A man asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him) for an advice. The answer was: don’t get angry, don’t get angry, and don’t get angry. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him) says something, it means it is very important but when he says it three times, it must be extremely important. Abdullah ibn Omar said that he asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him), “What protects me from the anger of Allah?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him) said, “Don’t get angry.”
It is an order to all Muslims: don’t get angry. At the outset, the meaning of this order will be clarified. There are two possible meanings. The first meaning is to learn to prevent anger before it happens by acquiring the righteous characteristics of generosity, shyness, forgiveness and ease of interaction with others. Good things happen together like a bundle. When these qualities are internalized, the person will be in a good position to manage/control his anger when it fires. The second meaning is to do jihad to control your self by not hurting others until the force of anger declines.
We don’t have to do research to prove anger’s impact on decision making, particularly in sensitive and important areas like family affairs. This fact has been underscored by the Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him) when he said,” when angry don’t divorce” according to Abu Dawood, Ahmad and ibn Majah.On another occasion, he also said,” when angry don’t judge between two people” according to Albukhari and others. When anger is too strong, the ability to think properly is minimized or disabled.
At this pint of the presentation, can we say that anger is bad? The answer is both yes and no. It all depends on the degree of anger. When anger is too strong it becomes dangerous because it hampers perception, thinking and actions. It is definitely undesirable. If anger is too weak, on the other hand, it is also undesirable. Persons who never get angry cannot fix their own weaknesses. They cannot improve because they don’t have enough anger that enables them to counter oppose the force of their desires. The two extremes are bad. Since moderation is the best policy in all life situations, it follows that moderate anger is a virtue between two evils. Moderate anger combines the best of both positions and eliminates the worst of both.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be unto him) had to deal with anger like all of us. His anger, however, was never to defend himself but to ensure the dominance of Allah’s word and protection of Allah’s boundaries. He did not confront people with what he disliked, but anger showed on his face. So, anger as an emotion is unavoidable but anger as behavior is manageable. A man told the Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him), “your judgment is not made for the sake of Allah.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him) became angry as shown by the changes on his face. The Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him) reacted by saying, “Prophet Moses was hurt by his people to a larger degree and he was patient.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him) used to make this dua/prayer, “Oh Allah I ask you to bless me with words of truth while angry or not.”
Before ending this article, it appears logical to over view the position of science on anger. According to Wikipedia Encyclopedia (en.wikipedia.org) anger is an emotional response to a grievance. Anger is based on the perception of a threat due to conflict, injustice, negligence, humiliation and betrayal among others. This Encyclopedia continues to present anger as active or passive emotion. “In the case of “active emotion” the angry person “lashes out” verbally or physically at an intended target whether justified or not. When anger is “passive” emotion is characterized by silent, sulking, passive-aggressive behavior (hostility and tension.) I am sure that the readers have experienced or at least witnessed both types of anger.” Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Allah has given us the anger emotion to our benefit. This emotion can help us see what is wrong. Quoting again from the same source, “Our feelings and emotions are actually serving as intelligence agents, bringing in news from the field of experience. We should not dismiss, ignore, or repress them. Righteous anger can help drive compassionate actions to redress injustice in the world.”
In Islam, anger is a sign of weakness not a sign of strength. The Prophet (peace and blessings be unto him) said ,” Strong is not the one who wrestles others to the ground, but strong is the one who controls himself when angry.” Insha Allah, the following article will deal with anger prevention and treatment from the Islamic viewpoint.
Dr. Mohammed Saleh is an educational consultant based in Surrey, British Columbia and he may be reached at email@example.com.