Exalted and Glorious
Truly Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (2:173)
They thought there would be no fitnah (punishment), so they became blind and deaf. After that Allah turned to them (with forgiveness), yet again many of them became blind and deaf. And Allah is the All-Seer of what they do. (5:71)
But your Lord is Most Forgiving, full of Mercy. (18:58)
From: The Meanings of the Names of Our Lord, by Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id al-Jamal ar-Rifa’i Head of the Higher Sufi Council in Jerusalem and the Holy Land Teacher at the Dome of the Rock (al-Aqsa)
He is the Most Forgiving One. An aspect of forgiveness is to hide our faults and treat them as if they had never existed. Allah displays that generosity through all dimensions of this Name. There are three meanings to the forgiveness of Allah, three separate and related divine attributes: al-Ghaffar, al-Ghafir, and al-Ghafur.
Al-Ghafir is His quality of hiding His servants’ shameful acts so they are able to live with each other, have faith in each other, depend on, love, and respect each other. Otherwise, if Allah al-Ghafir in His mercy did not hide out faults, our adverse opinions, ugly thoughts, and hateful feelings, everyone would run away from everyone. There could be neither a society nor a single family.
Next Allah al-Ghafur hides our faults in the realms of the spirits and the angels just as He does in the human realm. The angels see things we cannot see in this world. Allah hides our faults from them so that we will not be ashamed in the Hereafter. Through this Name, we may find the same respect and closeness from the spirits and the angels from whom our sins are hidden by Allah al-Ghafur that His forgiveness has permitted us among other people.
Allah’s name al-Ghaffar is the most encompassing in forgiveness. A man whose faults are hidden from others is saved from being ashamed in front of them, but he may still be ashamed of himself within himself. Everyone has a degree of conscience that suffers from his actions. Allah al-Ghaffar in his mercy hides a person’s faults even from himself and makes him forget in order to alleviate his suffering.
Remember al-Ghafir, the veiler of our faults from the eyes of other people; al-Ghafur, who keeps the knowledge of our faults even from the angels; and al-Ghaffar, who relieves us from the suffering of continual remembrance of our faults. To such a compassionate one should we not be thankful? Should we not confess our sins, repenting with tears in our eyes, asking His forgiveness?
‘Abd al-Ghafur is the forgiver of wrongs and the hider of faults.
If someone feels guilty and is therefore heavy of heart, reciting ya Ghafur 100 times after Friday communal prayers may relieve the pain. And if Allah so wills, He will forgive that sin.
From: The Name & the Named, by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti