71) Al Ghaafir
This Name of Allah is mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah Ghaafir. Allah says:
The forgiver of sin, acceptor of repentance, severe in punishment, owner of abundance. There is no deity except Him; to Him is the destination. [al Ghaafir 40:3]
72) Al Ghafoor
This Name of Allah Appears in the Qur’an 91 times. The majority of the time it is mentioned with Ar Raheem. For example Allah says:
[O Muhammad], inform My servants that it is I who am the Forgiving, the Merciful. [al Hijr 12:49]
Allah also says:
The heavens almost break from above them, and the angels exalt [ Allah ] with praise of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those on earth. Unquestionably, it is Allah who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. [ash Shuraa 42:5]
Allah Mentions the Name Al Ghafoor with the Name Al-‘Afuw.
For those it is expected that Allah will pardon them, and Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving.[an Nisaa 4:99]
Allah also Mentions Al Ghafoor with the Name Al-Azeez
And among people and moving creatures and grazing livestock are various colors similarly. Only those fear Allah , from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving. [al Faatir 35:28]
73) Al Ghaffaar
This Name of Allah appears in the Qu’ran five times. For example Allah says:
He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. Unquestionably, He is the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver [az Zumar 39:5]
All these Names come from the root word gha-fa-ra which means something that covers, veil, conceal, hide and something that shields. Also to pardon, forgive, set aright.
Al Khattabi says: they are Names by which Allah forgives His slaves for the sins they have committed. But in particular, Allah through these Names conceals the sins. The believer will not be able to see it, neither will anyone of the creation. On Yawmal qiyyamah Allah will conceal the sins so it will not be able to be seen on our scrolls. -Ghaafir is the Name that is given to the One that conceals one sin -Ghaffaar is the exaggerated form, One that covers many sins -Ghafoor has the meaning of conceal and has the meaning of removing completely because Allah mentions Al-‘Afuw with Al-Ghafoor. Al ‘Afuw means to remove completely.
Az Zujaji says: the meaning of the gha-far of Allah, is that He covers the sins of His slaves, so they are not frightened or upset or hurt when they see their sins.
Both ghafoor and ghaffaar refer to the concept of maghfirah. Al-Ghaffaar refers to the fact that Allah forgives repeatedly (the quantity) whereas the Name Al-Ghafoor points to the extent of His forgiveness (the quality). Allah‘s Name Al-Ghafoor does not just mean that He forgives us; He also protects and shields us from the consequences of our own actions. He does maghfirah— He covers our sins while being fully aware of what they are. His perfect forgiveness is truly a sign of His ultimate mercy for us. Our scrolls of deeds and our own self will be placed on the scales on yawmal qiyyamah to be weighed.
Benefits we can learn from these Names
1. Seek forgiveness to increase your blessings. Allah says:
And [Nuh] said, ‗Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver.‘ [Nuh 71:10]
What will happen if you ask for forgiveness? Al-Ghaffaar will increase your blessings.
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. [Nuh 71:11-12] So next time you want something, increase in seeking forgiveness (or istighfaar).
2. Allah being Al-Ghafoor, Al-Ghaffar and Al-Ghaafir, He has concealed the sins of the believers so a person will not be able to see them. If a person makes sincere repentance to Allah, Alah will conceal His sins, shielding it from the eyes of creation so it will be as if you don’t have the sin. When the scrolls are released, you will not be able to see that sin on your scrolls. It will have been covered by Al-Ghafoor.
3. A person can repent for a sin, and follow it up with good deeds. Allah says:
And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember. [al Hud 11: 114] Have taqwa of Allah wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people.” [At-Tirmidhi].
4. A Muslim will not despair from the mercy of Allah. Knowing that He has a Lord that is forgiving. So he should ask forgiveness in this life, before death. After that the doors of repentance shuts. Allah has promised forgiveness for the one who asks for it in the dunya. Allah doesn’t forgive shirk if a person dies on it, but if one repents after committing it in his lifetime, then Allah will forgive him. A characteristic of a true believer is that he or she never despairs. We don‘t despair in the help of Allah azza wa jall and we don‘t despair in His mercy and forgiveness. This means that whenever we commit a bad deed– and because we are humans, we will sin– we don‘t let it get us down but rather fight back by turning to Al-Ghafoor straight away and following up our sin with a good deed.
No sin is too great for Allah’s forgiveness. A believer should know that His Lord is a Forgiving One. He is Haleem, He is Afuw, He is Ghafoor. Call upon Al-Ghafoor when you do wrong to others or even to yourself, no matter how big or small the sin is. You can start your dua‘ with this beautiful Name. Always ask Him to do maghfirah on you (to cover up and forgive your bad deeds) and never give up asking. At the same time, never think of how big or little a sin is, think about the greatness of the One you are disobeying.
5. Train yourself to be forgiving. Think of the forgiveness of Al-Ghafoor and be inspired to adopt a habit of being forgiving in your daily life. Always try to go to sleep with a heart clean of grudges. Hamdun al-Qassar, one of the great early Muslims, said: If a friend among your friends errs, make seventy excuses for them. If your hearts are unable to do this, then know that the shortcoming is in your own selves. [Bayhaqee] Always give others the benefit of the doubt, making excuses for them and never hunting for others‘ mistakes.
6. Cover the faults of others. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 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]. Do you know what Allah Al-Ghafoor will give you for covering up the faults and shortcomings of others in this world? He loves this quality so much that He‘ll forgive your sins and not call you to account for your sins. If at all He will do so, He will not do it publicly so that you‘re not embarrassed before others.
7. Don‘t expose yourself. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
Every one of my followers will be forgiven except those who expose (openly) their wrongdoings. An example of this is that of a man who commits a sin at night which Allah has covered for him, and in the morning, he would say (to people): I committed such and such sin last night, while Allah had kept it a secret. During the night Allah has covered it up but in the morning he tears up the cover provided by Allah Himself. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
We should never like to express our sins and sin openly. Never talk to others about your sins.
8. 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.
9. 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, for example:
Indeed there was a party of My servants who said; Our Lord, we have believed, so forgive us and have mercy upon us, and You are the best of the merciful. [al Muminoon 23:109] Study the ways the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam used to seek forgiveness by using the morning and evening adhkaar (remembrance) to be found in the book of supplications Hisnul Muslim (Fortress of the Muslim). Examples are daily invocations like: ghufraanaka when you exit the toilet, saying astaghfirullah wa atoobu ilayk more than 70 times a day. Our beloved Rasoolullah sallalahu alayhi wassalam used to seek Allah’s forgiveness more than 70 times a day (in another narration 100 times), and he had all his sins forgiven by Allah, so what is the state of ourselves? We should be seeking forgiveness from Allah countless times a day! The following hadith shows the mercy of Allah and the vastness of His forgiveness. How can we not seek Allah’s forgiveness when we are in need of it, as we fall into sin day and night?
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard the Prophet saying, “If somebody commits a sin and then says, ‘O my Lord! I have sinned, please forgive me!’ and his Lord says, ‘My slave has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for it, I therefore have forgiven my slave (his sins).’ Then he remains without committing any sin for a while and then again commits another sin and says, ‘O my Lord, I have committed another sin, please forgive me,’ and Allah says, ‘My slave has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for it, I therefore have forgiven my slave (his sin). Then he remains without committing any other sin for a while and then commits another sin (for the third time) and says, ‘O my Lord, I have committed another sin, please forgive me,’ and Allah says, ‘My slave has known that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes for it I therefore have forgiven My slave (his sin), he can do whatever he likes.” [Al Bukhari]
Al Ghafoor, wal Ghaffaar and other Names
· Allah has mentioned Ghaffaar with Azeez. Why does He say Azeezur Ghafaar? He is so powerful (Azeez) that He can forgive all sins. There is nothing that He can’t forgive and Him being Al Ghafoor is a sign of Him being Azeez. Characteristic of Him being merciful and forgiving is a sign of His Power.
· Allah also mentions Al Ghafoor with Ash Shakoor. The benefit here is that the believers should thank Allah for the ability He has given us to turn back to Him and ask for His forgiveness and they should be thankful for Allah concealing their sins.
· Allah mentions Al Ghafoor with Al Haleem. He has delayed the time for punishment out of Him being Haleem (forbearing and tolerant) so we can ask for forgiveness, and Him being Ghafoor, He will forgive us if we repent to Him.
· Allah mentions Al Ghafoor with Al Wadood. These Names are mentioned together because Allah loves to forgive and He hopes to forgive His slaves.
· One of the most common pairs is Allah‘s Name Al-Ghafoor combined with Ar-Raheem, which is repeated 72 times in the Qur’an, demonstrating that He covers our sins because He is so merciful to us. An example of this beautiful combination is in one of the most hope-giving, heart-comforting ayaat in the Quran. Al-Ghafoor Himself says:
Say, O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. [az Zumar 39:53]
Look and reflect! Instead of saying: O, you sinners! look at how gently Al-Ghafoor addresses us by saying yaa ‘eebaadee, O My servants….Alhamdulillah; we have a Lord who is intensely forgiving and merciful to us who doesn’t forsake us even when we are drowning in sin. Side note: A minor sin can become a major one, when a person no longer feels remorse when doing it. Fear minor sins over major as when a person commits a major sin, it is usually acknowledged to be a major sin and hence one can seek forgiveness for it and repent. But as for minor sins, because a person may view it as something trivial, there is the fear that they will keep on doing it.
74) Al ‘Afuww
This Name of Allah I mentioned in the Qu’ran 5 times. For exmaple Allah says:
O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying or in a state of janabah, except those passing through [a place of prayer], until you have washed [your whole body]. And if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]. Indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving. [an Nisaa 4:43]
Allah also says:
If [instead] you show [some] good or conceal it or pardon an offence – indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Competent. [an Nisaa 4:149]
It has 3 meanings
1) To forgive and pardon.
2) to efface and remove, to wipe away.
3) To give something an abundant growth, give willingly and more than it is due.
At Tabbari says: Allah removes and wipes away the sins and He wipes away and removes all consequences for that sin in this dunya and aakirah so that a person doesn’t have that deed at all. It doesn’t exist anymore. Rasoolullah sallalahu alayhi wassalam said:
Regret is repentance and the one who repents is like one who did not sin [Saheeh Jaami’ as Sagheer]
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin, and if the sin is removed, then the punishment and consequences are also removed. End quote from Sharh al-‗Umdah (4/39)
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Allah, may He be exalted, makes the one who repents from sin like the one who did not sin. So whoever meets Him having repented sincerely, He will not punish him for that from which he has repented. End quote from I‗laam al-Muwaqqi‗een (3/115)
He also said: Allah, may He be glorified, has guaranteed to the one who repents from shirk (associating others with Allah), murder and zina (fornication or adultery) that He will turn his bad deeds into good deeds. This is a general ruling which applies to everyone who repents from sin. He also said: As the one who repents from sin is like the one who did not sin, and the effect of sin is erased by repentance, then it becomes as if it never happened.
By the Name Afuww, if you make tawbah then it will be as if you never sinned. For example Allah will make someone pure again after commiting zina if they repent to Allah. Allah Wipes away the sin, the consequences of the sin and the punishment of that sin. He is the One who can make any sin or mistake disappear. Al-Afuww not only forgives but can also remove wrong actions, errors, and faults, leaving no trace of them. He can eliminate them completely.
Afuww also means abundant growth. Ibn Qayyim says: as for afuwun regarding abundant growth, afuww doesn’t just mean to remove or wipe away, but it also means to multiple, to give a great growth. This means for example, on one side of a scale is placed a person’s bad deeds and on the other side is placed a person’s good deeds. If the good deeds are held back by the weight of the bad deeds, once these sins are completely removed and taken away, the good deeds become stronger and weighs heavier on the scales. By Allah being Al Afuww, He gets the bad deeds and after a person makes tawbah for them, He removes them and then puts them on the other side of the scale. So his good deeds become even stronger, multiplied and abundant. Now it has both the weight of the good deeds and the bad deeds that were turned into good deeds. This is the meaning of Afuww. When a person turns to Allah with this Name, Allah forgives him a great type of forgiveness whereby He doesn’t just conceal but He removes the sins entirely and then changes the evil deeds to good deeds.
Al ‘Afuww and other Names:
· The Name Afuww comes with the Name Al Ghafoor. The benefit here is, due to Allah’s immense rahma and Him being Ar Ra’oof, He conceals the removing of the sin. So the slave doesn’t feel upset or feel the pain of seeing his sin. So on Yawmal qiyyamah, the sin won’t even be there.
· The Name Afuww has been mentioned with Qadeer. Qadeer is the One who decrees, so Allah mentioned Afuww with Qadeer because one of the ways the Qadr is preserved is by the angels writing down everything. The reason why Allah mentions Afuww with Qadeera is because, that which Allah does when He is Afuww is He removes the sin, so now He tells the angels to wipe off the sin off the record, as if the sin never happened. The angels are made to write it on the good deeds.
Difference between forgiving and pardoning.
Of the five times, Allah‘s Name Al-‗Afuww is mentioned, four times it is with His Name Al-Ghafoor (The Forgiving) in the Quran. Allah azza wa jall might forgive some people and pardon others. Forgiving means that Allah azza wa jall conceals our sins and mistakes and we will not be punished for them on the Day of Judgement. However, they are still there in our book of deeds. When Allah pardons the sins of people, the sins are completely erased from their book of deeds; He will not even remind them of their sins, nor question them, simply because their sins have been removed. Pardon is greater than forgiveness.
Benefits we can learn from this Name
1. Pardon others. The people who suppress anger and pardon others are the people of Paradise. Al-Afuww says:
Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good [ale Imran 3:134]
Ibn Katheer mentions: They forgive those who treat them with injustice. Therefore, they do not hold any ill feelings about anyone in their hearts, and this is the most excellent conduct in this regard. Strive to pardon others so that Allah azza wa jall may pardon you.
2. Don‘t remind others of their mistakes. Al-Afuww is the One who pardons with no reproach. After overlooking other people‘s mistakes or wrong actions towards you, try not to remind them of these bad deeds afterwards. Allah azza wa jall is the One who pardons and never mentions your sins again.
3. Increase your love for Allah. Imagine Allah azza wa jall pardoned all your past sins; not a single sin would be recorded in our book of deeds. This shows how much we should love Al-‗Afuww.
4. Say this dua from your heart. A beautiful dua with this Name is the one the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam taught Aishah radiyallahu anhaa, when she asked him: O Messenger of Allah! If I find the Night of Al-Qadr what should I say? He sallallahu ‗alayhi wa sallam replied, say: O Allah! Verily You are the Oft-Pardoning, You love to pardon, so pardon me [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhee, An-Nasaa‘i, Ibn Majah]. Memorise this dua and beg Al-Afuww with is sincerely. Recognise your sins, be humble and then aim high, not only asking your Lord for forgiveness, but for Him to pardon each and every sin you committed.
75) At Tawwaab
This Name of Allah is mentioned in the Qu’ran 11 times. 9 of these times it is mentioned with Ar Raheem, once with Al Hakeem and once by itself. Allah says:
Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. [al Baqarah 2:37]
And if not for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy… and because Allah is Accepting of repentance and Wise. [an Nur 24:10]
Then exalt [Him] with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance. [an Nasr 110:3]
The ta, waw and ba mean to turn back, to return. When a person makes tawbah for a sin it means he has returned back to Allah.
At Tabbari says: At Tawwaab is the One who turns to the one who turns to Allah. When a person seeks forgiveness from Allah by turning to Him – realises that he has committed a sin and that he no longer wants to do so anymore. Allah through His Name At Tawwaab turns to His slave and He forgives the sin. Allah then goes back to giving him the provisions for his heart, for his eemaan and the provisions that he is now preparing for him in the aakirah. When a person has repented to Allah, and has thrown away the weight of sin by meeting the conditons of tawbah, when this person came back to Allah, Allah came back to him. Allah shows His ‘Afw to him, removes his sin and puts it on the side of good. He changed the darkness in the person’s heart that was caused from the sin, to the light of Islam. Allah turns towards His slaves, when they turn towards Him.
Conditions of tawbah – all of these must be met for tawbah to be valid
1) Feel regret and remorse for committing the sin.
2) Make tawbah to Allah by asking for forgiveness.
3) To prevent any possible way to fall into the same sin again.
4) If the sin included taking the rights of another Muslim, you must return their right to them.
Al-Qaari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It should be understood that if repentance meets all the required conditions, then it will undoubtedly be accepted and result in forgiveness, because Allah, may He be exalted, says:
And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons misdeeds, and He knows what you do. [ash-Shuraa 42:25]. And it is not possible for Him to break His promise. End quote from Mirqaat al-Mafaateeh (4/1337). A sign that Allah has accepted a person’s tawbah is that after making tawbah, the person follows it up with a good deed. Also generally if a good deed is followed up with another good deed, it is a sign that the deed has been accepted.
Benefits we can take from this Name
1. To have Muhabbah of Allah. We turn back to Allah and have hope in Allah’s mercy.
And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah ? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know. [ale Imran 3: 135]
2. Have Hayaa of Allah, being shy, feeling ashamed and embarrassed to sin in front of a Lord who is so compassionate and merciful. Allah has given us so many blessings which we can’t even enumerate, He is forbearing and tolerant; but we still sin. So the benefit of knowing the Names of Allah that are to do with forgiveness and mercy, is to have hayaa with regards to sinning. Rasooluallah sallalahu alayhi wassalam said:
From the words of the previous Prophets that people still find is if you feel no shame then do as you wish. [Bukhari]. When a person acknowledges the blessings of Allah upon us such as sight, hearing, tongue, etc then they would be shy and ashamed to sin using that very blessing.
3. To increase in repentance. Always turn back to At Tawwaab after sinning. Hasten to repent after committing a sin, major or minor and know that no sin is too great for Allah to forgive. Allah is greater than everything. Allah forgives the one who repents after committing the most gravest of sins which is shirk. Allah says:
O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, “Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.” [at Tahrim 66:8]
4. Practice the sunnah of salatul tawbah.
Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: There is no one who commits a sin then purifies himself well and stands and prays two rak‘ahs, then asks Allaah for forgiveness, but Allaah will forgive him. Then he recited this verse: And those who, when they have committed Faahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allaah and ask forgiveness for their sins; and none can forgive sins but Allaah and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know‘ [Aal ‗Imraan 3:135]. [Abu Dawood] Abu‘l-Darda‘ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say:The one who does wudoo‘ and does it well, then stands and prays two rak‘ahs or four (one of the narrators was uncertain), in which he remembers Allaah and focuses well, then asks Allaah for forgiveness, He will forgive him. [Ahmad] So next time you sin, perform wudu and stand up in salah, in sincere repentance to Allah.
At Tawwaab and other Names
Allah mentions the Name At Tawwaab with Ar Raheem. The reason for the coupling of these Names is because it is from Allah’s rahma that He allows us to turn back to Him in repentance. If Allah didn’t have mercy on us and if He didn’t give us the ability and the desire to repent to Him, we would not have been able to do so. It is from the mercy of Allah that we can turn back to Him subhana wa ta’alaa.
All the Names of forgiveness and mercy are interlinked.
Allah is Ar Raoof – ash shaddur rahma – the One who is severe in His rahma. Raoof is linked to something that is eternally merciful and peaceful whereas rahma could be linked to something we dislike and which can cause us hardship or pain. When a slave turns to Allah and raises his hands making du’a and repenting, he has come to Allah at a time which Allah has given him through the Name Al Haleem, because Allah allows him time to make tawbah after his sin. He is calling upon Ar Raoof – the One who is compassionate more compassionate and has greater mercy than the Name Ar Raheem. Therefore when a person makes tawbah and turns to Allah for forgiveness:
· Allah by being Al Haleem, gives him that opportunity and time to return back to Him.
· The slave turns to Allah so At Tawwaab turns to him and begins to accept his repentance.
· Then Allah further blesses him with the Name Al Barr, allowing him to continue in the goodness such as continue making tawbah more sincerely and following it up with good deeds.
· Allah then turns to him with the Name Al Ghafoor; He hides the sin so that no one can see it. He conceals it in dunya and aakirah.
· Then through His Name Al Afuww, He eliminates/destroys the sin thereby removing it completely. Affuwan qadeer – Al Afuww takes the sin and removes it from the qadar, so that it no longer exists on the scrolls.
· Allah by being Al Afuww gives abundant growth by removing the sin and turning it into a good deed, thus growing the side of good deeds.
· Then when the slave turns to Allah even more, Allah by the Name At Tawwaab turns to him once more by showing the siffat of Al Wadood, He begins to love him – Indeed Allah loves those who turn to Him in repentance. And Allah hopes to reward him with jannah, and to meet him in jannah, just as we hope to see Allah in Jannah.