person is in constant contact with people, so he will most definitely encounter some bad treatment from people.
But his stance with regard to this bad treatment should be that of pardoning and overlooking. And he should know for certain that by pardoning, overlooking, and responding with good, the animosity that exists between him and his brother will transform to amicability, love and friendship.
However, not everyone is granted this same result. This is why Allaah says: “But none are granted it except those who are patient. And none are granted it except those who possess a great portion (of moral character).” [Surah Fussilat: 35]
Do we understand from this that pardoning a criminal is praiseworthy in the absolute sense and that it is something that we were ordered to do? Some people have come up with this understanding based on this verse. However, it should be known that pardoning should only be commended if forgiving is the best and most advisable option. However, if retribution is the best option then doing that is better. This is why Allaah says: “The recompense for an evil is an evil the like thereof. But whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allaah. Verily, He likes not the wrongdoers.” [Surah Ash-Shooraa: 40] So here Allaah has linked forgiveness with reconciliation.
So it is possible that forgiveness may not necessarily mean reconciliation. For example, it could be that this individual who committed a crime against you and was insolent towards you is an evil man who is known for being evil and corrupt, and so if you were to forgive him, he would persist in his evil and mischief. In this situation, it is better that this man is punished for his crime since there is reconciliation in this.
Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah said: “Reconciliation is obligatory whereas forgiveness is optional. So in the event that forgiveness will cause reconciliation to be bypassed, this means that we have given precedence to something optional over something obligatory. And the religious legislation did not come to institute this.” And he has spoken truthfully, may Allaah have mercy on him.