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Al-‘Afuww: Who Forgives In the Last 10 Nights?

Omar Usman

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Aisha asked the Prophet (saw) “What should I say on Laylat-al-qadr?”

He replied,

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Say, “O Allah, You are Al-’Afuww and You love to ‘afw, so fa’fu me” (Tirmidhi).

What do all these italicized words mean?

The common translation of the supplication above is: O Allah indeed you are a Pardoner, and you love pardon, so pardon me.

That’s it?

The supplication for the last 10 nights, THE supplication we are supposed to focus on, is just to be ‘pardoned’ by “The Pardoner”? Isn’t there more to it?

Seems a bit strange, let’s look at it in more detail.

The linguistic meaning of ‘afuww is to leave, neglect (pardon), to wipe away, and to increase.

‘Aafiyah is Allah’s defense of His servant from things like disease and tribulation.

‘Afu is the one who possesses great ‘afw.
The Name of Allah, Al-’Afuww, occurs in the Quran only five times (4:43, 4:99, 4:149, 22:20, 58:2). Four of these times, it is linked with Al-Ghafoor, and once with Al-Qadeer (4:149). This Name implies that He ignores the sins of the servant. He knows the sins (you must know them before you can make ‘afw of them) but He does not call the servant to account for it. The servant is deserving of punishment, and Allah has full ability to punish His servants, but Allah does ‘afw for them. It is more than just pardoning or covering it up, it is wiping it away completely.

When the Name is paired with Al-Ghafoor, we see an extra level of forgiveness. Al-Ghafoor is the One who forgives no matter how large the sin.

When we look back at the original supplication, we see a more profound meaning. Allah is Al-Qadeer, with full power to do with us as He wants,

And if Allah were to seize mankind for their wrong-doing, He would not leave on it (the earth) a single moving (living) creature, but He postpones them for an appointed term and when their term comes, neither can they delay nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment). (16:61)

In spite of that warning, He wipes our sins away for us, no matter how major they are. Not only does He wipe them away, but He loves to wipe them away. SubhanAllah.

This is why we should make this supplication fervently, seeking for it to be answered in the night, in the most special of nights, seeking the forgiveness and mercy of Allah, humbling ourselves knowing the sins we have committed, and asking for Him to pardon us for our transgressions.

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Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters and Qalam Institute. He teaches Islamic seminars across the US including Khateeb Workshop and Fiqh of Social Media. He has served in varying administrative capacities for multiple national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow his work at ibnabeeomar.com.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Pingback: Dua for Laylatul Qadr « True and Good Words

  2. Avatar

    ilmsummitee

    September 23, 2008 at 9:49 AM

    Barakah Allahu feek for the reminder. Another similar duaa I make is:
    اللَّهُمَّ إني أسألك العفو والعافية في ديني ودنياي وأهلي ومالي

    Allahuma inee asa’alukah al-afwah wal aafiyah fee deenee wa dunyayah wa ahlee wa malee.

    which translates to, “O’Allah I ask of pardon and protection/defense in my deen (religion) and my dunya (my life);of my family and of my wealth.”

  3. Avatar

    iMuslim

    September 23, 2008 at 3:18 PM

    Masha’Allah, lovely article. I was wondering why on such a great night, we are asked to make such a small and simple dua! You’d expect it to be at three sides long… but alhamdulillah, Allah is Merciful and sent His Rasool, sallalahu ‘alayhi wa salam, as a mercy to us, and this dua is mercifully short, in order that we may learn it quickly, and implement it immediately. Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Alameen!

  4. Avatar

    Nahyan

    September 23, 2008 at 4:06 PM

    beautiful post akhi.

    Jazakallahukhair.

  5. Avatar

    h.ahmed

    September 23, 2008 at 5:49 PM

    jazakallah khair!

  6. Avatar

    Sadiq

    September 23, 2008 at 6:17 PM

    A very beautiful post, mashaAllah.

    JazakAllahu Khayrun for sharing this, found it very useful (will be sharing it with others, inshaAllah)

    Wasallam.

  7. Avatar

    Al Iskandarani

    September 23, 2008 at 8:58 PM

    A couple of years back Amr Khaled hosted a series during Ramadan. Each night he went over the benefits of one of the Asmaa Allah Al-Husna. Here is the episode dealing with Al-‘Afuww

    I found it very beneficial and inshAllah others will, too.

    May Allah accept all our duas and pardon us our innumerable sins. Ameen

  8. Avatar

    Amatullah

    September 23, 2008 at 11:53 PM

    Jazakum Allahu khayran! I have to agree with Al Iskandarani, that was a very moving talk by Amr Khaled, jazah Allahu khayran.

  9. Avatar

    Garett

    September 27, 2008 at 10:27 AM

    As salaamu ahlaykum and Ramadan Mubarak.

    Jazakallahu khairun, brother.

    This post was very beneficial to me. I plan to share it with others.

    In looking up the 5 verses referenced, I did notice that one had a typo. 22:20 should be 22:60.

    Ma ah salaam

  10. Avatar

    Rizwan

    September 27, 2008 at 8:35 PM

    As Salam Alaikum

    SubanAllah very beneficial post.

    JazakAllahu Khairan

    May Allah forgive the sins of entire muslimah

  11. Avatar

    umtalhah

    September 30, 2008 at 11:12 PM

    as salam alaikum wa rahmatullahi
    a very beneficial post indeed. may Allah AWJ reward everyone involved.

    Al Iskandarani: jazakAllahu khairan for the link. though i don’t understand much arabic, let alone egyptian, i benefited from the lecture. who is amr khalid.

    can one of the shuyukh’s be requested to translate the lecture in english? sh. yasir, perhaps?

    my biggest regret is not finding this lecture before the last ten days.

  12. Avatar

    Al Iskandarani

    October 6, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    W/Salam to all:

    For those interested in the translation of Amr Khaled’s lecture, here is the video link with English subtitles

    As for who Amr Khaled is, he is a popular da3i in the Middle East, particularly Egypt. Some have qualms with his style/approach/appearance, but, personally, I find him very refreshing and his sincerity shines through.

    And for all those regretting not making the most of Ramadan (as I’m sure many of us are – myself included), realize that Allah is forever Al-Afuw and that we can draw closer to Him during any day of any month and ask His pardon. Alhamdulilah :)

    • Avatar

      AR

      September 15, 2009 at 11:48 AM

      Mashaa-Allah, Amr Khaled is very good. He has doen an amazing job in Egypt and i definetly have to seize some of his amazing Da’wah techniques. I know the sisters love him…lol

      Jazakallahu Khairan br. Ibn Umar for the article…mad gangsta and gives tme that motivation to make the last few nights strong…

      AR

    • Avatar

      Sagal

      August 30, 2010 at 7:41 PM

      Jazaakallahu kheyran for Amr Khalid’s translated video. May Allah reward all involved. I really benefited from it.
      I wonder if there are any more translated videos of Amr Khalid or Mohamed Hassan. I really loved the series “Events of the end by Mohamed Hassan” on youtube.

  13. Avatar

    ABUBAKAR BALARABE

    September 6, 2009 at 4:37 AM

    JAZAKUMULLAH MAY ALLAH ACCEPT OUR PRAYERS

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  16. Avatar

    om hajar

    August 30, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    jazakom Allah khayran!

  17. Avatar

    Amarah

    August 31, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Asalamoalikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
    JazakAllah!
    for the awsomee post!!!
    really needed this.

  18. Pingback: Names of Allah – Forgiveness « ThoughtPad

  19. Avatar

    Lea

    February 17, 2018 at 4:31 PM

    Assalamualaikum,
    Alhamdulillah thank you so much for this beautiful sharing. Just to mentioned that there is one typing error on 22:20 which is supposed to be (Al-Hajj 22:60)

    “The Name of Allah, Al-’Afuww, occurs in the Quran only five times (4:43, 4:99, 4:149, 22:20, 58:2)”

    Thanks.

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