An excerpt from Forgiveness, a lecture by Imam Safi Khan:
A man once came to Abu Bakr radiyAllahu anhu and said, “I’m going to curse you with a curse that you will carry with you to your grave.” Abu Bakr radiyAllahu anhu replied with total equanimity that, “Actually you are going to take that with you to your grave, not me to my grave.”
A man came to Abu Dharr radiyAllahu anhu and said, “You are the one that was exiled from Syria, Mu’awiyah radiyAllahu anhu expelled you from Syria because there is no good in you, and you’re no good.”
Abu Dharr radiyAllahu anhu responded, “Before me there is a great and terrible obstacle [meaning the the siraat over the hellfire] and if I survive that obstacle and make it across then it’s not going to matter how you insulted me today. And if I don’t make it across that obstacle then I’m worse then what your insults were.”
Amr as Sha’bee an imam of the tabieen was giving a lecture and man from the crowd stood up and said, “O Amr, you have lied.” Amr replied, “If you are telling the truth, then may Allah forgive me, and if what you are saying is a lie, may Allah forgive you.”
A man came up to a scholar named Ibn Samaq and said, “Tomorrow we are going to sit down and take account of each other, and how you hurt me and how I hurt you and of what you said to me and what I said to you, and how we were at each other.” Ibn Samaq said, “No, my brother tomorrow we are going to forgive each other.”
Background Information: The parents of Mu’awiyah were Abu Sufyan who before he became a Muslim was one of the biggest enemies of Islam and his wife Hind who ate the liver of the Hamza the uncle of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
The parents of Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr were az-Zubayr ibn Awwam the disciple of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and a great warrior and Asma bint Abee Bakr also known as Dhat an-Nitaqayn (the owner of the two belts) because she tore her belt into two in order to tie the provisions for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam when he made hijrah to Madinah.
When Mu’awiyah was the khaleefah of the Muslims he had a farm next to that of Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr. One day the workers of Mu’awiyah’s farm crossed over onto the land of Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr. Ibn az-Zubayr became very upset and drafted a letter to Mu’awiyah. The letter read:
From Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr the son of the disciple of the Prophet, the son of the owner of the two belts to Mu’awiyah the son of the eater of human livers. [He didn’t even mention Mu’awiyah’s father which that in and of itself was considered a great insult.] To continue: [he didn’t offer him any salaam] I need to tell you that workers from your farm came onto my farm and if you do not call them back you will see that there will be a great problem between you and me that we are going to deal with.
Mu’awiyah the khaleefah of the Muslims read the letter and asked his son Yazeed, how he should proceed. Yazeed said, “I think that you should send him an army which begins here in Damascus and ends in Madinah and they bring his head to you on a platter.”
Mu’awiyah said no and dictated a letter to his son Yazeed to write back to Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr:
In the Name of Allah the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. From Mu’awiyah ibn Abee Sufyan to Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr the disciple of the Prophet, the son of the owner of the two belts, Asalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. To continue: I swear by Allah had I owned the entire dunya and it was something between you and I, and you were to have asked me, I would have given it to you, everything that I had. So when this letter of mine reaches you, take my farm and add it to your farm, take my workers and add them to your workers, it’s all yours. Wa salaam.
When Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr read the letter he could not get beyond the first words because his tears were streaming so hard that it made the letter wet. He immediately left home from Madinah on his horse and went to Damascus. And then he entered upon the court of Mu’awiyah and said, “May Allah who put you in this position and honored you from amongst the Qureysh, may He never let you lose your mind of the way you dealt with me in this situation.” And he apologized to Mu’awiyah.