Forgive me for what I've done to you physically and emotionally.
"Aliya, may I ask you something private?"
"Sure, what do you want to ask me about?"
"Erm, do you still keep in contact with your ex-husband?"
"Yes, I do but only when necessary. We have our own separate lives now."
"You've seldom mentioned him. I've been wondering if you are still angry with him after what he's done."
"Well, what's done cannot be undone. I've made my choice to say goodbye. It's not easy to get over a broken marriage but then, I always believe that everything has been decided by God. Oh yes, I was angry with him, but so was he. It's not easy for a man's ego to accept the reality that he's been divorced by his wife."
"So how do you forgive him? I mean, you do forgive him, don't you?"
"Well... let me tell you this. It's not easy to forgive somebody totally and unconditionally. Not easy at all. But alhamdullillah I'm ok now."
"But how do you know for sure that you've totally forgiven him? You see, I'm having this problem too. I 've just found out that my fiance has another woman and he's leaving me."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that."
It's ok. We're just friends now. But I still have the nagging thought of getting even, of hurting him back for all the hurt he's done to me. I know it's crazy but that's how I'm feeling towards him. Although I say that I've forgiven him, I don't really know if I've actually forgiven him, if you know what I mean. And all these 'Mohon Maaf Zahir Batin' phrases really confuse me. I mean, it's so easy to just utter 'Maaf Zahr dan Batin' to any Ali, Ah Chong and Raju but how can I be sure that I actually mean it? That I've forgiven the person totally?"
" I see your point. Well, after my divorce I couldn't contact my ex- husband without both of us arguing on the phone. That's how bad the situation was. I felt as if I was banging against a brick wall each time we were forced to communicate as there're still things we've shared that we have to settle together. Then I decided enough is enough. I can't change him but I can change myself."
"I realise that I'm just a tiny speck in this universe. I expect Allah SWT to forgive me for all my sins. I beg for His mercy, cry for His help and deliverance each and every day. My sins are so many yet I hope that He forgives every one of them. But how selfish could I be? How could I expect Allah to forgive me for all my sins, when I won't even forgive another human being for the things he or she has wronged me? That person may have committed a serious crime like cheating or a minor one like embarassing me in public. But perhaps for that one crime against me, I've been harbouring ill-feelings towards that person for the rest of my life. Let me tell you this; it's a heavy burden to carry, being angry and unwilling to forgive another person. And stressful too when you can't even face that person in public and answer his or her salam. For all we know, that person may been forgiven by Allah but we 're not, due to our own unwillingness to forgive."
" Discipline, dear. The way to let go of the burden of bitterness, hatred, ill-will and anger towards another human is through disciplined forgiveness. Practise loving kindness towards them. If you begin to feel angry and bitter, stop that feeling from sprouting. Nip it at the bud. Do it today, tomorrow and each time you start to have the negative feeling toward the person again. Think of all the possible reasons that may have lead towards that 'crime' he/she committed towards you. InsyaAllah by continuing to channel only positive thoughts for that person who've wronged you, eventually you'll be healed of hate and revenge. Remember that our Prophet Muhammad himself is a gentle and forgiving man, who'd pass over people their faults and pray for their deliverance. Shouldn't we emulate our beloved Prophet?"
" I see. It's easy to say to forgive, but to forget? I don't think I'd ever forget."
" Well, you know that as a revert, it's believed that Allah SWT forgives all my past sins that I had committed before I recite the syahadah? Imagine, Allah SWT erases all my sins, no matter how big or small and accepts me in a clean slate. Now isn't that wonderful? I was as clean as a white sheet of cloth. That's how I view forgiveness. Zero. Nil. All the anger and bitterness due to wrongdoings committed against me are erased from my heart. It won't be forgiveness if I say that I forgive you but I still complain about your crimes towards me ten years from today. It won't be forgiveness if I threaten to expose your wrongdoing if you misbehave in future. And it certainly isn't forgiveness if I continue to keep an account of all your bad deeds towards me in my diary, notebook or whatever. Allah Almighty never does that when He mercifully forgives us of our sins. So why should we treat other humans worse than the way Allah treats us?"
"So you mean..?"
"If you really want Allah swt to have mercy on you and forgives all your own sins, you should work hard at forgiving other people's wrongdoings towards you too, no matter how hurtful, how humiliating, how much pain and suffering they have caused you. Real forgiveness is actually a gift to the person who has wronged you or whom you believe has wronged you. By willingly forgive and forget, you are actually helping yourself in this world and the hereafter, insyaAllah."