It is related by Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنها (may Allah be pleased with him): “A person once abused Abu Bakr رضي الله عنها , and the Prophet صلى لله عليه وسلم (Allah's blessings and peace be on him) was sitting there with them. The Prophet ﷺ was amazed and was smiling at the behaviour of both with the man abusing Abu Bakr continuously and the latter bearing it with patience. But when that person continued verbally abusing beyond limit, Abu Bakr رضي الله عنها also returned some of the invectives. The Prophet ﷺ thereupon left the place in some anger.
(Feeling greatly perturbed, Abu Bakr went after the Prophet ﷺ to find out the reason of his annoyance and apologised). As he met the Prophet ﷺ he asked, "Messenger of Allah! How is that you remained sitting when the man was hurling abuses at me, without end, but when I too said something, you got angry and departed from the place?”
The Prophet ﷺ replied: “An angel of Allah was with you and replying on your behalf as long as you kept quiet and showed patience, but when you answered back, the angel went away and the devil came in, (on seeing an opportunity to add fuel to the fire).”
Then he said, “O Abu Bakr! There are three things that are absolutely true:
1) If an injustice is done to anyone and he forgives it for the sake of Allah (and does not take revenge, does not take it personally), Allah will support him, in all respects, in return for it (and raise him in esteem both in this world and the next).
2) Whoever opens the door of giving to others and showing kindness to people and family, Allah will bestow prosperity upon him and multiply his wealth.
3) Whoever will open the door of begging (not out of need but) to add to his wealth, Allah will cause a further diminution in his possessions.” (Musnad Ahmad 264/24)
Though it is permissible to take retribution as justice, a better and nobler thing is to forgive, for the sake of Allah, even when one has the power to avenge oneself. Self-restraint is therefore a power that we need to master more often. Since Abu Bakr رضي الله عنها was regarded with special favour by the Prophet ﷺ he did not like that his great companion should say anything in retort, to the offender.
sr. Zakia Usmani
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