Seeking forgiveness from others
i must say one of the posts that generated a lot of response has been the post maaf zahir dan batin. I didnt publish all the responses but everyone who responded interesting unanimously echoed the same sentiments... which is how its easy to expect others to seek forgiveness from us and how impossible it is for us to seek forgiveness from others... also in the western cultures, its common to see people say sorry to strangers but not to those they know. i really thank everyone who responded with these observations because indeed it has inspired me to write another post on this.
well lets ponder why its easy to expect others to seek forgiveness from us and how impossible it is for us to seek forgiveness from others. the act of seeking forgiveness requires us to naturally lower ourselves, swallow our pride and bruise our ego as i mentioned in my earlier post. this act is much painful and difficult than accepting the forgiveness from someone else. in my own community i have seen kinsmen not talking to their siblings or relatives for decades even though this is unIslamic in nature. frankly i dont know what do they really gain. many however i have seen to relent and grow soft and seek forgiveness when they grow old, where the reality of death hits them. but the reality of death is ever present. what is really the main obstacle that makes it impossible for one to seek forgiveness from the one he/she has wronged, is the conviction that he/she is correct. this inability to feel a wrong to be a wrong can only arise within a dark and dead heart. today unfortunately our hearts are as dark and disabled as they can be. how? the very forces that drives this world do little to illuminate our heart and capitalist culture strives to disable our heart since only a disabled heart can support consumerism and capitalism. when we also loose the sense of adab, the justice in us dies, and our wrong will never appear as a wrong. abundance of ibadah (ritualistic acts of worship) wont instill adab in us. we need to meticulous inculcate it within our hearts.
now as for the observation that in the west, it is easy to say sorry to strangers but not to family, relatives and those within our lives, well that is also fast becoming true in eastern cultures that are westernized and capitalist. strangers remain outside our boundaries and they dont have a large number of responsibilities towards us unlike family members or relatives. hence when one wrongs a stranger even as little as forgetting to hold the door, the apology comes fast. however when one wrongs a family member even gravely such as neglecting parents (which is common in west), its always about weighing the wrongs of the family members versus the wrongs of that person and biasedly magnifying the former and trivializing the latter. in the "me, myself, my dog, my car, my house, my lawn, my computer, my career" culture saying sorry to the stranger comes from political correctness. since the stranger has no responsibilities to the one, the person does not want to exceed the stranger in who wronged who more. however in the case of a person and his/her family, relatives, the debate about who wronged who is never ending and the person with only reason with his/her ego and never be forthcoming with forgiveness. this phenomenon which may be typical to the west today and fast becoming common in capitalist, consumerist cultures of the east will one day become typical everywhere with the globalization of capitalism.
now there is another thing about forgiveness. accepting forgiveness from someone who wronged us. when i was younger i too had great difficulty forgiving those who wronged me. today i can do that. however some of those who wronged me still never stop at it and venomously lurk for opportunities, even though this might sound bizarre. hence in order to avoid conflicts, confrontations or to protect myself, i avoid them and some misinterpret that as refusal to forgive them. i still greet them, wish them, shake their hands but stay away from any further interaction to protect myself. i dont know if this is right and i pray God to guide me. but what i know is totally wrong is refusing to forgive one who has wronged us and is willing to seek forgiveness either sincerely or otherwise. if we dont forgive others we must never expect God to forgive us. i have come across numerous people who refuse to forgive and truely this is a character of the devil. if we dont forgive those who wrong us when they seek forgiveness, then what else are we to do with them or what else do we want them to do for us to forgive them? us avenging them? them destroying themselves to earn our forgiveness? indeed that is what we are seeking when we refuse to forgive them. that is why we descend to the wretchedness of the wicked and vile devil when we refuse mercy on others who seek it from us.