As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah
[Rawdhat al-'Uqala' post 11]
It is reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever apologises to his brother and he does not accept it, will bear a burden of sin like that on the tax-collector.” [Ibn Majah (3718), Mu’jam al-Tabarani (2/276) – Abu Hatim mentions that if Ibn Jurayj (one of the narrators) really heard this report from al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdur-Rahman, then it is Hasan Gharib, but he fears that it may not be the case]
Abu Hatim: “The intelligent one must accept the excuse of his brother when he comes to him apologising for a past error, or shortcoming, and he should make him like one who has not erred (or sinned) because I fear for the one who is approached (for forgiveness) and does not accept it, that he will not drink from the Pond of al-Mustafa (the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). And whoever falls short for whatever reason must apologise to his brother for his shortcoming.”
Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah al-Zanji al-Baghdadi recited,
“If one day a friend comes to you apologising
For a shortcoming like a true friend does
Then turn your aversion away and forgive him
For forgiveness is the nature of the free”
Abu Hatim: “A person should not apologise to someone by using means (or ploys) if that particular person does not wish to forgive him, and he should not over-apologise to his brother. This is because over-apologising leads to that person being accused (or suspected), and I prefer to minimize my apology in general because I know that apologies are mostly mixed with lies. Seldom have I seen someone apologise except that his apology was mixed with lies. But whoever acknowledges his error deserves to be forgiven because the humility of apologising mandates that the fiery emotion be tranquilized. Whoever is true in his apology will be humble in his words and humble in his actions.
‘Abdullah ibn Khubayq said, “It is said, ‘Yield to the one who coddles and spoils you, and accept the one who apologises to you.’”
Abu Qilabah: “If there reaches you news about your brother which you dislike, then seek out an excuse for him. If you cannot find an excuse, then say that perhaps he has an excuse which I do not know of.”
Ibn ‘A’ishah said, “Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Malik once became angry at Khalid ibn Abdillah. So when he (Khalid) went to him, he said, “O leader of the faithful, having power does away with cruelty, and you are nobler than to punish. If you forgive, then you are worthy of that. And if you punish, then I deserve it.” So he forgave him.
Abu Hatim: “A person should not openly punish someone who did not make their sin public. The one who seeks to apologise will undoubtedly be one of two types: Either he will be sincere (truthful) in his apology, or he will be insincere (lying). If he is sincere, then he deserves to be forgiven because the worst of people is the one who does not pick up a person after their fall (or who does not lessen the fall of others) and does not conceal their errors. And if he is insincere, then it’s mandatory on a person once they see the insincerity and doubt behind the apology, as well as the humility and lowliness (that a person has gone to with the apology), that they should not punish for the past sin. Rather, he should thank such a person for the current goodwill which he has come with in his apology, and a person should not be censured for humbling and making himself low when he apologises to his brother.
Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Wasiti recited,
“I sinned and repented, just as,
Adam sinned and repented to his Lord.
So say the word of Yusuf, ‘No blame is there
Upon you; the Merciful Forgiver has forgiven.”
Abu Hatim: “An apology removes grief, clears away sadness, pushes back hatred and does away with aversion. Lack of apologies will cause great crimes to be committed and many sins will result (but on the other hand), apologising too much leads one to be accused and thought badly of. If there was to be no praiseworthy quality in the person who apologises to his brother other than humility and removal of ‘ujb (self-amazement), then it would’ve been befitting/mandatory for the wise one to apologise for every slip he makes.”
Ibn al-Sammak said to Muhammad ibn Sulayman (or Hammad ibn Musa to his writer) when he saw some aversion from him, “Why is it that I see you avoiding me?” He said, “Some news reached me about you which I disliked.” He said, “Then I don’t mind.” He said, “Why not?” He said, “Because if it is a sin, I know you will forgive, and if it is untrue, I know you will not accept it.” It’s said that he then resumed his friendship.
- Rawdhat al-’Uqala’