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Am I Expected To Forgive the Man Who Sexually Abused Me as a Child Now That He Has Passed Away?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org
Question: I was molested by a family member when I was aged 6-9. Another then assaulted me at 17 years old. Both men were Muslim, and one was a family member. I now live with PTSD and get treatment, but this has affected all aspects of my life. I’ve hidden this from my family because my abuser was beloved to them and now deceased. The idea of a man hurting any child in any way makes me sick, especially when that person is a close and trusted relative. Does Allah expect me to forgive them? If so, how? I don’t think I can.

Answer: Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. I am so very sorry for your pain, and I pray that you can come out of this stronger than ever before. May Allah rewards you for your suffering, give you every type of good, and make you beloved to Him.

Forgiveness

Ramadan is indeed a time for forgiving others, and this is considered a noble character. Muslims are encouraged to forgive others so they don’t hold grudges in their hearts, and with that, they hope that Allah will forgive them on the Day of Judgment. Is it obligatory to forgive? No, but a person who truly heals and whose heart receives divine illumination can forgive.

Allah, Most High, says in His holy book, “Do not let the people of virtue and affluence among you swear to suspend donations to their relatives, the needy, and the emigrants in the cause of Allah. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love to be forgiven by Allah? And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Qur’an, 24:22]

And He said, “Be gracious, enjoin what is right, and turn away from those who act ignorantly. [Qur’an, 7:199]

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also said, “Neither nurse grudge, nor sever (the ties of kinship), nor nurse enmity.“ [Muslim]

Healing

That being said, your focus should not be on forgiveness right now. Your focus should be on healing from your trauma and surrounding yourself with loving and supporting people. I am not saying that you should tell your family about what your relative has done, but I can tell that keeping it hidden harms you and might impede your recovery. It would help if you discussed this with your therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. It is sufficient for you to intend to forgive your assailants when you are capable and for the sake of Allah alone.

Take a look at these resources and learn the du’as from the link below:
https://casapalmera.com/blog/7-ways-to-heal-your-childhood-trauma/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/is-a-father-who-molests-his-daughter-still-considered-her-mahram-unmarriageable-kin/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/selected-prophetic-prayers-for-spiritual-physical-and-emotional-wellbeing-by-chaplain-ibrahim-long/

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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