According to 4:48, God does not forgive those guilty of intentional ‘shirk.’ God may forgive any lesser sin, but never intentional ‘shirk.’ I have been told by some Muslims, though, that if we are guilty of committing an injustice against another person, God shall not forgive us on the Day of Judgment and shall defer the decision to forgive to the victim of injustice. Is this true? Or does God take over all forgiving on the Day of Judgment?
When a person wrongs another individual of his/her rights, it is then only the particular individual, who has been wronged, who can forgive that person. It is primarily on this principle that it is generally held that a person shall be forgiven for the injustices committed on fellow human beings only if the individuals, who had been a target of the person’s injustice, forgive that person.
However, on the other hand, the Qur’an, in Surah Al-Furqaan 25: 68 – 70, has mentioned a few big crimes – including ascribing partners to God, fornication and murder – which would follow everlasting punishment in the Hellfire. After referring to these crimes, the Qur’an has also reiterated that true repentance and a sincere resolve to correction guarantees forgiveness for even these crimes. In view of this stipulation of the Qur’an, it seems that even in case of injustices upon fellow human beings, when a person truly repents and sincerely resolves to correct his behavior1, then God – the ultimate and the true King on the Day of Judgment – shall help the individual in securing forgiveness from those individuals, whom the person had wronged during his life. As for how this forgiveness shall be secured for the individual, all that can be said, in view of the lack of any details provided by the Qur’an, is that it would neither contradict justice nor mercy of God.
I hope this helps.
November 21, 2001
- It should be kept in mind that true repentance and sincere resolution to correction of behavior should entail the desire and the commitment to reverse the injustices that the individual has already wrought, if he is provided with an opportunity to do so. [↩]