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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 8th March 2017 15:51
Forgiveness: why it's the new mindfulness
Could being forgiving be the answer to everything you've been searching for?

By Anna Hart7:29PM BST 04 Sep 2015

When we watched Terry Waite forgive Hizbollah for holding him hostage for five years, or heard Nelson Mandela’s words of forgiveness to his South African jailers, or read about Corrie Ten Boom, who forgave the guards at the Ravenbrueck concentration camp where her father and sister perished, it was easy to marvel at the heroic nobility of such people - while hard to imagine doing the same.
Of all the virtues, forgiveness feels farthest from our reach - or, as Pope Francis suggested this week, of women who had committed the “sin of abortion”, something we should seek from a power higher than ourselves.

Within psychological circles, though, forgiveness is fast becoming something of a buzzword, with a growing body of scientific research indicating how transformative a process it can be for the injured party as well as the wrongdoer - lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; reducing pain, blood pressure, levels of anxiety, depression and stress - and, conversely, how detrimental holding onto grievances can be. “There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Dr Karen Swartz, director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Just as online gratitude journals and mindfulness apps have taken the world of positive psychology by storm, forgiveness apps have begun popping up on iTunes, with guided affirmations to aid in letting go of grudges. Now a new book, Triumph Of The Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World, by Megan Feldman, explores the nature of forgiveness - and stories of its successful application by those from jilted spouses to survivors of genocide.
Forgiveness has long been maligned as a nebulous concept, but the concrete evidence that it delivers tangible results is stacking up.

As far back as the 1980s, a New Orleans burns surgeon named Dabney Ewin began collecting anecdotal data that skin graft patients who relinquished blame (whether of others, or themselves) for their injuries healed faster than those who remained anger and bitter.
In a 2009 study, Dr Robert Enright, a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, found that when cardiac patients with coronary heart disease underwent forgiveness therapy, the rate of blood flow to their hearts improved more than that of the control group, which received only standard medical treatment and counselling about diet and exercise.

Feldman’s foray into the field of forgiveness began when she met and interviewed Azim Khamisa - an international investment banker, whose only son, Tariq, a 20-year-old student at San Diego State University, was shot dead in 1995 while delivering pizza. The bullet had been fired by a 14-year-old called Tony Hicks, as part of a gang initiation called “Jacking the Pizza Man”.

Tariq Khamisa, whose father Azim, has set up a foundation tackling youth violence with his killer's family
Despite his grief, Azim reached an extraordinary conclusion: “There were victims on both ends of the gun,” he says, simply. ”I chose to forgive 20 years ago, and it has brought me to peace.”
“As a grudge-holder by nature, I was fascinated,” says Feldman. “Azim had forgiven his son’s killer, and not only forgiven him, but reached out to the killer’s family and became close friends with them - together they started an organization devoted to violence prevention work with at-risk youth.”

What began as a straightforward interview turned into a two-year investigation into the F-word. Her book grapples with what forgiveness means in the first place, why it matters, and how you go about mustering up compassion for someone who has wronged you - or yourself for the mistakes you’ve made in life.
In Azim’s case, not everyone understood his decision to forgive, including Jennifer, Tariq’s 20-year-old fiance of just six weeks when he was killed. “Jennifer was never able to forgive, although I worked with her for many years on this,” says Azim, sadly. Seven years after Tariq died, Jennifer overdosed and committed suicide.

“One point that’s important is how misunderstood forgiveness is,” says Feldman. “I had always associated forgiveness with condoning or excusing a behaviour; if you forgave something then you couldn’t seek justice, or file charges, or sue. That’s not the case. Just because you forgive, it doesn’t mean you have to excuse. I’m not saying we can’t be angry. Anger is a natural response to pain and injustice. Anger motivates action. It’s when anger hardens into bitterness and resentment that it becomes dangerous.”
Feldman’s quest to understand the true nature of forgiveness took her as far as Rwanda, to hear the stories of genocide survivors, but she also found a lot of material much closer to home - people who were bullied at school, betrayed spouses, neglected children who forgave their parents. The implications of forgiveness seem infinite and enormous, on both a domestic and global scale.

Forgiveness has been much maligned for years, dismissed as religious dogma, or as weak, letting criminals off the hook, and even disrespectful to victims. “But the Merriam Webster [dictionary] definition of ‘forgiveness’ is ‘to give up resentment’,” points out Feldman. “Giving up resentment doesn’t mean excusing. It doesn’t mean relinquishing justice, and it doesn’t require reconciliation.”
After she’d established what forgiveness meant to her, Feldman turned her attention to its effects, and swiftly found herself assessing 20 years’ worth of pioneering research into the psychological and physiological benefits of forgiveness.

She quotes Dr. Frederic Luskin, the cofounder of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, an ongoing series of workshops and research studies at Stanford University, who explains, “When you don’t forgive you release all the chemicals of the stress response. Each time you react, adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine enter the body. When it’s a chronic grudge, you could think about it 20 times a day, and those chemicals limit creativity, they limit problem-solving. Cortisol and norepinephrine cause your brain to enter what we call ‘the no-thinking zone’, and over time, they lead you to feel helpless and like a victim. When you forgive, you wipe all of that clean.”

When he talks about his decision to forgive Tony Hicks, Azim quotes Mandela: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” And as Feldman points out, the poison analogy is closer to the mark than we ever imagined. “It turns out this is literally true - harbouring resentment increases your risk of heart disease over time. Resentment damages your brain,” she says.
However compelling the psychological and health benefits may seem, the question of how to put theory into practice remains. But Feldman is adamant that it can be harnessed through a series of exercises that foster compassion and empathy, much like CBT rewires the brain.

There are clear and huge social gains to be made by embracing forgiveness, and Feldman argues that it warrants serious airtime within our social institutions, citing school and juvenile justice programmes which have successfully implemented so-called “restorative practices” - based on reaching resolution between victims and offenders - not just in the US, but closer to home, in the city of Hull.

Indeed, the Hull Centre for Restorative Practices, founded in 2007 by husband and wife team John and Estelle Macdonald, began leading the implementation of such practices among many of the city’s public services after Mrs Macdonald, also head teacher at Collingwood Primary School, used them to take her school from special measures to outstanding.

Under her headship not a single child has been excluded in the past ten years and Collingwood is now one of a network of ten “restorative” schools across the city. Similarly, Humberside Police now use restorative practises to deal with all first time offenders, which has been shown to halve re-offending rates among young criminals. “If it works in Hull then it can in a lot of places,” says Mr Macdonald.
Today Azim is a speaker, author of three books on forgiveness, and CEO and Founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation which tackles youth violence. In two weeks he’s running a two-day forgiveness workshop in Surrey as part of theforgivenessproject.com.

He’s the leading light in the forgiveness field, which was empty back in 1998, when he wrote his first book. “Back then, for any reflection on forgiveness, you had to look to the scriptures,” he says. “Today it’s a widely respected field with a huge body of scientific research to back it up.”
“When I stopped blaming the world, it changed my life,” concludes Feldman. “Forgiveness isn’t about the past, it’s about the future. And it’s not just about forgiving others, but about forgiving yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for that mistake you made a year ago - or this morning.”

Source: Telegraph.
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ayeshaahmad
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 9th March 2017 10:32
Allah said:

خُذِالْعَفْوَوَأْمُرْبِالْعُرْفِوَأَعْرِضْعَنِالْجَاهِلِينَ

Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.

Surah Al-A’raf 7:199
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 9th March 2017 11:36
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Is it necessary to forgive each and everyone in your life?
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 9th March 2017 15:50
bint e aisha wrote:
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Is this question difficult? I mean, i wanted to ask if i don't forgive someone, will Allah forgive me my sins?
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 9th March 2017 19:49
bint e aisha wrote:
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Very Good question... A person who is a victim also has rights, Generally it is recommended by the Ulemah that it is better to forgive, but sometimes a person is treated with immense cruelty and oppression (Zulm) that they are unable to forgive and in such a case they have a right to ask for justice and would not be considered blameworthy, for their inability to forgive.

So yes your question is too complicated for the average person. Best to consult Ulemah about the specifics of your own situation.

I came across the following hope it helps.

Islam Question and Answer

General Supervisor: Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid
Dealing with hurtful relatives

This is regarding family matters and disputes.

I have a maternal uncle who creates alot of trouble for my family. His wife and children have even went to the limits of taking my mother to court, and falsely bearing witness that she physically assaulted them and threatened to kill them. There are numerous things they do, but, my uncle after a few months fights with his children and comes back and asks my mother for forgiveness. She forgives him, and he starts pretending he is a maskeen. But, he continues to support his children and wife who hurt my mother numerously.

Anyway, I asked my mother, NOT to talk to him anymore. She claims we have to forget and forgive. But, surely there are limitations. Anyway, is it wrong to ask my mother, not to associate with him anymore. Is it wrong for me to continue to refuse to have anything to do with him or his family. I DO NOT wish to forget or forgive, especially, when there is no change in his behavior.

Any Advice is appreciated.
Published Date: 1998-05-16
Praise be to Allaah.

If you want to deal with him on the basis of justice, then it is permissible for you to respond in like to his unkind words, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And if you punish (your enemy), then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted…" [al-Nahl 16:126].

But if you bear it with patience, that will be better for you, as Allaah says at the end of the same aayah (interpretation of the meaning): "… But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for al-saabireen (the patient ones)." [al-Nahl 16:126]

If you want to turn enmity into love, then treat him well, if he treats you badly, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily! He between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend." [Fussilat 41:34]

The words, "The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal" mean that there is a huge difference between the two. "Repel (the evil) with one which is better," means that when someone treats you badly, answer back with something better, as 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "There is no better punishment for the person who sinned by being bad to you, than your obeying Allaah by being good to him in return." (Tafseer Ibn Katheer).

A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: "O Messenger of Allaah, I have relatives with whom I try to keep in touch, but they cut me off; I treat them well, but they treat me badly; I try to be kind to them, but they are cruel to me." He said: "If you are as you say, it is as if you are putting hot ashes in their mouths. You will continue to have support from Allaah against them so long as you continue doing that." (Reported by Muslim, no. 2558)

Our advice to you, our sister, is to be tolerant and forgiving. Follow your mother's advice. It is clear from your question that this man has room to regret and retract his bad actions. Allaah tells us (interpetation of the meaning): " … whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allaah…" [al-Shoora 42:40]

However, all of this does not prevent us from protecting ourselves from the evil and harm that such relatives may cause. If going to their houses, for example, will cause some kind of offence or harm, then the relationship can be limited to telephone calls, kind words, the occasional gift and so on. The relationship can be maintained at a distance, if being too close will cause problems.

We ask Allaah to guide us all, to help us not to bear any grudges towards anyone, and to treat one another properly. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid



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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 10th March 2017 08:53
Abdur Rahman ibn Awf wrote:
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جزاك الله خيرا
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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 14th March 2017 11:05
Forgiveness is a great Virtues. Allah like who forgive when Allah is forgive you.
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