Anger is a flame of fire extracted from Allah Ta’laa’s Blazing Fire. Learning to control one’s anger is an important component of our deen (religion). Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam has stated, “A strong person is not one who overcomes another in wrestling. A strong one is he who control himself at the time of anger.” (Bukhari)
In another hadith, Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam stated, “Anger spoils iman, just as aloe spoils honey.” (Shua’bul Iman)
Anger is revolting. Outwardly, it causes one to hit others, swear them, and speak harshly to them, and inwardly it creates malice, jealousy, evil thoughts, happiness on the downfall of others, a desire to expose the faults of others and to destroy their respect, and sadness when the other is happy. Every single one of these qualities is destructive.
The cure for anger is twofold:
- To control it by spiritual exercises. This does not mean completely eliminating it, since this is not desired. In fact, if one does not possess this quality at all, then it will become compulsory to attain it, since it is a means by which one will engage in jihad with the disbelievers, cause one to prohibit wrongs, and leads one to attain many forms of righteousness. It is like a hunting dog. One need to train it, so that it becomes obedient to one’s intellect and the Shariah. It must thus rise when commanded to do so by the intellect and Shariah and must likewise control itself on their orders. This is just like how the dog is obedient to its master. When commanded to attack, it leaps forward, otherwise it sits quietly. This is possible when one strives. He has to learn to be forbearing and forgiving when any incident occurs that raises his anger.
- Controlling the anger when it inflames by swallowing it. One cure is i’lmi (theoratical) and one is a’mali (practical)
The i’lmi cure is that one should realize that there is no reason for his anger, except that he dislikes something which occurs according to the wish of Allah Ta’laa, and not according to his wish. This is the lowest depth of ignorance. Secondly, one should realize, What right do I possess over the other person? What are Allah Ta’laa’s rights over me? How does Allah Ta’laa deal with you, and how do you want me to treat this person? It is obvious that you are not the creator, sustainer and owner of him. You have not granted him life. Allah Ta’laa has many, many rights over you. In every way, you have to be thankful and obedient to Him. Despite this, day and night, you commit countless sins and wrongs. Despite His Azza Wa Jalla Favours and Rights upon you, He Ta’laa tolerates you. If He Ta’laa has to punish you for just one fault, what will be your condition? You possess no right over this person, but you lose complete control of yourself, on some matter which is contrary to your nature. Is your obedience and pleasure necessary than the worship and Law of Allah Ta’laa?
The a’mali (practical) cure is to recite ta’awwuz ( A’oodhu billahi minash shaytawnir-rawjeem) when overcome by anger, since anger is a satanic effect. When one seeks protection from shaytans evil, then his effects will also be repelled. Together with this, change your posture. If you are standing, sit down. If seated, lie down. If one’s anger is still not cooled, then perform wudhu and place the cheek on the ground, so that your most honourable limb, the head, is placed on the lowest of places. The benefit of therein is that your pride will break. This is the greatest cause of anger. By doing so, one realizes that he is a lowly servant, and that pride is not appropriate for him. Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Verily a man attains with tolerance, the rank of one who stays awake at night in optional prayers and fasts during the day. At times, man is written to be a tyrant, whereas he only has rule over his family members.” In another hadith, Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam is reported to have said, “Whoever swallows his anger, whereas he the power to vent it, Allah Azza Wa Jalla will fill his heart with safety and iman on the day of judgement” (Tabrani in Awsat, Kabir (12/346)
Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam is also reported to have said, ” There is no gulp more beloved to Allah Ta’laa than the gulp of anger, which a servant swallows. Whenever a servant swallows his anger, Allah Ta’laa fills his heart with imaan.” (Ahmed)
Extracted From Tabligh-E-Deen, Imaam Muhammed Al-Ghazali Rahmatullahi Alaihi