Al-Ghaffar- The Repeatedly forgiving
Al-Ghaffur- The one who has the power to forgive
Linguistically, both ghafoor and ghaffaar refer to the concept of maghfirah(forgiveness, conceal).
In over 300 verses of the Qur’an, Allah attributes “maghfira” to Himself
And verily, I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them, (till his death).(Surat Taha20:82)
“The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.”(Surat Sad)
He has created the heavens and the earth with truth. He makes the night to go in the day and makes the day to go in the night. And He has subjected the sun and the moon. Each running (on a fixed course) for an appointed term. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.(Surat Az-Zumar39:5)
Al-Ghaffaar refers to the fact that Allah forgives repeatedly, emphacizing frequency(the quantity) whereas the name Al-Ghafoor points to the extent of His forgiveness, regardless of the size, type, form of sins (the quality). Allah’s name Al-Ghafoor does not just mean that He forgives us; He also protects and shields us from the consequences of our own actions. He does maghfirah— He covers our sins while being fully aware of what they are. His perfect forgiveness is truly a sign of His ultimate mercy for us!
The One who accepts repentance and veils or forgives our faults and sins, time and time again. The One who sets us free from the guilt and shame of our own sins and faults, such that we may discover inner harmony and peace.
One of the most common pairs is Allah’s name Al-Ghafoor combined with Ar-Raheem, which is repeated 72 times in the Quran, demonstrating that He covers these sins because He is so merciful to us.
An example of this beautiful combination is in one of the most hope-giving, heart-comforting ayaat in the Quran. Al-Ghafoor Himself says: Say, O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. [Quran 39:53] Instead of saying: O, you sinners! look at how gently Al-Ghafoor addresses us by saying yaa eebaadee, O my servants who have transgressed against themselves. Alhamdulillah; we have a Lord who is intensely forgiving and merciful to us.
These names of Allah are truely beautiful. As humans we are never free of sins and mistakes.
A characteristic of a true believer is that he or she never despairs. We don’t despair in the help of Allah ‘azza wa jall and we don’t despair in His mercy and forgiveness. This means that whenever we commit a bad deed– and because we are humans, we will sin– we don’t let it get us down but rather fight back by turning to Al-Ghafoor, Al-Ghaffar no matter the gravity of the sin and no matter how many times, and following up our sin with a good deed. Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly in forgiveness.
Wherever we are, may Allah make us firm to never despair in his mercy. May Allah grant us forgiveness for all our sins known and unknown to us. And grant us Jannah out of His mercy. Ameen!