Another Name belonging to Allaah is Al-`Afoo (the Pardoner). In the last ten nights of Ramadaan, the Messenger ﷺ taught `Aai`shah (radiyallaahu `anha) to say:
اللهم إنك عفو كريم تحب العفو فاعف عني
O Allaah! You are `Afoo (Pardoner),
You love to Pardon, so Pardon me.(1)
So Allaah is the Pardoner, the One who excuses people. How is His Pardoning of the people different from the way people use this attribute? Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful. From this angle, we could say that Allaah’s Pardoning is paired with Forgiveness and Mercy.
For example, how do the people forgive? When you ask for forgiveness, is everyone always ready to forgive you? What about the people who forgave you? Do they always forgive you with complete forgiveness or do they come back later and mention what you did, although they say that they forgave you…?
When Allaah (`Azza wa Jall) forgives someone, He expunges their record, meaning he erases ones record (completely). If Allaah (`Azza wa Jall) excused you for something, you will not have to face Allaah and be asked about that thing.
اتق الله حيثما كنت وأتبع السيئة الحسنة تمحها
Fear Allaah wherever you are
and follow up a bad deed with a good one,
it will wipe (the former) out.
One of the ways Allaah that will pardon you is if you obey what His Messenger ﷺ has guided us to. If you make Tawbah from your sin, Allaah will pardon you for your sin. He has promised us this. If you repent to Allaah sincerely, He will forgive you and He will pardon your sin. The one who has made repentance from his sin is like the one who has not sinned at all, because the Pardoning of Allaah is complete and perfect. No trace. No bad feelings. Nothing left. Allaah erases the bad deed from your record and He replaces it with a good deed.
Who does that from the people? Who will pardon you, THEN give you credit for good things after you’ve transgressed against them? Who considers you better than what you were before (after you sought their forgiveness)? But Allaah (`Azza wa Jall) is perfect in His Pardoning, and when He Pardons you, He loves that you sought His Forgiveness. This is from the completeness of His Attribute of Pardoning
(1) At-Tirmidhee in his Sunan (3513) on the authority of `Aa`ishah (radiyallaahu `anha). Shaykh al-Albaanee declared the hadeeth as Saheeh in Saheeh At-Tirmidhee (3513)
(2) Source: Class 02 – Explanation of Al-Qawaa`id Al-Muthlaa, Shaykh Al-`Uthaymeen by Ustaadh Moosaa Richardson