Hadith on Mercy: Forgiveness for Legally Punishable Sin

📖Sahih al-Bukhari 6823
Narrated Anas bin Malik: While I was with the Prophet (ﷺ) a man came and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I have committed a legally punishable sin; please inflict the legal punishment on me’.’ The Prophet (ﷺ) did not ask him what he had done. Then the time for the prayer became due and the man offered prayer along with the Prophet (ﷺ) , and when the Prophet (ﷺ) had finished his prayer, the man again got up and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I have committed a legally punishable sin; please inflict the punishment on me according to Allah’s Laws.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Haven’t you prayed with us?’ He said, “Yes.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah has forgiven your sin.” or said, “….your legally punishable sin.”

  • This hadith implies that it is preferable to avoid imposing legal punishments whenever possible. In this case, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) did not ask the man about the nature of his sin and instead forgave him after he had prayed with them. This indicates that the Prophet (ﷺ) prioritized forgiveness and mercy over strict adherence to legal punishments. However, it is important to note that legal punishments are necessary in some cases to uphold justice and deter criminal behavior. The hadith emphasizes the importance of seeking forgiveness and showing mercy, but it does not negate the need for legal punishments when appropriate.

Muslims can learn several lessons from this hadith. Firstly, it highlights the importance of seeking forgiveness for one’s sins, regardless of their severity. Secondly, it emphasizes the forgiving nature of Allah (SWT), who is ready to pardon those who seek His forgiveness and show remorse for their mistakes. Thirdly, it illustrates the compassionate and merciful character of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), who was willing to forgive the man even though he had committed a punishable offense. Lastly, it underscores the significance of prayer in Islam, which serves as a means of seeking Allah’s guidance and forgiveness.