Hassan Khaled: Friendship and Forgiveness in Islam and Beyond

Friendship and forgiveness are two of the most important aspects of Islam. These two concepts can be seen throughout the Quran and have implications far beyond the religion. Friendship is essential for a community to sustain itself. And community building is very important in Islam because it allows progress to occur and for shared beliefs to be promoted and expanded upon. Religion in itself is a friendship between creation and creator. It takes a certain level of mutual respect and love for the friendship to survive. If one side didn’t have these for the other, it wouldn’t be a real friendship. God respects and loves his creation so much that humans have the ability of choice and with that choice they are able to truly return the blessings of god back through worship and companionship to one another, which is a blessing from god. It’s a give and take but both parties just like in everyday life takes those actions because of the love they share for one another. Friendship is the essential way to build communities but through all friendships there will be problems at some point and Islam provides the greatest solution to conflict, forgiveness. Throughout the Quran whenever someone is unjustly treated it demands for the balancing of the scales. And these punishments range from physical violence to charity to forgiveness. Even when a life is taken the most just punishment someone can do to the offender is to forgive them. This point is so eye opening to me because it shows a level of forgiveness far beyond most people hold now a days. But if it could be achieved the world would be better because it would have a lot less hate and no need for harsh balancing of the scales, like an eye for an eye. These two concepts hold great importance in Islam but they are limited to just the religion. For instance in times of crisis, such as international conflicts, these concepts can be very effective in resolving problems when both parties are open to them. In some cases gift giving has helped to stop wars from occurring. Now some may say this is only a temporary solution but I see it as humanity taking its place. When u can even give a gift to your enemy it shows that we are all human beings and our lives matter. This diffusion of the situation is the true solution. The concepts of friendship and forgiveness can also be seen between faiths as well. For instance being a Muslim does not mean to practice Islam is means to submit to god which can be done across religions. The Quran actually tells its followers not to hate those that practice other faiths, it even goes as far as to say they will enter paradise as well. Even other faiths are welcomed this level of love and friendship being displayed is amazing. It shows that different faiths can live in paradise together so through friendship and forgiveness the same should occur even before judgement day.