x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Pardons 'inspired by the Prophet'

Hundreds of prisoners have been pardoned in advance of National Day.

ABU DHABI // Religious scholars say President Sheikh Khalifa's pardoning of 554 inmates to mark National Day is inspired by the Prophet's tolerance and forgiveness.

"The UAE President's humanitarian gesture on pardoning prison inmates comes in line with Sheikh Khalifa's keenness to give them a chance to resume new life and ease suffering of their families," said the state news agency, Wam.

The President and Rulers of the various emirates traditionally pardon prisoners to mark religious occasions such as Ramadan and Eid.

Dr Khaled Abdulaleem, a renowned Islamic preacher and TV personality, said Islam prioritises forgiveness over punishment.

"The proof is when the Prophet opened Mecca, himself and the Muslims were harmed greatly by the non-believers there," he said. "Yet the Prophet decided to forgive them." Pardoning and forgiveness are more like divine features than human ones, he said.

"It is divine nature to forgive and pardon, whereas human nature favours revenge and punishment," Dr Abdulaleem added.