Apologizing, or al-eitithaar in Arabic, means to amend what you did or said that others found offensive or negative and thus reproached you for it. From the Islamic perspective, according to Al-Imam Al-Jirjani, it refers to ones’ efforts to efface the effects or traces of a sin or mistake. Moreover, regarding this issue, Al-Kafawi said that eitithaar means to regret and show remorse over a mistake, sin or slip of the tongue.
Anas bin Malik narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Slowing down (to study the situation) before taking any action is among the virtues that God encourages, and being hasty (without prior assessment of the situation before you do whatever you intend to do) is among the vices of the devil. On the other hand, there is no one who accepts more apologies than Allah. And there is nothing more beloved to Allah than praising Him” (Al-Mujmaa 8/19).
All human beings are equal, whether rich or poor, master or subject, king or subject, president or civilian- no one has prerogative over others. The only criterion that makes someone better than another in God’s eyes is piety, or God-consciousness. However, no one can tell whether someone really fears Allah; only Allah knows who fears Him truly and sincerely. If God forgives those who repent to Him sincerely, who are we not to forgive?
Some people claim to be righteous, yet when someone commits a mistake they condemn him, accusing him of disbelief and vice. Why can’t they just forgive? On the other hand, it is very important for a sinner or anyone who commits mistake to be quick to apologize. Don’t underestimate the person you wronged because of seemingly low position. God’s standards are different from ours.
Apologies overwrite sins
A man approached Al-Hasan bin Sahl to apologize for a sin he had committed. Al-Hasan told him, “Before the sin, you were doing good deeds, then the sin came in between and, after that, you repented. Therefore, a sin cannot overpower two good deeds.” This means that the apologetic man was doing good deeds before committing a mistake or slipping into wrongdoing. After realizing his mistake, he repented, which is also an act of worship. So there was an act of worship followed by a sin, which was followed by repentance. This means that one sin occurred between two acts of worship, which of course will overpower it (Al-Aadaab Al-Shar’iyya 1/349).
Apology in Ramadan
Inasmuch as ones craves God’s mercy in Ramadan, he should be quick to apologize to those whom he wronged, as well as forgive those who wronged him, before, during and after Ramadan.
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By Hassan T Bwambale