“If you don’t do this and that, Allah is going to be very angry with you!”

As a child, I was taught by teachers and community that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is The Most Severe in Punishment; that I will receive His Wrath and be thrown into the Fire if I did something wrong. We were mostly focused on that one aspect – fear.

Then growing up, I learned that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is also Al-Halim, the Most Forbearing. It comes from the root word {hilm}, which means forbearance. And this is what I want to write today, so that we may find hope in the Forbearance of Allah, and to be inspired with His Forbearance.


🌸 The Forbearance of Allah

One of the core meanings of Al-Halim is that Allah does not immediately punish His servants who disobey Him. Instead, He delays His punishments, giving them a second chance, a third chance, and many more chances, so that His servants may come to the realisation of their mistakes, and return to Him in sincere repentance - even though He subhanahu wa ta'ala has every right to send down His punishment. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And if Allah were to seize mankind for their wrongdoing, He would not leave on it (the earth) a single moving 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 even a moment).” [Surah An-Nahl 16: 61]

In this dunya, the consequences of our crime and sometimes even honest mistakes are swift. Some parents would yell or hit their children the moment they break something, some spouses would hurl nasty words when meals are not prepared on time, some bosses would publicly reprimand their workers for their shortcomings, and there are so many more examples regarding this.

But in this ayah, Allah informs us that He does not rush to pass His Judgement on us. Had Allah immediately punished mankind each time they sin, then there wouldn’t be anyone else left in this dunya. When people blatantly disobey, disrespect, and disbelieve Him, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala continues to show them forbearance, and bestow them blessings regardless. Rasulullah salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (ﷺ) said:

“No one, or nothing, is more patient with harmful words he hears than Allah. Verily, they ascribe children to Him, yet He gives them wellness and provision.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 6099]


🌸 Allah’s Forbearance Is For Everyone

Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala shows Rahmah even to the cruellest, most arrogant person ever in existence - Fir’aun. He was known for his excessive atrocity and extreme arrogance, even claiming himself to be a god! But when Allah sent Prophets Musa and Harun 'alayhumas-salaam to him, He subhanahu wa ta'ala says:

“Go both of you to Fir'aun, verily he has transgressed. And speak to him with gentle speech, that perhaps he may be reminded or fear (Allah)." [Surah Ta-Ha 20: 43-44]

Even though Fir’aun was the most insolent of people and an absolute narcissistic, Prophets Musa and Harun 'alayhumas-salaam were still commanded to speak to him with gentleness. Allah commanded for their da’wah to be delivered with soft and easy speech. Why?

“Perhaps he may be reminded or fear (Allah).”

So that he may realise his errors.

So that he may make tawbah to Allah.

Even though Allah absolutely knows that Fir’aun would never accept their da’wah.

One of our salaf (i.e. righteous predecessors) actually wept when he heard this ayah, saying: "My Rabb, if this is Your Mercy and Gentleness with the one who says: 'I am your god', then how will it be with the one who says that You are God?" [Tafsir Al-Baghawi, 1/27]

Alhamdulillah, we are truly blessed as Muslims!


🌸 Be Inspired To Attain The Characteristic of Forbearance 

As Al-Halim’s believing servants, we too should strive to have forbearance in our character. Look how Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala praises Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayhis-salaam in this ayah:

إِنَّ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ لَحَلِيمٌ أَوَّٲهٌ۬ مُّنِيبٌ۬

“Verily, Ibrahim was, without doubt, {hilm | forbearing}, used to invoke Allah with humility, and was repentant.” [Surah Hud 11: 75]

Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayhis-salaam was a person with extraordinary forbearance. When Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayhis-salaam made da’wah to his people, they resented him, hated him, and were extremely hostile towards him. But whenever he was tested with acts of cruelty by his people, he remained patient, dignified, and never retaliated back in evil. Allah says:

“They (Prophet Ibrahim’s people) said: Build for him a building (it is said that the building was like a furnace), and throw him into the blazing fire!” [Surah As-Saffat 37: 97]

The people gathered a huge amount of firewood, then they set it ablaze until flames reached up to the sky. They seized Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayhis-salaam, put him into a catapult, and threw him into the fire. At the heat of the moment, what did Prophet Ibrahim do? 

He made du’a to Allah.

حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ

“Allah is Sufficient for us, and He Is the Best Disposer of affairs.” [Sahih Bukhari 4563]

Not once did he supplicate:

O Allah, destroy them.

O Allah, punish them all.

O Allah, burn them as they wanted to burn me.

O Allah, humiliate them as they have humiliated me.

His own father became his nemesis, but look how Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayhis-salaam responded:

“He (Prophet Ibrahim’s father) threatened: How dare you reject my idols, O Ibrahim! If you do not desist, I will certainly stone you (to death)! So be gone from me for a long time!

Ibrahim said: Peace be on you, I will ask forgiveness of my Rabb for you. Verily, He is unto me Ever Most Gracious.” [Surah Maryam 19: 46-47]

Ma Shaa Allah, such was the character of Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayhis-salaam! Never once did he respond back with callous and abusive words, or with vile and cruel actions. Despite the malice people showed towards him, Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayhis-salaam remained forbearing and gracious. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala praised him, and that praise is recorded in the Qur’an so that we too may be inspired by it. We may not reach the same level of forbearance as his, but we can start small in shaa Allah.


○ When a driver suddenly cuts you off in traffic, and you decide to let it go - that’s hilm.

○ When someone is rude to you on social media, using all sorts of filthy language, and you decide not to engage with bad words - that’s hilm.

○ When your friend borrowed your favourite hijab and accidentally tore it, but you decided to accept her apology and move on from the drama - that’s hilm (but super difficult I know, it was a favourite hijab ugh!)


Our beautiful Deen teaches us that when we adorn ourselves with the attribute of rahmah for the sake of Allah, know that Allah too will show rahmah to us. Rasulullah ﷺ said:

“The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth, and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” [At-Tirmidhi 1924 | Graded Hasan by Darussalam]

Brothers and sisters in Islam, being forbearing means being patient and having composure while dealing with difficult people. When we are kind to people, when we are patient with them, when we don’t react in bad faith, then know that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala will also treat us as such.

We need to learn not to get emotional quickly, or be prone to anger, or allow ourselves to be easily provoked by people’s words and actions. This needs hard work, but if we are sincere in our pursuit and committed to be a better servant of Allah, then know that He subhanahu wa ta'ala will help us in this noble quest, and reward us for it.

May Allah beautify our character with forbearance, and may He subhanahu wa ta'ala show us forbearance both in this dunya and akhirah. آمـــــــــين


Your sister in Deen,

Aida Msr 🌸 




  • Tafsir Ibn Kathir
  • Sunnah.com

Disclaimer: This article does not imply that we should never fight for our rights, or allow ourselves to be continually oppressed and abused. Rasulullah ﷺ said: “The believer is not stung in the same hole twice.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 6133]. Don’t allow ourselves to be taken advantage of multiple times. Do not expose ourselves to being hurt repeatedly. Please seek the authority or professionals’ help if you are in an abusive situation. May Allah grant us all relief!