The Muslim is Tolerant and Forgiving
Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi
The Ideal Muslim
© 1999 IIPH
If he becomes angry with his brother, the true Muslim restrains his anger and is quick to forgive him, and does not see any shame in doing so. Rather, he sees it as a good deed which will bring him closer to Allah and earn him His love which He bestows only on those who do good:
"…[those] who restrain anger and pardon [all] men – for Allah loves those who do good." (Qur'an, 3:134)
A man may be able to restrain his anger, but resentment may be smoldering in his heart, and may turn into deep-rooted hatred. Open anger and rage are healthier than hidden resentment and malice.
The true Muslim whose soul has been saturated with this religion does not harbor grudges; if he restrains his anger, he then follows that with forgiveness, and thus he will be among those who do good.
Anger is very difficult to restrain, for it is a heavy burden on the heart. But when a person forgives another, this heavy burden is lifted, freeing him, soothing him and bringing peace of mind. These are the feelings of ihsaan (goodness) which the Muslim feels when he forgives his brother.
The true Muslim is forgiving towards his brother, purely for the sake of Allah. He hopes thereby to earn the honor which the Prophet, sallallahu` alayhi wa sallam referred to in the hadith:
"Allah will not increase His servant except in honor. No one humbles himself for the sake of Allah, but Allah will raise his status." (Muslim)
It is a great honor from Allah, which combines with the good characteristics of the tolerant, forgiving Muslim, so that he becomes one of those who do good whom Allah loves, and one of those honored ones whom people love.
Resentment has no place in the heart of the sensitive Muslim who truly understands his religion. He realizes the value of forgiveness and purity of heart, and their importance if he seeks Allah's forgiveness, as the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, explained:
"There are three sins, whoever dies free of these sins will be forgiven for anything else if Allah wills: associating anything with Allah; practicing magic or witchcraft; and bearing resentment towards his brother." (Reported by al-Bukhari in Adab al-Mufrad)