One of Allah’s names is al-Haleem (The Most Forbearing). It is a name that is repeated in the Noble Quran in numerous places (1). Allah, The Most High, says – its meaning:
Allah knows what is in your hearts. Allah is the All-Knowing, The Most Forbearing.
Soorah al-Ahzaab (33): 51
The meaning of al-Haleem (The Most Forbearing) is The One who does not hasten to punish His slaves due to their sins and disobedience. He sees His slaves disbelieving in Him and disobeying him; yet, He acts with forbearance towards them. He grants them time, delays [punishing them], and He does not hasten their punishment. He grants them blessing after blessing, even though they commit disobedience, an abundance of sins, and have shortcomings.
He acts with forbearance towards them while they disobey Him. He grants them time, so that they can repent. He does not hasten the punishment, so they can have remorse, do righteous actions, and return back to correct behavior.
He, The One free from imperfection, informed us about His Forbearance towards the disobedient, the sinful, and the various types of wrongdoers – that if He were to immediately hold them accountable for their sins, He would not have left a single living being on the face of the Earth.
Just as He, The One free from imperfection, said – its meaning:
If Allah were to immediately seize mankind for their wrongdoing, He would not have left a single living being on the face of the Earth; however, He delays them for an appointed term. And when their appointed term arrives, they cannot delay it for a moment, nor can they advance it.
Soorah an-Nahl (16): 61
And He, The Most High, said – its meaning:
And your Lord is the Most Forgiving, Full of Mercy. If He were to seize them immediately for what they have done, then He would have hastened their punishment. However, they have an appointed time, for which they will find no escape.
Soorah al-Kahf (18): 58
So, despite their shirk (polytheism) – glorified be He, their committing of acts that anger Him, their working hard in opposition against Him, their fighting against His religion, their animosity towards those who obey Him – He acts with forbearance towards them; He gives them various good things; He provides for them, and He grants them well-being.
In a hadeeth collected by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim it states: On the authority of Abu Moosaa al-Ash’aree, may Allah be pleased with him: The Prophet, may Allah exalt his mention and grant him safety, said:
There is no one, nor anything, more patient with cringe worthy statements than Allah. They claim that He has a child, and He grants them well-being and provides for them.
Another example of His Forbearance, Glorified be He, is the Makers of the Ditch. Allah, The Most High, says – its meaning:
Those who put the believing men and believing women to trial, then do not repent, for them is the punishment of Hell and the torment of scorching.
Soorah al-Burooj (85): 10
Al-Hasan al-Basree, may Allah have mercy on him, said:
Look at this generosity and grace. They killed obedient worshippers of Allah, and He calls them to repentance and forgiveness.
(1): See “A Summarized Version of Understanding the Beautiful Names of Allah”, by Shaykh Abdur- Razzaaq, pp. 47-48.