What’s there to Forgive?
It is reported that Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam stayed up all night, standing until his feet became swollen. When He was asked, “Why are you doing this, when Allah has forgiven all your past and future wrong actions?” He replied,”Should I not be a grateful slave?” [Sahih Bukhari]
A worshipper worshipped Allah for fifty years, so Allah told him that He had forgiven him. The man said, “O Allah, what is there to forgive when I have not committed a wrong action?” Allah then caused a nerve in his neck to give him pain, he could not sleep or pray. When the pain eased and he was able to sleep, an angel came to him. The man complained to the angel of the pain he had suffered. The angel told him: “Your Rabb says to you that your fifty years of worship is to pay for the soothing of your pain.” [Uddat as-Sabirin wa Dhakhirat ash-Shakirin by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah]
The deeds of a man cannot pay for even one of the many blessings of Allah, because even the smallest of Allah’s blessings and favours far outweigh the deeds of man. We must bear in mind the rights which Allah has over us.
From the above we may understand the meaning of the hadith: “If Allah were to punish the people of heaven and earth, He would have done that without being unjust towards them, and if He were to have mercy on them, His Mercy would be far better for them than their deeds.”