Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Is being unable to forgive my husband (at least for now) a sin?



Salam dear brothers and sisters,

I received a text message from my ex-husband asking me to forgive him (because it is Ramadan), but frankly I haven't been able to say the words "I forgive you".

I have been praying to ALLAH to have the ability to forgive him.

He has caused a lot of pain and turmoil for myself and my child. I have never been hurt this way, and I know that we are all here for a short time in this world, but I didn't feel the sincerity of his request and again my life is upside down because of his decisions and betrayal.

I am praying to be able to forgive him. But today, I am busy recovering from a depression that has lasted more than 2 years because of a traumatizing marriage and divorce, and I don't even want to talk to him via text message so as not to destroy the calm I am slowly gaining now.

So, is it a sin if I pray to ALLAH to be able to forgive him, but I am not there yet, as I am not able to pronounce these words? And I think Incha ALLAH I will get there. Is my reaction a sin based on the Quran or hadiths since he asked me to forgive him?



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15 Responses »

  1. Assalaamualaikam

    I think in these situations honesty is best, and Alhamdulillah you are being honest with yourself. If someone has wronged us, we should try our hardest to forgive and move on, and if this is hard we can (as you are doing) pray for Allah's aid in being able to forgive. My personal feeling is that a dishonest "I forgive you" is less healing in the longer term than an honest "I'm working on it". I think it would be different if you were withholding forgiveness in order to hurt him, but it sounds like you're making an effort to work towards forgiveness, which is an admirable action - so many people don't even try.

    If you feel you are "stuck" and unable to move forward in the healing process, it might help to discuss your feelings, either with a trusted relative, a counsellor or your doctor.

    I hope that you continue to heal from what you have been through, and that one day you can look back and say "I forgive you" and move forward with your life, inshaAllah.

    Midnightmoon editor

  2. Salaams,

    Forgiveness is a mercy not only from Allah, but from one person to another. There is no obligation in mercy, and that's what makes it so valuable and cherished. No one owes it to someone to be merciful, but when they are it can make such a difference.

    If you can't forgive your husband at this time, it's ok. You don't have to beat yourself up about it, and you don't have to worry about being sinful. I don't believe Allah is going to count it as a sin that you are still working through what was done to you; and even if you never forgave him that still is technically your right if he mistreated you or wronged you in any way. When someone sins against another, they don't automatically earn forgiveness, the actually earn a just punishment-whatever that is. Forgiveness is something special that is given from the heart with sincerity, so there is no sin in someone who is not able or willing to do that.

    -Amy Editor

  3. Dear sister,

    He is not entitled to be forgiven meaning it is not his right to demand forgiveness. Forgiveness should be out of your will and when you are ready then you can forgive him. It is not a sin to ask Allah's help to soften your heart. InshaAllah, in time you will. Do not focus on him for now. Work on yourself and your relationship with Allah SWT. Once you become strong you will notice that forgiveness comes naturally. By the way I think part of you is wishing for a revenge and maybe it is the reason why you find it hard to forgive. You are probably thinking that if I forgive him then he will not be punished. But what you are actually doing is hurting yourself by holding this grudge inside you. You don't have to tell him anything. And even when you reach the point to forgive him you don't have to tell him you have forgiven him. Forgiveness is a way to heal yourself. Allah SWT encourages us to forgive each other. Wouldn't you want you to be forgiven by Allah Almighty? And don't worry about ur ex-hus, even if you forgive him, if he did something awful he will be responsible for his own actions. Everyone is responsible for the good and the bad that they do. So if you forgive him, it does not mean he is free from the responsibility of his ugly actions. Do this for yourself, forgive him only when you are ready. And you will heal InshaAllah.

  4. Salams,
    I read a quote a few hours ago: When we forgive people, we take away the power they have over us.

    If you are finally coming out of your depression [and Ive been there, so I know how bad it is] this is a good time to start thinking about forgiving him. Its not a one moment thing, not for me. One day I feel I forgive my ex and the next I feel I could never forgive him. It may take you many years to complete empty your heart of him, to take away the power he still has over you, the influence on your emotions, and to forgive him.

    One way of forgiving I once read in a book was to imagine an empty room with two chairs.You are sitting on one. He knocks and you allow him to enter. He sits on the chair, and tells you he realizes how badly he hurt you and begs you to forgive him. You look at all that , and feel powerful because today he needs that from you and you feel the greatness of having the goodness in you to forgive him, and then you tell him that you forgive him and he may go. He leaves, forgiven.

    Just remember Allah is Forgiving, He loves forgiveness and so you should do what Allah loves.
    My duaas with you,

  5. Forgiveness is abandoning any hope of a better past. There is no doubt that you have gone through a tunnel of depression, but if you look back, You will find that You have become a stronger person.

    Forgiveness is a vital process of out life. How could you ask Allah to forgive you for your mistakes when you yourself is never ready to forgive you? See.. It is not equitable and not in both of your interest to harbour any kind of resentment.

    Additionally Quran is quite clear as far forgiving others go:

    And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as] charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (Qur'an, 5:45)

    Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good(Qur'an 3:134)

    The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. (41:34)

    Thus, let go of him. Pick up the cell phone and type in the letters " I forgive you'. The more you make him irrelevant in your life, the better it is for you. Once forgotten, then it will be totally forgiven.

  6. Walaykum as salam,

    The advices given are very good masha´Alla and I would like to add just the following, insha´Allah, there will be a day where he won´t need to ask you directly for your forgiveness and that day will be the day where your Heart will heal completely of all the suffering and sorrow you have gone through. This won´t happen from day to night, healing needs time and every being has its own spiritual, emotional, psycological, mental, biological clock, we are all different.

    Your words have brought to me two of my favourite ayats:

    13:28" Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah . Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured."

    64:4He knows what is within the heavens and earth and knows what you conceal and what you declare. And Allah is Knowing of that within the breasts.

    May Allah(swt) guide both of you and your child through the path of forgiveness and healing to the best for all of you. Ameen.

    Allah(swt) knows best and all.



  7. May ALLAH SWT bless all of you for the great answers and the guidance.

    I feel so blessed to be on this website, where for (almost) the last 2 years I have been posting about my soul's grievances and the feedback is amazing Macha ALLAH.

    I will positively work towards the forgiveness, and may ALLAH SWT help us all in our daily tribulations.

    Jazakumullahu Ala Khayr

    • Leyla83, thanks so much for your comment.

      Wael Editor

    • Insha´Allah to your good wishes for the future, Alhamdulillah for your blessings and Ameen to your prayers.

      All my unconditional love, respect and deep gratitude for your efforts to strive to get Peace through forgiveness. May Allah swt bless all of you involved in this situation. Ameen.


  8. Dear Sister,

    Forgiveness is something which comes from within at your own. It cannot be asked or demanded.
    it takes times to heal and if you are not able to forgive him as of now , it means somewhere you are still hurt and pained, you still have some sort of anger and hatred feelings for him for what he did to you. I understand it all but believe me, if you are really want to be at peace, then you have to forgive him and have no feelings (just be plain) for him.just forget your past. its gone. so take your time and do when you feel like. you dont even need to inform him or response him. just have it within when you feel like to have.

    i would like to quote

    To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
    Lewis B. Smedes

    When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.

    Bernard Meltzer

    • Thank you so much dear for a very thoughtful response, it got me thinking...May ALLAH SWT bless you

      • I pray for you my dear sister. Remember ,we cannot expect Allah’s forgiveness unless we also forgive those who do wrong to us.

        In the Qur’an Allah has described the Believers as “those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive.” (al-Shura 42:37) Later in the same Surah Allah says, “The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah.” (al-Shura 42:40) In another place the Qur’an says, “If you punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith you were afflicted. But if you endure patiently, indeed it is better for the patient. Endure you patiently. Your patience is not except through the help of Allah (al-Nahl 16:126-127)

        In one Hadith the Prophet -peace be upon him- said that Allah has commanded him about nine things. One of them he mentioned was “that I forgive those who do wrong to me.”

  9. As-salam-aliakum dear Sister

    I happened to read a good article and i remembered you so sharing with you.

    Imagine the feeling of looking at the man who murdered your uncle, who cut out his organs and gave it to someone to eat- and forgiving him. Imagine being abused and taunted, and when given the chance to retaliate, instead you forgive. This was the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), a man described as “an excellent exemplar for those who hope in Allah and the Last Day” [Quran, Chapter 33, Surat al-Ahzab, 33:21].

    Many of us cannot forgive our parents or friends or spouses when they say hurtful things in anger. We hold grudges for years, unable to forget the things people have done to us. On the one hand, we feel justified in feeling this way. After all, we are the ones wronged. On the other, bottling things up inside is unhealthy at the very least, on both a spiritual and psychological level.

    It is natural to be upset at someone when they’ve hurt you. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told us that a Muslim is not allowed to break off ties with another Muslim for more than 3 days, recognizing that we need time to cool off. Yet what is unhealthy, and often destructive, is the inability to forgive and move on.

    So what does forgiving actually mean?
    Forgiving means not carrying a grudge in your heart against that person. Forgiving means that if you were given the chance to retaliate, you would choose not to. Forgiving means not wishing evil, even if secretly, upon the person. It means you can continue to be civil towards them, and that you can even bring yourself to pray for their well-being and guidance.

    However, forgiveness does not mean that you cannot learn from the trial. It doesn’t mean that the person did not do wrong, nor does it justify what they did. If you trusted someone and they betrayed your trust, forgiveness does not mean that you have to trust them again if they haven’t given you reason to. You are able to treat them well, without resentment in your heart, but if you learned something about their character, you should keep that in mind when dealing with them.

    So how can we benefit from forgiving others? How can this help us to be productive Muslims?
    1. Spiritual productivity: Earning Allah’s pleasure
    When we are preoccupied with the wrongs others have committed against us, we lose focus of one of the most beautiful ways to get closer to Allah. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
    “There was a merchant who used to extend credit to people. If he found one of his customers to be in straightened means, he would say to his assistants: “Forgive them their debt, perhaps Allah will forgive us.” Allah did forgive him.” [Bukhari/Muslim]

    There is a direct correlation between the ways we treat others and how Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) treats us. We all know the Prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) famous saying “Have mercy on those on the earth, and the One in heaven will have mercy on you” [Tirmidhi]. Of course, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) is incomparably greater and more merciful than us. Therefore, whatever we do for others, Allah will multiply that for us. If we are sincere in wanting Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to forgive us for our many slip-ups and sins, we should be prepared to do that for others.

    The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), while sitting in the mosque with the Companions (radi Allahu anhum), pointed out a person who entered the mosque as being of those who would enter Jannah. He did this for 3 days, and every time, it was the same person who entered the mosque. Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radi Allahu anhu) wanted to know what quality this man possessed that made the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) say that about him, so he spent three nights with that man. He did not notice that the man prayed the optional night prayers during any of these nights, but if he woke up during the night, he would simply mention Allah. So before he left, he had to ask him what he did that was so special that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) identified him as a man of Jannah. The man replied: “My deeds are nothing more than what you saw”. When Abdullah (radi Allahu anhu) left, he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) called him back in and said: “My deeds are nothing more than what you saw, but the only thing I do is that I do not hold any grudge against any Muslim or envy anyone for what bounties Allah has granted them”; thereupon ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (radi Allahu anhu) said to him: “This difficult quality to obtain is what granted you this rank”. [Ahmad]
    That is what it means to be true believer. Our focus is not simply in how much we pray, although that has its place. Rather we are so focused on gaining the pleasure of Allah that people’s wrongs against us are insignificant. This is why Allah described the believers as “those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive” [Surat ash-Shu’ara, 42:37].

    2. Psychological Productivity: Gaining Strength
    Psychologists have said that the inability to forgive may cause a person to repeatedly bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. The hurt and insecurity caused by our offender is projected onto others, because we were not able to move on from our previous experience.
    We are not being asked to condone what others have done to us, but rather we should acknowledge that they have hurt us and it was wrong. We should reflect on why this was hurtful, what may have been the motives of the person who hurt us, and what we should learn. And then we should move on, because we cannot change the past, but we can certainly use it to empower ourselves and become better people, insha Allah.
    When we take the step to learn from a hurtful experience, we should be able to prevent ourselves from doing the same to others. Many times we condemn what we do ourselves- we are hurt that someone has spoken behind our backs, but we backbite all the time. We feel slighted when we are not appreciated by our parents, but never once did we recognize and thank others for the things they do for us. This introspection should help us to gain greater clarity into our own dealings with people.
    Another psychological effect of forgiving others is that it teaches us sympathy. When we let go of anger, we can better understand those who are put in the same situation that we were in previously. Sometimes it helps us to not demonize the person who hurt us; the specific thing that they did may have been bad, but when we step back, we sometimes learn that they have their own baggage that caused them to act in a certain way. This is not to condone what they did, but it is to enable us to see that the world is not always so black and white.
    3. Physical Productivity: Healthy mind, healthy body
    The inability to forgive affects us spiritually and psychologically, and furthermore, has a detrimental effect on our health. One study showed that people who focused on a personal grudge had increased blood pressure and heart rates, as well as increased muscle tension and feelings of being less in control. Participants in this study were asked to imagine forgiving their wrongdoers, and they said they felt more positive and relaxed and thus, the changes disappeared.
    May Allah give us the strength to forgive others for their faults, and to forgive us for our own. Ameen.
    About the Author:
    Jinan Bastaki is a Law graduate from the London School of Economics (LSE), and is now specializing in Public International Law. She manages a and learning from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam); As well, she manages the blogzine ‘Tarbiya’. She writes for and you can find more of her articles here

  10. I Can't forgive my ex-wife she was horrible

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