Difficult to Forgive

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By: Aashie Hassan

His heart thumped and his breath rasped. He wasn’t running though nor was he walking. He was hiding, hiding behind a big rock that covered his entire figure. Afraid to move, afraid to be exposed, afraid to breathe, he simply peeked from a little hole between the overgrown grass around the rock. Quietly, he studied his target who was fighting ferociously against his enemies.
Roaring, calling out and lashing. His heart seemed to be punching against his ribcage, as if trying to find an escape. And then he saw it… an opportunity to attack. His eyes danced with anticipation for a chance—a chance of freedom. His body tensed, ready to strike, adrenaline pumped though his veins. Holding his breath, he crept out of his hiding place making sure he had the perfect line of sight at his target. He played with his spear until he was sure that he wouldn’t miss. The target, oblivious of the hunter behind him kept on defending and attacking those that attacked him. And then the spear lunged from the hunter’s hand and with extreme force, it struck his target so hard that it went right through him. The brave man, fighting for his leader, succumbed to the fatal blow and fell only to never get up again.  Heaving, he picked up his spear and fearfully glanced around, afraid that someone might have seen him. Then without waiting a minute longer, he turned and ran. He ran far, far away from the man he had just killed. Panting he reached the camp and sat there, waiting for his friends to make their way back home. The once enslaved hunter was happy, not for the kill but for the freedom he had just earned in return of the kill. Finally, he was a free man though at a huge price. The man that he had killed was in fact a close relative of the leader of the army. When the leader found the body of his uncle, he broke into tears. Sobbing with sorrow and grief he proceeded with the burial. The pain was so intense that his chest felt constricted. An unseen burden was weighing down on him.  
Then came a time when this hunter had nowhere to hide from the group of the brave soldiers who had taken over all of their enemy’s land. The hunter was left without much choice except to run away to a land even further away. He was still weighing his options of survival when a messenger found him and relayed to him the circumstances of the seized lands and the merciful dealings of the chief of the army with the captured prisoners. He urged the hunter to go and accept the truth and recite the phrase which was the foundation of the entire army’s belief for if he did that, his life would be spared and his future would be guaranteed. The hunter quickly made up his mind and quietly made his way to the leader domain. He crept so stealthily that the commander didn’t become aware of his presence, so much so that he stood beside the bold individual and before anybody could notice his presence, he recited the phrase, declaring himself to be a part of their belief. The leader turned towards him in surprise then beckoned him to sit by him and asked him to relate the incident of how and why he had killed his dear uncle. Upon reliving the tragedy, the pain seared up again in the commander’s heart and in the hearts of his comrades. Tears glistening in his eyes, he forgave the hunter, the killer of his uncle. He forgave him because now this hunter who had given him so much pain was his brother in faith. And a believer is his brother’s protector, saviour.
The valiant man killed while fighting the Kuffar was Hazrat Hamza رضی اللہ عنہ uncle of the courageous of all, none other than our beloved, Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم  and the enslaved hunter forced to commit the crime to win his freedom was none other than Hazrat Habshi رضی اللہ عنہ. He was also the one who later put an end to Musailama Kazzab. He said:
{Allah knows best, if Musailama died by my sword, then I have killed a man who was the best of all after Muhammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم (i.e. Hamza رضی اللہ عنہ) and I killed a man who was the worst amongst all (i.e. Musailama)}
I was given this topic … “Difficult to Forgive” a couple of years ago or so but honestly, I never forgot about it. You probably think I was being my lazy old self and had kept pushing away the task and simply sat back, procrastinating? Well, you would be right in every case but this one. I didn’t forget about this ever because the person who gave me this topic is a very important person and she did so at my request so ahem, I had to work on it. When I first read the phrase “It was so difficult to forgive him/her” I thought, ‘Hey, that’s a piece of cake.’ So I opened a new Word doc and began narrating one of the incidents of my life. Soon  I realized that I was happily narrating the whole incident but did it really mean I had forgiven that person? If I had, then why was I still holding on to the incident? Shouldn’t one just forgive and forget? If you have forgiven someone then you don’t keep bringing the same issue up over and over again. You’re supposed to lock it up in that box of memories you never want to remember existed. So I scratched that doc, put it in my folder and thus this project was put on hold.
Time and time again, I tried to think of various scenarios, somehow depicting a grave incident and the big heart of the character who forgives the other person. But to no avail, because I just couldn’t find the right incident, the right words, the right way to give the message intended. Then a week or so ago, a thought struck my mind. An epiphany from Allah سبحانہ وتعالی. Why not write about the forgiveness and mercy of the Rehmat ul lil aalameen, I thought. So with the mercy and grace of Allah سبحانہ وتعالی I finally finished writing the story.
Basically, the point of telling you guys the whole story from start was to give you and myself something to reflect on. Yes, we are not perfect like the companions of Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم or Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم himself. I agree. But does it mean that we can’t at least try to be like them. I don’t know about you but I for one had been deceived by my definition of forgiveness. If you keep relating to the past, backbiting about it, what kind of forgiveness is that? And come to think of it, we all definitely have unpleasant people somewhere in our lives, the past or the present. The question is, whatever they did to you or are doing, is it worse than anything that happened to Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم and his family? If he can forgive, if they can forgive, then why can’t we???
May Allah accept our meager efforts and help us become the best of ourselves. Ameen.