Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam
07 May 2016
every day of our lives, we face some kind of bad experience, big or small,
which is inescapable. One has two options: either ignore it or try to take some
counter measure. The first option is a form of forgiveness, while the other
amounts to seeking revenge. Which is the better option? We must decide by
looking at the outcome, for that will be the determining factor.
is the better option, for it is based on a proven formula for saving yourself
from even worse experiences. For example, forgiveness saves you from unworthy
distractions, saves your precious time, and saves you from creating even more
problems. It is an instant solution to any problem. On the contrary, taking
revenge is bound to complicate the problem, for that means making everything go
from bad to worse. Where forgiveness can buy time, taking revenge just wastes
time without any benefit.
In such a
situation, people are generally prone to place the onus for the predicament
entirely upon others. But this is an unwise reaction. The better plan is to
examine one’s own role in the affair. In other words, if you are having some
sad experience, don’t focus on the other party. Think about your own self and
adopt a course of action better for you. At many times in our lives we are
faced with two kinds of choices – anti-other thinking and pro-self thinking.
Anti-other thinking makes you descend to the brute level, whereas pro-self
thinking elevates you to a higher plane of human behaviour.
forgiveness is a full stop, revenge is punctuated by commas. Forgiveness means
ending an unwanted situation, while taking revenge means endlessly extending
it. Forgiveness maintains your positive thinking uninterruptedly, while revenge
fosters negativity. And negative thinking can lead to all kinds of evil
argue that forgiveness does not always work, and that it is better to adopt the
tit-for-tat policy. But tit-for-tat is not a real solution; it does not end the
problem, it only leads to a chain of action-reaction. Forgiveness puts an end
to the problem once and for all, while a tit-for-tat policy only aggravates and
prolongs it. Some might argue that the policy of forgiveness will only
encourage others to indulge in further wrongdoing against us. But this runs
counter to the law of nature.
studies show that every human being is born with an ego and a conscience. If
you follow the tit-for-tat policy, it arouses the ego of the other party,
whereas if you follow the policy of forgiveness, it will activate the other
person’s conscience. And it is a fact that, in controversial matters, the
conscience always plays a positive role.
and revenge are two different moral cultures. The culture of forgiveness helps
in the building of a better society where positive values flourish, the spirit
of co-operation prevails, where disparate groups join together and turn
themselves into a peaceful society. The outcome of vengefulness is quite the
reverse. A revenge culture creates an environment of mistrust, in which
everyone takes others to be his rivals. This, rules out the growth of a healthy
later, everyone is bound to do something wrong. Then the saying ‘To err is
human’ should be borne in mind. This being so, taking revenge means making not
just one mistake, but making mistake after mistake. On the contrary,
forgiveness means undoing wrongs with rights. If to err is human, to forgive is
even more human.