`Aa’ishah asked: “O Messenger of Allaah! If I was to know which night is the night of qadr, what should I say therein?” He answered: “Say: ‘O Allaah! Verily, You are One who Pardons (`Afuww) and You love pardoning (`afw), so pardon (`afw) me!’”
“Allaahumma innaka `Afuww” (O Allaah! Verily, You are `Afuww)
Al-`Afuww is a Name of Allaah. It is often translated to mean the One who pardons or forgives.
`Afuww comes from `afw. `Afw linguistically means to leave or abandon a thing. It linguistically also means a profuse growth or an abundant increase.
Therefore, Al-`Afuww as a Name of Allaah means the One who leaves (or abandons) sins and their consequences. In other words, He forgives sins and abandons any form of punishment resulting from that sin. Furthermore, it has a connection to the linguistic meaning of abundant growth in that Allaah continuously forgives sins and leaves off different forms of punishment.
Essentially, this Name denotes overlooking (by way of mercy) an error and thereafter abandoning the trials and sicknesses resulting from it.
The `Afw of Allaah upon the creation is of two types:
This is manifested upon the creation in this life. It is not restricted to any set of people. This is why the disbelievers and the criminals amongst the Muslims are not taken to account and punished immediately for their disbelief and disobedience. This is why He continues to provide for them and give them bounties despite their crimes. Al-`Afuww continues to withhold or leave off the devastating consequences of their crimes. If it was not for this Quality of our Rabb, the entire world would have been engulfed in torment.
This is manifested upon the believers only. This is when the believers are forgiven for their crimes and they are protected from its consequences in both worlds but in particular the hereafter. Because of His `Afw there will be sets of people on the day of judgement who will not be taken to account at all. This is a manifestation of how Allaah has abandoned their sins. And there will also be others who will be taken to account for some of their crimes and not all.
“Tuhibb al-`afwa” (You love `afw)
Allaah loves the enactment of this attribute. He loves showing `Afw and He loves `afw being shown.
As for Him loving this attribute then it is clear from this hadeeth and many other sources. From them is Soorah al-Shooraa, Verse 34:
...وَيَعْفُ عَن كَثِيرٍ ﴿٣٤﴾
“… And He Pardons (`Afw) a lot.”
As for Him loving this attribute being enacted by the creation then this is illustrated in the following verses:
“… Let them pardon (`afw) and forgive. Do you not love that Allaah should forgive you? And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Soorah al-Noor, Verse 22].
This verse (amongst others) alludes that forgiveness from Allaah is achieved by forgiving others. Therefore, every individual who yearns for pardon and forgiveness from His Generous Rabb should beautify himself with this quality. Just as he seeks to be forgiven, he should forgive others when he is wronged.
“F`afu `annee” (So have `afw on me)
The `afw that is being sought here is both the general and specific type.
Know that Allaah Al-Kareem (The Most Generous) is shy to turn away His slaves empty handed. The Messenger of Allaah (s) said: