Forgiveness and Justice: meditations on some hadiths
By Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed for pardon for his people, and received the reply: "I have forgiven them all but acts of oppression, for I shall exact recompense for the one who is wronged, from his oppressor."
In the Qur'an, God is just, and requires justice; but he is also forgiving, and requires forgiveness; in fact, its references to the latter property outnumber those on justice by a ratio of approximately ten to one. Islamic theology has not always been clear how the ensuing tension is to be resolved. "My Mercy outstrips My wrath" is a well-known divine saying, but one which nonetheless is far from abolishing God’s wrath. Indeed, a righteous indignation about injustice is integral to the prophetic representation of God’s qualities, and from the earliest moments of its revelation the Qur’an links God’s expectations of His creatures to justice towards the weak.
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