ASalaam Alaikum Warahmatullahu Wabarakatuhu.
Pray you are well InshaAllah.
Is it permissible to take revenge on a person who may have really hurt you or harmed you, intentionally or unintentionally, or is not allowed in Islam? Is it permissible to make du’a to Allah SWT to teach the person a lesson. Is there any Surah/Dhikr a person can read for this purpose. Isn’t staying patient, forgiving and forgetting the damage, cowardly? Or should a person just accept as decree from Allah SWT and continue?
May Allah SWT forgive me for weakness.
The reply is in two parts, the first covering the impermissibility of taking the law into one’s own hands for revenge against wrongdoing, the second the permissibility of supplicating against one’s wrongdoer(s).
1. It is not permissible to take revenge in Islam for having been wronged except through the ruling of the Law for punishable crimes or loss caused intentionally or unintentionally, not as an individual or group to take revenge unilaterally. Also, the law itself provides the option of granting pardon which is superior to letting the punishment or exaction run its course:
وَجَزَاء سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ
“And the recompense of evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah; surely He does not love the unjust.” (42:40).
Taking revenge is what characterized pre-Islamic tribal warfare and vendettas:
وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا
‘And remember Allah’s favor unto you: how you were enemies and He made friendship between your hearts so that you became as brothers by His grace; and (how) you were upon the brink of an abyss of fire, and He did save you from it” (3:103);
it is the landmark of feral, pagan societies that brings them to hellfire while Islam is the religion of mutual pardon, mercy and forbearance which are rewarded by Allah Most High with Paradises in which He said:
وَنَزَعْنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنْ غِلٍّ إِخْوَانًا عَلَى سُرُرٍ مُّتَقَابِلِينَ
And We removed whatever rancor may be in their breasts. As brethren, face to face, they rest on couches raised” (15:47).
Forgiveness also brings peace to the heart as revenge compounds two distresses, the distress of one’s original loss and the distress of a hardening heart in the pursuit of requital.
2. It is permissible to supplicate to Allah Most High against one’s wrongdoer(s) since He said:
لاَّ يُحِبُّ اللّهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوَءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ إِلاَّ مَن ظُلِمَ وَكَانَ اللّهُ سَمِيعًا عَلِيمًا
“Allah loves not the utterance of harsh speech save by one who has been wronged. Allah is ever Nearer, Knower” (4:148),
and as in the following two examples:
(i) One time Abu Lahab and his son `Utayba were about to depart for a trip to Syria. `Utayba said: “By Allah! Before we leave I swear I shall first go and torment Muhammad by abusing his Lord!” When he met the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace), he said: “I deny the one who drew near and came close until he was but two bow-lengths away, or even nearer!” in reference to the verses from Surat al-Najm (53:8-9). The Prophet supplicated: “O my Lord, unleash against him one of Your dogs.” When `Utayba returned to his father and told him what the Prophet had said, Abu Lahab feared for his son’s life, because he knew that the Prophet’s supplication would not go unanswered. When they camped by a monastery in Syria and were told that there were wild animals around the monastery, Abu Lahab asked his fellow travellers to take extra care of his son and had him sleep in the center of the encampment, surrounded by all the other sleepers. That night, a desert lion came to the encampment and sniffed people’s faces but he kept advancing until he reached the center and, finding `Utayba, mauled him to death.
Narrated by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (2:539), al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (5:211 no. 10346) and his Dala’il (2:338), Abu Nu`aym in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (p. 454 no. 380) and Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (38:301-302 and 67:161-162) through Ibn Ishaq and cited in most Tafsirs (under 53:8-9), Siras, and other works such as Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (4:39) and al-Suyuti in al-Khasa’is al-Kubra (1:367).
(ii) Al-Hasan b. `Ali (Allah be well-pleased with him and his father) narrated that the morning of his murder our liegelord `Ali (r ) said: “Last night I awoke my family [to pray] because it was the night before Jumu`a and the morning of Badr – the seventeenth of Ramadan – then I dozed off and the Prophet (upon him and his Family blessings and peace) came to me. I said: ‘Messenger of Allah! What crookedness and contention have I found coming from your Community!’ He said: ‘Supplicate against them.’ I said: ‘O Allah! Substitute them with something that will be better for me, and substitute me with something that will be worse for them.'”
Narrated by Ibn Sa`d in his Tabaqat al-Kubra (3:39) and Ibn Qutayba in al-Akhbar al-Tiwal (p. 215).
And Allah knows best. May He grant us soft hearts and forgiving dispositions with trust in His solace in the sure expectation of reward here and hereafter.
Hajj Gibril Haddad