Abdul Munim's inspiring message: Finding strength and forgiveness in the face of tragedySHARIFAH SHAHIRAH
SEPANG - In 2017, a heartfelt moment unfolded in a courtroom in Kentucky, United States (US) that challenged the perceptions of justice and revenge.
Abdul Munim Sombat Jitmoud, a father who faced the unbearable pain of losing his son to a senseless act of murder shocked the courtroom by embracing and extending his forgiveness to a man who was complicit in the killing of his son, Salahuddin.
The former principal of seven Islamic schools in the US who is now an envoy of mercy has been sharing poweful messages about compassion and forgiveness at international forums.
On Saturday, Abdul Munim shared his story during the World Quran Convention 2023 as a panellist in a discussion session.
His heartfelt sharing touched the hearts of many, moving participants at the convention to tears.
In the session entitled 'Served to be Served: Individual and Family', Abdul Munim said the verses from the Quran had served as a source of strength to him, empowering him to endure life's challenges.
He highlighted the importance of keeping kind deeds secret, thinking about how these acts mirror the divine and serve as a reflection of it.
Recounting the moment of his son's death, Abdul Munim mentioned a verse from the Quran (Surah Al-Insan), emphasising the importance of accepting God's plan.
"Allah created us, we came from Allah. We are here for the sake of Allah and someday we will return to Him," he said during the convention held at Movenpick Hotel & Convention Centre KLIA, here.
He said the verse in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah "Indeed, we belong to Allah and indeed to Him we return" served as an important reminder for life trials, signifying patience and acknowledging that Allah will not burden His worshippers beyond their capacity.
This, he said encapsulated a profound sense of trust and surrender to the divine will.
During his journey, he said he redirected his thoughts towards Allah, seeking solace by envisioning himself in the position of Prophet Muhammad SAW and what would the Prophet do at the time of crisis.
Inspired by the Prophet's forgiving nature and beautiful conscience, Abdul Munim said he chose the path of forgiveness in his own circumstances.
He also emphasised the pivotal role of patience and gratitude towards Allah while reflecting on the incident involving his son.
He said despite the overwhelming emotions, the recitation of the Quranic verses, particularly the phrase "InnaLillah",provided him with a sense of tranquillity.
Sharing the empowering wisdom found in Kallamullah (the words of Allah), he referred to Surat At-Taghabun verse 11, conveying the message that no calamity befalls a person without God's permission.
At the end of his sharing, Abdul Munim said that he harboured no blame towards anyone in the case involving his son's murder.
He said his strength and patience stemmed from his unwavering faith in Allah.
On the night of April 19, 2015, Abdul Munim's son Salahuddin died after he was stabbed and robbed when he was making a pizza delivery in Lexington, Kentucky. He was 22.
Trey Alexander Relford who was also 22 at the time of the incident had pleaded guilty to his involvement in the murder of Salahuddin. He was sentenced to 31 years in prison.
In the courtroom, Abdul Munim then hugged and forgave Relford and said "forgiveness is the greatest gift of charity in Islam" when he was in the witness stand.
Relford then apologised to Abdul Munim for Salahuddin's death.
On Dec 19, 2019, Abdul Munim became the first recipient of the Malaysian compassionate award, which is also known as Rahmatan Lil Alamin Icon.