The fourteeth name we will be discussing and learning about is ‘Al-Ghaffaar’ – The All-Forgiving, The Absolver, The Veiler of Sins and Faults, The Most Protecting One
Al-Ghaffaar is the One who accepts repentance and veils or forgives our faults and sins, time and time again; the One who sets us free from the guilt and shame of our own sins and faults, such that we may discover inner harmony and peace. The One who protects us from the effects of our faults and sins, both in the present world and the future; the One who accepts repentance and sets aright our faults and sins. The One who veils, forgives or transforms our faults and sins in such a manner that we may go on without guilt or shame; the One who can set aright, or transform, wrong deeds and change them into what become good deeds.
Allah calls Himself Al-Ghaffaar on five occasions in the Quran. The word Ghaffaar comes from the root ghayn-faa-raa, which points to three main meanings.
- The first meaning is to cover, veil, conceal, and hide
- The second meaning is to pardon, to forgive, and to set aright
- The third meaning is to cover a thing to protect it (from dirt)
So, how can we live by this name?
1) Forgive to be forgiven
Be honest with yourself – have you always forgiven others or did you just say “I forgive you,” while ill feelings lingered in your heart? ‘. . . and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.’ [Quran, 24:22] Each night before you go to sleep try to cleanse your heart from grudges and ill-feelings and when you find it hard to forgive, remind yourself of the greatest motivation: Allah’s forgiveness. There’s no space for a big ego if you want to be forgiven by Allah ﷻ. Forgive people with sincerity, for the sake of Allah. Always sleep with a clean heart and shower people with kindness and forgiveness and Allah will do the same towards you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. When you forgive someone, you forgive yourself, bearing a grudge against someone who has hurt you is not just about what they have done to you. Forgiving yourself is allowing that you didn’t know, didn’t understand, didn’t act in a way that could have short-circuited the conflict. When you forgive yourself you allow resentment and hurt to be replaced by healing. You are taking an action that will course-correct your life and well-being. Forgiveness will also free you; it allows you to take your power back. The energy and emotion you deeply invest in a certain person or situation is freed to be moved to someone or something that is positive for your growth and emotional, psychological, and physical health. You are no longer chained to something that drains you. Forgiving helps you move forward. Forgiveness encourages compassion. You are able to relate better with others and you feel for others as you do for yourself. Forgiveness is an act of kindness and goodness. It is a path to peace.
2) Seek forgiveness to increase your blessings
Allah says: ‘And said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver.’ [Quran, 71:10] What will happen if you ask for forgiveness? Al-Ghaffaar will increase your blessings. He continues:’ He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers. ‘[Quran, 71:11-12] So next time you want something, increase in seeking forgiveness. Seek forgiveness for Allah to forgive you and shower you with His blessings.
3) Don’t hunt for other people’s mistakes
Al-Ghazali said about the attribute of maghfirah: ‘Every creature is bound to have perfection and imperfection, or ugliness and beauty, so whoever overlooks the ugly and mentions only the beautiful is one who shares in this attribute.’ As a true believer, always highlight the good of others and cover their faults. Never hunt for others’ mistakes. We all have our own faults and shortcomings to look at, let us all focus on bettering ourselves and covering the faults of others. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Allah will cover up on the Day of Resurrection the defects (faults) of the one who covers up the faults of the others in this world’ [Muslim]. Allah loves this quality so much that He’ll forgive your sins and call you privately to account for them, He will not do it publicly so that you’re not embarrassed before others. All because you covered up the faults and shortcomings of others in this world.
4) Follow up a bad deed with a good one
Al-Ghaffaar tells you: ‘But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance.’ [Quran, 20:82] ‘and Except for those who repent, believe, and work righteous deeds. For those, Allah will change their evil deeds into good deeds, and Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Quran, 25:70] What often happens is that we sin and feel bad but remain passive. Al-Ghaffaar tells you exactly what to do to get perpetual forgiveness: turn to Him sincerely in repentance no matter how often you’ve sinned, follow up your bad deed with a good one, and be determined to stay on the right path. Next time you find yourself having done wrong and sinned, open the Quran and read or give some sadaqah. You have much opportunity to do good, don’t delay it. Repent with sincerity and work to stack up on your good deeds. The Prophet ﷺ said ‘Charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire,’ (Hadith, Tirmidhi).
5) Give thanks
Reflect on the fact that Al-Ghaffaar veils your sins and bad deeds for others again and again, and thank Him for this blessing. Allah hides our faults from the people and has them thinking so highly of us when none of us are perfect. He blesses us again and again by keeping our sins hidden. Allah Al-Ghaffaar covers and protects in the most beautiful ways, both spiritually and physically. He keeps our thoughts and intentions hidden from other people; our innermost feelings are well-protected and covered by Al-Ghaffaar. Be grateful and thank Allah for this blessing He has given us.
6) Follow the examples in the Quran and Sunnah
Look for the Quranic supplications for forgiveness Al-Ghaffaar blessed you with and use them when you ask for His maghfirah (maghfirah is the word for this profound concept of forgiveness, covering, and protection), for example: ‘Our Lord, we have believed, so forgive us and have mercy upon us, and You are the best of the merciful.’ [Quran, 23:109] Study the ways the Prophet ﷺ used to seek forgiveness by using the morning and evening adhkaar (remembrance). Examples are daily invocations like: ‘ghufraanaka’ when you exit the toilet, saying ‘astaghfirullah wa atoobu ilayk’ more than 70 times a day.
Call upon Allah, Al-Ghaffaar, knowing that He is the one to forgive, cover, and protect us continuously. Ask Him to forgive our sins, the first one, the last one, the hidden and apparent, and enable us to keep turning to Him seeking forgiveness. Ask Him to conceal our shortcomings in this life and on the Day of Judgement, protect us from the effects of our sins, and aid us to be forgiving to others. May Allah shower His peace upon you all, answer your prayers and may He guide our every step. May He protect us and our loved ones and allow us to enter His kingdom of Jannah with them. May He purify our intentions and increase us in imaan. Ameen.
JazakAllah khayr for taking the time to read this, I pray it has benefitted you – please share this with anyone who you think may benefit as well – and as mentioned in previous posts, I am raising funds this Ramadan build deep water wells in Pakistan, if possible please share and donate to this link as we are trying to maximise the blessings this Ramadan. These wells can provide fresh clean water to 1000-3000 people each and will last for decades as they will be maintained by Salam Charity. Please donate as much as is within your means to help these people; your donation will improve the lives of thousands of people in shaa Allah and as always your zakat is applicable to these projects as well. May Allah bless those of you who’ve donated and build for you a home in Paradise. Ameen.
Don’t forget to share this with any friends and family you think might be interested in supporting as well and feel free to ask any questions you have via Instagram as well @muspaksoc @salamcharityuk
JazakAllah Khair for all your efforts
References: information in this post was collated from understandquran.com and the beautiful names of Allah series on wahiduddin.net.