Impact of the Names; Al Ghaffar, Al Ghafur, and Al Ghafir

What is the impact of the Names Al Ghaffar, al Ghafur, and Al Ghafir, on our lives?

When we look at the impact of these names; Al Ghaffar, Al Ghafur and Al Ghafir; Allah the Oft-Forgiving, it should keep hope alive in the heart of the believer; keep hope alive that he or she would be forgiven of their sins because Allah is the Oft-Forgiving. So the believer does not fall into a state of distress and gives up hope and fall into more sin as a result of having lost of hope. These names remind the believer when he worships Allah, reflects on them, reminds the believer that Allah will forgive. However, some people take this understanding of Allah’s name, Al Ghafur, and have gone to extremes. So when they commit sins, and they are advised, “Brothers and sisters, this is not good, it is haram, don’t do it.” They say: “Allah is Al Ghafur Ar Rahim.” That becomes the answer, Allah is Oft-Forgiving and He is merciful. But the bottom line is that His mercy and His forgiveness is something arbitrary? You do not have to do anything? All you have to do is believe that He is forgiving and merciful and you are forgiven? That does not make sense. That is illogical; that is foolish. No, there has to be effort on the part of Allah’s servant for him to deserve and to receive, by the grace of Allah, Allah’s forgiveness. So let us not fool ourselves into thinking that without any effort on our part, we will receive Allah’s forgiveness. No, forgiveness has conditions; there are clear conditions which were set by the Prophet (ﷺ) and set by Allah (سبحانهُ وتعالى) in the Qur'an.

The first of the conditions is the one which the Prophet (ﷺ) said, in a hadeeth which is narrated by ibn Ma’aqil who quoted the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying:

“Remorse is repentance.”[1]

In that statement, the Prophet (ﷺ) lays the foundation for true repentance, remorse, feeling bad about what one has done. That is a condition for one’s repentance to be accepted by Allah. If one has committed a sin and still enjoys the memory of that sin; they do not feel bad in any way within themselves about the sin; they just know that it is a sin, people tell them that it is a sin; they know that they should not do it because may be they studied it, their parents told them, the society tells them that it is not good, but in their heart they love it; and, they turn to Allah and say, “Astaghfirullah” “Forgive me, O Allah!” Will Allah forgive them? No, because this primary condition, remorse, which Allah made equivalent to repentance, is missing. It is like when the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“Hajj is Arafat.”[2]

It does not actually mean Hajj is Arafat. It means that without Arafat, there is no Hajj. If you miss Arafat, there is no Hajj. If you miss Mina before Arafat, your Hajj is still there. There are things that you can miss from Hajj and Hajj is still there. But if you miss Arafat, you miss Hajj because Arafat is the essence of Hajj. The place of Arafat, that point where we stand and spend half the day in worshipping Allah in prayer. So in the same way as Hajj is invalid if Arafat is missing, similarly tawbah is invalid if nadam is missing. Al nadamah, i.e., remorse, sadness, feeling bad about what one has done, if that is missing, then there is no repentance. It is only a ritual that we are going through, words that we are mouthing but it has no impact, and as such, Allah will not forgive us.

Knowledge of the names shows us and reminds us of this great forgiving quality of Allah. And it should keep hope alive in the heart of the believer. But it is not an idle hope, an aimless hope, a hope which is not connected to some real and practical act which, by the grace of Allah, brings the forgiveness of Allah.  It becomes deserved by Allah’s grace, without that, then repentance is a meaningless ritual.

References:

[1] [Narrated by Ibn Hibaan on the authority of Abdullah ibn Mas’oud. (Saheh ibn Hibaan:614)]

[2] [An’nasaai (3044). Ibn Maaja(3015). Ahmad (191796). A’tarmidi said Hassan Saheeh.]

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