Crash. Bang.. Smash… “What was that?!” That was the sound of a once sound heart, shattering into a million pieces. Imagine you are the person carrying that heart: covered in pain and soaked in tears. May be you don’t have to imagine, because may be that is your heart.

We Are the Broken-Hearted

Betrayal, oppression, deception, whatever it may be that happened to us—the result is the same, a broken heart at the hand of a human. A broken heart that feels like it can never be fixed, and it was entirely someone else’s fault. It would be enough if he had just hurt us, and all we had to do is to deal with the pain that came from his actions. But no! Rather, the hurt, the pain, the brokenness… brought out the worst in us, allowing us to see our own faults, and painful ones at that.

How do we go on?

How do we move on with life and shift our focus back to the one who deserves it?

How do we stop obsessing over the wrongs that occurred and start focusing on the only one who should be obsessed over?

One word: Forgiveness.

When a person is soaked in sin and wants to return to God, he begins with repentance. The person whole-heartedly turns to God, asking Him to forgive utterly and completely, even though the asker may not be deserving. Likewise, the path back to God after a severely broken heart, at the hand of a human, is forgiveness.

When it comes to forgiveness, the key is shifting to how we see forgiveness. As always, God has given us a beautiful tool to make this shift, and that is the story of Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him).

Of the many fruitful parts of the story of Prophet Yusuf, is that of his being wronged by the wife of his master. She attempted to seduce Prophet Yusuf. Not only did she attempt to seduce him, but she landed him in jail by blaming him of the unthinkable instead of taking the blame! Imagine! This is a woman whom, as the wife of his master, he was supposed to be able to trust. This was a woman whom he served during the day. Yet when her desires took over, she wronged him many times over!

Despite all of this, Prophet Yusuf did not act wrongfully, nor did he hold a grudge. Why? Prophet Yusuf knew the reality of forgiveness. When all was exposed and the truth revealed, Yusuf made a revolutionary statement. He said:

{I do not free myself from all blame. Truly, the self is inclined to evil, except for those who my Lord grants His Mercy. Truly, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.} (Yusuf 12: 53)

A huge, humbling, life-changing lesson we can take from his statement is: You are not the oppressor in this situation only because God has blessed you with His Mercy. Every soul has the ability to wrong others, every soul has the ability to be the oppressor, and only God’s mercy prevents that.

Forgive Others

The next time we begin to feel this immense and absolute anger towards the person who has harmed us—let’s make that shift, and forgive. Forgive the one who has wronged us not because that person deserves it; rather, forgive them as a sign of gratitude to God. Forgive as a symbol of thanking God for blessing us to be of those who have never thought of hurting a person in the manner that we have had to endure. Forgive as a symbol of thanking Him for making us the oppressed and not the oppressors.

There is no sin in being the oppressed; rather, God tells us that He is with the one who has been wronged and is constantly answering their du`a’ (supplication). But what about the oppressors? They have the anger and the displeasure of God. And realize that the one who has oppressed you has oppressed himself more. For it is that person who will have to stand in front of God on the Day of Judgment and have his oppression accounted for, if he is not of those who have repented. So on that Day, he will be his own greatest victims.

Forgive people saying: “Oh Allah I’m not forgiving them for their own sake, rather I am forgiving them as a sign of gratitude to You for steering me clear of those desires. I’m forgiving them out of my love for You. I’m forgiving them because I know You love it when a slave of Yours is merciful to others and I want to be of the ones that You love. My desires tell me to wish evil for them and to hold this grudge, but I put You over my own desire and I forgive them.”

Pray for those who hurt you. Pray for those who do not accept you. Love them for the sake of God. Pray that they realize their wrongs before they face their Lord. Pray that no one ever has to go through the same thing you did at the hands of this person.

Love your oppressor for the sake of God, because love is the only emotion that is strong enough to penetrate a hardened heart, but know it will take time. Perhaps years, but you will be a better person because you chose to take the higher route: Forgiveness.

By Reehab Ramadan