Maulana Muhammad Imran Attari
Unfortunately, the illness of exacting revenge against others is plaguing our communities. This crisis is not hidden from anyone; we all see and hear of residents of the same country, town, or even household readily carrying out cold acts of revenge against each other, often exceeding all ethical bounds. The appetite for revenge is so great that those who fail in their first attempt remain restless for the next opportunity; taking it with both hands when it arrives. This unfettered vindictiveness, this undying hunger for the taste of revenge is the very fuel that drives disputes between spouses and perpetuates animosity within families and communities.
We all know the typical pattern of retaliatory behaviour: A slap is answered with a punch; one wrong is reciprocated with two; a temporary hurtful act is responded to with permanent damage; and a graze is met with broken bones. If someone swears at another person, the other usually retaliates with a barrage of verbal abuse and if someone is humiliated in public, they respond by unleashing hell against the perpetrator years later. In some parts of the world, a woman who rejects a marriage proposal faces the risk of an acid attack by the disgruntled party; if someone does not invite a specific person to a special occasion, the latter may respond by cutting all ties with them.
Even close relationships are not immune to the plague of disproportionate retaliation: A husband divorcing his wife in a fit of revenge due to a minor misdemeanour on her part; a person inflicting permanent damage upon a colleague because s/he did an insignificant complaint about them; or the victim of a collision completely humiliating the person at fault unfortunately, these sights have become commonplace.
Dear Muslims! These social ills are underpinned by people’s hunger to exact revenge; as though vindictiveness has permeated our very core, constantly making us near the tipping point and at the ready to take revenge as soon as someone upsets us, intentionally or not. All too often, acts of revenge are disproportionate and their outcomes are far more detrimental to our wellbeing in this world and the hereafter than the original crime committed against us. All of this is in spite of our generous Lord, our Creator, disliking revengeful behaviour. He Almighty encourages forgiveness. The Mother of the Believers, Lady ‘Aaishah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا described the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم as a forgiving person: ‘The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم never took revenge for his own sake. However, if the laws of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ were transgressed, he would retaliate for the sake of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ’. (Bukhari, vol. 2, p. 489, Hadees 3560) In fact, the heart of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم brimmed with mercy to the extent that he forgave the very people who performed black magic on him and those who poisoned him. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم demonstrated an unmatched degree of compassion and mercy during the conquest of Mecca.
The conduct of my spiritual guide, to whom I have pledged allegiance, mirrors the forgiveness shown by the Final Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Hence, a brother who lives in the same area as my Shaykh, Ameer-Ahl-e-Sunnat, ‘Allamah Ilyas Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ, and has known him since childhood, took an oath and attested that the Shaykh has always been an unpretentious individual. He added that if someone scolded him or hit him, he would not seek revenge, rather he would remain silent and patient. Even in his childhood, he was never heard uttering anything bad about others or arguing with people. (Ta’aruf Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat, p. 47) In his will, the Shaykh دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ stipulates: ‘Whoever swears at me, speaks ill of me, injures me, or hurts my feelings in any way, I forgive them in advance, for the sake of Allah Almighty. Revenge should not be exacted from those who harm me. If, for instance, someone martyrs me, then I have forgiven them. I also request my heirs to forgive such a person. If I am shown mercy on the Day of Judgement by virtue of the intercession of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه, I will take my murderer with me to Paradise, as long as it is someone who died upon Islam.’ (Madani Wasiyyat Naamah, p. 9)
It is my request to all followers of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to assume humility. Problems arising in our personal affairs should be addressed with patience, forbearance, and forgiveness. No matter how much someone infuriates you, control your words and actions and forgive for the sake of Allah Almighty. If someone disobeys Allah Almighty before you, then advise them in a suitable manner.
May Allah Almighty grant us goodness, make us forgiving people, and people of forbearance. May He protect us from being vindictive and revengeful.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم