We can’t change people, and we certainly cannot change everyone overnight. But we can at least change our own selves, and the way we think and behave, to better deal with unfortunate situations that could come up in our lives. We’ve actually been taught the best example to deal with almost all sorts of situations through the life of our Noble Messenger, but oftentimes, we don’t apply these teachings.

There will be situations in life that will make you angry or impatient, but Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) taught us that true strength is when you can overcome your anger. He said,

“The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” [Sahih al Bukhari]

We need to take this a step further by consciously forgiving someone, even when they may not necessarily deserve it. Being able to forgive and let go increases mental well-being and prevents negativity and resentment from harboring within the heart. Let’s explore a few ways we can become more forgiving towards people.

Empathize and understand

A great example shown by our Prophet
 was when he showed mercy and compassion for the people of Ta’if who injured him after he tried to tell them about Allah and the purpose of their existence.

Narrated `Aisha (ra)
 that she asked the Prophet(pbuh), “Have you encountered a day harder than the day of the battle of Uhud?” The Prophet (pbuh) replied,

“Your tribes have troubled me a lot, and the worse trouble was the trouble on the day of ‘Aqaba when I presented myself to Ibn `Abd-Yalail bin `Abd-Kulal and he did not respond to my demand. So I departed, overwhelmed with excessive sorrow, and proceeded on, and could not relax till I found myself at Qarnath-Tha-alib where I lifted my head towards the sky to see a cloud shading me unexpectedly. I looked up and saw Gabriel(alaihisalam) in it. He
 called me saying, ‘Allah has heard your people’s saying to you, and what they have replied back to you, Allah has sent the Angel of the Mountains to you so that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people.’ The Angel of the Mountains called and greeted me, and then said, ‘O Muhammad (pbuh)! Order what you wish. If you like, I will let Al-Akh-Shabain (i.e. two mountains) fall on them.’ The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘No but I hope that Allah will let them beget children who will worship Allah
Alone, and will worship None besides Him.’ ” [Sahih al Bukhari]

That was how compassionate our Prophet(pbuh) was. He forgave people and made dua for them, even when they were violent towards him. He had compassion for them and ultimately wanted them to be guided to Islam. So, the next time someone makes you angry, take a minute to ask yourself why it happened. Does the person have a deeper, underlying issue?

Remember that we too make mistakes

Anas ibn Malik(ra) reported that the Messenger(pbuh) of Allah said,

“Every son of Adam sins, and the best of the sinners are the repentant” [Jami at-Tirmidhi]

Make it an opportunity to be forgiven for your own sins

Imagine if you’re a wealthy and charitable man who has been helping poor relatives for a very long period. One day, false rumors spread around the honor and chastity of your own beloved daughter. Instead of defending her honor, those relatives who are indebted to you start bashing your daughter’s honor. How would you feel?

This is what happened to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. What he thought of in response to this situation was just cutting off his aid to these people. But then Allah revealed:

“And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an: Chapter 24: Verse 22]

Allah did not only instruct him to forgive but to continue to show generosity to others hoping for Allah’s rewards only. That’s a key point, we’re not necessarily kind to people because they deserve it, but because we do every good deed for the sake of Allah alone.

Allah says:

“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous who spend [in the cause of Allah ] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.” [Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verses 133 – 134]

Any other person would keep the money and spend it on meals for the rest of the day. It is not wrong. The money is his anyway. But, imagine that Allah emphasized that those who spend in charity in time of ease and hardship are loved by Him.

Maintain the relationship but don’t risk your trust

In the end, we must remember that the Prophet(pbuh) said:

“Allah said, ‘I am the Merciful (ar-Rahman). I have created ties of kinship and derives a name for it from My Name. If anyone maintains ties of kinship, I maintain connection with him, and I shall cut off anyone who cuts them off.'” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

Many scholars emphasized that we should try our best to treat unkindness with kindness, especially with our close relatives. The least we could do is:

Treat them with respect and speak with kind words

Help them financially and emotionally when needed

Offer any sorts of service within your capabilities

Visit them once in a while

Pray for their well-being

By doing so, Allah will be with us and forgive our sins as well.

Lastly, we ought to remember that everything in this life is a test for us.

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 155]

The good and bad around us is there to teach us and test us. Bad things and bad people will show up in our lives, so it’s not about avoiding that completely, but about learning how to cope. What we need to do is be patient and steadfast in all circumstances. We should only focus on Allah
 and seek His Mercy, Forgiveness and eternal rewards because we’re only here on earth for a very short period of time – our eternal life is yet to come. With that in mind, the trials we go through in life should not get the better of us.

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