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Al  Afuww in the Quran

by: Amatullah

September 16th, 2009

The name Al ‘Afuww appears five times in the Qur’an; four times with Al Ghafoor and once with Al Qadeer.

Al ‘Afuww comes from the root ‘afw which  means to hide, obliterate and to remove something. From this meaning comes ‘pardoning’, when one looks over a person’s error and does not take them to account for it. From a technical perspective it means the protection of Allah ta’ala for the Believers from the trials and from sickness (i.e., aafiyah, safety and well-being).

Difference between ‘Afuww and Ghafoor

On the Day of Judgment, we may find that many sins we committed are not in our record, this is ‘afw; Allah completely removes your sins from your record as if you never committed them. When it comes to ‘afw, Allah ta’ala says:

وَيَعْفُ عَن كَثِيرٍ

And He pardons much. (42:34)

Al ‘Afuww pardons His Servants by not calling them to account for their sins and erasing their sins from their records. Not only does Allah pardon and remove our sins, He subhahanhu wa ta’ala loves to Pardon as we are taught to say in the duaa.

Imam Al-Qurtubi indicates that this quality is also indicative of Allah being easy on His creation. Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullah states, “Al ‘Afuww is the One who has always been and always will be known for His Pardoning. He effaces the sins of His slaves, relinquishing the punishment of the deserving thereof.”

Al Ghafoor comes from the root which means to cover, conceal and shield. When Allah forgives a sin, it means that He covers it and conceals it. Al Ghafoor is the One who does not expose the sins of His Slaves,  He shields and protects His Slaves from the consequences of their sins and still forgives even though He is All-Aware of the wrong they committed.

When it comes to Al Ghafoor, the sins He forgives will still appear in your record. Allah ta’ala says when it comes to His Forgiveness:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ

Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases. (4:48)

Al Ghafoor is the One who forgives any sin, no matter the size, as long as one seeks sincere repentance. Al Ghafoor even forgives the sins when we don’t seek repentance; out of His Mercy He has ordained that when the Muslim does certain acts, they will automatically have some or all of their sins forgiven.

The sins that Allah did not erase (‘afw) will still appear in our record, but Al Ghafoor can still forgive them. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said,
“There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with sins as heavy as a mountain, and Allah would forgive them.” [Muslim]

When Al ‘Afuww and Al Ghafoor are paired together, it shows how Merciful and Compassionate Allah is. He Pardons much, and for those sins He does not Pardon, He will forgive and conceal if He Wills.

Relation between Al Afuww and Al Qadeer

Al Qadeer the One Who has complete and perfect Power and Ability. Why would Allah mention He is the All Capable and pair it with al ‘Afuww?

When you think about the act of pardoning, it becomes more difficult each time. Pardoning someone once may be easy, but after a few times, we will become annoyed and frustrated. It is the nature of humans that we are revengeful and want the upper hand. Rather, and for Allah is the Highest Example, it is the One who is All Capable, The Perfect One, Compassionate, Loving and Merciful, who can constantly and consistently pardon. He does not want His Slaves to enter the Hell-Fire and His Mercy encompasses all things. This is why Al Afuww and Al Qadeer are paired; it is only Al Qadeer who is able to pardon over and over again, and love doing so.

Why do we make this duaa during the last 10 nights? The scholars say that if this duaa is answered, we will inshaAllah come on the Day of Judgment with our sins pardoned–completely erased from our records. Ramadan is the month of mercy and forgiveness, so how successful will we be if we not only have our sins forgiven but completely erased!

Allahumma innaka ‘Afuwwun tuhibul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anna. O Allah, You are The Pardoner, You love to Pardon, so Pardon us.

(ps- do you like the new look of Tayyibaat or do you like the previous one? :) Jazaakum Allahu khayran)


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