Any claim to the possession of the attribute of forgiveness has to be matched with the possession and power of the ability to punish, retaliate or avenge. To say, anyone is forgiving, just because he has no other option, is not an act of forgiveness, it therefore implies that for forgiveness to be accepted as a trait of character such personality must have the option, to do otherwise. Allah Subhanahus attribute of being 'Ghafoor ur Rahim (forgiving) is replete in many verses of the Holy Quran. Man, being a vicegerent of the Creator has been blessed too, in a miniscule measure with this quality; however men are exhorted by both, the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, to not only be mindful of this feature but also to practice it extensively and comprehensively embracing, in daily life. But forgive and overlook, till Allah accomplish His purpose. For Allah hath power over all things (II:109). We must recognize here, the conjunction between 'forgiveness and 'power. Life is a trust. We are expected to maintain this trust by guiding ourselves towards what is regretful and to avoid the path of sinning. ' If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul, but afterwards seeks Allahs forgiveness he will find Allah oft forgiving, Most Merciful (IV:110). In another verse, the Quran implores upon man, but seek the forgiveness of Allah.... (IV:106) Allahs messenger was constantly reminded about this significant trait. The Prophet suffered at the hands of the Meccans the worst persecution imaginable, but he (PBUH) was never provoked. The Prophet remained glued to the ordinance hold to forgiveness, command what is right, but turn away from the ignorant (VII:199). Allah in His commandment directs the Prophet to set aside personal insults injuries and injustices but while doing so he is asked to remain steadfast in inviting all to the call of believing in the oneness of Allah. In a command to believer, in surah Jathiya (XLV:14), Allah says, tell to those who believe to forgive those who do not look forward to the days of Allah. Interpreting this verse, Abdullah Yusuf Ali wrote, the days of Allah is not to mean periods of twenty four hours but the stages through which Allahs purpose works in us, in bringing home to us a sense of sin and a sense of Allahs mercy. We must be patient with those who have not yet acquired that sense. While describing the believers as being those who put their entire trust, in their lord, Allah cites them, as, 'those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and when they are angry, even then forgive (XLII: 37) provocation must not lead to anger but to forgiveness. The emergence of true character is only in contradiction. Our reaction to that which may not be palatable to our own point of view, indicates the believers quality- presence or invoking of anger belies claim to adherence to the dictates of Allah; but should the reaction be of forgiving, it reflects submission. Many of the penal injunctions contained in the Holy Quran, are always followed but verses, that exhort to pardon and forgiveness, the recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree), but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation his reward is due from Allah; for Allah loveth not those who do wrong (XLII: 40). This ayat permits retaliation to injury, with the condition that it must be in equal measure- keeping it confined to the same degree is impossible for human being, hence forgiveness is the recommended course of action. For those who choose this path the reward is due from Allah Himself. Show mercy to those on earth and the one who is in Heaven, will show mercy unto you, is a well-known prophetic pronouncement. Forgiveness was a virtue, closest to the Prophets heart; it manifested itself, in his everyday life, quite predominantly. His energy, endurance and forgiveness from a position of power and his patience and steadfastness against all odds, was qualities that Allah Subhanahu had given him in great abundance. When hurt or injured, he showed exemplary patience. He met rudeness and ignorance with politeness and endurance. Hazrat Ayesha (RA) said, Whenever Allahs messenger (PBUH) was given the opportunity to choose between two affairs he would always choose the easiest and the most convenient. But if it be sinful, he would be as far as he could from it. He never took revenge for himself, but when the sanctity of Allah was violated he would avenge it. That would be for Allahs sake not for himself. Similar was the behaviour of the rightly guided caliphs and all his companions. Hazrat Ali had floored in combat an infidel, climbing on his chest; he asked what would save him- in reaction the infidel sputter on his face. Immediately, Hazrat Ali unmounted and set him free. Puzzled and amazed, he asked why didnt you sever my head, which you could easily do? Hazrat Ali remarked that his act of spitting in his face had evoked personal anger, while he was combating not for himself for the good pleasure of Allah, and hence retaliation would have been in conflict with the virtue of 'forgiveness. Hazrat Ali who was closest relative, said, of the Prophet (PBUH): 'he was good natured and kind hearted, he never spoke a harsh word, and he never found faults. He kept silent when he could not accede to any request. Love thy enemy- is writ large in the life and character of our Holy Prophet. He exercised forgiveness always. He forgave such arch enemies of Islam as Abu Sufyan, Hindh, wife of Abu Sufyan, Wahsh, the killer of his beloved uncle Hazrat Hamza, the murderer of his daughter, Zainab, Hibar bin Al Aswad and the Jewish hostess who tried to poison him. Forgiveness and forbearance are traits that must be inculcated practiced and emphasized upon, leading towards development of strong character. Islamic societys hallmark is forgiveness And where are we heading? Email: azizsirajuddin