Hatib’s Letter as a Message About Forgiving Those Who Do Us Wrong
In the Sunnah of the Prophet there is a story that on the eve of the offensive of the Muslim troops on Mecca one of the Prophet’s companions by the name of Hatib wrote a letter to the enemies of the Prophet, the Quraysh, with a message about the impending offensive and sent it off with one woman who, in order not to be discovered, weaved it into her plaits. The Prophet received a revelation from Allah and sent his cousin Ali (future Rightly guided Caliph) and his two friends al-Zubayr and al-Miqdad to detain this woman. The woman was detained, the letter was found, Hatib was detained and brought before the Prophet. The Prophet’s Head of Security, the future Rightly Guided Caliph, Umar asked permission to cut off Hatib’s head. What happened next became very instructive for all Muslims, as it teaches us who, how and why should be forgiven for reprehensible actions.
The Prophet asked Hatib why he did this, to which Hatib replied that he was simply trying to help his relatives in Mecca, who had no one to protect them. ‘I did not do this out of disbelief or an inclination to desert my religion’ said Hatib (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 4890). Hearing this, the Messenger of Allah forbade Umar to punish Hatib, saying, ‘He is one of those who fought in the Battle of Badr, and what do you know, perhaps Allah looked upon the people of Badrand said,’ Do what you want as I have forgiven you. ‘
So Hatib was forgiven by the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah gave us an example of how important it is not to pronounce rash judgment, condemning your loved ones and friends, how even the most treacherous act can and should be considered with mercy and forgiven, since Allah Himself forgave Hatib for his betrayal. Try not to judge your friends for doing wrong. Since the Prophet himself finds an opportunity for forgiveness, we should all the more be merciful. However, when forgiving a loved one who has done wrong, one must remember that in some cases forgiveness is impossible.
Imam al-Bukhari reports further that at the same time Allah revealed the sixtieth surah of the Holy Quran “Al-Mumtahanah” (“Examining Her”), which says: ” O you who have believed, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies, extending to them affection .” There is great wisdom here, which is a continuation of the story of the forgiveness of Hatib, namely, you can forgive everyone except the enemies of Allah.
Why did Allah, as the Prophet says about this, forgive the participants in the Battle of Badr in advance for future sins? Because they all fought for the true faith against the polytheists and, being outnumbered, won with the help of Allah a brilliant victory. They defended their faith and for this Allah forgave them all their sins. Therefore, it is possible and necessary to forgive, but only when the committed sin does not concern the rejection of the true faith and Allah. It is not for nothing that Hatib emphasized that he did this not out of disbelief or a desire to go to the Quraysh camp and renounce Allah. And if so, Allah shows us that in order to preserve peace between people, we need to understand that a person is weak by nature and can commit bad deeds, for which we must try to forgive him whenever possible.
The incident with Hatib’s letter tells us that we need to be merciful to the wrongdoings of others and find strength in our hearts to forgive them, except in cases where the wrongdoing is associated with a deviation from the true faith.