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فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظّاً غَلِيظَ ٱلْقَلْبِ لاَنْفَضُّواْ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَٱعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَٱسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي ٱلأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
-Âl ‘Imrân ( آل عمران )

Al Qushairi Tafsir

[3:159] It was by the mercy of God that you were lenient with them; had you been harsh and fierce of heart, they would have dispersed from about you. So pardon them, and ask forgiveness for them, and consult them in the matter. And when you are resolved, rely on God; for God loves those who rely.
He stripped [the Prophet] of his human attributes (awṣāf al-bashariyya), singling him out to be clothed from the attribute of lordship (naʿt al-rubūbiyya). He said that what shone upon him was from the lights of divine governorship (tawallā), not from the effects of meeting or encountering. If not for the fact that He had selected him for what He clothed him in, how could he have that quality?!
It is said that among the particular properties of His (s) mercy for [the Prophet] was that He gave him strength so that he kept company with them and had patience in conveying the message to them, despite what he used to bear in their disagreeing with the authority with which he was utterly engaged at every moment from the overwhelming power of the Real over him. If not for the divine strength the Real chose for him alone, how could he have had the power to keep company with them? When Moses (ʿa) was close to the covenant of hearing His word, don't you see how he was unable to remain patient in speaking with his brother, so he grabbed his head, pulling it toward him?
It is said if it were not for the fact that [the Prophet] (ṣ) saw them effaced in what came to them from the decrees of turning about (taṣrīf) and his realization that the originator of these [shifting events] was God, he would not have been able to keep company with them.
Had you been harsh and fierce of heart, they would have dispersed from about you: If you had given them to drink the pure drink of unity (tawḥīd), undiluted with their worldly concerns, they would have separated from you, wandering about, unable to stand still for even a moment. So pardon them for what may be their neglecting of your right and the respect due to you, and for what you come across in them in their negligence in serving Us and obeying Us. Rise up as an intercessor (shafīʿ) to Us on their behalf.
It is said So pardon them - you pardon them, since your decree (ḥukm) is Our decree and you do not forgive except when We have forgiven. Then [God] brought [the Prophet] back from this attribute, establishing him in the station of servanthood and shifting him to the state of separation (tafriqa), saying, 'Then stop in the place of humility, praying humbly to Us in seeking forgiveness for them'. Such is His way (sunna) with His prophets (ʿa) and friends, returning them from gathering (jamʿ) to separation (farq) and from separation to gathering. His words So pardon them are a gathering and His words and ask forgiveness for them are a separation.
It is said, So pardon them and pay no attention to your own rights from them. Do not be content with [your pardon] without seeking forgiveness for them to complete the act of generosity. It was because of this that [the Prophet] used to say: O God, guide my people since they do not know.
It is said what they neglected in your right is connected to two rights: your right and My right. So when you pardoned them, this decree was not sufficient; rather, if I do not give up My right from them, they merit punishment, for anyone whom He wishes as His enemy, his condition will not be restored until God forgives him for neglecting His command.
And ask forgiveness for them, and consult them in the matter: i.e. establish a place for them, since the one who has been pardoned feels shame in his breast and does not see for himself a noble position. When you consult with them, their dejection will be removed from them and you will have put their hearts at ease.
It is said there is a correlation in their states, for the one who has had his right neglected is commanded to pardon, and the one who has been the victim of another's sins is commanded to seek forgiveness for him, and the one who is to be obeyed without fail is commanded to consult with the other.
And when you are resolved, rely on God: i.e., do not rely on the opinion of any created being but trust affairs to Me. I will release you from turning about in the grip of changing circumstances. The true sense of reliance (tawakkul) is witnessing the divine preordination (taqdīr) and the relief of hearts from the turbulence of self-direction (tadbīr).
For God loves those who rely: He causes them to taste the coolness of [His] sufficiency in order to remove from them every fatigue and hardship. He repays everyone with what they deserve, so He enriches some people for their reliance by His gift. Others He suffices for their reliance by the encounter with Him. Some people He makes content with the totality of their states so that they are satisfied with He alone remaining. They position themselves with Him, through Him and for Him according to the shifting hues of His fate and decree.