How Can I Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt Me for a Long Period of Time?
Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: How can a person mend their heart after being hurt by people?
I have been told to let it go and to make supplications for the person that has hurt you. I don’t understand why. Am I allowed to ask Allah that the person who has hurt me receives the same treatment?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking clarity on your troubles, and may He ease your sorrow.
Forgiveness is from the sunnah, and is an act which is beloved to Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).
Be honest with yourself. What do you need to do, in order to let go of your hurt? Do you need to see a counsellor? It is natural and important for you to process what you feel, in order for you to release it. Each of us is different. Bear in mind that just venting to a friend puts you at risk of backbiting. Speaking to a trusted local scholar or counsellor, if they are qualified to help you and will keep it confidential, is permissible. Please refer to these answers: What is Backbiting and How Can One Be Safe? and When is Backbiting Permissible?
I urge you to perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help you forgive this person. Never underestimate the power of sincere dua.
If this person is still hurting you, then I encourage you to learn how to assert yourself instead of passively receiving pain. Standing up for yourself may help you forgive this person. You can learn how to be assertive through a counsellor’s help.
Abdullah bin ‘Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens. The womb is named after Ar-Rahman, so whoever connects it, Allah connects him, and whoever severs it, Allah severs him.” [Tirmidhi]
Please reflect on this beautiful hadith. Forgiving someone is part of having mercy. I am not sure who has hurt you, but if it is a family member, then you have even more reason to forgive them. I know how hard it can be to forgive a relative who that has wronged you, but your effort is never lost with Allah.
Narrated Abu Sirmah: The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “If anyone harms (others), Allah will harm him, and if anyone shows hostility to others, Allah will show hostility to him.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
Please do not make dua against the person who has hurt you. It is tempting, but not becoming of a Muslimah. To be clear – it is impermissible to harm another person.
Make a choice that will please Allah, and not your lower self. It is part of human nature to want to lash back at those who have hurt us; the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) came to help us rise above these base desires.
Making dua for another
The wisdom behind making dua for someone who has hurt you is manifold: you are reminded of Allah, you subjugate your lower self, your tongue is connected to the heart so your heart is more likely to be softened, and so on.
Please bear in mind that if you choose to make dua against someone and Allah accepts your dua, then you will be held accountable for harming another person.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else, he should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money (to compensate for wrong deeds), but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to his oppression which he has done, and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him.” [Bukhari]
Many years ago, a compassionate scholar shared this scenario with me. On the Last Day, we will all be faced with those who have oppressed us. If He wills, Allah’s Justice will be dispensed in full. If you wish, you have the choice to condemn the person who hurt you to Hellfire. But on the Last Day, we will all witness the Fire, and it is nothing we would wish upon our worst enemy.
I pray that Allah grants you the ability to forgive for His sake, and that He shows you mercy because you showed it to another.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani