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Anger Management in the Light of Quran and Sunnah

Author: Samia Khan

WHAT IS ANGER?

Anger is a psychological state that results from inner agitation and desire for revenge. And when this agitation becomes violent, it intensifies the fire of anger. A violent commotion engulfs one’s brain on account of which the mind and intellect lose control and become powerless. It is for this reason that such a person becomes blind and deaf to etiquette and guidance. Anger is a weakness but people think of it as strength. In fact, it’s a spark that set you on fire and then you burn others. So, that fire not only hurts you, but hurts others as well.

THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF ANGER

Although anger is a natural feeling, it has negative effects on those who allow it to control them. It affects one’s mental health leading to anxiety, depression, guilt, frustration and isolation. Not only mental health, it has a great impact on person’s physical health as well, which includes headaches, eye strains, upset stomach, and heart problems etc. Moreover it affects family and society as a whole. When a person becomes angry and he acts upon it, he intensifies hatred among himself and people around him, as a result people cut off ties with him. Worst can lead to killing and bloodshed. Above all, that person displeases Allah and chooses to walk away from the right path, for which he face consequences until he seeks forgiveness and mercy of Allah.

ANGER MANAGEMENT IN THE LIGHT OF QURAN

As humans we go through many emotions that we feel unable to control. Anger is one of them and the strongest one too. Fortunately, for us, Allah has told us in the Quran how to deal with it. That is why Quran as a source of information that will help us lead an Islamic life, is so very important. Allah has advised us to repress our anger in all situations, no matter how testing they are. He has mentioned this specifically in the Quran when He says:

Who spend [in the cause of Allah ] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good;
[Quran 3:134]

What great achievement can we have than the love of Allah and as they say, being in His good books. Repressing anger kills the situation that can get ugly very soon and that is why Allah has prescribed it for us.

Allah has mentioned repressing anger and forgiving again and again in the Holy Quran by giving examples of His prophets as well. Allah says in Quran:
(Prophet Ibrahim’s (PBUH) father said to him)

He threatened, “How dare you reject my idols, O Abraham! If you do not desist, I will certainly stone you ˹to death˺. So be gone from me for a long time!” Abraham responded, “Peace be upon you! I will pray to my Lord for your forgiveness. He has truly been Most Gracious to me..
[Quran 19:46-47]

As always if a person is unsure about how to act in any situation, he needs only to consult Holy Quran and seek Allah’s guidance and look to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) or our righteous predecessors to find the best way to act.

Another such incident about controlling anger is mentioned in the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when a man came to him with the killer of his relative.

Anas bin Malik said:
A man brought the killer of his relative to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Pardon him,’ but the refused. He said: ‘Take the blood money,’ but he refused. He said: ‘Go and kill him, but then you will be like him.’ Someone caught up with him and reminded him that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had said: ‘Go and kill him, but then you will be like him.’ So he let him go.
[Sunan Ibn Majah]

Other places, anger management has been mentioned in the Quran, and along with it is also mentioned how much a person who controls his anger is loved by Allah. It is said:

Whatever ˹pleasure˺ you have been given is ˹no more than a fleeting˺ enjoyment of this worldly life. But what is with Allah is far better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord; And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive..
[Quran 42:36-37]

Controlling anger is a sign of righteousness. A righteous person is promised paradise. So let us restrain our anger and not utter anything which cannot be taken back. It is said:

…Pardon and bear with them until Allah delivers His decision…
[Quran 2:109]

Surely the one who controls his anger pleases Allah and keeps the characteristics of the righteous believer.

ANGER MANAGEMENT IN THE LIGHT OF HADITH AND SUNNAH

Anger is one of the evil whispers of shaitan which leads to many evils, of which Allah knows their full extent. For this, Islam has a great deal to say about this bad characteristic and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) described cures for this disease and ways to limit its effects among which are following:

  1. Seeking Refuge With Allah From The shaitan
  2. Mu`adh bin Jabal narrated that one of the two men cursed the other next to the Prophet (ﷺ), until anger could be recognized in the face of one of them. So the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Verily, I know a statement, that if he were to say it, his anger would leave: ‘I seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan, the rejected (A`ūdhu billāhi minash-shaiṭānir-rajīm).’”
    [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3452]

  3. Keeping Silent
  4. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent.”
    [Reported by Imam Ahmed, Al musnad. See also saheeh Al-jaami, 693, 4027]

    This is because angry person loses self-control and could utter words of disbelief or curses, or the words of divorce which would destroy his home or the words of slander which would bring him the enmity and hatred of others. So, keeping silent is the solution which helps to avoid ugly situations.

  5. Not Moving
  6. Narrated Abu Dharr: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to us: When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.
    [Abu Dawud]

    The narrator of this this hadith is Abu Dharr and there is a story connected to his telling of it. He was taking camels to drink at a trough that he owned, when other people came along and said (to one another) ‘who can compete with Abu Dharr (in bringing animals to drink) and make his hair stand on end?’ A man said: ‘I can’ so he brought his animals and competed with Abu Dharr, with the result that the trough was broken (i.e. Abu Dharr was expecting help in watering his camels) but instead, the man misbehaved and caused the trough to be broken. Abu Dharr was standing so he sat down. Then laid down. Someone asked him: ‘O Abu Dharr, why did you sit and lie down?’ He said: ‘The Messenger of Allah said…(repeated the Hadith)’

  7. Following The Advise Of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
  8. Narrated Abu Huraira: A man said to the Prophet (ﷺ) , “Advise me! “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet (ﷺ) said in each case, “Do not become angry and furious.”
    [Sahih al-Bukhari]

  9. Do Not Become Angry and Paradise Will Be Yours
  10. Remembering what Allah has promised to the righteous who keep away from the causes of anger and struggle within themselves to control it, is one of the most effective ways of extinguishing the flames of anger. One of the hadith that describes the great reward for doing this is:

    whoever control his anger when he has the means to act upon it, Allah will fill his heart with contentment on the Day of resurrection.
    [Reported by Al-Tabarani, 12/453. See also shaheeh Al-jaami, 6518]

  11. Knowing The High Status Offered
  12. Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) said, “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.”
    [Sahih al-Bukhari]

    The greater the anger, the higher the status of the one who controls it.

  13. Following Prophet’s Example
  14. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is our leader and has set the highest example in this matter. One of the most famous hadith says:

    Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I was walking with Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) who was wearing a Najrani cloak with a very thick border when a bedouin happened to meet him. He took hold of the side of his cloak and drew it violently. I noticed that the violence of jerk had bruised the neck of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). The bedouin said: “O Muhammad! Give me out of Allah’s wealth that you possess.” Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) turned to him and smiled and directed that he should be given something.
    [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

  15. For The Sake Of Allah
  16. Another way in which we can follow the example of Prophet (PBUH) is by making our anger for the sake of Allah, when His rights are violated. This is the kind of anger which is praiseworthy.

    Narrated `Aisha: The Prophet (ﷺ) entered upon me while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he got hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Such people as paint these pictures will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection .”
    [Sahih al-Bukhari]

    It was narrated from Anas that: The Prophet saw some sputum in the prayer direction of the mosque and he became so angry that his face turned red. Then a woman from among the Ansar came and scraped it off, and put some Khaluq on that spot. The Messenger of Allah said: “How good this is.”
    [Sunan Ibn Majah]

  17. Knowing The Effects Of Anger
  18. The negative effects of anger are many. In short, they cause damage to oneself and others. The angry person may utter the words of slander, he may attack others (physically) in an uncontrolled manner, even to the point of killing.

    Ilqimah Ibn Waa’il reported that his father (may Allah be pleased with him) said to him: ‘I was sitting with Prophet (PBUH) when a man came to him leading another man by a rope. He said “O Messenger of Allah, this man killed my brother’’ The Messenger of Allah asked him: “did you kill him?” He said: ‘’yes’’ Prophet asked: ‘’how did you kill him?’’ The man said: ‘’He and I were hitting a tree to make the leaves fall, for animal feed, and he slandered me so I struck him on the side of the head with an axe, and killed him’’…..’
    [Reported by saheeh Muslim, 1307, edited by Al-Baaqi]

    Extreme anger results in social disasters and breaking of family ties. It can result in misery of children, regret, frustrations, mental disturbance and a difficult life.

  19. Supplication
  20. Dua (supplication) is always the weapon of the believer, thereby he/she asks Allah to protect him/her from evil, trouble and anger. One of the duas of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was:

    “O Allah, cause me to fear You in secret and in public. I ask You to make me true in speech in times of pleasure and of anger…”
    [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

Anger is a part of human nature, and people vary in their anger. It may be difficult for a man to not to get angry, but believers will remember Allah when they are reminded and will seek His help and guidance. May Allah guide us to path of righteousness and make us among His most pious people.

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