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According to Qur’anic teachings, revenge is not an option. Revenge only increases the problem. The chapter Al-Nahl (Bees) of the Qur’an gives practical advice on this point. The translation of the relevant verses is as follows: If you want to retaliate, retaliate to the same degree as the injury done to you. But if you are patient, it is better to be so. (16:126)

What is revenge? Revenge is the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands. According to Qur’anic teachings, there are two levels of revenge—one may be called equal revenge and the second may be called forgetting the bad experience received from others. Although revenge or retaliation is allowed, with a strict condition—that it should be equal revenge, not exceeding the others’ bad action. But when seriously thought about it, one realizes that this is not an option. It is so difficult that no sincere person can take this option. Because there is no available measurement that may tell you that your retaliation was completely equal to the action you received from the other. This option is, therefore, only a hypothetical option. Any sincere person will decide not to take this option, because if during the retaliation you exceed the limit you will be punished by God Almighty, and you cannot bear to do so. So, practically there is only one option and that is forgiveness.

While revenge may open a new chapter that is revenge after revenge, forgiveness puts an end to this chain. Forgiveness means that you have put a full stop, while revenge in this case means that you have put commas. Forgiveness in some cases is a rewardable action. Forgiveness is a highly valuable deed. You will find its reward in the world hereafter, and that is far better for a believer. Moreover, forgiveness gives you its benefits in the present world also. When you forgive a person you hit his conscience. Forgiveness is a kind of corrective measure. Forgiveness creates a sense of repentance in the other person and he tries to correct himself. In this sense, forgiveness has value in terms of social reform. Practically there is only one option and that is forgiveness. While revenge may open a new chapter that is revenge after revenge, forgiveness puts an end to this chain.

If a person tries to retaliate, he cannot save himself from counter-retaliation by the other party. Thus, revenge or retaliation is a prerogative of an authorized court. So, in these cases one has two options: either forgive and forget or refer it to an authorized court. Retaliation in terms of punishment is a prerogative of an authorized court rather than of a common man. Although Islam allows retaliation with certain strict conditions, fulfilling these conditions is so difficult that it practically means that one should not retaliate. The message of the Qur’an in such situations is: Opt for forgiveness. Do not try to retaliate, because retaliation is bound to create some more problems. Revenge or retaliation is a kind of distraction. While forgiveness ends the problem, retaliation only increases and creates new problems which are difficult to be solved. So, forgiveness is better than retaliation.

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