I happened to watch the powerful movie, “7 Pounds” starring Will Smith. Let me say, do not attempt to watch this movie already feeling emotional..this movie will hit in you a beautiful spiritual place that may not be forgotten for awhile. Without giving too much away, it is about a man who makes a terrible mistake which costs the lives of 7 people, including his wife. The rest of the movie is about him slowly giving everything up to people in need in order to atone for his sins and make up for his mistakes.
Muslims often reflect on the idea of God being Just or Merciful, since the Quran constantly talks about this as a central idea about God. Look at the very first chapter of the Quran and you can see this even:
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgment.
It is You we worship, and upon You we call for help.
Guide us to the straight path.
The path of those You have blessed, not of those against whom there is anger, nor of those who are misguided.
But what does this really mean to atone for sins/mistakes or repent to God? As we see in the movie, Will Smith’s character is deeply bothered by his mistake and he really sets out to apologize. Many people just say “sorry” and feel that is all that is required of them. While it is a great big step, it is not all that someone is supposed to do. There are even rules or ideas that people are to do when they accidentally kill an innocent person, cause God knows accidents do happen, just like the one in the movie. The producer’s may have not meant to do this, but the concept of his making up comes from the Quran and even before the Quran as just general wisdom to understand to do something wrong is to cause an imbalance in the world, and if you are a good soul…you would work to make it up by some other good deed.
And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake – then the freeing of a believing slave and a compensation payment presented to the deceased’s family [is required] unless they give [up their right as] charity. But if the deceased was from a people at war with you and he was a believer – then [only] the freeing of a believing slave; and if he was from a people with whom you have a treaty – then a compensation payment presented to his family and the freeing of a believing slave. And whoever does not find [one or cannot afford to buy one] – then [instead], a fast for two months consecutively, [seeking] acceptance of repentance from Allah . And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
There is a great children’s book called “Sorry Is Not Enough” and it makes me happy to know that children are learning this concept at an early age. This book goes further to talk about how you can’t just say sorry and keep doing wrong, you need to change your habits or make up for it in other ways. Below is an image of the book that every parent should read their child about this subject:
I believe in teaching our children as the next generation about the atonement or repentance in order to create a sincere and kinder world in which mistakes are learned from and good deeds are done to balance out the world.