ut beware that thou hold not thyself for better; rather shalt thou say thus: "Peter, Peter, if God helped thee not with his grace thou wouldst be worse than he."'
Peter answered: `How must I correct him?'
Jesus answered: `In the way that thou thyself wouldst fain be corrected. And as thou wouldst fain be borne with, so bear with others. Believe me, Peter, for verily I say unto thee that every time thou shalt correct thy brother with mercy thou shalt receive mercy of God, and thy words shall bear some fruit; but if thou shalt do it with rigour, thou shalt be rigorously punished by the justice of God, and shalt bear no fruit. Tell me, Peter: Those earthen pots wherein the poor cook their food - do they wash them, perchance, with stones and iron hammers? Nay, assuredly; but rather with hot water. Vessels are broken in pieces with iron, things of wood are burned with fire; but man is amended with mercy. Wherefore, when thou shalt correct thy brother thou shalt say to thyself: "If God help me not, I shall do tomorrow worse than all that he hath done today."'
Peter answered: `How many times must I forgive my brother, O master?'
Jesus answered: `As many times as thou wouldst fain be forgiven by him.'
Said Peter: `Seven times a day?'
Jesus answered: `Not only seven, but seventy times seven thou shalt forgive him every day; for he that forgiveth, to him shall it be forgiven, and he that condemneth shall be condemned.'
Then said he who writeth this: `Woe unto princes! For they shall go to hell.'
Jesus reproved him, saying: `Thou art become foolish, O Barnabas, in that thou hast spoken thus. Verily I say unto thee, that the bath is not so necessary for the body, the bit for the horse, and the tiller for the ship, as the prince is necessary for the state. And for what case did God give Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, and Solomon, and so many others who passed judgement? To much hath God given the sword for the extirpation of iniquity.'
Then said he who writeth this: `Now, how ought judgement to be given, condemning and pardoning?'
Jesus answered: `Not every one is a judge: for to the judge alone it appertaineth to condemn others, O Barnabas. And the judge ought to condemn the guilty, even as the father commandeth a putrified member to be cut off from his son, in order that the whole body may not become putrified.'
An Islamic Perspective and Commentary
Dealing gently with people, overlooking errors of others and showing forgiveness are repeated throughout the Qur'an. The success of the prophet Mohammed(peace be upon him), for example, is linked to his gentleness, and ultimately to God's Mercy:
It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee so pass over (Their faults), and ask for (Allah's) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou hast Taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).
Although Muslims are given the right to defend themselves against injustices,
But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong (done) to them, against such there is no cause of blame.
God recommends Muslims to forgive:
But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs.
even when they are angry:
Those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and, when they are angry even then forgive;
The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree) but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah for (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong.
Not only does God ask us to forgive, but also to show grace & cover up the faults of others,
....So overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.
....But if ye forgive and overlook, and cover up (their faults), verily Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
which would be in line with the statement attributed to Jesus(peace be upon him) above when asked how one would correct his brother:
"In the way that thou thyself wouldst fain be corrected."
Perhaps the most compelling similarity between the above chapter and Qur'an, is the concept of reciprocal relationship between one's forgiveness towards others and the forgiveness he/she would/should expect from God:
Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want, and those who have left their homes in Allah's cause let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
"...every time thou shalt correct thy brother with mercy thou shalt receive mercy of God, and thy words shall bear some fruit; but if thou shalt do it with rigour, thou shalt be rigorously punished by the justice of God, and shalt bear no fruit." -Gospel of Barnabas
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