AL-GHAFOOR-The Forgiving, The Exceedingly Forgiving The Great Forgiver
Benefits of belief in these names include the following:
The One who completely forgives our sins and faults. The One who accepts repentance and pardons sins and faults.
The One who veils or forgives our faults and sins such that they are not seen by anyone else, not even the angels.
The One who is the perfection of forgiveness. The One whose forgiving demonstrates excellence, completeness and perfection of forgiveness.
From the root gh-f-r which has the following classical Arabic connotations:
to cover, veil, conceal, hide
to pardon, to forgive, to set aright
to cover a thing to protect it from dirt
This name is used in the Qur’ān. For example, see 40:3
Note that the root gh-f-r has given rise to three Beautiful Names that are all used in the Qur’ān: Ghaffār,Ghafūr and Ghāfir. However, only Ghaffār and Ghafūr were included in the list of 99 Names narrated by Tirmidhi.
In Qastalānī’s commentary on Bukhārī, it is said that the root gh-f-r means a covering or protection which is either between man and the commission of sin [protecting, or watching over], or between sin and the effects of that sin [forgiving, veiling or concealing].
In al-Nihāyah (a dictionary of hadīth), it is said that Ghāfir refers to the One who protects us from the commission of sins, and that Ghafūr refers to the One who forgives our sins and faults.
Sheikh Tosun Bayrak portrays the differences as:
… al-Ghāfir, the veiler of our faults from the eyes of other men; al-Ghafūr, who keeps the knowledge of our faults even from the angels; and al-Ghaffār who relieves us from the suffering of continual remembrance of our faults.
The Arabic word astaghfirullāh (sometimes written as astghfrallāh, estagfurullāh or estaferallāh) is from this same gh-f-r root, and is an invocation of Divine Protection having a range of possible connotations that include Allāh please forgive me, Allāh please hide away my faults, Allāh please watch over me and protect me from faults.
The Arabic lexicon and commentary Tāj al-‘Arūs reminds us that truly asking for forgiveness must be by both word and deed, not by the tongue alone.
The names Ghafūr, Ghaffār and Ghāfir denote forgiving or protecting, while ‘Afūw indicates complete removal or obliteration of the condition.