In Closing the Chapter* we touched upon how forgiveness is the best way of moving on in life. This has raised questions on whether it is right to simply forgive, if we keep getting hurt by the same repeat offenders.
Having a forgiving nature does not imply that we should let people take advantage of us. Being forgiving does not imply that we should let injustice continue, or that we deprive ourselves of rights.
We live in a society, and are bound by social contracts between each other. There are laws, rules and regulations which all must observe. There are rights that we can claim from the wrongdoer through proper channels. These systems were established to protect our personal rights, possessions and property. There is nothing wrong in pursuing such remedies and recovering our entitlement.
On the other hand, we should also be mindful before entering any situation. Wisdom is key. Do we lend money to someone who is not genuinely needy or who has a poor track record at repaying debts? If the person refused to repay his debts to us the first time round, is it then sensible for us to forgive the debt, and then give the him another loan? Likewise do we invite a known thief into our premises; and then get upset when he steals our possessions?
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “A believer does not allow himself to be stung twice from one (and the same) hole” [Bukhari] A Muslim is required to learn from his mistakes, analyze their failures and avoid repeating the same errors. We should not be victimised by the same people or incidents. Mistakes happen to let us learn from them, and the lesson is only gained when we then recognise our friends, enemies and situations for what they are.
In terms of physical belongings, the situation is clear. Any level headed person would be guided by common sense and self preservation. While they may forgive, they would take the responsibility of preventing the same scenario from re-occurring.
The same principle applies to emotional damage. If we have left a door unguarded and then got robbed, should we continue leaving the door open, or should we fortify the security and be more cautious about when and who we open our doors to? More will be written on this topic, insha Allah.
Therein lies the difference between being a forgiver and being naïve.