Exalted and Glorious
Or you have been in contact with women (by sexual relations), and you find no water, perform tayammum* with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Truly Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving. (4:43)
These are they whom Allah is likely to forgive, and Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving. (4:99)
None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And verily, Allah is Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving. (58:2)
*Tayammum is when you strike your hands on the earth, then pass the palms of each on the back of the other, then blow off the dust from them, and finally pass or rub them on your face.
This name is another attribute of Allah which means One Who pardons or cancels, the Pardoner (of sins). Allah pardons all who repent sincerely as if they had no previous sins.
He who repeats this name frequently, and after that prays, “Oh Allah, You are the Forgiver and You like to forgive, I pray for You to forgive my sins,” Allah, the All-Mighty will forgive all his sins.
Al-‘Afuw is the Forgiver Who relieves the torment of wrong doings, shortcomings, and deficiencies in His erasing of them. He is at enmity with disobedience, but do not despair of His Favor and Forgiveness towards your sins because Allah Himself is your Forgiver.
Allah Allah Allah
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)
Allah is the forgiver, the eliminator of sins. Al-‘Afu is the opposite of al-Muntaqim, the Avenger. Its meaning is close to that of al-Ghafur, the All-Forgiving One, only here the sense is more intensive. The root of the word Ghafur means to overlook sins, while the root of the word ‘Afu means to destroy sins, eliminate them altogether. In the first instance the overlooked sins still exist; in the second, the eliminated sins disappear.
Allah loves to forgive, to erase sins. He does not often punish the ones who deny, the ones who revolt. He accepts their recognition of their sins as repentance. He erases their sins. Instead of punishment, He bestows His bounties upon them.
There is a secret in His delaying punishment and forgiving sins. In teaching us that Hellfire is there, He is teaching us that there are ways to salvation. It is like an announcement by a rich, generous, compassionate host, declaring, “Our doors are open, our tables are set. The one who accepts this invitation is welcome, and we do not reproach those who do not come to our feast.”
Allah’s bounties in this world, which are temporal, are nothing in comparison to those promised in Paradise. The forgiving of sins is an encouragement to deniers to change their ways, to come to the straight path, to reach Paradise. Allah’s infinite mercy is certainly more than the sins of His servants. His doors are always open to the ones who choose to enter.
But those who are blind and deaf to the warning that is the compassion, mercy, and forgiveness of Allah, who persist in their infidelity and denial, who find justification for their denial in their being repeatedly forgiven, who are spoiled, who take pleasure in sinning, who try to lead others astray, they will finally be punished in this world by drowning in the gold they have accumulated, and in the Hereafter by Hellfire. This punishment does not negate the attribute of the Forgiving One, the Eliminator of sins, but it is a manifestation of His beautiful Name, the Just. Good and bad are not the same. If it were made to appear so, it might cause confusion in the mind of the good servant.
‘Abd al-‘Afu is the one who truly believes, who fears Allah, not so much Allah’s punishment, but the loss of Allah’s love. He is the one who has conscience, who has shame. And for him, the good and the bad that come to him from Allah are equal. He reflects the attribute al-‘Afu by forgiving the one who tyrannizes him, by feeding the one who causes him hunger, by giving to the one who forcibly takes from him. Allah treats His servants the way they treat others.
A believer who recites this Name 166 times a day will be better able to control the wrong demands of his ego. His character will ameliorate and people will overlook his faults.
To remember to recite this Name when on the verge of getting uncontrollably angry and to follow it by a salutation to the Prophet (pbuh) will help to keep one calm.
Someone who is facing a judge about to condemn him for a wrong action he has committed may recite this Name 166 times. He may have his punishment cancelled or reduced.
From: The Name & the Named by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti