Anger Management: An Islamic Perspective

The emotion of anger is perhaps the most occurring and strongest of all the emotions like love, hate, compassion and physiological desires. It has many adverse and negative effects on those who allow it to control them. Violence and dejection are the ultimate results of anger. Many people are unable to control anger which in turn controls them. Once under the pressure of anger they dispute with their parents, siblings, husband, wife or any close relation. This ends them destroying their relation, property, happiness etc. Science correlates anger and bad behavior with unbalance of hormones and chemicals in our bodies. It is well known that hypoglycemia and hyperthyroidism precipitate irritability when feeling angry. But in Islam anger is the tool of Satan, who by making a man angry leads him to evil and disastrous strategies. For this reason Islam has a great deal to say about the emotion of anger. Islam has devised many ways to root out anger that is impossible and unnatural, and may even be harmful. But what we should do is to control this feeling and do not let it lead us to what’s wrong and forbidden in our religion (Islam).

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:”Man was created weak.”

The ayat says that man has been created weak but it doesn’t mean a man cannot conquer his weaknesses. Allah has instilled some protective mechanisms for fighting negative instincts.

 

In Surah Al-Imran 3:134, we learn that, “…those who control their anger and are forgiving toward mankind; Allah loves those who do good.”

Holy Prophet used to speak against anger repeatedly. He was an extra ordinary example of tolerance and self discipline. One companion asked him, Give me some advice by virtue of which I hope for good in the life hereafter, and he said, “Don’t be angry.” Another person asked, what will save me from the wrath of God, and he said, “Do not express your anger.” A third person asked three times, 0 Messenger of Allah, give me an order to do a short good deed, and he said, “Don’t be angry.” Once he asked a question of his companion, “Who among you do you consider a strong man?” They said, the one who can defeat so-and-so wrestler in a fight, and he said, that is not so. The one who is strong is the one who can control himself at the time of anger. He also said that anger is like fire, which destroys you from within, and it can also lead you to the fire of hell by your own expressions of anger unjustly.

If a person is unsure about how to act in any situation he need only look to Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad was known as a man who could and would even under dire circumstances control his anger. When a person is angry he should try to calm himself ant not let the anger blow into rage. The Prophet (saws) advises us: “When one of you is angry while standing, let him sit down and if his anger goes away that is good; otherwise let him lie down.” (Abu Dawud). When Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) became angry at someone else’s wrong actions or disbeliefs, he never expressed it with his hand or tongue. His companions knew that he was angry by just looking at his face, which would turn red and with some sweat on his forehead, and he would keep quiet for a moment, trying to control himself.

Anger management in Islam can be summed up as follows.

·        Seek refuge in Allah from the ploys of Satan.

·        Make ablution, because water extinguishes fire.

·        Change positions, if you are standing, sit, if you are sitting, lie down.  A person lying down cannot engage in fisticuffs or destroy property. 

·        Remove yourself from the situation.  This could be likened to our modern equivalent, time out. 

·        Be silent, words spoken in anger cannot be taken back. 

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