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True Forgiveness Can Only Come from a Position of Strength and Power

True Forgiveness Can Only Come from a Position of Strength and Power

Dr. Pasha

Someone good and nice delivered in my Inbox this morning an unsolicited invitation for all to practice “forgiveness.”

And they cited Qur’an and Hadith and Human Experience in support of the case they were trying to make.

Their mail is attached in the back of our own writing in this piece.

Now, we have a response to this e-mail message, even though our general policy is not to react or respond to things from outside.

First of all, let us get this straight: Arabic has a word called Zulm. The Qur’an uses that word and its derivatives on many occasions.

The English language, however, does not have a cognate for Zulm. That means there is no word in English that more or less exactly means Zulm – that captures the full meaning of that word: Zulm.

Putting pressure on the “oppressed” (Mazloom) to forgive the “oppressor” (Zaalim) is an act of “oppression” (Zulm) in itself.

It is a kind of Zulm and perversity – and blackmail – that the rich, the privileged and the powerful, and their naive and ill-informed supporters and enablers in society, often practice in certain diseased Muslim cultures such as, let us say, Egypt or India or Pakistan.

It is a kind of Double Jeopardy against the Mazloom or the “oppressed.”

First, subjecting the Mazloom (oppressed) to the Zulm (oppression, injustice) by the Zaalim (oppressor).

Next, social busybodies rushing to the Mazloom (oppressed) and starting to pile on pressure to “forgive” – whether in the name of “religion” or something else.

Often, lurking in the background is the implicit threat of retaliation, should the “oppressed” resist the demand to “forgive” and refuse to budge.

Often, the Mazloom (oppressed) has no way to escape this form of collective social pressure, bordering on intimidation and harassment, but to say, “Yes, I forgive.

No matter how much his or her heart may be breaking at this coercion and pressure, and at this new “oppression and injustice.”

This is a classic case of “religion” (in this case, Islam) being used to buttress a corrupt power structure in society, and to provide support to the rich and the powerful in general, instead of holding them to account for their misdeeds and corruption.

For their “oppression and injustice” and Zulm that is.

More vibrant and living cultures would practice the simple three-step model of social empowerment that the Hadith provides in such unambiguous language – I am broadly paraphrasing the Hadith Sharif here:

  1. Help your brother, whether he is right or wrong.
  1. If he is right, give your brother unqualified support.
  1. If your brother is wrong, grab the hand of the oppressor and stop the oppression.

This is how living societies are built. And sustained.

And this is also how new generations are created: free from oppression; free from coercion, intimidation and harassment; and free from the fear of retaliation.

That is why true and heartfelt forgiveness can proceed only from a position of strength, whether that strength is political, economic, or social, and whether it is entirely personal and psychological – or spiritual if you want to call it that.

And real forgiveness can occur only when the “oppressed” has been given the right, the power and the tools to stop the oppression; to get even with the oppressor; to avenge the oppression; and to claim his or her right and vindication. – and fair and just restitution.

Therefore, properly speaking, the poor, the weak, the deprived often do not have the power or the ability to forgive. For, they do not have the power to resist or avenge oppression.

They do not own the right and the power to withstand the social and often religious pressure being brought on them and to say “No!”

For, that is often the key to true human freedom – and justice: the ability and the power to say “No!”

And to be able to say it without fear of consequences and retaliation.

For the poor, the weak and the oppressed (Mazloom), forgiveness has frequently no meaning, as the power and the ability to do anything else has been taken away from them – often through the misuse of “religion” and  social pressure and coercion.

So, Muslim societies, to be free again, must re-learn to support the Mazloom (oppressed) and stop the Zaalim (oppressor) from committing the Zulm (acts of oppression and injustice).

It was to ensure this that the Qur’an came into this world:

  1. To discourage and reduce Zulm (oppression) in society and around the world.
  1. To curb, control and punish the Zaalim (oppressor).
  1. To empower and liberate the Mazloom (oppressed).

And that is precisely the kind of society – and world – that Islam built:

Free from Zulm (oppression and injustice).

There was a situation during the life of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, when a highly placed individual, with strong social and family connections, broke the law. People rushed to intercede in his behalf.

Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, climbed the Minbar and declared that this was precisely what destroyed the earlier societies: Taking the side of the rich and the powerful in the enforcement of justice.

And then he said words that make me shudder every time I read them – or think about them:

If my own daughter Fatimah had broken the law,
I would have seen to it that the law took its course.”

That was the kind of justice that Islam – the Qur’an – came to teach and establish and enforce in the world.

And it did.

And this is the lesson Muslims forgot. And, as a result, the whole world paid the price of the Muslims’ folly – and their failure.

As centuries passed, and the practice of Islam became weak, and Muslims forgot this lesson, and abandoned their God-given role of being Champions of Justice, (Qawwaameena Bil-Qist) and a Bulwark against Zulm, and the Voice of God on Earth (Shuhadaa-a Lillah) Muslim societies began to degenerate and decay.

And the whole world, as they say, went to —- wherever, in a hand-basket.

And that is the world we all live in today: a world full of Zulm and oppression and injustice.

Muslims are not only among the principal victims of such a world, Muslims are also in some important ways the makers and shapers and creators of such a world of Zulm and oppression in which they live.

Here now is the e-mail that came in this morning:

“The Power of the Oppressed and Forgiveness

{Sorry, the “oppressed” don’t have much “power.” www.IslamicSolutions.Com}

WHEN a tyrant oppresses someone, his fate goes to the court of the oppressed person.  When the oppressed person, raises his hand and starts praying and complaining to Allah swt, his cries rupture the sky. Allah swt who is the most Merciful and the Most Forgiving takes revenge on behalf of the oppressed person from His own qualities as the Avenger, and the creator of Harmful.  Now, the tyrant has to wait for his final fate and see how much time he has.

But, if the oppressed take it upon themselves, instead of waiting for the decision of Allah, and tries to take the revenge by swearing, by complaining to people, or use any means to damage or harm the oppressor, most of the time this person is unable to harm his enemy. The oppressor will be saved and it will leave the abused person more vulnerable for hardship and misery.

However, there is an act that can ascend the oppressed to the seventh heaven and that is the act of forgiveness. If the oppressed instead of taking revenge forgives his enemy, he qualifies for the safeguard of angels. Allah swt directly provides His shadow upon him. He gets enormous amount of power; emotional, physical, and spiritual. Now no one will be able to harm him.

(Derived from Quran, Hadith and human experience)

End of e-mail message of this morning: May 2, 2016-05-02