Surah Ghafir (Surah 40 – The Forgiver) teaches that Allah forgives.
The forgiver of sin, acceptor of repentance, severe in punishment, owner of abundance. There is no deity except Him; to Him is the destination….
Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [ Allah ] with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], “Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire.(Surah Ghafir 40:3 & 7)
Surah Al-Hujurat (Surah 49 – The Rooms) tells us to maintain peace between each other to receive this mercy.
The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear God, that ye may receive Mercy.(Surah Al-Hujurat 49:10)
Isa al Masih taught about forgiveness from Allah and also linked it with forgiving one another.
Isa al Masih on forgiving others
As I watch the world news it seems that bloodshed and violence are increasing all around. Bombings in Afghanistan, fighting across Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, violence in Egypt, killings in Pakistan, riots in Turkey, school kidnappings in Nigeria, war with Palestine and Israel, and towns massacred in Kenya – and these are just what I have heard without looking to find bad news. On top of that are the multitude of sins, hurts and grievances we have inflicted on each other that do not make news headlines – but still hurt us. In this day of vengeance and retribution, the teaching of Isa al Masih on forgiveness is very important. One day his disciples asked him how many times they should forgive. Here is the account from the Injil:
The Story of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”(Matthew 18:21-35)
The point of his story is that if we have accepted His mercy, Allah (the King) forgives us so very much. This was symbolized by the ten thousand bags of gold that was owed him by the servant. The servant had declared that he needed more time to pay it back. But that is an amount far too great to ever pay back, so the King just cancelled the entire debt. This is what Allah does for us if we receive His mercy.
But then this same servant found another servant that owed him one hundred silver coins. He demanded payment in full and would not give the other servant more time. When we sin against each other there is hurt and damage, but compared to how our sin has grieved and hurt Allah it is insignificant – like 100 silver pieces compared to ten thousand bags of gold.
So the King (Allah) then sends the servant to jail to pay back everything. In the teaching of Isa al Masih, to not forgive the sins and grievances that people have committed against us is to forfeit the forgiveness of Allah and condemn ourselves to hell. Nothing could be more serious.
The challenge is to keep this spirit of forgiveness. When someone has hurt us the desire for retribution can be very great. So how can we obtain this spirit that can forgive? We need to continue exploring the Injil.