FORGIVENESS AND ITS BENEFITS ON HEALTH – QURAN

forgivenessOne of the moral traits recommended in the Qur’an is forgiveness:

“Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Qur’an, 7: 199)

In another verse Allah commands: “… They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 24:22)

Those who do not abide by the moral values of the Qur’an find it very difficult to forgive others. Because, they are easily angered by any error committed. However, Allah has advised the faithful that forgiveness is more proper:

“The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with Allah…” (Qur’an, 42:40)

“…. But if you pardon and exonerate and forgive, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 64: 14)

It has also been revealed in the Qur’an that forgiveness is a superior moral trait: “But if someone is steadfast and forgives, that is the most resolute course to follow.” (Qur’an, 42:43) For that reason, believers are forgiving, compassionate and tolerant people who, as revealed in the Qur’an, “control their rage and pardon other people.” (Qur’an, 3:134)

Believers’ notion of forgiveness is very different to that of those who do not live by the morals of the Qur’an. Even though many people may say they have forgiven someone who has offended them, it nevertheless takes a long time to free themselves of the hatred and anger in their hearts. Their behaviour tends to betray that anger. On the other hand, the forgiveness of believers is sincere. Because believers know that human beings are tried in this world, and learn by their mistakes, they are tolerant and compassionate. Moreover, believers are also capable of forgiveness even when they are in the right, and the other in the wrong. When forgiving, they make no distinction between large errors and small ones. Someone may cause severe losses to them by mistake. However, believers know that everything takes place under the command of Allah, and according to a specific destiny, and therefore, they surrender themselves to these developments, never acquiescing to anger.

According to recent research, American scientists established that those capable of forgiveness are healthier in both mind and body. Dr. Frederic Luskin, who holds a Ph.D. in Counselling and Health Psychology from Stanford University, and his team, studied 259 people living in the city of San Francisco. The scientists invited the subjects to attend six one-and-a-half-hour sessions, and aimed to instruct the subjects in forgiveness during their conversations.

The subjects of the experiments stated that they suffered less after forgiving people who had wronged them. The research showed that people who learned to forgive feel much better, not only emotionally but also physically. For example, it was established that after the experiment psychological and physical symptoms such as stress-related backache, insomnia and stomachaches were significantly reduced in these individuals.

In his book, Forgive for Good, Dr. Frederic Luskin describes forgiveness as a proven recipe for health and happiness. The book describes how forgiveness promotes such positive states of mind as hope, patience and self-confidence by reducing anger, suffering, depression and stress. According to Dr. Luskin, harboured anger causes observable physical effects in the individual. He goes on to say that:

The thing about long-term or unresolved anger, is we’ve seen it resets the internal thermostat. When you get used to a low level of anger all the time, you don’t recognize what’s normal. It creates a kind of adrenaline rush that people get used to. It burns out the body and makes it difficult to think clearly-making the situation worse.

In addition, Dr. Luskin says, when the body releases certain enzymes during anger and stress, cholesterol and blood pressure levels go up-not a good long-term disposition to maintain the body in.

An article called “Forgiveness,” published in the September-October 1996 edition of Healing Currents Magazine, stated that anger towards an individual or an event led to negative emotions in people, and harmed their emotional balance and even their physical health. The article also states that people realise after a while that the anger is a nuisance to them, and wish to repair the damage to the relationship. So, they take steps to forgive. It is also stated that, despite all they endure, people do not want to waste the precious moments of their life in anger and anxiety, and prefer to forgive themselves and others.

In another study involving 1,500 people depression, stress and mental illness were observed to be less frequent in religious people. Dr. Herbert Benson, who conducted the research, linked this to the way religions encourage “forgiveness”, and went on to say:

There’s a physiology of forgiveness… When you do not forgive, it will chew you up.

According to an article titled, “Anger is Hostile To Your Heart,” published in the Harvard Gazette, anger is extremely harmful to the heart. Ichiro Kawachi, an assistant professor of medicine, and his team scientifically demonstrated this with various tests and measurements. As a result of their research, they established that grumpy old men had three times the risk of heart disease than their more tempered peers. “The tripling of risk,” Kawachi says, “involves high levels of anger, explosive anger that includes smashing things and wanting to hurt someone in a fight.”
Researchers believe that release of stress hormones, increased oxygen demand by the heart’s muscle cells, and added stickiness of blood platelets, which leads to clots explain how anger increases the chance of a heart attack. Furthermore, at times of anger, the pulse rises above its normal level, and leads to increased blood pressure in the arteries, and thus to a greater risk of heart attack.

According to researchers, anger and hostility can also trigger the production of proteins linked to inflammation in the blood. The journal Psychosomatic Medicine suggested that the emotion triggers the production of inflammatory proteins, which may in turn be causing the hardening of the arteries, causing heart disease and stroke. According to Associate Professor Edward Suarez of the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina, the protein interleukin 6 (or IL-6) is much higher in men who are angry and depressed. High blood levels of IL-6 lead to atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty deposits in the lining of the walls of arteries. According to Suarez, as well as factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol, heart disease is also linked to psychological states such as depression, anger and hostility.

Another article, titled “Anger Raises Risk of Heart Attack,” published in The Times, stated that a short temper might be a short cut to a heart attack, and that young men who reacted to stress by becoming angry were three times more likely to develop premature heart disease, and were five times more likely to have an early heart attack. Scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, found that quick-tempered men are at risk of heart attack even if there is no family history of heart disease.

All the available research shows that anger is a state of mind that seriously damages human health. Forgiveness, on the other hand, even if it comes hard to people, is pleasing, an aspect of superior morals, that eliminates all the harmful effects of anger, and helps the individual to enjoy a healthy life, both psychologically and physically. Forgiveness, of course, is one of a form of behaviour by which a person can stay healthy, and a positive virtue everyone should live by. However, the true aim of forgiveness-as in all else-must be to please Allah. The fact that the features of this sort of morality, and that the benefits of which have been scientifically identified, have been revealed in many verses of the Qur’an, is just one of the many sources of wisdom it contains.

18 Responses to FORGIVENESS AND ITS BENEFITS ON HEALTH – QURAN

  1. salahudin says:

    but the quran makes an exception when it allows you to take revenge against people who you think have “wronged” you… so forgiveness is not NECESSARY… which a lot of people in the world claim is “practical”.

    but if “forgiveness” is ideal, and the quran allows you to take revenge, then as compared to a doctrine that calls only for forgiveness will be more ideal than the quran, even if not practical.

    but most muslims are unable to accept the facts: by being practical, idealism is sacrificed, even if there is a “middle path” where idealism and practicality are both moderately sacrificed. in this sense, the quran is not perfectly ideal… the word of allah is not perfectly ideal because it has sacrificed PERFECT idealism with practicality.

    it’s about time muslims got real and accepted this basic fact of existence.

    • @ Salahudin, Salaamu Alaykum, Be mindful of what you say if you are a Muslim. Your statement “the word of allah is not perfectly ideal ” is conseidered Shirk. A muslim is one who “when Allah and his Messenger have decreed a matter, say we hear and we obey” . There are conditions in which Allah has said that we can get retribution, however it is always followed up with saying that it is best if we forgive and let Allah give punishment for the wrong that is done to us. Again I must reiterate that you be mindful of what you say so as not to commit an act of Shirk.

  2. Naved says:

    @salahudin
    Islam doesn’t teach Muslims to revenge from anyone. It is clearly stated in the Noble Quran to forgive and forget if the enemy inclines toward peace, and Islam also prohibits the killing of women, children, elderly, soldiers not carrying weapons, enemy animals, and destroying crops.
    Yes, Islam commands the Muslims to make peace and to spread peace, but Islam also prohibits the Muslims from being hypocrites, and it commands them to fight the aggressors in the name of GOD Almighty.
    If you, for instance, come and slap me on the face, then Islam, like Christianity, commands me to forgive you. But if I find you, for instance, hitting and hurting people every single day, then Islam commands me to fight you and stop you.

    • @ Naved you are wrong, Islam has the law of Qiysas which is defined as “Eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, and like wound for like wound” Allah says it is better for us to forgive, but he doesn’t tell us to turn the other cheek.

  3. Naved says:

    Allah’s Forgiveness:
    Allah the Almighty is the most Forgiving. There are many names of Allah given in the Qur’an. Some of which are related to His mercy and forgiveness. Let me mention some of these names.

    Al Ghafoor (The Most Forgiving):
    The most Forgiving. This name occurs in the Qur’an more than seventy times. There are other names from the same root.The meaning of the “ghafar” is to cover, to hide and from it comes the meaning “to excuse”, “to pardon”, “to remit” and “to forgive”. Allah the Almighty does all these things. In the Qur’an, it is mentioned that Allah does not forgive shirk (without repentance) but He may forgive every other sin for whomsoever He wills.

    As Allah says in the Qur’an:

    “Indeed! God does not forgive the sin of ascribing partners to Him, but He forgives anything else to whom He pleases, and whoever takes partners with God has gone astray into far error”.Qur’an (4:116)

    We must turn to Allah to seek His forgiveness.

    Al-’Afuw:
    This is another aspect of forgiveness. This name occurs in the Qur’an five times. Literally the word ‘Afuw means “to release” “to heal”, “to restore”, “to remit”. It means that Allah “ releases us from the burden of punishment due to our sins and mistakes”, “to restore our honor after we have dishonored ourselves by committing sins and making mistakes.” In some verses in the Qur’an both names: ‘Afuw and Ghafoor occur together.

    Al-Tawwab:
    This name means The Acceptor of repentance. This name of Allah is mentioned in the Qur’an about 11 times. Allah accepts the repentance of those who sincerely repent and turn to him for forgiveness. The word “Tawwab” gives the sense of “oft-returning” which means that Allah again and again accepts the repentance. We make sins and mistakes then we repent, He accepts our repentance. Then again we commit sins and make mistakes and when we repent, He again very kindly accepts us and gives us another chance. It is important to mention that we have to repent from our sins quickly and turn to God and ask for His forgiveness.

    Al-Haleem:
    The Clement. This name is mentioned fifteen times in the Qur’an. It means that Allah The Almighty is not quick to judgment. He gives us time. He forebears and is patient with us till we return to Him.

    Al-Rahman and al-Rahim:
    The most Merciful and Compassionate. These names are the most frequently mentioned in the Qur’an. Al-Rahman is mentioned 57 times and Al-Raheem is mentioned 115 times. Al-Rahman indicates that Allah’s mercy is abundant and plenty and Al-Raheem indicates that this is always the case with Allah.

    In one of the prayers that the Prophet taught, he said:

    “O Allah, You are most Forgiving One, You love to forgive, so forgive me.” (Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).

    Thus we all need Allah’s mercy and forgiveness all the time.

    “Those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive.” Qur’an ( 42:37)

    “The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah.”Qur’an ( 42:40)

    “If you punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith you were afflicted. But if you endure patiently, indeed it is better for the patient. Endure you patiently. Your patience is not except through the help of Allah.”Qur’an (16:126-127)

    In one Hadith Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said that Allah has commanded him with nine things. One of them he mentioned was “that I forgive those who do wrong to me.”

    The Prophet (PBUH) was the most forgiving person. He was ever ready to forgive his enemies. When he went to Ta’if to preach the message of Allah, its people mistreated him, abused him and hit him with stones. He left the city humiliated and wounded. When he took shelter under a tree, the angel of Allah visited him and told him that Allah sent him to destroy the people of Ta’if because of their sin of maltreating their Prophet. Mohammad (PBUH) prayed to Allah to save the people of Taif, because what they did was out of their ignorance.

    He (PBUH) said:

    “O Allah, guide these people, as they did not know what they were doing.”

    When he entered the city of Mekkah after the victory, the Prophet -peace be upon him- had in front of him some of his staunchest enemies. Those who fought him for many years, persecuted his followers and killed many of them. Now he had full power to pay back and punish them for their crimes and for what they did to him and to the Muslims. Instead the Prophet (PBUH) asked them:

    “What do you think I shall do to you now?” They pleaded for mercy. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Today I shall say to you what Joseph (referring to Prophet Youssuf (PBUH) as mentioned in the Qur’an, (Youssuf 12:92) Prophet Youssuf (PBUH) said to his brothers, ‘No blame on you today. Go, you are all free.” Soon they all came and embraced Islam at his hands. He forgave even Hind who had caused the murder of his uncle Hamza -may Allah be pleased with him. After killing him she had his body mutilated and chewed his liver. When she embraced Islam, the Prophet even forgave her.

    A very striking example of forgiveness we find in the Qur’an in reference to the most unfortunate event of “Slander of Sayeda Aicha” (one Prophet Mohammed’s wives). Some hypocrites of Madinah tried unrightfully to put dirt on her noble character. One of the slanderers turned out to be Mistah, the cousin of ‘Aicha’s father Abu Bakr’s. Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- used to give financial help to this young man. After he slandered his daughter, Abu Bakr vowed not to help him any more. But Allah reminded Abu Bakr and through him all the Believers saying:

    “Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want and those who migrated in the path of Allah. Let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Indeed Allah is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.”Qur’an (24:22)

    Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) came out of his home and said, “Yes, indeed, I want Allah’s forgiveness. He not only continued to help and support Mistah but he gave him more.

  4. salahudin says:

    “Islam doesn’t teach Muslims to revenge from anyone”

    [5.45] And We PRESCRIBED to them in it that life is for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and (that there is) reprisal in wounds; but he who foregoes it, it shall be an expiation for him; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unjust.

    looks like you have some reading up to do…

  5. Naved says:

    @salahudin

    We must first of all know that when Islam came, it came among 365 Arab Pagan Tribes, and they were all idol worshipers, women abusers and enslavers. Islam came and fought idol worshiping, oppressing women and racism and slavery in many bloody battles that were imposed upon the Muslims without any choice for the Muslims. So, if we hear about few pigs from the Pagans getting killed for the sake of Allah Almighty, it should not raise any red flags in our minds about the validity of Islam and it’s tolerance to non-Muslims. Islam doesn’t teach Muslims to revenge from anyone. It is clearly stated in the Noble Quran to forgive and forget if the enemy inclines toward peace, and Islam also prohibits the killing of women, children, elderly, soldiers not carrying weapons, enemy animals, and destroying crops. In Islam, Revenge is not justice. Killing in revenge is unjust, inhuman, and un-Islamic. Retribution through the state, which the Quran sanctions via capital punishment does not amount to individuals taking the law in their hands or killing an innocent person in revenge. The call for, “an eye for an eye,” does not mean an innocent eye for an innocent eye; it means the eye of the perpetrator for the eye of the victim. There is a difference between being a peaceful person, and a coward hypocrite in Islam. Standing up for your people and for what’s right is not taking revenge from anyone! It simply means that you are doing the right thing. Our Prophet peace be upon him never seeked any personal revenge for his own sake. Prophet Muhammad was Allah Almighty’s Messenger, and the leader of the Muslims. He never took things personal. He always seeked the higher level and bigger picture of things. If he executed some pigs, then it is crystal clear from the above narrations about him that he didn’t do it for his own personal sake or revenge, but the sake of Allah Almighty, Islam and the Muslims.

    Quran says:

    “Believers [always bear in mind the true spirit of faithfulness with God, in adhering to His laws. Remember that to preserve the sanctity of life] Qisaas is prescribed upon you for victims of murder. If the murderer is a free man, then the same free man [should be punished], if he is a slave then the same slave and if the murderer is a woman, then the same woman [should be punished]. [This should be your Law,] but whoever is granted some forgiveness by his brother, then it is incumbent upon him to follow the customary [Diyah] and to gracefully remit to him the due.

    This is an allowance from your Lord and His mercy [upon you. You must not take undue advantage from it. Remember that] whoever transgresses [in the implementation of this law] even after this [allowance], he shall then face an extremely painful punishment. And [the law of] Qisas is source of life for you, O people bestowed with understanding, so that you live your lives within the prescribed limits.” (Surah Baqarah 178 – 179)

    The verse exemplifies the reality of justice. In pre-Islamic Arabian society, if a slave murdered somebody from a particular tribe, that tribe would take revenge not only by killing the slave, but a free person as well. They would commit an excess in revenge. This often led to tribal conflicts throughout the ages, and enmity continued forever. This was the case with the Aws and Khazraj before the coming of Islam.
    The Quran has tempered justice with MERCY. The Almighty has granted an exception to the qisaas if the relatives of the deceased have decided to forgive the criminal. In order to fulfill this forgiveness, the Quran requires that the perpetrator pay Diya.

    The modernist often argues that the Quran should not be taken literally, but with ONLY its purpose in mind. It is common among the learned circles today to argue that the Divine Will cannot be known because of its transcendental nature, and any interpretation one has regarding the Holy Text is simply a human understanding, and imperfect.

    • Najma says:

      “call for, “an eye for an eye,” does not mean an innocent eye for an innocent eye; it means the eye of the perpetrator for the eye of the victim. There is a difference between being a peaceful person, and a coward hypocrite in Islam. Standing up for your people and for what’s right is not taking revenge from anyone! It simply means that you are doing the right thing. Our Prophet peace be upon him never seeked any personal revenge for his own sake. Prophet Muhammad was Allah Almighty’s Messenger, and the leader of the Muslims. He never took things personal. He always seeked the higher level and bigger picture of things. If he executed some pigs, then it is crystal clear from the above narrations about him that he didn’t do it for his own personal sake or revenge, but the sake of Allah Almighty, Islam and the Muslims.”

      {It is common among the learned circles today to argue that the Divine Will cannot be known because of its transcendental nature, and any interpretation one has regarding the Holy Text is simply a human understanding, and imperfect.”

      I love your posts brother.
      May Allah grand you paradise. ameen

      Dr .Sajeena Abdul Azeesu

    • Brother can you please tell me Who in this whole thread said anything about seeking revenge against an innocent person? I think the brother was not referring to an innocent person. If he were then it would not be in accordance with the quran.

  6. Dear Sir,
    Thank you for this important information, It is really usefull for me. i was looking to find this kind of information for a long time and finally i found it .

  7. Arian says:

    Dear Naved,

    Thank you very much for this very good information! I’m very happy to see that you stated a clear difference between justice and revenge, between taking matters into own hands and the ‘community’ defending the weak from the evil.

    I am not a muslim, but this is very good to read. Again, thank you very much for your information!

  8. Ahmed Sharif says:

    PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH): KINDNESS AND FORGIVENESS

    More than 1400 years ago in Arabia the people were living very much in fear. They feared their neighbors. They feared other tribes. They even feared their idols. For this was the time before Islam. The Arabs were worshipping idols. In their ignorance they would bury their newly born daughters alive. As Islam began to spread among Arabs such cruel practices stopped. Islam taught love and peace. It taught kindness and respect.

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was a very kind and loving person. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) treated every one, young and old, with kindness and respect.

    Because Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was spreading the word of Allah. And he was changing, for better, the lives of many Arabs and because some Arabs felt that by the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) their old idols were losing power they disliked Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and planned to kill him. Every time they tried to kill him, they failed. This angered the enemies of Islam even more. So they began to harass him in every way they knew.

    One old woman made a habit of throwing rubbish on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whenever he passed from her house. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had to pass that house daily on the way to the mosque. Even when the old woman threw rubbish on him, he would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance. This was a regular, daily event.

    One day when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was passing by the woman was not there to throw the rubbish. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stopped and asked the neighbor about her well-being. The neighbor informed the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that the woman was sick on bed. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) politely asked permission to visit the woman. When allowed he entered the house, the woman thought that he had come there to take his revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of sickness. But the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) assured her that he had come to her, not to take any revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of Allah that if any one is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should help him if his help is needed.

    The old woman was greatly moved by this kindness and love of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). By the example of greatness of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), she understood that he was truly the Prophet of Allah and Islam was the true religion. She accepted Islam at once.

  9. Makiyah says:

    As-salaam wa-alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. I am married to a wonderful ,kind and giving man. our Islamic marriage beginned about three years ago, during the course of our marriage my husband had an unjustified relations with this women (muslima) who is married. They continued this affair until he recently married her without my consent or even knowledge of the proceedings. He dose not understand my feelings towards this situation and continues to tell me either deal with it or get lost. I love and support my husband with all his decisions, but I feel that this decision was based off of lust and not Islam and the Islam religion was used to cover up the wrong doing by them both. Please help me through this. I ask Allah for guidance, strenghth and and to facilitate this affair for me everyday and remove it from me if this is ill towards my religion my life my end and bless me with it if it is good towards my religion, my life my end…

    • noor says:

      wassalamualakum mat ALLAH ta’ala help you and be with you. the best thing you can do at the moment is stay quiet and let it roll for a while and keep your self busy with your husbands needs and always try to aviod any sort of conflict,… and when ever he comes home ,make sure you have less complaints and to tell him.. ect. try to be much better than the second wife. he will INSHALLAH figure out that you are the better one and caring one who will always be there for him.

  10. Maryum says:

    WaalikumSalam Warehmatullahi wa brakakatu! thank you for this useful information… i was known that forgiveness is liked by Allah and used to practice this but now i m also known from the scientific reasons behind

  11. joe blough says:

    Nice reference!

  12. Bruuks says:

    I went seeking this because I wanted to understand what the Islam says about forgiveness. While I am not Muslim, I seek to understand God’s intentions for all people. Perhaps I am misunderstanding and in that case, I welcome your guidance in where I misunderstand; from the references given, it really seems like Allah encourages and suggests that we should forgive and that is best, but additional close references seem to say that if we want to take retribution from the perpetrator then that is acceptable also. I was surprised that no references were brought up regarding when the perpetrator did not intend to cause the grievance. Is it still acceptable to take eye for eye, life for life, etc, when grievance was committed unintentionally?

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