Al-‘Afuw is the Pardoner – the One who is most Forgiving and the One who eliminates all sin, no matter how hidden it may be.
This characteristic is a reminder of how loving Allah is and how much He wants us to do good and enter Jannah.
He doesn’t want us to be punished, he wants to pardon us at any moment He can, so we do not have to face the torment of the hellfire. In fact, He makes it easier to be good than to be bad as there is forgiveness in the smallest acts that we do.
It is stated in Hadith Qudsi that Allah said to the Prophet SAW, “O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you.” – even if your sin is the biggest there could be, or the smallest there could be, if you genuinely and sincerely ask Allah to pardon you then surely, He will.
“When a Muslim, or a believer, washes his face (in the course of Wudu’), every sin which he committed with his eyes. Will be washed away from his face with water. Or, with the last drop of water. When he washes his hands, every sin which is committed by his hands will be effaced from his hands with the water. Or, with the last drop of water. And, when he washes his feet, every sin his feet committed will be washed away with the water. Or, with the last drop of water. Until he finally emerges cleansed of all his sins” [Sahih Muslim].
This hadith shows us that even if we do not directly ask for forgiveness, Allah will forgive because He knows you are worshipping Him. This is truly who Al-‘Afuw is. The protector, the forgiver, the pardoner, who loves us countless more times than our own mother ever could. If you ask Him to conceal your sin or forgive you or guide you, He will do it all - He is most Capable. And all you have to do is remember Him.
For us to learn from this attribute of Allah, we must become one of those who will excuse others that have harmed us. Whether they are able to ask you for forgiveness or not, find solace within yourself and through Allah, ease your heart of any grudges or pain. Forgive first, and if you can, do good for that person in return as Allah does that for us. Allah will continue to bless you and guide you and open doors for you even when He knows you are not worshipping Him because He wants to give you as many chances as possible to go back to Him and be good.
Once again, He WANTS to see us succeed – if He wanted to punish us for every wrong we have done, He would have done that from the start. But He is Al-Wadud (all loving), Al-Raheem (all merciful), Al-Ghafur (all forgiving), Al’Afuw and more. So trust Him and stay close to Him.