Forgiving Is Not Always The Best Way

Sure, forgiving is a the noble character. Allah says:

الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“Those who spend (their wealth), both in open and narrow times, and those who hold back their anger and forgive people. Allah loves those who do kindness” (Ali Imran: 134).

Allah also says:

وَأَنْ تَعْفُوا أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى

“And if you forgive people, it is closer to piety” (Al Baqarah: 237).

There is no doubt that forgiveness is the best in general. And repaying injustice with forgiveness means repaying it with kindness, which mentioned by Allah in His word:

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ

“And good and evil are not equal. Repay (the evil) in a better way. Then suddenly the person between you and between him there is enmity as if they have become very loyal friends” (Fushilat: 34).

However, forgiveness is not always the best. Allah says:

وَجَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ

“You should repay an evil with the same amount. But whoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is from Allah. Indeed, He does not like the wrongdoers” (Ash Shura: 40).

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih Al Uthaimin explained: “In this verse, Allah combines forgiveness with ishlah (remediation). So forgiveness sometimes does not provide remediation. Sometimes the person who does evil to you is a depraved person, who is known well by society as a bad and corrupt person. If you forgive him, he will just continue to do bad things and become worst. So what is more important in this condition, you should punish him because of what he did. And this will be an ishlah (remediation) for him” (Makarimul Akhlak : 27).

So sometimes, not forgiving the bad guy and imposing punishment to him is better. If the punishment is the best way for him and the society.

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