Sahih Bukhari, Volume:1 Book :2 Number :49, Narrated An-Nu’man bin Bashir:
I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘Both legal and illegal things are evident but in between them there are doubtful (suspicious) things and most of the people have no knowledge about them. So whoever saves himself from these suspicious things saves his religion and his honor. And whoever indulges in these suspicious things is like a shepherd who grazes (his animals) near the Hima (private pasture) of someone else and at any moment he is liable to get in it. (O people!) Beware! Every king has a Hima and the Hima of Allah on the earth is His illegal (forbidden) things. Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.
As Salaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatulahi Wa Barakatuh!
I want to share something that I have struggled with for some years. First off we must understand that as humans, we all make mistakes. We were created in perfect form but we were not created to be perfect in our actions. On the other hand,we must strive for excellence and perfection in performing good deeds and worshipping The Creator. It is not befitting for us to dwell on mistakes or how others have wronged us. It is better to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others.
We often hold on to the pain and hurt we feel after someone has wronged us because it seems like we are getting revenge. What we really are doing is oppressing ourselves and imprisoning ourselves. The one who has wronged us continues to bring us pain because we give them the permission to. It is almost comparable to stubbing your toe and expecting someone else to feel the pain. They cannot feel your pain nor will they try to because it brings no benefit to them. Therefore, you may not want to hold the grudge because it does not benefit you either. Yes, it seems hard to let go of all that you have been holding on to because you have held it so close to you and it has become part of how you live your life. You may have your guard up , for everything, because you have let this resentment govern your life totally.
I will share with you that I have experienced all of this. At the tender age of 12, I stepped into an unknown world where the only that mattered to me was how to escape the pain and hurt I felt and the misunderstood perceptions others had of me. I did not have anyone to reach out to and did not care to find anyone due to my fear of how others would judge me. I stayed in this dark tunnel for several years of my life, a little more than two decades! I nearly panicked at the thought of anyone finding out about my darkness. I hated the person who wronged me because I felt like they stole a huge piece of me and my future. I felt like I was not going to achieve anything and that I would live a life in darkness for the rest of my life until the day I would return to The Creator. I thought when I entered adulthood and marriage my life would change but, to my surprise, I was wrong. I nearly survived a marriage that would introduce me to even more darkness for the over 13 years (inshaaAllah,read about my story in my upcoming book “My Flight To Live”).
What I have learned is that when we hold resentment it clutters the space in our hearts leaving it dark and un-open to change. We find it almost impossible to move forward! I spent the last 2 years ,2011-2012, working to clean my clutter because I had enough and could not withstand the constant pain or imprisonment I was inflicting on myself. I started to move toward light by implementing a few practices in my life that I believe has helped me and is still helping move forward towards a life of happiness and fulfillment!
Here is what I did:
1. I revisited traumatic events in my life. Meditation helps when you want to remember past events,people,places, etc… I really did not call it meditation at the time I just sat still during some parts of the day thinking back to the time of the many tragedies that took place in my life.
2. I asked Allah to forgive me for oppressing myself with holding resentment. I summed it up to self oppression because I suffered internally(asthma attacks at the very thought of what happened to me, panic attacks, border line diabetes, medical conditions that could have claimed my life while pregnant with my sixth child, confusion, low self esteem, lack of self confidence, anger, etc…) I realized that the pain was something inevitable but that suffering was a choice I continued to make after becoming an adult. No one had control over me I allowed the thoughts I harbored about what they did to me to control/govern my life. I had the power of choice but was not able to truly realize it because of the many years I carried resentment.
3. I wrote a letter in my diary forgiving those who I felt wronged me. I attempted to call one but that turned ugly. I actually was not ready ,and I knew it because my exact words were, “you owe me your entire life”! I slammed the phone down and never tried that again. I asked Allah to forgive them.
4. I begin to work on improving self perception. Eventhough, I had chose to forgive myself and others it did not erase how I thought about myself. I had spent two decades looking down on myself and my abilities. I needed to begin believing that I was capable of achieving goals that would lead to happiness and fulfillment in my life. I had to understand that change started with ME! I had to get to know who I truly am and my gifts/talents that were given to me by Allah.
5. I increased my salah. I would often wake up in the last hours of the night to pray tahajjud salah. These were the most tranquil times for me! The stillness of the atmosphere was priceless! All praises due to Allah! I treasured these precious moments!
6. I learned a couple of duas – especially durood -prayers sending blessings upon Prophet Muhammad(saw).