Our Prophet's
"And you are truly ˹a man˺ of outstanding character"
[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
Why pardon is a better option as compared to revenge in Islam
By: Shaikh Zafar Ul Hasan Al Madani
The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof, but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allâh. Verily, He likes not the Zâlimûn (oppressors, polytheists, and wrong-doers)- And indeed whosoever takes revenge after he has suffered wrong, for such there is no way (of blame) against them -The way (of blame) is only against those who oppress men and rebel in the earth, without justification for such there will be a painful torment- And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives that would truly be from the things recommended by Allâh.
(Surah Shura- verses 40 -43)

The above verses speak of revenge and its extent, pardon and its reward.

The study of the Prophet’s Akhlaq (character) is not only meant to gain knowledge about him but also to adopt these noble characteristics in one’s own life.

The Qur’anic instruction to the Prophet ﷺ about Akhlaq or improving one’s character is not only limited to the Prophet ﷺ but extends to all those who believe in him and his message till the day of Qiyamah. In other words, the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) is instructed not only to adopt such distinguished traits himself but also to teach the same to his companions and his ummah. These distinguished traits should be adopted by all of his followers.

Success is not in gaining knowledge of Akhlaq or goodness as a part of research or syllabus but it also involves adopting and implementing the sought knowledge in our daily lives.

The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) made it very clear that:

  1. We are sent to this world to accomplish good Akhlaq (character) and to spread the goodness  to benefit all.
  2. Retaliating against evil is allowed but…

The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof, but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allâh

One is allowed to take revenge but it should not exceed the extent of evil done onto him. The person who is being punished, has to go through the same pain that he caused, but not any more.

Even the closest companions feared to take revenge

Abu Masud (Allah be pleased with him) was a Badri companion- One who participated in the battle of Badr. This was a very important war because only  around 300 unprepared Muslims were suddenly pitched against a well-equipped army of more than 1500 pagans of Makkah, and they won It was a great victory. Allah was very pleased with the participants of Badr.

“Allah looked at the participants of the battle of Badr (with mercy) and said : Do whatever you wish ; I have forgiven you.”
Sunan Abi Dawood

Abu Mas'ud al-Badri reported:

I was beating my slave with a whip when I heard a voice behind me: Understand, Abu Masud; but I did not recognise the voice due to intense anger. He (Abu Mas'ud) reported: As he came near me (I found) that he was the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and he was saying:

Bear in mind, Abu Mas'ud; bear in mind. Abu Mas'ud. He said: The whip fell down from my hand. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Bear in mind, Abu Mas'ud; verily Allah has more dominance upon you than you have upon your slave. I said: Allah's Messenger, I set him free for the sake of Allah. Thereupon he said: Had you not done that, (the gates of) Hell would have opened for you, or the fire would have burnt you. I (then) said: I would never beat my servant in future.
Sahih Muslim

“Bear in mind," is a reminder here; that if the retaliation was equal to the discomfort or disobedience they (servants) caused, then it would not cause any consequences. If the retaliation was less, then Allah would have rewarded him. But if the retaliation was greater, even slightly more, then he would have been punished by Allah SWT.

Taking revenge is allowed only if it does not exceed the harm/pain inflicted upon the person. Pardon is still the better and safer option.