By Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali
Know that blessedness follows when someone swallows his anger by means of choice and (the power of) religion. However, if he swallows it by weakness or necessity, then it collects inside him, ferments, and turns into hatred. The Messenger, peace be upon him, says: “The believer is not full of hatred.”
Therefore, hatred is the offspring of anger, and from it eight grandchildren are born, each one of which is a cause of the destruction of religion:
1 ) Envy
, so that one is saddened by the happiness of a person and made happy by his sorrow,
2) Malicious joy
, that a person rejoices when (his enemy) is afflicted with a calamity, and he makes that apparent.
3) That one restrain one’s tongue and not reply to the other’s greeting of peace.
4) That one look upon him with hatred and scorn.
5) That one talk about him; backbiting, lying, and insulting; that one lay open a person’s private matters and secrets.
6) That one mimic and ridicule him.
7) That one strike and injure him when the opportunity occurs, or that one persuade someone else to beat him.
8) That one commit some shortcoming in fulfilling his rights, nor honor the connection of kinship, nor repay debts to him, nor turn oppression away from him, nor
seek pardon from him.
When Mistah, who was a relative of Abu Bakr, spoke about Aisha during the Incident of the Slander, Abu Bakr, who had been paying his stipend, took the money back and swore that he would never give him money again. Upon this Allah revealed:
And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah , and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (24:22)The Prophet said, “Do not swear that you will not do good to a person who is unkind to you. Do you not desire that Allah will forgive you?” Abu Bakr said, “By Allah! I want that!” and he resumed paying the stipend (to Mistah).
Therefore, anyone who harbors a grudge against someone is not free of three concerns:
1- He either struggles against himself in order to do good (to his enemy) and increase his consideration; this is the degree of the truly righteous, or…
2- He does not do any good or evil deeds. This is the degree of the moderate, or…
3 - He does rude things to him and does not do any good; this is the degree of the vicious and the oppressors.
There is no intimacy with Allah greater than this: that you do good to him who does evil to you. If you are unable to do that, at least forgive him; for the virtue of forgiveness is great.
Excerpt from [al-Ġhazzālī, Crook, J. R., & Bakhtiar, L. (2005). Alchemy of happiness (Kimiya al-saadat). Chicago, IL: Great Books of the Islamic World. P. 539-540]